Braving It: a father, a daughter, and an unforgettable journey into the Alaskan wild {Book Review}

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In my mind, I am a young adult with endless energy and possibilities.  In reality, well, I have responsibilities and am not as limber as I once was.

Braving It: a father, a daughter, and an unforgettable journey into the Alaskan wild by James Campbell spoke to my inner younger self, conjuring up images of an adventure I would love to take.  From the coolness of my air conditioned house, sans mosquitoes, I was able to live vicariously through James and his daughter, as they traveled to Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to help his cousin build a cabin. (As was talked about in the book, this is a privilege which was grandfathered in for a few seasonal residents when it became a national wildlife refuge.  Sorry for squashing any dreams you may have had of doing the same during retirement.)

James’ cousin, Heimo, was building a new cabin along a river to use during the trapping season.  Due to restrictions of the location, the building would need to be completed in a small window of time and be very labor intensive.  James had been to Alaska before, was skilled in the outdoors, and said “yes” when his cousin asked for his help.

He also saw this as a good opportunity to give his daughter, Aiden, the Alaskan adventure he had promised her.  At 15-year old, James was not sure how Aiden would handle the ruggedness of the setting, nor the hard labor that was involved.  While they were an active family, it is different when you are in bear country, working in clouds of mosquitos, and sleeping in a tent.

Aiden ended up handling it better than he thought, and it turned out to be an experience which brought them closer together.

Braving It‘s 355 pages talked about more than a single trip to help build a cabin.  They actually went three time throughout the course of the book – once to help build the cabin, once to help hunt and trap, and once with a two other people on a hiking and kayaking trip along the Hulahula River.

With the book separated into three connected parts, there is not a lot of detail about each point in the story.  However, the overall theme of finding one’s self, of facing challenges, and accepting we are not in control of everything weaves throughout the story.  If you are looking for details on how to build a cabin, this is not it.  If you are looking to connect and learn from someone else’s experience living in a tough wilderness, learning to let go as a parent, and a look at a disappearing wilderness, then you are in the right place.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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