Tag results for: BC

Ninstints Mortuary poles

I’ve wanted to see them for decades.

Ever since I saw their photos back in the 70s, mystical figures of ghostly grey imparting a powerful, compelling presence.

The totem poles at Ninstints on Haida Gwaii.

It’s the only place on Haida Gwaii where they still stand. A dozen of them, disciples of the supernatural, silently keeping watch.

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We were in Telegraph Creek, BC, the old town. Remote and in the wilderness. Requiring a 110 kilometre drive up a steep, gravel, mountain road with double-digit grades. Pulling up alongside a woman driving a van that had passed us on the road up, Magellan asked, “Is there anything here?” “Nah, this town is abandoned. Just a museum but it looks closed.”

After driving all that way, we decided to snoop around. Walking toward the museum I saw a guy sitting above us on his porch, almost invisible behind a porch screened with a row of antlers except for his cowboy hat, white beard and striped shirt but I didn’t say anything. A few minutes later as we stood at the museum door, he walked up behind us. “Can I help you?” he asked.

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In mid-June, I drove from Latitude 49 near the American border to Latitude 69 at Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea, rescuing Spice along the way from the miners at Dawson City.

Connecting the dots on the 9200 km return trip to Tuktoyaktuk revealed a set of spectacles. The natural spectacles and our impressions from the people we met gave us a whole new view of the North and its people. Read more

Cherry blossoms in Japan

More than three decades ago when we lived in Calgary, Magellan and I thought we’d go to Japan in the spring for the sakura (桜), the Japanese word for cherry blossoms derived from saku , which means to bloom. I even studied Japanese in anticipation. For some reason that I don’t recall, we didn’t go. How foolish we were to even think we had to travel that far for hanami—viewing cherry blossoms—you only need to go as far west as Vancouver, which now has its own Sakura Festival every April. Since April is also National Poetry Month, we’ve curated a collection of our favourite sakura haikus, adding Spice’s own attempt as well.

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Magellan’s pretty good about guessing his gifts. But an easy time he was not having with a heavy present under the tree the Christmas before we went to Haida Gwaii.

He did look surprised, even a little bewildered, when he opened the largish box…

A pair of brown gumboots. (Hidden away in our garage was the woman’s version, a gift to myself.)

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After too much wine at dinner last February just before Valentine’s Day, Magellan said to Ginger, “I’ll drive your stuff to Saskatoon.”

“Dad wasn’t serious was he?” Lynn asked on the walk home. “There’s no way,” I replied. “Driving a big rental truck through the mountains at this time of year would be ludicrous. Plus there are border issues. He’d have to drive down to Seattle first to pick up all Ginger’s stuff. I’ll talk him out of it.”

Eighteen days later Magellan was behind the wheels of a thirty-four-foot U-Haul truck attached to a sixteen-foot U-Haul trailer—a fifty-foot rig! And I was riding shotgun.

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