Friday, February 01, 2008

Reading the River

Reading the River: A Traveller's Companion to the North Saskatchewan River, by Myrna Kostash with Duane Burton.

Like the last book I read, Late Nights On Air, this book is one I received for Christmas. I have only gotten about two pages into it so far but the night before last while starting to read, it occurred to me that there might be a reference in the book to a fellow boat builder, Robert Pruden (I had an inkling as I recall him mentioning something about it in the past). I checked the references at the back and sure enough, he was listed there. Robert is a fellow participant in the Kayak Building Bulletin Board boatbuilding forum whose posts are often entertaining and is (in)famous for paddling over a waterfall on the North Saskatchewan River near Saskatchewan Crossing shortly after the start of the first leg of his cross-Canada solo kayak trip. Robert also is famous on the KBBB for paddling his home-built kayaks mid winter amongst and on top of the ice pans of the partially frozen North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton. If I recall correctly, he uses picks in his hands to help pull himself up onto solid ice in order to effect his egress from the river. Whether it his story of going over the waterfalls, his winter paddling, or his paddling to Borden (just a few miles from here), I look forward to seeing what contribution he has made to this book.
[Regarding the section of river Robert ran, my book North Saskatchewan River Guide lists the approximate spot where Robert started as a canoe launch point and later says of this section: The rapids range from Grade II to VI (minimum intermediate canoeing skill)." However, it makes no mention of where those Grade VI rapids might be (uhhhh, that's also known as a waterfall, a big one). ]
I thought at first the book would be a guide with historical context of each section of the N. Sask. River. However, Reading the River seems to be more of an anthology, a collection of writings of historical and modern interest organised by region. I'll update this once I get into it.

Update Feb 11 '08: I am about 1/4 of my way through the book now, having read through to beyond Drayton Valley (the book is arranged geographically, proceeding downriver from the Saskatchewan Glacier) as of last night. In the Drayton Valley section was an a unique piece of literature, an excerpt from a forum posting by Robert Pruden, originally appearing on, in the trips forum in May 2003. Robert's post was regarding a downriver paddle from Devon to Edmonton and was written the casual style typical of a blog posting and to Robert in particular.