Being Caribou

I just finished this inspiring book:
Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer.

Karsten and Leanne are the two Canadians who followed the Porcupine Caribou Herd from the Yukon to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and back. On foot. They decided that following the Caribou migration full circle would help them understand the effect oil and gas development will have on the herd and everything else in that web of life that is existing in the “refuge.” It was also their honeymoon.

Their 5 month odessy made for a page turning wilderness adventure narrative complete with weather, bugs, grizzlies, raging rivers, physical exhaustion, birth and death. While pushing themselves to the limit physically and mentally, they also filmed a documentary with the same title. Very cool.


They brought a mini George W. Bush “action” figure with them, which was both funny and poignant if you see the film, but W. was absent from the book.

One of the most satisfying parts of the book for me was “watching” Karsten metamorphose from an intense and grumpy person at the beginning of the trip to someone more likeable to me as a reader. It was a pleasure to see all those “extra layers” we accumulate in our modern human life melt away and watch him relax into the moment. I don’t want to give away too much, but Karsten and Leanne really did become Caribou, tapping into a higher level of conciousness that is seldom experienced.


I had put both the book and video documentary on hold at the library and the movie came in first. I recommend starting with the book, because it’s so much more complete a picture of the journey.

P.S. Dr. Monkey, I was too shy to join the spring reading blog because while I have a reading addiction, I am very afraid of writing!


1 Response to “Being Caribou”

  1. 1 Dr. Monkey April 3, 2008 at 8:01 am

    That book looks interestting. I’ll look for it in my local library.

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