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The Hermit of Gully Lake

The Life and Times of William Kitchener MacDonald

Joan Baxter

160 pages
Nimbus Publishing

The world knew him as the Hermit of Gully Lake, a lean and bearded elderly man in rags who lived on his own for more than half a century in the deep woods wilderness of northern Nova Scotia. By the time he disappeared in December 2003, his legend had spread across Canada and beyond. According to that legend, he had jumped a troop train in the 1940s to avoid going off to World War II because he refused to kill. He then spent the rest of his days hiding out in a tiny, dark hut in the Cobequid Mountains near Gully Lake, enduring extreme hardship and isolation and living in fear of capture for desertion.

In this colourful, intimate and respectful book about Willard Kitchener MacDonald, readers are offered a glimpse of the man behind the legend. Where did he come from? What was it in his nature and his past that drove him into the woods to a life of solitude? What were his passions and dreams? How did he survive on his own through the long and vicious winters? Baxter has crafted this book out of the memories and fascinating stories told by his friends and remaining relatives, a tribute to those who loved and looked out for their friend over the years. This is a book that will capture imaginations and keep alive the legend of the man who was the Hermit of Gully Lake.