cover image Arctic Autumn: A Journey to Season's Edge

Arctic Autumn: A Journey to Season's Edge

Pete Dunne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 (272p) ISBN 978-0-618-82221-8

Following on his Prairie Spring and Bayshore Summer, Dunne explores fall in the Arctic, which, he explains, begins on June 21, the summer solstice, "the day the sun begins its retreat, and the earth begins its six-month slide into the Inuit moon month of Tauvikjuaq, %E2%80%98the Great Darkness.'%C2%A0" This intimate, opinionated, sometimes rambling, sometimes philosophical journal chronicles Dunne's observations during a series of guided wilderness adventures over this time span, including a canoe trip in the National Petroleum Reserve, where his party disturbed geese during their sensitive molting season and witnessed severe climate change%E2%80%93induced coastline erosion of the Beaufort Sea. There's also a polar bear watch from the upscale Tundra Buggy Lodge, a hotel on wheels in Churchill, Manitoba, where polar bears "gang up" in October and November, waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze so they can go hunting, and professional photographers line up for stock shots. Dunne focuses as much on his fellow travelers as the flora and fauna, as much on his internal landscape as the external: a trip to the Barren Lands becomes a cautionary tale of an incompetent tour guide; a caribou hunting trip shares space with Dunne's musings on life, death, and his hunting philosophy. Readers hoping for an unmediated narrative of the far north may be disappointed, but those considering an Arctic adventure will get a realistic taste of this last wilderness. (Sept.)