I'm only about half way through this book and I must say that I'm absolutely loving it, and not just because of trip envy. Her style creates a sort of rhythm that I think echos her descriptions of the rhythms of paddling and the process of falling into a sort of flow. I am finding her story to be one of the easiest for me to relate to, and maybe that's just because sections remind me of my time kayaking in Alaska. In particular, when she describes the instances of fear she experienced when the humpback swam under her boat, I was immediately reminded of the time when a humpback swam under my own kayak. I also appreciated her descriptions of how her process of getting into her flow while rowing and the ups and downs of trail life, especially when out for such extensive periods of time. In a way it reminded me of descriptions my friends have about hiking the AT - the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Those good days are unbelievable, and the not so good days are just unbearable. Good days could have the worst weather but still be phenomenal, depending on how long it takes to get into your flow.
One of the parts of the text that I have found most interesting so far is Fredston's definition of wilderness, especially because going to areas "untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" (1964 Wilderness Act, Section 2c) seem to be part of the motivation of where she and Doug chose to journey. When describing the Yukon River, she writes "Though it is wild and relatively unaltered, Yukon River country is not wilderness...Their [inhabitants] hopes and needs and cultures are as integral a part of the landscape as the surrounding green hills and spindly black spruce trees swaying in the breeze" (87). So my question is whether or not she considers, or is going to portray, any landscape with visible human impact to not be wilderness, or whether landscapes can have varying levels of naturalness. I think it's interesting to consider her considerations of concepts of wilderness in the context of what defines an adventure. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the text.