Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [adult]

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on July 14, 2011
Written by Robyn Godfrey, Librarian

Waterfalls of Ontario by George Fischer and Mark Harris

In this time of economic recovery, “stay-cations” are more the norm than traveling abroad. Whether you are new to nature or you are already one with the wolves, this expanded edition of Waterfalls of Ontario will show you plenty of reasons to venture into Ontario’s wilderness and find the white water of our natural falls. Not content with being a gorgeously photographed nature book (George Fischer’s work has appears in Explore magazine and the New York Times), author Mark Harris is a geographer who gives a thorough, geological explanation of how waterfalls are created and their general classifications (Niagara Falls is a plunge, while Minnehaha is a cascade), and includes a not-to-be-skipped section on safety and environmental awareness around waterfall habitats. That being said, the waterfalls are divided by geographic region on helpful maps that indicate their grades, then each fall on the map is listed alphabetically with driving directions, and a brief overview of its river, class, size, trail, distance and activity level (Niagara Falls: very busy. Cantebury Falls: quiet.) The waterfalls nearest Stratford are on the Hamilton regional map, but there are sections for cottage country and Lake Huron too. A larger, more narrative description accompanies full-colour photographs so lush that can almost hear the roar and feel the spray. Harris does caution that many of the falls pictured cannot safely be seen from the photographer’s angle and should therefore be enjoyed from the top if you are a novice hiker, so read these descriptions carefully before setting out. Novice hiker or not, getting to some of these hidden waterways can be tricky, and the author has added latitude and longitude coordinates to be used with any modern GPS device. So pack a picnic, mosquito repellant and a camera (and other things listed on page 25), and go explore some of Ontario’s most beautiful waterfalls. 

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