"Every wilderness expedition is a spiritual journey," writes Thomas J. Elpel, after spending nearly half a year in a canoe. But Elpel’s expedition started well before his first paddlestroke. With chainsaws, axes, and the help of William Clark’s great-great-great-great grandson, he whittled a 10,000-pound log into a 500-pound canoe. Elpel’s book, Five Months on the Missouri River (HOPS Press, $36), chronicles the adventures of five individuals as they retrace a segment of the Corps of Discovery’s return route, paddling from Three Forks to St. Louis, Missouri. Embedded with captivating photographs and illustrations, Five Months on the Missouri River transcends time, painting a picture of Lewis and Clark’s escapades while keeping you in tow with Elpel’s day-to-day insights and observations. For anyone with a knack for expeditions, this is a must.