Revelstoke Mountaineer Reads: Lonesome explores backcountry life with a canine companion

Do you enjoy the backcountry with your dog? Lonesome: Memoir of a Wilderness Dog tells the pioneering story of backcountry exploration and life in B.C.

Lonesome: Memoirs of a Wilderness Dog. Photo: Promotional shot of book cover

By Vanessa Smith

Five years ago I sadly said goodbye to my faithful four legged friend, Basil. He was well known at the bookstore as he had been a mainstay there for over 11 years.
Locals and tourists alike fondly remember his “leaning” ways and his demanding belly rubs. I was at a bit of a loss and not sure what would fill the empty void each day I went to work, therefore I picked up the book Lonesome, by Chris Czajkowski.

Chris was born and raised in the north of England. She lived and worked in Uganda, New Zealand, the South Pacific and South America before settling in the remote reaches of British Columbia’s Coast Range mountains, 480 kilometres north of Vancouver, where she created the Nuk Tessli Alpine Experience, an ecotourism business catering to hikers and naturalists.

Revelstoke Mountaineer Reads is a new summer series hosted in the Revelstoke Mountaineer
Revelstoke Mountaineer Reads is a new summer series hosted in the Revelstoke Mountaineer

The book is a charming story written from the point of view, and in the voice of the author’s dog, Lonesome, named for her first home, remote Lonesome Lake in B.C.’s Tweedsmuir Park. It will make you smile, laugh out loud and even shed a tear or two.

Lonesome paints a vivid picture of day-to-day life in the wilderness and her insights into humans and how they behave. She writes, “any dog worth her Milk-Bones must accept her lot in life – fording rivers, swimming lakes, camping out in bitter weather and, worst of all, bears.” Chris and Lonesome journey throughout B.C. and regale many tales including tree planting in the Revelstoke area and on Vancouver Island where Lonesome meets some unruly companions.

This will always be one of my favourite books as it pulled at my heartstrings, entertained my quiet moments and even taught me a thing or two about the vast wilderness this beautiful province has to offer.

Chris has lived in the wilderness for over 30 years. Her experiences are recorded in many of her books including Diary of a Wilderness Dweller, Cabin at Singing River and her latest Ginty’s Ghost.