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The Silence of the North: The Incredible Story of a Woman’s Fight For Survival in the Wilderness by Olive A. Fredrickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Olive Fredrickson’s story of her early life growing up in the Canadian wilderness is an exciting adventure suitable for both young and old, male and female as she deals with the death of her mother at an early age, grows up knowledgeable of the world of trapping and hunting in a part of the world almost completely unknown to the majority of North Americans. The knowledge she gained from her hardscrabble family upbringing in the wilderness carries her through to adulthood and marriage to her first husband, a trapper named Walter Reamer. Olive and Walter follow the trails of the Canadian North on trapping expeditions that place them and their young child in danger of drowning in the icy waters of Lake Athabasca and the Slave River as they treck into the wilderness for a winter’s trapping and hunting. Fate steps in during the winter as the young couple makes one slight mistake after another in their choice of cabins, food supply, and preparation for living off the wilderness. On the doorstep of starvation and death by exposure to the elements, the couple set off in a desperate attempt in the subzero weather to reach another trapper’s cabin. Lady luck peeps out for a moment as they stumble through a twenty mile ordeal. Returning to civilization, Olive remains in the safety of town with her children as her husband continues to trap each winter. When she is widowed, Olive moves briefly to the States and then returns to Canada, working hand to mouth for a number of years until she meets her second husband and they are able to make a living in a less hostile section of the wilderness up the Stuart river where they pan for gold, encounter grizzlies, and fabulous fishing. It’s a memorable story with lessons for all of us about the realities of making choices in life and the consequences of making the wrong choice in the unforgiving climate and environment of the Canadian wilderness. An excellent read-aloud book!
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