Upstream: The Alaska Wilderness
by Eric Wade
Upstream is a continuation of Eric Wade's wilderness story begun in his earlier book, Cabin. For many years, Wade has traveled twice a year to his cabin on a river for an extended stay in the Alaska boreal forest. There he and his wife, Doylanne, built a rewarding life among bear, moose, owls, grouse, and fish. But their recent trips carry a different feeling as they face the challenges that come with aging. Wade gives us a look at his pain and frustration as he needs to adjust his behaviors to suit his physical changes, having reached the point in life when he transitions from building and growing to slowing down and letting go. Beautifully written, Upstream is a meditation on a life spent in the wilderness and the realization that one's dream doesn't fade as the years go by, but one must be prepared to make some changes.
BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY/ Personal Memoirs
ISBN: 978-1-956056-20-4 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Released February 2022; Copyright 2022
156 pages; 34 black-and-white images
Eric's wife, Doylanne Wade, features prominently in Upstream. She can dash for a camera with lightning speed, a skill she honed chasing four sons. When wild animals appear or sunsets morph to mesmerizing beauty, there’s often little time to respond, an aspect of photography she loves. For more than thirty years, she has captured stories in the Alaska wilderness. She uses a DSLR camera with 150-600mm and 18-270 lenses.
“Upstream: In the Alaska Wilderness is a delightful and enlightening read. Within its pages, author Eric Wade shares what it’s like to seasonally inhabit a cabin deep in the wilds of Alaska while closely examining the trials, joys, and revelations that are part of a long-running relationship that now surpasses thirty years. More than a wilderness memoir, the book is a love letter, first to the author's wife, Doylanne, and the life they’ve built in their “second home”; and to the place itself and the abundant life forms with whom they share their wilderness neighborhood. It’s also a kind of meditation: on aging, change, being present in the world (whether in the city or remote wilderness), the process of getting to know a place well, being open to amazement, considering the question “why,” and more. Wade’s open-minded and open-hearted musings range from the mundane to the mysterious, which is a big part of the book’s appeal as we join him on his journey.”
“Upstream: In the Alaska Wilderness takes the reader into the Alaska bush for a walk in the woods with a man confronting the challenges of aging into an active lifestyle. Eric Wade lets us feel his pain and frustration at growing old, but at the same time, he lets us see what he sees when he slows down and rests. Get inside the head of a cabin owner in the wilds of Alaska where his joys and fears, his regrets and even his mistakes haunt him; you’ll enjoy the visit. Not just another homesteader saga, Upstream takes us to a place we are all going.”
“Though set at a remote Alaska cabin where wolves howl at twilight and bears pad past, Upstream: In the Alaska Wilderness is a profoundly inward, meditative book. Wade’s heartfelt narrative flows between the rituals and tasks of daily bush life, observations of the land and its wildlife, small adventures, and philosophical musings. The timeless landscape serves as perfect backdrop as he and his wife face the realities of aging with quiet grace. This slim volume is a touching love poem to the land, and to life itself.”
“Eric Wade writes his non-fiction Alaskan wilderness memoir in the alluring voice, lyrical detail, and cadence of a novelist. The frequent and oft humorous dialogs between two long-married souls, Eric and his wife, Doylanne, in the Alaska wilderness are absolutely precious. What a voyage into the reality of two sixty-somethings feeling their age, two hundred miles up river from the boat trailer, as they try to keep themselves comfortable in a very wild place with all they have learned from experience and the bodily reminders of what can and cannot still be done in the rough-edged yet beatific backcountry. Upstream is a perfect sequel to Wade’s Cabin, his 2019 account of their young family building the cabin there in the late 1980s and then visiting for a month twice a year.”
“So many wilderness narratives are about the struggle to establish and build something. Eric Wade writes movingly about the struggle to begin letting go of what he's built.”
David A. James, Review, Anchorage Daily News, August 13, 2022
Upstream: in the Alaska Wilderness by Eric Wade, My Writing Life
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