Hello Kind Krafters,
Hope you’re all doing well and feeling happy, and for those of you who are students, enjoying reading week. This week I am writing about a trip I took to start off my reading week, here on Haida Gwaii.
Initially I planned to spend reading week off island, visiting family or adventuring somewhere else out west. But when the time came, due to expenses and the fact that I still had so much of this island to see, I opted to stay here on Haida Gwaii and explore all the beauty and knowledge this place has to offer. Thankfully most students had the same plans, which meant a week full of adventure plans with friends.
We decided to start the week out with a camping trip. At first we wanted to go camp up and off one of the old logging roads, but a chance of snow on backroads meant we decided to play it safe rather than sorry. So instead we chose a walk in spot, close to one of our field day locations.
The spot is located about 30 minutes from Queen Charlotte Village, where myself and most of the other students live. It’s a beautiful area known as Kagan Bay, that I have visited a few times before this trip. The first time my roommate and I walked to the day use site one day after school, and spent some time wandering on the beach looking at all the bones that had washed up on the beach during low tide. The second time we went to the area for one of our field days.
Of the two experiences the field day was the most impactful, and what lead us to decide to visit the site for camping. For the field day we parked in the parking lot, and walked 45 minutes along the beach and through the forest in sections with open trail. Along the way we listened to our professor tell us about the place and how it is a former village site. He described the ways in which the people would use the land, and how the area makes sense and can be understood as a site which would have sustained the people. We were shown midden spots in the forest that represented refuse piles, who in turn helped to build up a healthy forest. Additionally, the natural abundance of the area was shown to us, in terms of the plethora of resources it could offer on the forest floor, on the beach, and in the ocean.
While on the field day our professor shared with us that if we continued down another 45 minutes past our field day resting spot, we would reach an area perfect for camping. With this recommendation in mind we set out.
After an hour and a half hike in with our packs and gear, we reached the site. I went with a group that left later in the day, so when we arrived most of our classmates were set up and had a fire going. We set up our tent, moved our packs into our space, and grabbed our dinner to share by the fire. With the exception of some kindling brought from our homes to get the fire started, our wood was found in the surrounding forest. We took turns gathering kindling and larger bits that we split by jumping on them if the axe was not handy. More friends arrived later in the evening, and with the help of a chainsaw chopped a small log into perfect burning wood to sustain our fire all through the night. These same friends harvested oysters on their way, and taught us to shuck, and cook. It was amazing to think we were eating food that just hours before had been on the beach.
The next day we enjoyed the sunny day by lying on the grass and watching the later move from low to high tide and back again. A group of us harvested more oysters in the morning, that later in the evening with the help of flour, zucchini, buns, and a master outdoors chef, we turned into “Sloppy O’s” and ate oyster burgers.
The trip was a beautiful way to engage with the landscape we have been invited into, and explore the teachings we had received in class in a more concrete and hands on way. It was an amazing way to start our reading week, and an incredible memory of this place we have come to.
I challenge you all to take some time to explore the places around you and understand the beauty and nourishment they have to offer. Whether it be a weekend, a day trip, or a multi-day trip of your holiday, enjoy the space in your own backyard, experience it, and learn to love it for all it has to offer.
As always, Stay Kind,