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by Ken Ilgunas
After a fateful if not disastrous hike to nearby Prudhoe Bay reinvigorated the author’s spirit for adventure and wanderlust, he quickly set about planning a symbolic trek along the proposed path of the contentious and, at the time, still-tentative Keystone XL oil pipeline. In 2012, he began in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and continued southward for 1,700 miles … Along the way, the author, always following his free-wheeling philosophy (he has hitchhiked more than 10,000 miles across North America and canoed more than 1,000 in Canada), risked being shot by landowners for trespassing, battled niggling injuries and fatigue, and endured the harsh weather while sleeping outside. While rhapsodizing about the natural beauty of the environment, Ilgunas also injects his narrative with statistics, facts, and anecdotes about the global warming crisis … An interesting and promising premise turns ponderous and occasionally preachy as the author narrates his cross-country trek.
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