Kings of the Yukon follows Adam Weymouth, as he canoes the length of the Yukon River in hopes of meeting with and understanding one of the greatest events in the natural world. A journey known across the globe as the Salmon Run.
Once a year, salmon emerge from deep in the Pacific Ocean guided by the vision of a long-abandoned river bed, deep inland. They stop eating, scale waterfalls and dodge predators. Those lucky enough to make it, return to the place they were born, spawn their young, and die.
More than a simple travel memoir about canoeing a river, this book straddles culture, environment and history. From deep in the mountains, Weymouth follows the river down to the ocean, meeting lives intertwined with salmon. Native Americans tell of millennia held tradition, abandoned in favour of saving fish for the next generation to enjoy. Non-Natives speak of legendary six-foot fish, King Salmon, now little more than a myth.
The landscape of humans is painted with an unflinching eye, amusing, yet at times heartbreakingly honest. The seamless switch between those who’ve lived there always, fish and man alike, and his own journey is the mark of extraordinary talent. As a writer it makes for compelling reading.
For those who love Adam Nicholson and Jim Crumley, meet the next generation of nature writer, and read this extraordinary book.
Reviewed by Kelsey Ward