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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
A Wilderness Adventure by William Monger, whose title perhaps implies more drama than is actually supplied, and whose contents include a premature suggestion of possibly dangerous bear and moose encounters, is nonetheless a comforting and evocative retelling of four adventurous fishermen’s foray into the wilds of Ontario, Canada. And it is truly wilderness into which they venture – taxied to their initial point of departure by one small floatplane, then proceeding on an eight-day journey along rivers, lakes, and overland portages by way of two canoes both paddled and shoulder-carried. This is back in the eighties when map reading was a necessary skill and communication with the outside world was a non-starter. Therein lies the drama of facing both the inaccessible and the unknown.
William Monger’s journal-based memoir about his younger self’s inclusion on such A Wilderness Adventure is perhaps more meditative and reflective than dramatic or heart-stopping, with much ado about lake and river fishing that anglers should greatly appreciate. It most certainly well conveys the incredible, secluded serenity that can be found outside the confines of everyday civilization, and the comradeship to be found and shared by four good friends testing together their own endurance and wilderness skills. Not to mention the appetite-arousing descriptions of freshly-caught fish filleted, fried, and eaten around the evening campfire. Accompanying these young men on their sometimes rigorous but always rewarding journey into pristine wilderness is as comforting and relaxing for the reader as was their own sitting on high-placed river rocks to imbibe a timeless universe while listening to running stream water, singing birds, or a sudden, ubiquitous silence. A meditative adventure.