Author Michael D. Pitt holding frozen socks

Dr. Pitt on the Snowdrift River

About the Author

Born and raised in California, Michael D. Pitt moved to Canada in 1975 to accept a position at the University of British Columbia as a professor of grassland ecology in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, where he eventually served as associate dean for eight years. In 1981 he married his wife Kathleen, who worked at the university as an administrator in Information Technology Services.

The lure of a rural lifestyle, however, with golden sun reflecting on winter snow, inevitably proved irresistible. Kathleen said goodbye to commute traffic, deadlines, memos and office walls in 2000. Michael escaped 18 months later. They now live on 565 acres in the Aspen Parkland near Preeceville, Saskatchewan.

Kathleen and Michael Pitt are authors of Three Seasons in the Wind: 950 km by Canoe Down Northern Canada's Thelon River, published in 1999.


About Michael's Newest Book

FRANKLIN, OOPS, MUD & CUPCAKE: Canoeing the Coppermine, Seal, Anderson & Snowdrift Rivers in Northern Canada

Franklin, Oops, Mud & Cupcake is an engaging account of four canoe trips in northern Canada written by outdoor author and adventurer Michael D. Pitt. Michael's intimate writing style brings you "into the canoe" as he and his wife Kathleen discover the strength, challenges and self-reliance that come from absolute isolation.


"Travel four rivers, camp 100 nights, and paddle almost 2000 kilometres. In a friendly and inviting style, Michael Pitt shares his daily experiences and amusing anecdotes, revealing the freedom and wilderness that has defined his life." - Brian Johnston, Arctic paddler and author of "On Top of a Boulder: Notes from Tyrrell's Cairn"

"Michael Pitt's narratives of four Arctic and sub-Arctic canoe trips are as much inner as outward journeys in the search for meaning to life." - Carey Robson, master instructor, Recreational Canoeing Association of BC

"If you dream of adventure, you will enjoy Franklin, Oops, Mud & Cupcake, by Michael Pitt.  It chronicles four canoe expeditions on wilderness rivers in the far North of Canada.  Michael's writing is engaging, and chatty, immensely enjoyable for the story, yet packed with the kind of information that makes it a valuable guidebook to the Coppermine, Seal, Anderson and Snowdrift rivers.  It is not an exaggerated tale of daring and near death.  However, the courage of Michael and his wife Kathleen, relying on their paddling and wilderness skills amid the dangers of remote whitewater and a sometimes capricious Mother Nature, is vivid.  It is personal, honest, wise, and even a bit cheeky - a joy to read." - Dan Burnett, lifelong tripper of Canadian wilderness rivers

"It takes a great deal of personal courage to write so openly about such personal experiences. This is exactly what Michael Pitt does! And he does it in his own distinctive and matter-of-fact way as he weaves together historical, geographical and personal friendships. It was a real pleasure to follow Michael Pitt down four spectacular northern wilderness rivers. The book prompts the reader to be who you are no matter the source of the challenge!" - Tony Shaw, master instructor and perennial wilderness paddler

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Michael's Previous Book


Beyond the End of the Road reveals impacts of isolated living: Will lifelong ambition for a 'winter of contentment' in the Arctic trigger scientist's mid-life crisis?

The very first childhood thoughts former UBC professor Michael D. Pitt can remember were to run away and live in the forest. Flash forward almost fifty years, and Pitt and wife Kathleen take a sabbatical to spend a winter of extreme living. Extreme cold and extreme isolation.

The Pitts flew by Twin Otter into Colville Lake in the Canadian Arctic at the end of January 1999. By the time the ice went out of the lakes and rivers in mid-June their lives had been changed forever. Their story has been told in Beyond the End of the Road just released by Agio Publishing House of Victoria.


"Michael Pitt combines the bravado of a 19th century explorer with the sensitivity of a modern day man in this masterfully woven tale of an ordinary, middle-aged couple who leave their comfortable city life to spend the winter in a remote, one-room cabin in the Canadian Arctic," says wildlife ecologist and writer Tracey Hooper. "Unlike early adventure stories of man against nature, this is an honest, humorous, and deeply moving account of man and woman living with nature -- in all its harshest and most beautiful aspects. From dealing with the menace of a frozen outhouse to sledging across a frozen lake in a snowstorm to sharing romance at –45°C, Beyond the End of the Road, reminds us that waiting on the other side of our fears is the chance to experience the greatest gift of our lives -- the Perfect Moment."

"Pitt's writing struck me as a wonderful blend of Henry David Thoreau and Farley Mowat -- a treasure of logical philosophy and dry humor, perfect for the armchair adventurer," writes Bruce T. Batchelor, author of Nine Dog Winter.

