Woodcraft is a quite poetic guide to the wild by Nessmuk. Canoeing had been popularized by Scottish lawyer John MacGregor in the 1860s, but the typical canoe trip of the day employed expert guides and heavy canoes. Nessmuk, who was 1.60 m tall and 47 kg, had a 2.7 m long, 4.8 kg solo canoe. He named it the Sairy Gamp (the name of a Dickens character) and in it he completed a 428 km journey through the central Adirondacks. He was 62 years old and in frail health (tuberculosis and asthma) at the time. Excerpt: Woodcraft is dedicated to the Grand Army of “Outers,” as a pocket volume of reference on woodcraft. For brick and mortar breed filth and crime, With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats; And men are withered before their prime By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets. And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed, In the smothering reek of mill and mine; And death stalks in on the struggling crowd— But he shuns the shadow of oak and pine.
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