Read The Only Kayak: A Journey into the Heart of Alaska by Kim Heacox Online


Finalist for the 2006 Pen Center USA Western award in creative nonfiction....

Title : The Only Kayak: A Journey into the Heart of Alaska
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781592288946
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Only Kayak: A Journey into the Heart of Alaska Reviews

  • Astin
    2018-10-25 00:51

    This book startled me. First - the author's voice. Kim is fully and completely open as he describes how a place brought about his metamorphosis. His honesty and authenticity commanded my attention. Even more impressive is his conviction. Kim describes how his experiences led to him becoming a 'conservationalist,' and he doesn't mince words about the sadness and challenges that came with standing on those convictions. This story has kept me up at night since I finished reading it. The courage it takes to stand on that line moved me. Kim lost some important friendships because of those convictions. That place were two people can't see eye to eye...where it is impossible to span the divide between opposing convictions - is deeply sad - but at the same time, profoundly courageous.Finally - this story strikes at something deeply personal - it gives voice to a collection of my experiences and musings regarding life in Southeast Alaska and our relationship with the natural world. It resurrected memories of hypocrisy as I witnessed a culture that once lived with deep respect for the land, but today has clearcut and raped that same land in the name of profit, leaving an ugly wasteland. Today, that same drive for profit has depleted our oceans and rivers, and I am a part of this process. Big halibut used to be the norm when fishing around Prince of Wales...but are now the exception. How many salmon did we happily fill our freezer with...only to sit there until freezer-burn took over because we took too many. How many good people and their families depend on livelihoods that do not respect the land that sustains us?In all, this is a profound book that touches some deep and difficult subjects. But his sometimes self-deprecating tone left me laughing-out-loud, and his touching insight into the side of human-nature that is profoundly generous left me tearing up. This is an incredible book for anybody who has considered their relationship with the natural world, or who considers nature their playground.

  • Lori
    2018-11-01 00:40

    One of the best books I have ever read. He insightfully questions what it means to be a part of modern society but still long for open spaces, to experience wildness, to be a human in the midst of a world so inhuman. It's one of the most profound works of philosophy and poetry I've encountered in a coming of age story. He somehow manages to capture the stunningly visual landscape of Alaska into a verbal dialect that is a conversation with the reader but it's so astoundingly thoughtful that you feel like you are reading a photograph. I can't describe this the way I want. He takes you on a journey of discovering self inside a changing landscape that is a mirror image of the inner psychological, emotional, and spiritual questions we all try to understand. He manages to illuminate the mystery and wonder of Alaska. From the first time I came to Alaska and became bound under her spell I have been at a loss to describe the reality of it to my friends and family and now I can easily recommend they read this beautiful memoir by a man who truly gets what it means to be here and why it is so hard to describe the immensity of this vast north land and he does it more articulately and eloquently than I ever could.

  • Richard
    2018-11-05 19:46

    From the January 2012 issue of Backpacker magazine: Required Reading:From the first sentence—"I live in the sunlight of friends and the shadows of glaciers"—this book is a uniquely descriptive and often-gripping tate of Heacox's life in Glacier Bay, Alaska. The book spins around a dichotomy I find so compelling: Outdoor adventure is about finding natural wonders, far from civilization, but it's also about the people you seek it with.          —Michael Lanza           Northwest editor

  • Etienne Pelletier
    2018-10-30 01:43

    Kim Heacox writes a thought-provoking book about environmental issues affecting mostly Glacier Bay, Alaska using an eclectic mixture of personal stories, quotes from literature (such as from "The Great Gatsby"), and discussion of environmental issues to weave a story about Alaska. How does one share the wonder of a place such as Alaska without inundating it with tourists? Not everyone can kayak through the wildness. But if only those fit enough to hike and kayak in a remote place such as Alaska can enjoy its beauty, who will speak to protect it from commercial exploitation? The personal stories and photos keep this from being just another ecologic treatise.

  • Karen
    2018-11-02 02:40

    This is a wonderful book! The author combines some of his personal background and story with the natural and political history of Alaska. Heacox is a beautiful writer, and his love for the great wilderness shines through, as does his pain over some of the inexorable changes that are taking place there (and all over our great earth). While nothing like it, the quality and passion of Heacox's writing remind me of the great "citizen writer" Terry Tempest Williams.

  • Marion
    2018-11-15 22:53

    Wow. I loved this book - part memoir on Heacox's life in Alaska, part meditation on the changing landscape of Alaska, part essay/soulful plea for conservation of our wilderness, part story of gratitude for family and love. It's also a story of moving from grief (over the land and over the loss of a dear friend) to gratitude. Heacox's love for the wilderness runs deep and is contagious; I was moved by his writing.

