Will Hobb's Far North
is about a young man who has the trip of a lifetime. Gabe's mother passed away when he was young and he lives with his grandparents, because his dad was away working in the oil fields in Canada. Gabe decides to go to boarding school in Yellowknife where he can be closer to his dad. When he arrives, Clint, a bush pilot, had been hired to take him to Yellowknife. He settles in at his school, going to visit his dad on his days off. He tries to make friends with his roommate, Raymond, who is from a Dene village. Raymond is shy, however, and prefers to stay in a group of other villagers. Gabe's dad makes plans for him to come see the countryside and he goes to meet the plane. Clint is the pilot; they are waiting on two passengers who are going to a Dene village. It turns out to be Raymond and his uncle, Johnny. Gabe is upset that Raymond did not tell him but is determined to enjoy his flight. Clint decides to show them a magnificent waterfall that is twice the size of Niagara Falls. Gabe is apprehensive about this, as they were unable to raise the dispatcher and announce their change of direction. They land on the expanse of water above the falls when disaster hits. The plane's engines stall and will not start back up. Clint issues a mayday but cannot raise anyone. They paddle the plane toward the shore and manage to swim ashore through icy waters and secure the plane to a tree. They unloaded the plane but as Clint goes back for the box of bullets for their rifle the tree anchoring the plane snaps and Clint and the plane are lost over the falls. They know their chances of survival are slim to none. The mayday was not heard. They has little food, no shelter and little ammo. Johnny is not worried however. This takes him back to a way of life he has not led since he was a young man. He lets the boys know how to build a shelter and he goes to look for food and build a fire. They kill a moose and plan to stay by the falls. They build a signal fire but no planes come looking for them and Gabe decides they should try to build a raft and float down river. Johnny says no; they will run into ice blocking the river and will not be able to go anywhere. They should live at the top of the falls until spring, five months away.
Gabe and Raymond convince him against his wishes. They set off down river and make a couple miles when they come to solid ice. They have no way to get back upstream. They wait until the next day and there is a small passage in the ice. They start back downstream until they come to a ice bridge with no possible way around. They unload the raft but Gabe falls with the largest piece of meat and it sinks below the ice. Johnny knows of a cabin where they can live. This time the boys decide to listen to Johnny from now on. They live in the cabin for a month then trouble hits again. Johnny had gone out hunting and not returned. They go looking for him and find him dead in the snow from heart failure. They have to fend for themselves now. Gabe and Raymond decide to try again to trek out of the wilderness. They have two bullets, an axe and their wits. They make it a long ways pulling their remaining supply of meat on their toboggan until they have a chance at a moose. They decide to try to make it back to the cabin and stay there. They make two long trips hauling the moose meat back to the cabin. When they get back they discover the meat from the last trip is gone, eating by a winter bear that is still around. They live in the cabin several more months until the meat runs low again and once again they try to trek of the canyon. Raymond had received a injury to his knee and is unable to walk far so Gabe has to pull him in the toboggan. The cold is almost unbearable and Gabe starts daydreaming to escape. Finally they see smoke upon a ridge. It's Raymond's village. They were gone for months in the wilderness. They have a feast to celebrate the safe return of the boys and honor Johnny's memory. Gabe decides to stay and Raymond goes back to school in Yellowknife.