Hap Wilson is back for another journey, this time on the lighter side of the adventure trail, where the bizarre melds with the sublime. Nurtured by the writings of Canadian environmentalist and wannabe-Native, Grey Owl, Wilson adopted a lifestyle similar to the 1930s conservationist but with his own twists and turns along a meandering path full of humorous misadventures. Wilson, too, learned many of his nature skills as a youth, paddling in Temagami, working as a wilderness canoe ranger and guide, and following in the footsteps of one of Canada’s most revered outdoor icons.
The author recounts early days winter camping, motorcycling the Labrador coast, and teaching actor Pierce Brosnan how to throw knives and paddle a canoe for the Richard Attenborough film about Grey Owl. He also takes us to a few of his favourite places and shares intimate secrets of wilderness living. Here, Grey Owl has returned as an ever-present critic – a buckskin-clad spectre in a modern world of Gore-Tex, Kevlar canoes, and gear freaks.
"Now Im sitting here with 10 good quotes and double entendres from Grey Owl that I would like to drop into this review, but Im pretty sure none of them would fly with the editor (whats French for seal again?) so Im going to leave them out. Suffice it to say that even though there is a strong environmental aspect to the book and that environmental awareness is clearly the main order here, Grey Owl and Me is often just way too fun to be clean, and the really clean parts arent that quotable. But thats just how Hap [Wilson] rolls. If you want environmentalism with some edge, I cant think of a better place to jump in than right here."
"...a hopeful tale of spiritual and visceral adventure, a swashbuckling romance in which the proverbial damsel in distress is Mother Nature."
If you enjoyed [Hap Wilsons] other hilarious and jaw-dropping memoirs, you wont be disappointed. This one, too, is sprinkled with sparks of brilliant and insightful writing.
Wilson's stream of conscious writing style has the feel of a campfire story: It's impossible not to be engaged by his tales, which range from idyllic summer canoe trips to winter dogsled expeditions, and standing at the frontlines of environmental debates with the likes of Paul Watson, the founder of the notoriously radical Sea Shepherd Society. The book is hard to put down.