"Paddle North" beyond the scenic vistas, with portages, fires, maps and mist.

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 General Nonfiction finalist:

Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters Quetico Wilderness
Greg Breining, photography by Layne Kennedy
Minnesota Historical Society Press
sponsored by Minnesota AFL-CIO:


An excerpt from Paddle North: Canoeing the Boundary Waters Quetico Wilderness:

Susan and I lingered on our whale-rock. We watched the deepening colors in the west fade to pinpricks of starlight, reluctant to call an end to our last night in the forest. These campsites, these lakes, and these images are like the people you meet on a long trip-you may renew the acquaintance on some occasion, but more likely you part never to return. This day and our time here will become no more than memory.

Through stories and full-color photos, this book depicts life in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and neighboring Quetico Provincial Park. Stories of canoe building, map making and winter weather are accompanied by images of crackling campfires, glistening lakes and rugged cliffs to highlight the landscape and beauty to inspire travelers to paddle north.


Greg Breining writes about travel, science and nature for the New York Times, Audobon and other national publications.


Layne Kennedy’s photographs have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Smithsonian, and other magazines.

From Layne Kennedy’s blog: “Here’s a photograph from the book on a still, clear night on Agnes Lake in the BWCA. From across the lake I had spotted paddlers making their evening campfire. It was a beautiful scene. Can you hear the stillness”



“But the joy and wonder of this book is found within the narrative Mr. Breining weaves as he takes in the landscape his canoe glides through, a narrative that shows he is surely as deft with word-smithing as he must be with paddling.” – Kurt Repanshek

“In Paddle North, Greg Breining and Layne Kennedy have captured the beauty, solitude, and challenges of canoe country. They bring to the reader the essence of the Quetico-Superior wilderness and remind us why we go there. Contained in these pages is the roaring silence, the wild lakes, the rewards of canoe travel, and the unique, lifelong memories with friends and family that only a wilderness canoe trip can bring.” – Greg Seitz, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

“A paean to the Boundary Waters and Quetico, this stunning book paints pictures in words and with a camera.  The essays conjure up beautiful scenes in your mind and the photographs speak volumes, complementing each other.  This is a volume for nature lovers to treasure whether or not you canoe the wilderness.”  – Minnesota Book Awards Preliminary Judge


Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Have you read Paddle North? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


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