And the River Still Sings
by Chris Czajkowski

Caitlin Press Inc., 2014. ISBN 978-1-927-57550-5.
Reviewed by Pat Bean
Posted on 10/21/2014

Nonfiction: Memoir

Chris Czajkowski discovered the joy of solitude on her first solo hike in Australia. But the dream of this free spirit from a small English village was to live off the grid in Canada's wilderness. Almost single-handed, she turned the dream into reality.

Chris had little but a new and shiny chainsaw when she built her first wilderness cabin—and little changed over the years. She cut trees, dragged them to a rough but scenic mountain lake site, and used block and tackle to raise them into place to erect her own cabin—then a second and a third. The British Columbia government insisted she have a commercial reason for living in the mountains, and the additional cabins were necessary for the ecotourism operation she chose to fulfill that requirement. And so began Chris' life off the grid at Nuk Tessli, which sits 150 miles from the nearest supermarket and is only accessible by a two-day hike or a float-plane trip. You can read all about Chris' wilderness experiences at Nuk Tessli in her book, And the River Still Sings.

Even before I had opened the book, I fell in love with its title because of all I imagined it represented. I've always loved the music of flowing water, as well as the other wonders of Mother Nature. I suspected I would be reading about a woman with whom I shared a kinship, even if I had not chosen to live her extreme lifestyle. And when she wrote about watching the mountain flowers emerge as the ice melted at Nuk Tessli, with the knowledge after time of where that first bloom would appear, and then the joy those colorful petals brought to her heart, my suspicion was confirmed.

And the River Still Sings is the uplifting story of a woman who isn't afraid to get her hands dirty or use her female muscles to accomplish a task. It's a book I will encourage my granddaughters to read because it demonstrates that dreams, even those that seem impossible, are there for the taking if one is willing to work for them. It's also a book I would encourage the grandmothers of the world to read because it speaks of a beauty of spirit that doesn't have to dim with time.

As Chris Czajkowski so aptly puts it "And the River Still Sings."

Chris Czajkowski has written 11 books about her wilderness experience. She currently lives on 80 acres of land, with no close neighbors, about 30 miles from Nuk Tessli. The property has scenic mountain vistas and a wild river flowing through it. Although city amenities are still not close, there is a rough bush road access to her new home. But she cooks solely with wood and hauls or melts snow for all her water. Visit her website.

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