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Counting the days to Arctic Return

Twenty years ago, the late Louie Kamookak led the way to ruins of the cairn that John Rae built in 1854. At that site, three of us erected a plaque and toasted Rae and the two men who traveled with him -- the Inuk William Ouligbuck Jr. and the Ojibway Thomas Mistegan.
Now the Arctic Return Expedition is within two weeks of departing for that site -- and getting there the hard way. And in radically different conditions than those you see in these images. I've been chatting with Ottawa-based expedition leader David Reid. The three other team members will make their way to his neck of the woods on March 22, arriving from Toronto, Vancouver, and Scotland. The expedition will follow the route of the epochal 1854 expedition led by John Rae -- the one that discovered the fate of Franklin and the final link in the first navigable Northwest Passage. They'll spend a couple of days at a hotel getting organized. David will set up two long tables to serve as a
production line. Then the guys will set to work packing 160 grab bags, forty each, because what are they going to eat while trekking for 35 days across frozen tundra? The Ottawa hotel is within easy reach of grocery stores, David says, just in case one of the guys realizes at the last moment that he can't live for 35 days, and while trekking 650 km, without numerous packages of those dark-chocolate-covered almonds. On March 25, the four will fly to Winnipeg. Next day, they will fly to Naujaat (Repulse Bay). They'll stay there a couple of nights and then set out, probably on March 28, maybe the 29th, for Point de la Guiche, where Rae built that cairn overlooking Rae Strait. We'll be able to follow the trekkers by checking their route map. They will also publish a blog. If you're anything like me, you will follow closely.
Ken McGoogan
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Just say yes to Flight of the Highlanders

As a wordsmith, I never quite believed that old saw about a picture being worth 1,000 words. But here at last I discover a case in point: the cover of my forthcoming book.
Over at HarperCollins Canada, Alan Jones is the man who went the extra mile to make this look the way it does. And this, of course, is just the beginning.  Flight of the Highlanders: The Making of Canada features more than 60 images. We've wrestled those into place and I've written captions (what in the newspaper game we used to call cutlines). Alan and a few other folks (led by Stephanie Conklin) are adding those and creating four maps and I'll get one more look at printed pages before HCC produces an ARC -- an Advance Reading Copy. Are we excited yet?
(Available for pre-order by clicking here.)
Ken McGoogan
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Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.