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Old 03-06-2018, 11:02 PM   #1
JPTolson
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Default "Reading" the River

While waiting for this year’s trip schedule to begin, I thought it might be interesting to ask if anyone has read any river and/or paddling books recently and whether they care to share a summary of them. I’ve read a couple and am in the middle of a third.

First was Dangerous River, Adventure on the Nahanni by R.M. Patterson. This is about the author’s intrepid exploration of the Nahanni River in Canada’s Northwest Territory in the late 1920s. Not so much of a paddling book, it recounts his experience going up and down the Nahanni and Liard rivers by canoe when the few other humans in this large expanse of wilderness were trappers or gold seekers. Among the hardships encountered by Patterson and/or his associates were minus 60 degree F temperatures and a fall through the ice at zero degrees while overwintering along the river in a cabin. For the first third to half of the book, the writing style can be a little tedious and hard to follow due to lack of a detailed map, but after that it picks up.

Next was Courting the Diamond Sow by Wickliffe Walker. This is an account of the ill-fated 1998 kayak expedition to Tibet’s Tsangpo River, the Mount Everest of whitewater, in an effort to be the first to paddle through its 16,000 feet deep gorge! Much of the book is devoted to preparing for the adventure, historical accounts of earlier explorers, and traversing the landscape to arrive at destinations along the river. The pace quickens and tension builds reading about the river’s huge volume of water and enormous whitewater features and the painstaking scouting necessary to navigate the Tsangpo. According to the author, the Diamond Sow is a creature of Buddhist mythology that represents the fantastic landscape of this region.

Finally, Far Appalachia, Following the New River North by National Public Radio’s Noah Adams reads like a travelog as the author winds his way from the river’s North Carolina headwaters through Virginia and West Virginia during 1997. He stops at small towns, natural features, and events along the way (like the Galax Bluegrass Festival) and even paddled a stretch of the upper New. I expect he will also sample the whitewater of the New River Gorge. All in all, this is a very pleasant read thus far.

Last edited by JPTolson; 04-02-2018 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:15 AM   #2
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Every year for the last 50 years Westminster Church in Boardman has an annual book sale. It was there that I found a rather unusual and rare book about paddling in America. It was authored by Pat L Hardest.

In order to supplement their food stores for the winter months Native Americans also farmed various crops. They used manure to fertilize those crops during the summer. But often times they had an excess and it had to be hauled away. They used hollowed out logs to haul the manure down to the nearest stream. On one occasion one of the hauling devices got away and a young tribesman had to jump in it. He used the crude shovel he made to fill it to paddle it back to shore. The manure hauling log was called Cen neew by the Native Americans, which translates to "poop mover".

Having accidentally discovered a novel way to use the device for river travel the Native Americans continue to use it for both purposes and do so even to this day. I give this rather unusual book three and a half stars out of five and can recommend it as an easy read to fellow paddlers.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:49 AM   #3
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Obviously, copious amounts of this fertilizer came with BobKís copy of this rare book. Looks like itís being heavily used!
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Old 03-12-2018, 09:55 PM   #4
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Default "The boy who told stories"

I think I read the sequel to that book. It was called "The Boy Who Told Stories" (subtitle: The long walk home).

It was about a boy named Bo'ob-ka from the Ma-Hon-Enga tribe...the tribe that had mastered the Cen neew. The boy was forever telling wild stories about the river turning fluorescent green or having turned into bear grease. Bo'ob-ka also had the smallest Cen neew. It was too small to haul much manure so gave him the excuse to not do much work. The tribe called his boat the k-Yaka, a not so nice name meaning "No room for any more do-do".

So many of the tribe complained about Bo'ob-ka that the chief Big M'Dan-ko (also known as "The One That Likes to be Wet") called in his council including Jay'Pee (son of Tol) master of the Cen neew, and Rich-a-pinky the tribe's main scout along with many of the Elders (which was most of the tribe). A plan was crafted to rid themselves of Bo'ob-ka.

At the next Celebration of the RiverFest, Bo'ob-ka was told he was the chosen one to deliver a message to a fierce tribe downsteam called the LowHeads. His k-Yaka was loaded with "sacred" stones and the outside was deeply carved (thinned) with messages warning about Bo'ob-ka and down-river he was sent.

Nearing the LowHeads, Bo'ob-ka got caught in a strainer-trap the tribe had set. The LowHeads pulled Bo'ob-ka and his k-Yaka out of the river. The sacred stones were lost and the LowHeads could not read the warnings on the boat. It didn't take them long to figure out that this boy wasn't right and so filled his boat back up with rocks and sent him on his way to the O' Hi'O river where the Barge Spirits dwelt.

The Barge Spirits had fun with Bo'ob-ka. They smashed his boat and held him in Locks for many years. Eventually he escaped and started walking back home but by then he was getting to be an old man.

By the time he made it back to the Ma-Hon-Enga's he had mellowed quite a bit. He realized how much he had missed the sweet smell of fresh manure. He also realized that he had gotten too old and stiff to get into and out of a k-Yaka. He made himself a Cen neew and to his surprise he found that he felt right at home with a load of manure.

I would imagine that this book, too, is also out of print. -KenM
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:49 AM   #5
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Love it ! Way better than my post.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:20 AM   #6
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Default Brilliant, Ken!

I havenít laughed so hard since Ed Rigby issued his rules for counting canoes versus kayaks on club trips. Brilliant, Ken!
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:41 PM   #7
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Talking

I LOVE IT, LOL
It will be a Best Seller
that was awsome
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