Environment Minister Jim Prentice recommends 'Dangerous River' by R.M. Patterson

'The most dog-eared, rumpled, scotch and water stained book in my library'

090811_jim_book“This July, I canoed Canada’s “Dangerous River”—the majestic Nahanni of the Northwest Territories. I brought with me my dog-eared copy of R.M. Patterson’s Canadian classic of the same name. The Nahanni is described by many as the world’s best canoe trip. It was inspiring each night to pour over Patterson’s writings, comparing his observations to our own as we explored the geography and mythology of the great river that he chronicled more than 80 years ago. We experienced the Nahanni’s headwaters on the Britnell Glacier and the Ragged Range and we witnessed the towering majesty of the Cirque of the Unclimbables. As our canoe trip began, we encountered Virginia Falls, the ascending beauty of the Fourth, Third, and Second Canyons, the spiritual tranquility of the ‘Gate’ and ‘Pulpit Rock’ and finally, on the last day, the towering walls of the First Canyon. Throughout our journey, Patterson’s writings never failed us. Nor did his warnings of the dangers of the treacherous rapids of the Fourth Canyon, Tricky Narrows, or the explosive Cache rapids, now known as George’s Riffle. And, on the final poignant day, as we departed Deadmen Valley, our young guide Kaye Johnson was able to take us to the very remnants of the cabin where Patterson himself wintered and wrote this Canadian classic. Dangerous River has now been restored to its shelf in my house—the most dog-eared, rumpled, scotch- and water-stained book in my library. It is also now the most loved.”

Jim Prentice is Canada’s Environment Minister

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.