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Travel Journal October 25, 2022

Travel Journal October 25, 2022

Travel Journal October 25, 2022

BC Nature Study and Outdoor Education

Exploring Haida Gwaii

We returned to Tiell and the Misty Meadows Campground.  The first thing you notice is how quiet it is.  There were birds and frogs but no roar of the surf or whistling winds.  Tiell is a perfect place to explore the southern half of Graham Island.  The Port Clements Museum is a must see.  The staff are knowledgeable and eager to share the local pioneer history.  The volunteers keeping the gardens weeded are welcoming and interested in sharing stories.  The local postmistress has a sense of humour and also shared information on what to see and do in her community.  A short drive south of town brings you to the Golden Spruce Trail. This trail through the lush rainforest with towering spruce, cedar, and hemlock brings you to the Yakoun River. On the other side of the river there once stood a tall magnificent Golden Spruce.  This colour variant of the Spruce tree had special meaning to the Haida culture.  In 1997 this rare tree was cut down as an act of protest by a very troubled man.  After its demise foresters and local people have grown seedlings and cuttings.  These progeny of the once great tree live on in protected places in the area.  Before leaving Port Clements we stopped for gas at Angela’s Place Social Café & Fuel Station.  The highest gas prices of our trip, $2.49 Litre and a rather uniquely rustic business.

Just south of Skidegate is the Haida Heritage Centre.  This Museum is worth a visit.  Full of information on the local indigenous people, totem poles, canoes, carvings and interesting dioramas of village life before European contact.  It is located in a lovely bay with small islands protecting it from the open waters of Hecate Strait.  Enjoy a picnic in the lovely grounds, planted with many native species.

A ferry trip to Moresby Island makes for an excellent day trip.  The 20-minute ferry ride from Skidegate to Alliford Bay gives you wonderful views of the mountains to the west and the channel to the west coast.  There are a number of wilderness campsites on the southeast coast of the island and a circle drive around the island takes about 2 hours.  A nice place to stop is the at the Sandspit Airport.  This airport gives access to the lower mainland on a daily flights.  They have a number of displays about the aviation history of the area and are very proud of their war time contributions to marine safety.  Like many airports there are wide open vistas and walking paths around the perimeter of the airfield.  Airports are great for aviation fans and nature and bird watchers as well.  You will find that we make many stops on our journeys at large and small airfields.  Views from the Sandspit Airport walking path.

We spent our last day in Daajing Giids, formerly Queen Charlotte City.  On August 31, 2022 a ceremony, feast, and celebration were held to recognize the restoration of the old Haida name for this place.  There is a nice tourist office, and several very interesting shops, and some good restaurants.

There two nice campgrounds just out of town, Haydn Turner and Kagan Bay.  Spend an extra day in the area and take a day trip to Rennell Sound.  This area is known for its spectacular beauty and abundant fish and wildlife.

Our return ferry to Prince Rupert was scheduled for 10:00 pm so we enjoyed a picnic dinner at a information pull-out overlooking the water.  By 8:00 pm we were able to make our way to the ferry terminal and check in.  Darkness came and they began loading the ferry, same ferry that we had sailed on coming to Haida Gwaii.  As usual over height and over length vehicles are often boarded first.  Imagine our surprise when the large commercial trucks and recreational vehicles and trailers started to back onto the ferry.  All the way down the road, up the ferry ramp, and right to back of the ferry.  It seemed a lot of pressure, the crew were very helpful at guiding you down the darkened road and onto the ferry.  Once on board we had a snack and then went to the cabin we had booked and arrived in Prince Rupert the next morning at 7:00 am.

Check out these links:

Port Clements: https://portclements.ca/

Golden Spruce: https://www.haidatourism.ca/news/golden-spruce-story

Skidegate Museum : https://haidagwaiimuseum.ca/

Daajing Giids: https://daajinggiidsvisitorcentre.com/

We will continue our journey next week starting with a 17-hour ferry trip down the inside passage.

 

Noreen Beer

Author & Outdoor Educator

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