"A mesmerizing account of the North's beauty and the winter Michael and his wife Kathleen lived in a tiny cabin above the Arctic Circle. Well-written and insightful, this book will delight anyone who has explored the northern latitudes or dreams of doing so," says Julie Angus, author of Rowboat in a Hurricane: My Amazing Journey Across a Changing Atlantic Ocean

"Personal, humorous and witty, Pitt has crafted an Ode to Winter, sharing with us practical tips of wintercraft, philosophical musings on a suburban, Southern lifestyle, and personal observations on life, the North and the majesty of Winter," writes Alan Fehr, 21-year resident of Arctic Canada and Superintendent of Prince Albert & Elk Island National Parks

"[Michael Pitt] wrote the book on Canadian winter at its extreme," says Ron Petrie in the Regina Leader-Post. Click HERE to read the full article

"Michael Pitt's new book is an inspiring story of a couple fulfilling a dream of arctic adventure through all seasons -- perceptive, funny, personal and captivating." -- Dan Burnett, Wilderness Canoeist, Lawyer, Beaver Canoe Club Editor

"This is one of those very rare books that will not only take you on a thoroughly entertaining, thought provoking, real life adventure Beyond the End of Michael and Kathleen's Road, but will also provide you with insights into your own Road. This is a very well told story and more than that, an inspiration.

"You live with Michael and Kathleen in a small one room cabin with a wood stove and you share their daily routines, their happiness and their bliss. No electricity. No phone. No running water. The understated comments of the indigenous people as they look at some of the equipment Michael and Kathleen have brought with them are made very amusing by the skill and humility of our author and the natural diplomacy of the hosts.

"Great good humour permeates every chapter of the book. You will love their daily diary and meet the animals and birds who are their principal visitors. The descriptions of the flora and fauna are excellent and well informed. Michael sees more in the landscape than the vast majority of his readers would see, and all of us can benefit from this. There is easily-worn scholarship on every page. This is a book for young and old, for Southerner and Northerner alike. All can learn from it. It addresses our human condition, which we all too often overlook.

"In animated movies beautiful young heroines are attended on their walks by blue birds fluttering their wings to the beat of the soundtrack. Kathleen attracts Whisky Jacks and they make their own music against a backdrop of magnificent, natural orchestration.

"Thank you, Michael and Kathleen. I loved your dream and admire the way you lived it. Everyone who reads your book will be the better for it."
-- Bob Gibbins, Avid Outdoorsman, Chartered Accountant, Real Estate Broker and "á la recherche du temps perdu."

"I would recommend this book to all my friends with an interest in the outdoors.... Michael's story is easy to read and he makes what must have been highly repetitive days quite distinguishable by focussing on different matters, always with the underlying theme of 'have we enough wood' and 'how strong is the ice.' Perhaps there is too much sipping of tea for some tastes, but that is how one gauges time in a life where clock-measured time has little utility.
"This story would also interest those who are not outdoor-recreation enthusiasts, as a tale of how to make your dream come to life -- by planning and hard work -- and how that dream may lead to other, more profound changes in a person's life."
-- Alan Thomson, Past President, Recreational Canoeing Association of BC, retired physician

Read an Excerpt

Download this PDF sampler of the first pages.

Buy this Book


ISBN 978-1897435-36-6 eBook edition as PDF download at



  • Michael and Kathleen will present "Canoeing the Seal River" at the 2015 Saskatchewan Paddling Symposium in Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, SK on April 25, 2015. More info at .
  • Kathleen and Michael interview by Jack Dawes on the "On The Land Show" of Rock 98.5, in Yorkton, on October 23, 2014
  • Book launch at Coles in Yorkton on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 10:00 am


  • Kathleen and Michael interview by Garth Materie on the Blue Sky Noon Hour Show of CBC Radio 1, in Saskatoon, on September 21, 2009
    listen at
  • book launch at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon on Monday, September 21, 2009 at 7:30 pm
  • Interview in Saskatoon on the CTV Noon Hour Show with Jeff Rogstad, on Tuesday, September 22, 2009
  • slide show as a fundraiser for the Preeceville Public Library on Monday, October 5, 2009, at 7:00 pm
  • interview on the Murray Wood & John Gormley talk radio program (980 Talk Radio CJME Regina) that broadcasts throughout Saskatchewan, Friday December 4, 2009, from 11:00am to 11:30am. Listen to the interview by clicking HERE
  • reading to four classes at the M. C. Knoll school in Yorkton on February 25
  • interview with Teena Monteleone of CTV in Prince Albert, at noon, on March 9, 2010
  • interview with Lisa Risom of Shaw Cable 10 in Prince Albert, at 3:30 pm, on March 9, 2010
  • book reading at the Prince Albert Public Library on March 9, 2010, at 7:00 pm

To arrange an interview with the author, please contact the author at 306-547-2008 or mpitt755 (at) gmail (dot) com

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