On 4 May 4 1919, Charlie Cook set off for a year of adventure in the Minnesota-Ontario Boundary Waters. Soon abandoned by his comfort-loving companion, the restless World War I veteran spent an enlightening year learning -- often the hard way -- how to paddle and sail on windy lakes, hunt and fish for food, bake 'rough delicacies' in a reflector oven, and build winter-proof shelters. His how-to descriptions of trapping beaver, mink, and other game are unsurpassed in their detail. For anyone who loves the Boundary Waters or wonders what this rugged region was like not so long ago, Cook's story reveals a world still ruled by nature but on the brink of change. Cook embarked on his 1919-20 adventure at a time of transition in north-eastern Minnesota's Boundary Waters. Today's readers will find his descriptions of its colourful inhabitants, wild terrain, and abundant animal life evocative of a long-ago era, but they may also note the signs of development that appear on his horizon almost daily.
Charles Ira Cook Jr