# Posted: 19 Nov 2015 16:24 - Edited by: SE Ohio
I've read "Dangerous River" a true story of and by RM Patterson several times, as well as his other books. This is his best effort, and a good read for those that enjoy small cabins and the outdoors.
Patterson, an educated man and former WW1 POW afflicted with wanderlust and a maybe a little PTSD, gets bored with his bank job in the 1920's and gives it all up for trapping and prospecting on Canada's Nahanni River. He and a few guys find a backer or "Grub Staker" and purchase supplies and canoe upstream on the swift Nahanni River. They build a cabin (off-grid, duh!) over the summer and use it as a base of operations.
From there the guys go their separate ways, living off the land, trapping, prospecting, and mastering snowshoes and the arctic winter. Patterson created a system of sleeping under a lean-to with a fire nearby to keep him somewhat warm. When the fire would burn out, he'd get cold, wake up, and rekindle the fire.
One especially cold stormy night he saw a depression in the deep snow, and found it was the entry to an abandoned trapper's cabin. In his state of hypothermia, he made a fire right on the wooden floor. He woke up warm but choking on smoke a while later as the fire had spread. After putting the fire out as best he could, the fire kept reigniting again and again all night long, nearly suffocating him. He survived, but the cabin didn't.
He has escapades in the canoe, too. He saw a bear eating berries on the riverbank, oblivious to his near approach. When he got good and close, he banged the paddle on the boat to startle the bear. Startle it did, backing up, tripping over a log so that all for limbs were waving in the air as it struggled to right itself to get up and run away!
Patterson lugged a camera with him on his travels, so the book has some great pictures of the mountainous wilderness, the cabin, and some of the people they met.
All in all, a very good book about the day to day existence of a man living in the wilderness, most of the time by himself.
I've got to find my copy as I'm due to read it again this long winter...
His other books are still good, just not quite as much adventure as I'd like. One includes a trip to the Nahanni years later with his son, finding that everything had changed. Sigh.