Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Friday June 5, 1998 - Haida Gwaii

Agate Beach, north shore of Graham Island
Queen of Prince Rupert ferry - foggy

In the morning at Prudhomme Lake two Canada Jays and a squirrel were into my spilled peanut butter. They had pecked holes in the plastic bag which I had anchored under a log. There were lots of no-see-ums and a few black flies. Two park attendants came by to collect my fee and chat, they were very friendly local First Nations. Dagmar and Robert had already left by the time I was awake enough to drop by their campsite. I headed back to Prince Rupert to catch the ferry to Haida Gwaii.

The trip to Haida Gwaii was cold and foggy so I didn't go out on deck much. I was invited to play canasta with a couple sitting at the next table to me. It was a nice sociable game with George and Gisella, a couple from Armstrong BC. I also talked to a man who was going to spend a month in a cabin in Rose Harbour, a privately owned property in Gwaii Haanas, the southern part of the islands. It turned out that he lived a couple of blocks from my brother Peter's place on Sandpiper Drive, Hornby Island.

The ferry trip was a few hours and we arrived in Queen Charlotte City on Graham Island while there were still a few hours left of the day. There are two large islands in Haida Gwaii, Graham Island in the north and Moresby Island to the south. Most people live on Graham Island and the southern part of Moresby Island is taken up by the protected area, Gwaii Haanas. There are many abandoned Haida villages there, with large totem poles slowly rotting back to nature. Queen Charlotte City is the largest town in Haida Gwaii, on the south coast of Graham Island.

I had decided to camp at the north end of Graham Island, in Naikoon Park. Naikoon Park has two campgrounds, Agate Beach in the north and Misty Meadows further south on the east coast of the island.

The road from Queen Charlotte City to Agate Beach takes you through Tlell (near the Misty Meadows campground) and Massett, a large Haida village. It was a nice drive but it was cold, cloudy and windy at the campground. All the campsites were right on the beach and exposed to the wind, but I found one that was buried in low coniferous trees that made an effective wind barrier. It was like camping in a cave made of shrubby trees. So inside my campsite I couldn't see the water, but the wind and surf were very loud. It was a nice drive through forest but cold, cloudy and windy at the campground, which is right on the beach. On a clear day one might see the southern tip of Alaska, but not this day. The sound of the surf and wind was very loud.

The windbreak between my campsite and the beach
After setting up camp I went for a short walk along the beach. There were tall dead trees standing above the scrubby trees of the beach. Looking at them I thought they looked like totem poles looking out toward the sea, and I wondered if this was where the Haida got the idea of making totem poles.

I fed Yohan and had a can of soup for supper and went to bed. At 10.30 pm it was still light out even though it was cloudy.

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