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Finding Farley Media Coverage

Canoe odyssey by Robert Remington

Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Canmore couple set off today on a cross-continent literary journey by canoe to visit iconic Canadian author Farley Mowat at his summer home on Cape Breton Island.

Along the way, Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison hope to rediscover the settings used in some of Mowat's 38 novels and bring them to life in a National Film Board documentary, Finding Farley.

Jacqueline Hutchison, who lives down the street from the Heuer family, brought some home-made muffins in a brown bag with "Happy paddling" written on it. It was 19 years ago to the day that she also set off on a cross-Canada canoe trip.

Olympic skiers and Canmore residents Thomas Grandi and Sara Renner were also on hand along with other friends and well-wishers.

"I want to thank everybody for coming down to see us off. We'll say hi to Farley for you," Heuer said.

Like Mowat, Heuer is a biologist and environmental advocate who has written about lengthy periods in the wilderness, including a 3,400-kilometre hike he took with Allison in 1998 and 1999 from Wyoming's Yellowstone Park to the Yukon. That trip resulted in a book, Walking the Big Wild, written to bring attention to the Yellowstone-to-Yukon (Y2Y) conservation initiative to protect wildlife migration routes in the Rocky Mountain corridor.

In 2003, he and Allison spent five months following caribou migrations in the Yukon and Alaska which Allison filmed for an award-winning documentary, Being Caribou. Heuer, a seasonal warden for Parks Canada in Banff and Jasper, also wrote a companion book of the same title.

The trip to visit Mowat was hatched after Mowat invited them to visit him at his farm on Cape Breton Island. Rather than fly or drive, the couple decided to canoe most of the way, reading some of Mowat's books along the way.

Their six-month trip will take them on the Bow and South Saskatchewan rivers to north of Saskatoon and then over an series of lakes and rivers to a small Inuit community on Hudson Bay. From there, they hope to catch a ship or barge to the north coast of Labrador and then on to Cape Breton Island by sailboat and canoe.

© Calgary Herald