DOWN THE WILD RIVER NORTH by Constance Helmericks


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From the 1940's on, Mrs. Helmericks and her husband have written energetically about the beauty, dangers and human condition within the Arctic regions: this time Mrs. Helmericks, alone, recalls, with her customary skill and wit, two summers of canoeing with her two daughters, through Canada's northern wilderness. She also comments movingly on the ways of time, children and parents, as well as rivers. Amongst the dangers, minor catastrophes, delightfully sudden friendships, the purity of a wilderness surplanting the stress and complexity of American life, is an awareness of the joy and yet sadness in observing the developing independence of the children. Ann, twelve, (""the screamer"") and Jean, fourteen, (not too happy about being female at that point) prepared by their mother to enjoy freedom, frankness, react and grow in attitudes and understanding. Capsizings, an emergency appendectomy, days of mud and cold rain, and days of sunshine, human warmth and goodness, poverty and ignorance, shape abilities to cope, enjoy and also condemn. By the Peace River, the Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes, and up the MacKenzie River to the Arctic Ocean, this is a rewarding journey, (""I knew we used our time well""), and for the reader a grand portage, bittersweet as camp smoke.

Pub Date: May 7th, 1968
Publisher: Little, Brown