I really waffled between giving this one two or three stars. It’s the kind of book that would usually appeal to me- travel in a far off place to find and observe wildlife, in this case a husband and wife photography team on an ecotour with a group. The husband is also into bird watching. The book has a good mix of personal appeal, the small incidents and struggles of travel, banter between the companions, awe at the wide gorgeous scenery, and encounters with animals. But something about it just couldn’t hold my attention. I found myself skipping and skimming a lot. Maybe the explanations and history bits of geology, animal/human interactions and the like were interjected too much? the background info about all their traveling companions uninteresting? or the appearance of animals too few, and the remarks on them not engaging enough. Some of the observations about his travelling companions kind of rubbed me the wrong way, too. They saw many birds, glimpsed a wolf, found caribou after much searching, viewed hawk owls and had a close sighting of polar bears at Churchill. All these things I would have rather read more details about, instead of what they ate for breakfast or the brand of clothes their buddies wore. I did like the part at the end where the author attempts to hunt caribou, and explains why he’s a hunter, and talks with a French woman in the group (minimal conversation ability) about why she’s vegetarian. But it wasn’t part of what I thought the book’s focus was. I suppose that’s what it was- the book felt scattered, unfocused, like it was trying to tell all things at once. In this case, it just didn’t quite work for me.
There was also this incongruous thing about the leave no trace principle. More than once in the book the author complained about how previous tourists or visitors had left something noticeable behind – in the first case, it was just a blackened fire ring and some shifted rocks. (Honestly, that wouldn’t bother me. Trash on the other hand, very much would). He kind of went on a bit about how the landscape was no longer pristine and he deserved to see it untouched. But then when his wife made a sculpture of balanced rocks, well that was something in harmony with nature and so perfectly okay to leave for other people to see. I just- didn’t get this at all. His attitude about it bothered me.
I did, however, find one passage striking enough that I added it to my quotes page.
Borrowed from the public library.
While I was on vacation in Maine, I hit a couple thrift stores. One had the most beautiful puzzle and I thought of you.
Unfortunately all image hosting seems to compress the heck out of pictures and ruin the quality, so I took some smaller shots of the details.
Whole thing: https://i.gyazo.com/9e073a956ed7937bea0f3cb0546db75b.jpg
Close up of some animals: https://i.gyazo.com/1459f6876923c6384690f1f12eca72fa.jpg
Another close up: https://i.gyazo.com/9b8cc28c7ac448d2de4f931aef08ef6d.jpg
I didn’t spot how many pieces it had, but it was only a couple dollars.
Aw, that is a very lovely puzzle. I certainly would have got it for myself, were I there!