In the summer of 2015, at age 53, Laurie Apgar Chandler became the first woman to solo thru-paddle New England’s Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Achieving her improbable dream, to travel 740 miles alone in a small canoe, was by no means certain. Relatively new to wilderness paddling, she encountered challenges, expected and unexpected, that pushed her to the limits of her courage and endurance. Surprisingly, the scariest of these had a human face. Providing one of the first looks at the country’s longest mapped inland paddling route, this tale weaves faith, nature, and the goodness of people into an inspiring adventure on storied waterways from the Adirondacks to the Allagash. 


In ‘Upwards,’ you get more for the price of the book than just a good outdoor story. Chandler can write as skillfully and passionately as she paddles! ‘Upwards’ is a must read for paddlers, and a quality reading experience for anyone who likes the natural world and values thoughtful, sensitive prose.”

               V. Paul Reynolds, Editor, Northwoods Sporting Journal

“Your story is poetically written with joy, spunk and honesty. It is utterly descriptive, bringing the bounty of our Maine woods into the heart: the flowers, wildlife, ferns & trees. I love traveling the rivers and lakes with you because you show the wind, mud and blackflies only as challenges to be overcome. And those historical anecdotes are a fine bonus.”

               Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books, Portland, Maine

(Chandler) vividly tells of the NFCT’s fascinating geography and history, while poetically describing the colors, smells, sounds and sights of the waterway’s wilderness and wildlife, and the days and nights of quiet solitude. Throughout her beautifully written memoir is her clear message: ‘Every day is a gift.’”               

Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal

NFCT Paddler article 1 cover
First in a 2-article series on the NFCT, written for The Paddler magazine
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