Homelands: Kayaking the Inside Passage by Byron Ricks

Lyrically told, this tale of a couple’s adventure on the Inside Passage was a perfect mid-winter escape from the dry Colorado wind. Starting with the seclusion of Glacier Bay and slowly, inexorably making their way south to the Nisqually Delta, the author and his wife enjoy a five-month long adventure while living by the clock of the tides.

I enjoyed this story; it served to whet my appetite for the paddling life that Apryle and I will enjoy this summer. This book is a story, and was obviously not written as a guidebook to the Inside Passage, however, and leaves something to be desired when used to fill that role. While I didn’t expect a blow-by-blow of campsites and crossings, I would have taken more from the book with the judicious addition of a few maps. I did enjoy the descriptions of towns and rough weather experienced by the couple en route.

Homelands also pays homage to the salmon that underpin the coastal ecosystem from Glacier Bay to the Nisqually Delta. It was in reading this book that I first began to truly understand the importance of the salmon. Ricks’ uses beautifully crafted language to share his Inside Passage experience. A guidebook it is not, but Homelands is a well-told tale that I heartily recommend you read.

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