Haida Heritage Center, Hiking at Spirit Lake

May 10, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Bird


The National Geographic Sea Bird crossed the Hecate Strait leaving late in the evening last night due to rough seas.  Captain Davis chose a southern departure point from mainland British Columbia, keeping the storm seas on our rear starboard quarter of the vessel.

We were happy to find ourselves in calmer seas this morning as we docked at a pier in the small town of Queen Charlotte City. After a hearty breakfast we boarded school buses and went to the village of Kay Llnaguay. There we visited the Haida Heritage Cultural Center and museum.

Our local guides showed us the temporary exhibit done by Alfie Collinson. He created works of art from Argillite stone or more commonly known as slate. He also used materials like elk horn, abalone, cedar bark and ivory.  We also saw a beautiful canoe handcrafted by the well-known artist Bill Reed, the stunning 2,000 pound canoe could hold 20 people!

We saw many beautiful totem poles including the 3 types: the frontal, mortuary and memorial poles.  The main carver and his apprentices worked on a totem pole for sometimes a year or longer.

In the afternoon we ventured out to the Spirit Lake Trailhead.   We divided up into guided groups.  Some chose a photography hike and went with our National Geographic photographer,

Others went on a faster paced walk to take in the beauty of the temperate rain forest and the lake views. The trail was a well-groomed gravel path with several wooden bridges.  The size of the Sitka Spruce and the Western Hemlocks that made up this lush green forest was truly daunting.

We were fortunate to have Elsie Gale, a First Nations Haida cultural specialist joined us for our time in Haida Gwaii. 

She informed us that the Haida people have a matrilineal society.  According to Elsie they have created a balance between female and male roles that have allowed them to maintain their cultural and diverse identity within the modern world.

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About the Author

Darcy Vanderbush

Wellness Specialist

Darcy was raised in rural Michigan, spending as much time as possible in nature. After a skiing trip to Aspen, she fell in love with the Rocky Mountains.  Following her passion to ski and rock climb, she chose Boulder, Colorado as her home.

About the Photographer

Marie Rothenberger

Wellness Specialist

Marie began her healing journey after being diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis. After finding relief in Reiki, a Japanese healing technique, she set out on her path of self-discovery and natural healing. Soon, her own healing became a quest to learn to use the techniques herself to help others, and she left her corporate position in the health insurance industry to concentrate on this passion full time. Marie is now a Holy Fire 2 Reiki Master, Licensed Massage Therapist, and Registered Yoga Teacher. She has also learned and practices multiple healing modalities such as dry cupping, sound and light therapy, visage, Himalayan salt stone massage, Bamboo-fusion®, Raindrop Technique®, Thai massage, meditation and Tai Chi. 

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