Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wednesday June 10, 1998 - Haida Gwaii

Queen Charlotte City from the ferry to Moresby Island
Gray Bay, Moresby Island - cool and cloudy

I had breakfast and did a bit of shopping in Queen Charlotte City and then took the ferry across to Alliford Bay on Moresby Island. I drove the short distance into Sandspit, the only town on Moresby. It was sure cold and windy! All the roads on Moresby are logging roads and you have to have permission from the logging company, Timber West, to go on them or to use the forestry campsites. I found their office building but I couldn't find the front door, I ended up going into the office by the fire escape. The man who let me in said that their back door was really their front door, and vice versa. He gave me a map and said there was nothing going on in the area so I could drive on any of their roads and stay at any campsites. It felt like being given the Keys to the Kingdom, I was quite elated when I left. I drove down the Copper River Road. There was hardly anyone on the ferry when I came across and most of those people were going to the Sandspit airport. I had the woods to myself!

My intention was to visit all the sites marked on the map: Gray Bay, Moresby Camp and Mosquito Lake. I stopped on the river at one point and disturbed an eagle who I guess was looking for fish, and then arrived at Gray Bay.

Gray Bay
Gray Bay is a crescent shaped bay about ten km from one end to the other, all beach. There are twenty campsites evenly spaced along the beach, about a half kilometer apart. I pulled into a lovely campsite out in the open by the beach. I had a sandwich while sitting on the beach, it was a long sand and stone crescent beach with a bit of surf and a light breeze.

I realized that this was probably going to be my last night camping by the ocean so I shouldn't bother going inland. However, I still wanted to drive a bit, so after the sandwich I went all the way to the end of the road at the south end of the beach and then turned around and went back to another road that my map showed leading to some old abandoned Haida village sites. This road went through a large area of clearcut. I went up one logging road, stopped at a ditch in the road and walked to the top of the road where I had a view of Gray Bay and the mountains to the west. Then I drove on to find the villages. I stopped to watch a deer by the side of the road, we stared at each other for awhile but he was too deep in the woods to photograph. Then I set out on the track that let to the village sites.

It was very narrow and somewhat overgrown. Quite suddenly I came up on a washout in the track. I skidded to a stop inches from going over the edge. The track was too narrow to turn around so I had to back up. I started going down a steep hill backwards and felt the truck tipping leftward toward the ocean side of the track. I thought I was sliding off the track down the side of the hill to the ocean, but when I looked in the mirrors I was still in the track. The lean toward the ocean was scaring me so I was steering toward the other side of the track, even though the mirrors showed that I was fine. I ended up getting into soft mud on the right side and having to drive forward up the hill again, and then back down trying to stay in the middle of the track away from the soft mud. But once again the truck was leaning way over to the left even though I was in the middle of the track. It was so scary!

By the time I got to the bottom of the hill my heart was just pounding. A short way along after that and the track widened enough to turn around and I was able to drive out normally, if a little too fast. I bottowmed out twice before slowing down. I had to remind myself that this was a very very bad place to have a breakdown or accident.
Beach view from my campsite
Gray Bay from my campsite
After another hour or so of checking out every campsite on Gray Bay I finally settled on #9. I picked up a grill from a fire pit at one site, some brush for kindling at another site and some good looking cedar logs at yet another site. The campsite I chose was in the woods but opening onto the beach. there was a tree down blocking the entrance to the campsite but I cut it easily with my little bucksaw. The black flies were out but I had a head net that worked fine. I sat on the beach to eat my supper and kept the fire going to just sit by.

I think I am the only person here and I wish I had come sooner, it was really nice. The nicest place I have stayed so far. Loveland Bay came close but this is by the ocean and much more private. It is just after 10 pm and the sun has just set. It is still light out. The tide went out and is on its way back in. Yohan stays very close to me, right now he is lying under the table. When I walked out onto the beach he went to the edge and just watched me.

This week has been interesting. I have felt lonely and anxious a lot of the time, I feel like I am not making the best use of my time. Whatever I am doing, I feel like I should be doing something else. I think that the backward drive on that track earlier in the day was typical, I should have just relaxed at Gray Bay instead of being hellbent to drive some more. it's hard to relax and just enjoy the trip. I listened to an 83-year-old sculptress on CBC radio in the morning who was talking about how life after 50 was about finding one's passion and doing it, taking on new challenges in old age but being more into art and music than physical activity. I must say that I am not ready to give up the physical life for something more cerebral just yet. But I do wish I could relax more.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

I love the Sound and that kind of area, have never been to Queen Charlotte Islands. Emily Carr paintings made me want to see it even though what she saw probably isn't still there. Anyway, I have it on a someday list that may never happen. It sounds delightful where you camped and your drive not so much. We had a dirt road we got on near our home in Tucson and while my husband was at ease with it, I was not. Good thing he was driving.