For thousands of years the Dene have referred to this giant of a river as Dehcho – Deh meaning "river" and Cho meaning "big" or "worthy of respect."
Stretching over 1800 km. from its source at Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean, it is second in length only to the Mississippi within North America.
This book, while referred to as "A Paddler's Guide to Canada's Longest River," offers the reader a great deal more than just technical advice on getting from point A to point B. That said, the technical components are very well covered, because it includes information on what to pack, where to buy supplies en route, the best campsites, navigation tips, where to find a hot shower and even how to boil up a porcupine, just in case you get a bit peckish.
In my view what distinguishes The Mackenzie River Guide from the overwhelming majority of "paddlers guides," is that Michelle deftly interweaves fact and practicality, with myth and legend.
Through her book you will explore the villages and towns along the river, and come to better understand their cultural significance and histories. MIchelle also introduces the reader to the people who live and work there.
Not just the material many of us probably read in contemporary history text's, but rather traditional place names, and stories about giant beavers and muskrats, and Yamqria The Lawmaker, who in case you didn't already know, had the power to transform himself into a spirit.
Beautifully illustrated by Farah Denkovski, Michelle's traveling companion on her trip down river, the book is in full colour and features over sixty maps.
If you are a paddler who may be contemplating that trip of a lifetime on what is arguably Canada's greatest river, or just someone who loves the north and would like to learn more about this very special place, then The Mackenzie River Guide is a must read.