Paper pub. date
November 2012
ISBN 9780870716614 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 308 pages. Illustrations.

Voyage of a Summer Sun

Canoeing the Columbia River

Robin Cody

Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award and the Oregon Book Award

An Oregon State Library choice for “150 Books for the Oregon Sesquicentennial”

“The story is the Columbia River, not the canoe and me, but I’ve learned that friends can’t hear me tell about the river until they know why I was out there. This is not an adventure story, though some adventure was unavoidable, and I didn’t set out to find myself if I could help it. Nor did I launch the trip with a large point to prove. It was a voyage of discovery, and its telling is the uncovering of surprise on a river I thought I knew…” —Robin Cody, from the Prologue

On a June morning in 1990, high up in the Canadian Rockies, Robin Cody pushed his sixteen-foot Kevlar canoe through tall grass and mud to launch it on peaceful Columbia Lake, the nominal source of the river that heaves more water into the Pacific ocean than any other in North or South America. For the next eighty-two days, Cody would portage massive dams and revel in the rapids as the great river plunges 2,700 feet in 1,200 miles before reaching the river’s mouth in Astoria.

Cody's canoe sneaks up on the bear and moose and raptors and beavers who make a living on the Columbia. He drops in on riverpeople: the trapper, the wind surfer, the archeologist, the lock operator, the native woman who grew up at riverside in a dwelling of tule reeds. With a generous and infectious spirit, Cody draws us into the mysteries of a much-altered and regulated river that is still, at heart, a life-giving place.

About the author

Robin Cody, an Oregon native, is the author of Ricochet River and Voyage of a Summer Sun, both of which appear on the Oregon State Library’s 2009 “150 Oregon Books for the Oregon Sesquicentennial.” Voyage of a Summer Sun received a PNBA Book Award and an Oregon Book Award. Cody has worked as an English teacher, a dean of admissions, a baseball umpire, and a school bus driver. He lives in Portland.

Read more about this author

“The book Huck Finn might have written if he’d had the chance to canoe the Columbia River instead of rafting the Mississippi…”
—William Wharton, author of Birdy

“A spellbinding journey into the heart and soul of the West… Humorous, meditative, powerful, this work holds the reader like a magical eddy.”— Craig Lesley, author of The Sky Fisherman

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