  • Kristen Luppino
    2018-11-13 20:51

    Thought provoking. I really didn't enjoy the first half/two-thirds of this book, but the end mostly redeemed it. At times preachy, forced, and not at all A journey like indicated on the cover, it hits on some of the disonannce related to wanting to be in the wild but not affect it.

  • John Kern
    2018-10-27 02:27

    A very personal book. A good read, but I think he missed an opportunity here to tell a more important story.

  • Marnie Zorn
    2018-10-30 02:34

    Didn't finish..

  • Karen Kisgen
    2018-11-10 00:34

    This is such a good book. Non-fiction at its best. While reading this he spoke of a photographer from Japan and I wondered if he was the same one I read about in The Blue Bear. It turned out it was. I am going to read more of Kim Heacox books.

  • Jeff
    2018-10-19 22:38

    The Only Kayak: a Journey into the Heart of Alaska by Kim HeacoxKim Heacox, a guitar playing Beatles fan who carries a well worn copy of the Great Gatsby and wants to be a photographer and writer, finds himself along with his friend Richard in the only kayak in the vast waters off Glacier Bay, Alaska while employed by the National Park Service. Kim shares 25 years of his life as he recounts the friendships made and lost, his marriage and the changes that are inevitable in wanting the share the beauty of a place yet keep it the same.This book caught my eye since a friend of mine expressed an interest in kayaking and I thought I’d like to try it myself. I don’t think this book will help as it’s not a how to on to kayaking, but it is a beautiful memoir on the author’s life in a place he finds beautiful and wishes to remain that way. I also like how the author recognizes his own shortcomings as he feels cruise ships may be destroying the land yet finds himself working on one and also wants to publish a coffee table photo book yet recognizes the number of trees that may have to be cut down in order to share images of the land he loves.

  • Terry
    2018-11-05 20:41

    I loved every moment of this book including the sad parts. The author takes us on a true journey of the Alaskan Wilderness. He gives you the feeling of truly being a part of Alaska. This is the Alaska I want to catch a glimpse of when I visit there. I want to see the wilderness.I have not been one to read much non-fiction but the life this man shows us in the book makes you want to be part of it, one with nature. God made all creatures humans being last we always want to make it about us (humans) but some things were meant to stay the same and change naturally not to be changed by us. If we don't protect the wilderness areas and take care of them they will all disappear and then future generations will never have the opportunity to see what it is like for real they will only have pictures and stories.

  • Jenna
    2018-11-15 20:33

    I only read this book because I know the guy who wrote it, and I thought it would be interesting to see a different side of him even though this isn't my usual sort of book. It was really deep, and definitely worth reading, and it was actually painful how vividly he wrote about what Alaska used to be, and how it is changing, and how much more it is about to change. I've been to Alaska, seen its majesty, and I know what it was he wrote about. The only reason why it isn't 5 stars is because I wouldn't read it again-- for someone like me, who lives purely on a diet of fantasy, it was a challenge to get through even though I wouldn't exactly call it boring, and the style of writing is so descriptive and detailed it takes too long for an impatient youngster like me. But I would definitely recommend it to everyone who is above about age 10, and especially those who have been to Alaska.

  • Colin
    2018-10-28 01:45

    I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, I picked it up in Bar Harbor simply because of the title and cover photo - reading the back cover blurb confirmed it might be something I'd like. It was indeed. The author tells the story of coming to Glacier Bay, Alaska in the late '70s as a park ranger, falling in love with the place, and eventually settling there over the next few years. His 'only kayak' allegory appears several times throughout the book, to describe the changing appearance and feel of the land and national park which he has come to love. Like the glaciers which created the landscape, outside forces are still shaping the area for better or for worse.

  • Katieann
    2018-11-10 20:46

    By far the most heartfelt and real book I've ever read. One day while in the travel section looking for a book on Puerto Rico (I was going on a trip with my family), I saw this book sticking out of the rest slightly, which caught my eye. I read the inside cover and was immediately transported into the wild wonderfulness of Alaska, and it's people. Kim Heacox's writing is one of the most beautiful styles of writing I've EVER read. It's truly straight from the heart. I'm a fourteen year old girl, and yet I found it exteremly relatable. This book has inspired me onto living in the state of Alaska and becoming a writer/conservationist.

  • Itasca Community Library
    2018-11-04 18:54

    Jeff says:This book caught my eye since a friend of mine expressed an interest in kayaking and I thought I’d like to try it myself. I don’t think this book will help as it’s not a how to on to kayaking, but it is a beautiful memoir on the author’s life in a place he finds beautiful and wishes to remain that way. I also like how the author recognizes his own shortcomings as he feels cruise ships may be destroying the land yet finds himself working on one and also wants to publish a coffee table photo book yet recognizes the number of trees that may have to be cut down in order to share images of the land he loves.

