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Biography & Autobiography Women

Alone in the Great Unknown

One Woman’s Remarkable Adventures in the Northwestern Wilderness

by (author) Caroll Simpson

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Women, Personal Memoirs, Fishing
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price

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The inspiring story of how an urban woman came to own and operate a remote fishing lodge nestled deep in the British Columbian wilderness.

When Caroll Simpson fell in love with a cabin located on pristine Babine Lake in BC, many miles away from her home in Washington State, she knew her life was about to change. After convincing her husband to abandon their dream of living aboard a sailboat, they began the complicated process of buying the lodge and moving north. For two years, their adventure was a blissful dream. Then, tragedy struck.

Following the sudden death of her husband, Simpson was forced to decide her next move alone, amidst deep grief—would she sell the lodge, or would she stay, continuing the process of pursuing Canadian citizenship and running this remote lodge by herself? No easy feat, given accessing the lodge in summer required a forty-mile round trip by boat and, in the winter, a passage on an ice breaker barge and a treacherous snowshoe trek.

This heartfelt memoir tells Simpson's story—of living in the remote wilderness and managing the lodge, becoming an accidental environmental activist, fending off wild animals, working as an angling guide and finally, at the height of her career, fighting off a proposed mining operation and participating in the development of a government land plan as a spokesperson for the wilderness tourism industry.

About the author

Caroll Simpson taught Native art and drama to grade-school children for many years before buying a remote fishing lodge, called Ookpik Wilderness Lodge, in the northern interior of British Columbia. Located on Babine Lake, it is accessible only by boat in the summer months and by snowshoes during the winter.


Caroll spends the off-season writing and painting. She sees her work as a celebration of the legends and art of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Her love for the art and history of the First Peoples of North America started when she was a young girl. She began studying Indian history and made her first moccasins at age 10, graduating to making leather clothing by the time she was 13. She still does leatherwork, and she has also made cradleboards for more than 30 years. Her love and respect for First Nations traditions is matched by her love for animals and nature.

Caroll Simpson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“As an owner of a wilderness lodge in a pristine area of northern British Columbia, Caroll Simpson participated in a negotiation process with Government, loggers and miners for years and fought hard to preserve the natural beauty of the area. I remember those days well she was very instrumental in preserving some wildlife habitat. This book describes her life in that beautiful corner of the world.”

Jim Senka, Land Use Planner (Ret.), Province of British Columbia Environment

“No longer is the existence of pristine landscapes and pristine lake foreshores by default; their existence today, is largely due to the persistence of spirited and passionate individuals such as Caroll, who speak out, not just for fellow humans, but all the critters and their respective habitats.
Caroll managed to maintain an energy level in championing an environmental cause unparalleled by many, all the while solely operating a fly-in/boat-in fishing lodge.”

Len Vanderstar, R.P.F. (Ret.), R.P.Bio, Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS) Fellow

“Some stories just need to be told. Caroll Simpson faced encounters with grizzlies and other wild beasts, treacherous boating weather, and threats from local forestry practices while building a fine reputation for her fishing lodge business in northern British Columbia. Her love of the beautiful wilderness of Babine Lake outweighed all the challenges. She overcame monumental tasks as well as the enormity of living a solo existence. This is a book to be savored.”

Pat Ardley, author of <i>Grizzlies, Gales and Giant Salmon</i>

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