The Columbia and its tributaries are rivers of conflict. Amid pitched battles over the economy, the environment, and breaching dams on the lower Snake River, the salmon that have always quickened these rivers are disappearing. On a warm day in late May, Mike Barenti entered the heart of this conflict when he slid a whitewater kayak into the headwaters of central Idaho's Salmon River and started paddling toward the Pacific Ocean. This account of his two-month, nine-hundred-mile solo journey into the world of the Columbia Basin plunges us into the adventure of navigating these troubled waterways. Through his journey, the ecology, history, and politics of Pacific salmon unfold in fascinating detail, and with this firsthand knowledge and experience the reader gains a new and personal sense of the nature that unites and divides us. Mike Barenti is a writer and journalist who has worked as a reporter for the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Idaho Falls Post Register and has taught English and creative writing at various colleges. He has published work in the journals River Teeth and Ascent.
"Mike Barenti's Kayaking Alone carried me like a river, but this is no passive traveler's tale. Barenti's knowledge of the Northwest makes this journey as intellectually engaging and rewarding as it is physically adventurous. In taking you down the river, this beautiful book takes you deep into narratives of humanity and nature — and reminds you that they flow as one story."
—Jonathan Johnson, author of Hannah and the Mountain (booksense)