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The Arctic Prairies : a Canoe-Journey of 2,000 Miles in Search of the Caribou; Being the Account of a Voyage to the Region North of Aylemer Lake   By: (1860-1946)

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Ernest Thompson Seton’s The Arctic Prairies: a Canoe-Journey of 2,000 Miles in Search of the Caribou; Being the Account of a Voyage to the Region North of Aylemer Lake is a fascinating and vivid exploration of the Canadian Arctic. Seton, renowned for his nature writings, takes readers on a captivating journey through the wilds of northern Canada, offering an intimate glimpse into the pristine beauty and harsh realities of the Arctic.

The book follows Seton and his four companions as they embark on a daring expedition to study and observe the migration patterns of caribous. From the very beginning, Seton’s expressive prose and keen eye for detail transport readers to this remote and breathtaking landscape. His rich descriptions of the unforgiving terrain, the majestic caribous, and the untamed beauty of nature itself create a powerful sense of place.

What sets The Arctic Prairies apart from other exploratory accounts is Seton’s deep understanding and respect for the native Indigenous cultures he encounters along the way. He provides invaluable insights into the lives and traditions of the peoples inhabiting these lands for centuries, highlighting their interconnectedness with the environment and their survival strategies in such a harsh climate. Seton’s commitment to portraying these cultures with authenticity adds depth and significance to the narrative, making it more than just an adventure story.

While Seton’s admiration for the Arctic is evident throughout the book, he doesn’t shy away from discussing the environmental challenges faced by this fragile ecosystem. In his observations, he raises concern about the increasing impact of human activities on the Arctic and its wildlife, foreshadowing the later conservation efforts that would come to define much of his work. This eco-consciousness adds an additional layer of relevance to the book, making it a crucial read for anyone interested in the region's ongoing environmental issues.

At times, the pacing of the narrative may seem slow for those looking for constant action or adrenaline-fueled encounters with dangerous wildlife. However, The Arctic Prairies thrives in its ability to capture the essence of the Arctic landscape and convey the rhythm of life in such an extreme environment. Seton’s emphasis on observation, patience, and understanding is a testament to his approach as a naturalist and an explorer.

Overall, The Arctic Prairies is a remarkable piece of literature that transcends its genre. Seton’s lyrical prose and his genuine appreciation for the Arctic make this book a captivating read for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone fascinated by the grandeur and fragility of the natural world. It serves as an important historical document, shedding light on a little-explored part of Canada, while also instilling a sense of urgency about the need to protect and preserve this unique ecosystem for future generations.

First Page:

The Arctic Prairies

A Canoe Journey



By Ernest Thompson Seton

Author of "Wild Animals I Have Known", "Life Histories", Etc.





What young man of our race would not gladly give a year of his life to roll backward the scroll of time for five decades and live that year in the romantic bygone days of the Wild West; to see the great Missouri while the Buffalo pastured on its banks, while big game teemed in sight and the red man roamed and hunted, unchecked by fence or hint of white man's rule; or, when that rule was represented only by scattered trading posts, hundreds of miles apart, and at best the traders could exchange the news by horse or canoe and months of lonely travel?

I for one, would have rejoiced in tenfold payment for the privilege of this backward look in our age, and had reached the middle life before I realised that, at a much less heavy cost, the miracle was possible today.

For the uncivilised Indian still roams the far reaches of absolutely unchanged, unbroken forest and prairie leagues, and has knowledge of white men only in bartering furs at the scattered trading posts, where locomotive and telegraph are unknown; still the wild Buffalo elude the hunters, fight the Wolves, wallow, wander, and breed; and still there is hoofed game by the million to be found where the Saxon is as seldom seen as on the Missouri in the times of Lewis and Clarke... Continue reading book >>

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