Bob Henderson has taught outdoor education at McMaster University for twenty-eight years. He is the author of Every Trail has a Story: Heritage Travel in Canada and co-editor of Nature First: Outdoor Life the Friluftsliv Way. Bob lives in Uxbridge, Ontario.
Every Trail Has a Story
Canada is packed with intriguing places for travel where heritage and landscape interact to create stories that fire our imagination. Scattered across the land are incredible tales of human life over the centuries. From the Majorville rock formation (dated as being older than Stonehenge), through the systems of walking trails developed by pre-contact Native Peoples, and the fur trade routes, to the more recent grand stories of the Chilkoot Gold Rush of 1897, Bob Henderson, the traveller, captures our living history in its relationship to the land – best expressed through the Norwegian quote "nature is the true home of culture."
The diversity of fascinating content includes the ancient James Bay landmark (the "Wonderful" Stone); the mountain treks of naturalist Mary Schaffer Warren; the west coast observations of George Vancouver; practices such as dog sledding, warm winter camping and canoeing that allow for heritage insights; the trails of Dundas, Ontario; the exploits of missionary Gabriel Sagard; the recluse Louis Gamache of Anticosti Island; the abandoned gravesites along the coast of Newfoundland – to name but a few.
As historian Michael Bliss once said, "We have to find a way to make history smell again." Author Bob Henderson brings the "fragrance of the past" into the present and invites us to imagine and participate.
"Like an enthused hummingbird too eager to land, Bob Henderson leads a wide-ranging tour of the vast garden of Canadian history and landscape. Once entrusted with the scent of intrigue we are invited to follow these stories and trails deeper, make them speak and inform our own travels and impressions. Here are stepping stones and touchstones, paths toward richer engagements via a storied and fabulous past."
— Alexandra & Garrett Conover, co-authors of The Snow Walker’s Companion
"I pulled off the river; a log cabin set back in the woods had caught my eye. Though very old it was in good shape — there was no lock on the door. A framed note beside it read, ’Leave as you found it.’ The interior was neat and tidy, a complete set of blackened pots hung on the walls, a small stack of kindling by the open door of a Findlay stove. ’A perfect place,’ I thought to myself. As I turned to take in the rest of the cabin I saw before me Canada/Yukon rivers, Labrador fiords, Prairie medicine wheels, Superior’s north shore, portage and trail - it was all there before me, across space and time. As I stood there ghosts emerged from the walls, trappers, cowboys, ill-fated explorers, lucky canoeists — all in the same room, all eager to tell their stories. Such is the nature of Bob Henderson’s wonderful book."
- Ian Tamblyn, songwriter
James Raffan, a much experienced writer, paddler and northern traveller, has been recognized with many honours including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. He is the Curator of the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, and resides in Seeleys Bay, Ontario.