  • Yvonne
    2018-10-24 02:50

    I loved this book for all it's sentimental descriptions and love for friends, outdoors, kayaking and environmental politics. I've been to Glacier Bay and even had a close encounter with the same bear that became known as a nuisance in this book. I went to high school and hung out with one of the author's favorite friends, Hank and learned a few things about Hank that I hadn't known of when I hung out with him. I went back to Gustavus and kayakked GB again last summer '07. Unfortunately we missed Kim by a couple of days but he graciously mailed back our book autographed and even called Christen to ask how to sign it! Very cool thing to do for a mere book signing.

  • Jeff Nicholson
    2018-10-19 23:42

    It took me more than two years to read this, just because the author has such a captivating voice and a desperate story to tell. I wanted to ration the book and make it last as long as possible. I reread numerous passages, just for the emotional tone they conveyed about a place. Kim Heacox is definitely the equal of the great nature writers he constantly references. I imagine buying a few copies of this book for people I admire.

  • david Gorrell
    2018-10-25 18:27

    After an enlightening visit to Glacier Bay aboard the Sea Wolf tour & kayak support boat I picked up Kim Heacox's book on his personal connection with Alaska in general and Glacier Bay in particular. His writing is excellent as he relates what he saw and how it affected him in his 30 year history with the Glacier Bay National Park. His stories of the friends and acquaintances he gains along the way add a great note of humor and help bring his own personality into focus.

  • Gary
    2018-11-16 01:42

    I found this to be a pleasant reflection of life in Alaska by a guy that just seems like a very nice/thoughtful/community-oriented naturalist. It isn't full of crazy action/adventure (although there is some), but rather it conveys the beauty & dangers of Glacier Bay and explores what role people should take towards protecting the land. I especially enjoyed his interactions with photographer Michio Hoshino. This isn't "Into the Wild", but rather more like "Desert Solitaire".

  • Amy
    2018-11-08 02:56

    Bought and read this book a few years ago after friends vacationed in Glacier Bay. Re-read it after my own trip to Alaska earlier this month. Heacox's passionate love for the natural beauty of his adopted state is poetry as prose. The variety of his personal experiences living and working in Alaska give him a strong voice as a committed conservationist, who has long walked the walk, and feels a responsibility to talk the talk. A deeply moving portrait of a rapidly changing landscape.

  • Correen
    2018-11-11 02:52

    A beautiful memoir of his life in Alaska, covering years of developing a relationship, marrying and his life with his wife, traveling through the beautiful landscape, observations of the growing problem of environmental desecration and lack of policy, his love of children, and purchasing the land that once belonged to his late friend, Michio. This is the second Heacox book I have read. His prose is picturesque, sometimes poetic, and sometimes tragic.

  • Jamie
    2018-11-16 21:38

    This book has made me grow to appreciate the many writers I was able to study in graduate school. Being able to picture John Muir and his dog makes their adventure even more true. Reading about Lynn Schooler and the death of "The Man from Japan" was even more real having already read The Blue Bear.

  • Steffany Cartellone
    2018-11-17 00:33

    I picked this up at a great bookstore in Alaska, don't remember which town. I fell in love with Heacox...again, him, Dillard, Ackerman, and Lopez. My favorite science nonfiction writers. In words they bring alive the most beautiful places on earth and make me feel like I've been there. Their words overwhelm me, move me, and I love them for that.

  • Elizabeth
    2018-10-26 20:42

    Kim Heacox here searches his relationship to Glacier Bay National Park, the communities around it, Alaska's wilderness and our varied relationships to it, the sustaining nature of deep friendship. His honesty and generosity is to be appreciated and admired -- he here questions how to find "right living" in a complicated place for a complicated soul.

  • Barbie Mckelvey
    2018-11-13 01:45

    Read it during our Alaska trip. It's a wonderful read by/about the author who loves Alaska and it's pristine wilderness. Beautiful descriptions of the country and the struggle to keep it wild vs bring tourists in who can be advocates for open space. A little love story in there too.

  • Tony Derricott
    2018-10-17 23:40

    I really enjoyed the first part of this book; especially having just returned from an Alaska cruise. There were many points of the story that I could identify with. As the book wore on I felt it became a little too "preachy" on the concept of ecology.

  • Jonah Young
    2018-10-20 00:39

    An interesting journey of the author's quest to find good in this world. He writes very instinctively and snappy especially of his friends and also of the natural splendor of Alaska. All in all, a strong, liberal account of environmentalist life in the face of corporate takeover.

  • Melissa McBroom
    2018-11-06 02:30

    I didn't think it was possible to put into words the emotions and sheer wonder Glacier Bay, Alaska elicits... This book reminds me again and again what I experienced and how badly I want to do it over and over again.

  • Long Ranger
    2018-11-06 01:39

    Heartbreaking and wonderful. Do read.