The Only Kayak: A Journey into the Heart of Alaska

ISBN 10: 1592287158 / ISBN 13: 9781592287154
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Synopsis: Finalist for the 2006 Pen Center USA Western award in creative nonfiction.

From the Back Cover: "I live in the sunlight of friends and the shadows of glaciers."
So begins The Only Kayak, a coming-of-middle-age memoir by Kim Heacox, who writes in the tradition of Edward Abbey, John McPhee, and Henry David Thoreau, with a voice at times tender, irate, funny, and deeply humane.
What does it mean to fall in love with a place that cannot stay the same? When do you hold on? When do you let go? As Kim discovers in this provocative story, we need to be better students of change rather than the instruments of change. Born in Idaho's Bitterroot Mountains and raised in Spokane, Kim moves to Alaska as a young park ranger and discovers a land and sea newly reborn from beneath a retreating glacier. "People are reborn here too," he writes. "This place is that powerful. In Glacier Bay you don't inherit, you create. You practice resurrection because the land and sea show you that anything is possible. Moose swim across fiords. Bears traverse glaciers. Flowers emerge from granite boulders. Inlets fill with glacial silt. Shorelines shift and nautical charts become obsolete as the land - the actual crust of the Earth - rebounds after the immense weight of glacial ice (of just a few hundred years ago) has been lifted."
In this tale of friendship, risk, and hope, we find a story of coming home and learning to live gracefully among the deep blue glaciers of Alaska, a place Kim calls "the Africa of America." His words offer us a chance to look into our own selves and ask how we might live with greater deliberation, purpose, and thankfulness for the wild places we still have.

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