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Notes from The Century Before: A Journal…

Notes from The Century Before: A Journal from British Columbia (Modern… (1969)

by Edward Hoagland

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In 1966, Edward Hoagland, journalist, took a three month trip through the wilds of British Columbia. “I would be talking to the doers themselves, the men whom no one pays any attention to until they are dead, who give the mountains their names and who pick the passes that become the freeways.”

And so this book is filled with his encounters with these characters whose chosen home is life in the wild. Hunting, fishing, living off the land, making-do, trapping, homesteading, cooking, keeping warm, bringing babies into the world, their interactions with one another – native and white.

He sets his scenes beautifully. I can't get over the evenings – the balmy air, the late, late daylight. Life catches a perfervid quality, although nothing happens. The sky and the lake are the color of mercury; the moon is a slice of copper plate; the trees blow whimsically. The moments seem intense and precious.

I enjoyed this look back in time and place. ( )
  countrylife | Aug 1, 2011 |
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Mapmakers must enjoy marking in Telegraph Creek. They've had it on Woolworth-type maps of the world and on desk-size globes, in the same lettering as Nice or Chicago.
The sweep of it didn't appear below, the innumerable braided channels half drowning the lush valley forest. Another major glacier feeds in: blue ice and a black moraine like coffee grounds. Far from diminishing the mountains, as I thought that it might, flying gives them their due. We're a third of the way up, at most, and so they crescendo and culminate above the plane in all of the shades of forest-green, meadow-green, with their moose ponds and long, long, pendant streams, and their snow cirques, and muscular shoulders, and sheer rock escarpments.
He boasts to me about a world-record “broad jump” she made years ago, after she'd brushed up against a hornet's nest. “That's quite a surprise, when you turn around and you see your wife in midair, doing fine, when you never knew before that she could jump at all, even a little ways. There she is, taking off.”
There's a motto on the wall from the Alaska Highway:
Winding in and winding out
Leaves my mind in serious doubt
If the dude that built this road
Was going to hell or coming out . . .
Tedadiche Creek: It was so small you could step across it, and yet Dolly Varden spawned it in eight abreast at the end of May, crowded under the banks. He scooped out four hundred one afternoon with his hand, and skewering them on a length of wire, smoked them right there.
The beauty of the nights cannot be exaggerated, with the sky dove-white and the lake beaming up light and loveliness at it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375759433, Paperback)

In 1966, Edward Hoagland made a three-month excursion into the wild country of British Columbia and encountered a way of life that was disappearing even as he chronicled it. Showcasing Hoagland’s extraordinary gifts for portraiture—his cast runs from salty prospector to trader, explorer, missionary, and indigenous guide—Notes from the Century Before is a breathtaking mix of anecdote, derring-do, and unparalleled elegy from one of the finest writers of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:12 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Encounters with the trappers, traders, prospectors, and explorers who opened the last frontier, British Columbia.

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