8 must-read canoeing books


 Exploring Coastal Mississippi by Scott B. Williams is a guidebook for exploring by boat (canoe, kayak…) the nooks and crannies of the Mississippi Gulf coast and barrier islands. Complete with info about safety, camping, weather, and navigation, this book is indispensable for any would-be adventurer that wants to paddle in or near the Gulf of Mexico off Mississippi or Louisiana.

On Island Time: Kayaking the Caribbean is Scott Williams’ chronicle of a truly epic adventure!  Setting out on Cypress Creek (which everyone calls Black Creek), Williams paddled into the Pascagoula River (see Ernest Herndon’s Paddling the Pascagoula book below) into the Gulf and down the coast of Florida before island hopping (in a kayak!) along the Bahamas and Antilles to Trinidad!   As he says in Chapter 1, who else in the world besides Ernest Herndon would believe it possible!

Canoeing Mississippi by Ernest Herndon is a totally indispensable guide to all the navigable waterways in Mississippi.  If you are planning a trip by canoe or kayak within the bounds of Mississippi you really should not go without this book.  Not only is it useful and factual as a guidebook, but Ernest’s stories and anecdotes will provide hours of entertainment!  Click here for another review of Canoeing Mississippi.

Canoeing Louisiana is Ernest Herndon’s companion to Canoeing Mississippi.  Following the same format, Herndon documents his explorations of the navigable waterways in Louisiana (The Sportsman’s Paradise).  Everything that I said about Canoeing Mississippi applies to this book – especially the anecdotes!  You really can’t do the outdoor thing on Louisiana waters without taking Ernest along with you!

Paddling the Pascagoula is actually a team-up between two of our local superstar authors – Ernest Herndon and Scott B. Williams.  It details an expedition where they started in the Black Creek and Leaf rivers and met up to paddle the Pascagoula river down to the Gulf of Mexico.  The authors alternate relating episodes of their adventure in informative and engaging prose, and there is a good bit of good-natured ribbing wherein each of these expert outdoor adventurers pokes fun at the other’s unfortunate choices of boat, paddle, gear, food, and everything else!

VOYAGE OF FREEDOM: Kayaking To The Coast By David Pugh is the amazing first-hand account of a man who, feeling trapped by the daily grind, had let his health go down the tubes until he got started with kayaking for exercise.  As he recovered his physical fitness and health, he began to develop this plan to paddle from Waynesboro, Mississippi 170 miles down the Chickasawhay and Pascagoula rivers to the city of Pascagoula on the Mississpippi Gulf Coast.  Outstanding book by another of our local adventure authors about the wonderful benefits of reconnecting with nature and with your own body.

 Mississippi Solo: A River Quest is the story of Eddy Harris, a city boy with virtually no canoeing or camping experience, who decided he wanted to canoe the length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana.  Harris somehow manages to survive his way down the river, learning a lot about the river, its people, and himself.  Check out this previous review of Mississippi Solo.

Candice Millard’s outstanding  biography, The River of Doubt , is the tale of the Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition of 1913-1914.  Teddy Roosevelt, after his failed attempt to win another term as the U.S. President, threw himself headlong into physical activity and outdoor adventures, including an expedition to explore Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt, a previously unknown tributary of the Amazon.  Accompanied by his son, Kermit, and the famous Brazilian explorer, Candido Rondon, They hacked their way through the jungle dragging their canoes which they then paddled down the river, surveying and charting as they went.  It is a story of murderous porters, ravenous piranha and the horrifying candiru fish, and cannibalistic natives!  It was not at all a certain thing that our 26th president would survive this trek!  Remarkable story of remarkable men doing the unthinkable.

Each of the links above will take you to Amazon.com, where you can purchase the book.  If you buy a book from one of our links, the Roaming Parkers might get a commission off the sale at no extra cost to you.

Categories: Adventure, Canoeing, Reviews

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