Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash

Thoreau, Romance, and Survival of the Wild
by David K. Leff

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Silver Medal Winner 2018 IPPY Awards
Silver Medal in the Nautilus Book Awards 2018

Trade Paperback ISBN 978-1-938846-33-5 | 5.5 x 8.5 | 180 pages


Meet Henry David Thoreau, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and other intrepid explorers as you travel northern Maine’s rugged woods and waters.  In a wild country of ledge and trees that stubbornly resists encroaching civilization, find a young couple padding through the trials, triumphs, and sheer mental and physical exhaustion of wilderness travel severely testing their ability to get along and even complete the trip.  Fill your ears with roaring rapids and yodeling loons.  Smell pungent spruce and dank swamps.  Encounter moose and majestic sunrises cloaked in morning mist.  A few pages, and you will find yourself deep in the evergreen forest.

Advance Review

“If you have been on a canoe trip, you know the adventure is the center of a complex venn diagram of relationship, history, and a testing of character and adaptability. David captures this and more in an artful way that will make you dream of hitting the water to commune with nature and your very soul.”

—Walter Opuszynski, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Trail Director 

Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash is a multi-layered story that transcends time, if not place.  As we follow two individuals challenged by heavy winds, rapids, tough portages, and slightly bruised egos, we also encounter the stories of travelers and settlers from over the past 150 years.  Through David’s poetic prose, we experience both natural beauty and the risky business of hard travel in a new relationship.”

—Corinne H. Smith, author of Henry David Thoreau for Kids and Westward I Go Free: Tracing Thoreau’s Last Journey

“Readers will hang onto the back of David Leff’s roiling canoe in this story. He steers through the early fractures of a relationship amid the beauties and terror of a wilder Allagash, and skillfully adds in details of the explorers and exploiters who floated before him. Refreshingly honest.  A very strong narrative voice!”

—Christine Woodside, Editor-in-Chief, Appalachia



David K. Leff

David K. Leff


David K. Leff is an essayist, pushcart nominated poet and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.  He is the author of five nonfiction books, three volumes of poetry and a novel in verse.  Recently he was tapped to be poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET).  David is the town meeting moderator and town historian in Canton, Connecticut where he has also served 26 years as a volunteer firefighter and in other civic activities.