THE ONLY KAYAK

Kim Heacox, Author
Kim Heacox, Author . Lyons $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-59228-715-4
Reviewed on: 03/14/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Paperback - 249 pages - 978-1-59228-894-6
Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-4930-0866-7
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-4930-0865-0
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Writer and photographer Heacox delivers a genuine, deeply moving account of the past 25 years he has spent living in Glacier Bay, Alaska, "the last wild shore, nine hundred miles north of Seattle and nine hundred years in the past." This work's title comes from the first kayaking trip Heacox took there in 1979. As he explored the bay with a friend, they found themselves the sole kayak in that body of water, "alone, and escaped, left to wonder how long it could last, this wildness and grace." Heacox's ability to use this tension—between the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness and the creeping encroachment of modern life—is the thread that unites his varied observations, and it's what gives the book its uniqueness and keeps it from being another pale imitation of Coming into the Country , John McPhee's late-1970s classic on Alaska. Heacox (An American Idea ; Shackleton ; etc.) deftly renders highly personal accounts of life with his wife and constant companion—especially a horrific account of her near-death from hypothermia in a winter storm—and the development of his friendship with Michio Hoshino, who became a famed photographer of bears before an untimely death. He also offers a fascinating look at his own development as a conservationist. The combination of these various elements makes for a charming reverie on Alaska's past and a thoughtful look at its future. Map. (May)

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