June 3, 2023


sights and trips

Abdou’s wilderness memoir, a feel-good journey of self-discovery

Moose Jaw author Angie Abdou recounts her mother-daughter hiking expedition through the B.C wilderness.

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Angie Abdou found inspiration for her latest book at the top of a mountain.

It was the summer of 2017 and she and her young daughter Katie were day hiking at Mt. Fernie, B.C. The weather was not ideal; the skies turned grey and the clouds rolled in, sending the wind whirling over the rocky cliffs. They almost turned back, but it was Katie who urged them forwards, determined to reach the top.

Abdou, formerly of Saskatchewan, proposed a goal which Katie wholeheartedly accepted; they would hike a peak per week the following summer as a mother-daughter team and she would write a book about the experience.

“I was really just trying to carry that excitement forward,” she said, as she reflected on the experience in a recent interview.

Released last month, This One Wild Life is a memoir dedicated to an inspirational family journey through the lichen covered jungles and soaring mountain peaks of B.C wilderness. The narrative unfolds not only as a trek to reach each summit, but as quest for self-discovery. Step by step, Katie gains self-confidence and Abdou learns to detach from technology in an environment that differs vastly from the Prairies where she was raised.


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The book alternates between woodland adventure and the daily realities of life. Abdou walks the reader through Katie’s school experiences, the intricacies of married life, the realities of motherhood and humanity’s relationship to technology in the digital age, all the while introducing tidbits of intellectual insight gleaned from psychology, biology, sociology and medicine.

For Abdou, this is what a memoir is all about; a conversation, an opportunity to think deeply and to wrestle with many topics at once.

“What I intend to do is create a space for readers to have the same reflection about their lives,” she explained. “I want it to feel like a long intimate conversation with a really good friend.”

As the book progresses, the natural world they immerse themselves in becomes a place where they can think and let go. Katie, once a quiet and reserved nine-year-old girl, gains the confidence to share her thoughts and connect with others. Abdou comes to terms with her place as a storyteller in the age of the internet, where criticism is harsh, misinformation lurks around every corner and people form their opinions prematurely.

Abdou has lived with her family in B.C for 21 years and the stunning natural beauty of the mountains still leaves her in awe.

“I remember my first time being, ‘Look at the mountains! Look at the mountains!’ … I was just struck by them.”

Growing up in Moose Jaw, Abdou spent more time in organized sports than she did out in the wilderness, but over the years, she grew to love the natural landscape in both provinces.


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“I think a person is so connected to the landscape they grew up in and when I drive out of the mountains and go home to the prairies, I feel the sky opens up and I can breathe.”

She was introduced to hiking through her husband Marty, after they relocated from Ontario. Marty worked as a wildfire watchman for a season in a remote cabin in the B.C wilderness, and she flew in by helicopter to join him for brief periods.


Since this time, she has authored seven books, many of which are based around small-town mountain life and local nature. Her novel The Bone Cage, was a finalist in CBC’s Canada Reads and In Case I Go was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book Award. Her previous memoir, Home Ice, detailed her son Ollie’s experience playing competitive hockey.

While Abdou developed her love for hiking later in life, her daughter Katie discovered she wasn’t as enthusiastic about the sport after all.

Abdou liked traversing the winding paths and admiring the scenery but Katie preferred the final adrenaline-induced ascent to the summit. Abodu plans to keep hiking for years to come but Katie prefers interacting with nature in a more intense way, through activities like skiing, rock-climbing and mountain biking.

As the book unfolds, Katie grows into her own unique person, with even more confidence than the day they hiked Mt. Fernie.

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