Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild by Jennifer KingsleyPaddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild by Jennifer Kingsley

Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild

byJennifer Kingsley

Paperback | August 21, 2015

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 100 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


"A page-turner of an adventure in the Far North, at turns bone-chilling, mind-blowing, and exultant. …This is travel-writing at its best. ” –Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

A voyage of self-discovery and regeneration across one of the planet’s wildest and most rugged landscapes.

Paddlenorth tells the riveting story of Jennifer Kingsley’s fifty-four-day paddling adventure in the northern wilderness as she and her five companions battle raging winds, impenetrable sea ice, and treacherous rapids. Woven through this spellbinding narrative are the harrowing accounts of earlier explorers whose traces along the river warn us against romantic notions of the wild. Paddlenorth paints an indelible portrait of the spectacular northern landscape and eloquently explores what wilderness means to us.

Jennifer Kingsley holds a degree in biology and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and has worked as a guide and naturalist for more than a decade. Her writing and radio stories have been featured nationally and internationally.
Title:Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic WildFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.6 inPublished:August 21, 2015Publisher:Greystone Books Ltd.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1771641770

ISBN - 13:9781771641777

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected more from this book Maybe I was expecting something different from this book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but I still read it front to back. I enjoyed a lot about this book, like the historical stories, description of the journey and the landscape. Some of the personal comments, especially about other people on the journey, seemed to take away from the story and make me not like the author very much. Although it is an interesting story, I feel there are many more books on this topic that have so much more to offer.
Date published: 2015-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from intimate non-fiction read this because I know the author and know about many of her trips since she was about 30; but was surprised and delighted to know her so much better, due to her ability to be completely frank / candid in recounting her lived experience on this great trip. I kept coming across passages that were so delightful in their frankness and articulation that I finally started bringing my highlighter with me to mark them in my 'advance readers copy' as I travelled. In all ... quite a read; I was both reluctant to get to the last page and yet wanting to soak up a few more pages every day. This is a very personal and intimate account of a quite daring group-adventure ; she ventures deeper ( personally) than most of the non-fiction I've read .. ( which is pretty well all I read); it was the complete opposite of 'hagiographic'. Almost as if she has left her 'persona' in a locker at the Edmonton airport just prior to their departure; yes she was observing her trip mates, but she was also capturing her own very honest, often self-deprecatory reflections. That had a magnetic effect on me.
Date published: 2014-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Paddlenorth is a must read for Canadians learning about the north Book review of “Paddlenorth” by Jennifer Kingsley People today don’t seem to have much faith in the younger generation. I hear frequently that kids these days spend too much time with technology and not enough outdoors or that they don’t know how to write a decent letter. Well, obviously people who say that have not met Jennifer Kingsley. This young lady spends lots of time in the outdoors and has just released her first book about her canoe trip in the Arctic. After reading Kingsley’s “Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild” they may change their mind. I have I recently read “Paddlenorth” and, honestly, I couldn’t put it down. This is a small 225-page book, but I finished reading it in two days. It is a non-fiction book about Kingsley’s experiences while paddling along the Back River in the Arctic in 2005. I was expecting this to be a book about the rivers and the landforms which surround them – geography and perhaps a bit of nature; however, this isn’t just a travel log. Kingsley has incorporated many different complex story lines including nature and geography, history, relationships, and personal growth and more. Kingsley is scientist, artist and journalist. She has managed to squeeze in a lot in a very short time. She has an MFA in creative non-fiction writing from the University of Victoria and a degree in Biology. She was a writer at the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program in 2010. She has worked in broadcasting for the CBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and helped launch the Banff Centre Radio. She has worked as naturalist, grizzly bear guide and expedition staff in the Canadian Arctic and Greenland; tutorial leader and lecturer and more. All these talents and experiences are evident in this, her first book. The book follows chronologically the paddling trip from its inception to its completion. Kingsley admits that paddling this river is something that she wanted to do. As she says, “if you want to measure yourself against the Earth – to test your perspective on life and distance – there is nowhere better.” She writes about the monumental task of the preparations, from the 61 pages of notes before they set off, to the mountains of food, details such as type of toilet paper, decisions of what personal items to bring, the debate over the exact route to take and everyone’s expectations of the trip and finally getting everyone and the equipment into the Twin Otter. Because this was to be a long, hard trip, Kingsley paid special attention to finding an experienced team to go with her. She chose two of her best friends who are experienced paddlers and found three other paddlers willing to take this 54 day trip in the worlds’ coldest biome. Paddling experience was a necessity for the trip, but just as important was the personalities to ensure that everyone could get along throughout the trip. The team was made up of 3 men and 3 women, and although one member was grieving over the recent death of his mother, the team dynamics worked pretty well throughout the journey. As Kingsley says, “a dispute or cranky spell had more to do with when I last ate than anything more complicated or emotional. And the land governed our moods just as much.” The trip was going to test everyone’s abilities and once started, it would be nearly impossible to leave the group. They did have a satellite phone for emergencies, but in some areas there was no coverage, so the group of six paddlers were virtually isolated in a land, where more than 50,000 caribou can go undetected. Kingsley tells us that the Back River “is famous for the Garry Lakes, a string of huge, shallow bodies of water that stretch for hundreds of kilometers”. She also discusses the decisions and preparations required to navigate this river successfully. However, along with these details, she also writes about details such as how the food is prepared and the chore of bathing in frigid water, while battling incessant mosquitoes and black flies. Furthermore, she manages to weave in some of the history of the Back River with notes on early explorers such as John Franklin, George Back, and the fate of Father Joseph Buliard who led Canada’s most remote religious mission in this area. This is a great work of non-fiction and I would say that this is a must read for anyone wanting to know more about Canada’s north.
Date published: 2014-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful, thought-provoking page turner Jennifer writes beautifully, with just the right balance of personal narrative, history, natural history, adventure and even mystery. The tributaries of her narrative flow together into the gentle, but powerful flow of a "can't put it down" story. I was up until 2 am reading. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thrilling, rich read I couldn't put this book down -- I missed my subway stop! A thrilling tale that's also wonderfully rich in natural and historical details and a beautiful exploration of human interaction. It's also a love song to the complexities of the Arctic. A really great read.
Date published: 2014-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Witness a Remarkable Journey Paddlenorth is a great read - I didn't put it down through my whole bus trip between Montreal and Toronto. It's a straight-up, 'real person' adventure story, thought provoking but not overly sentimental, that captures the remarkable journey and intriguing social/individual dynamics of this kind of long, isolated, outdoor travel, without turning heroic or sensational. I'm grateful for having been transported to these places and allowed to witness these personal/natural processes.
Date published: 2014-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspirational A true expression of river travel where mistakes are seldom forgiven! We are guests on the terms of the tundra! Well done...Thanks
Date published: 2014-09-30