One hundred years ago, a young doctor from Cleveland by the name of Robert Newcomb, travelled north to a place called Temagami. It was as far north as one could travel by any modern means. Beautiful beyond any simple expletive, the Temagami wilderness was a land rich in timber, clear-water lakes, fast flowing rivers, mystery and adventure. Newcomb befriended the local Aboriginals – the Deep Water People – and quickly discovered the best way to explore was by canoe. Bewitched by the spirit of an interior river named after the elusive brook trout, Majamagosibi, Newcomb had a remote cabin built overlooking one of her precipitous cataracts.
The cabin remained unused for decades, save for a few passing canoeists; it changed ownership twice and slowly began to show its age. The author discovered the cabin while on a canoe trip in 1970. Like Newcomb, Hap Wilson was lured to Temagami in pursuit of adventure and personal sanctuary. That search for sanctuary took the author incredible distances by canoe and snowshoe, through near death experiences and Herculean challenges. Secretly building cabins, homesteading and working as a park ranger, Wilson finally became owner of The Cabin in 2000.
Artist, author and adventurer, Hap Wilson is perhaps best known for his ecotourism/travel guidebooks. He has led over 300 wilderness expeditions in Canada, and served as actor Pierce Brosnan's personal outdoor trainer for the feature film Grey Owl. "This is a complex and fascinating story, beautifully told. At first, it draws us in because the author appears to be living the life we all dream of-a simpler life, close to nature, free from the stress and strain of our consumer culture. But the reality, with its myriad challenges, is what holds our attention and gives the book its substance."
– Judith Ruan, Muskoka Magazine
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About the Author
Hap Wilson has been a wilderness adventurer and guide for over 30 years. A self-taught writer, artist and photographer, he is also one of Canada's best-known canoeists and the author of several books, including Canoeing, Kayaking and Hiking Temagami, Rivers of the Upper Ottawa Valley: Myth, Magic and Adventure, Missinaibi: Journey to the Northern Sky: From Lake Superior to James Bay By Canoe, Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba: Journey By Canoe Through the Land Where the Spirit Lives and Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka: An Eco-Adventure Guide. His hand-drawn maps and illustrations were featured in Voyages: Canada's Heritage Rivers, which won the Natural Resources of America Award for Best Environmental Book. Wilson worked as actor Pierce Brosnan's personal skills trainer in the Attenborough movie Grey Owl. He lives with his wife and two children in the Muskoka and Temagami lakes districts of Ontario.
Hap Wilson's recent entry, "Follow Your Blissters," in the International Regional Magazine Association annual awards, as submitted by Cottage Life, won an Award of Merit in the General Feature category. The judges said: "Hap Wilson's achievement in building this cabin is matched by his writing - crisp and well-paced.... Gentle humour in the lead carries into the rest of the article, providing an engaging thread to tie together personal experience, observation and research."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I¿ve entrusted my life to Hap Wilson in the past: I¿ve followed his maps through the backcountry of Temagami, and down the Missinaibi River. I have learned to respect his accurate map making and rapid-sketching skills. When I heard that he had written a memoir of the Temagami wilderness, I thought it would be well worth reading.I have mixed feelings about the book. In the first place, Wilson is an excellent writer with a better-than-average vocabulary. He knows just how to hook you at the beginning of the chapter and to keep you enthralled to the end. I read this rather short book one chapter at a time to savour his craft. I also loved how his descriptive skills put me right back into the park where I have paddled in the past.That said, it was frustrating to endure his attitude at times. The hyperbole in describing how difficult the country is was overwhelming. I¿ve paddled much of the park, and have found it difficult but not unendurable. Aside from that, the most frustrating thing was Hap¿s sense of entitlement. In one chapter, he describes his anger at the government who burned down his illegally constructed cabin¿while he, as a park ranger, burns down the structures of other squatters.This issue came to a point for me when I read his comments on organized religion:"I had lost faith in organized religion because of the hypocrisy of its flock and the audacity of its tenets in the face of Nature."One could lose faith in the environmental movement for the same reason.