Saturday, October 18, 2014

T'ashii - meaning path on land or on water

Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining friends on a magical paddle to Meares Island via a dugout  canoe in the First Nations' Nuu-chah-nulth tradition.  We left from Tla-o-qui-aht Territory aka Tofino with T'ashii Paddle School's guide, Tsimka (pronounced Sim-ka) in a canoe her father, Joe Martin carved.

Marina with Meares Island in the background

Tsimka discussing the dugout canoe.
Tsmika's family history goes back 5000 years on this part of the coast and her passion for keeping this history alive for future generations and visitors like us, is very evident.  Her knowledge of the territory and the plants and animals within it, just made us want to know more.

                                                                       The canoe was impressive and its performance even more so.  The canoe was stable and fast.  It was very exciting to be in a traditional Nuu-chah-nulth canoe particularly given me experience in modern day canoes made of modern day materials and crafted with the help of computer software.  I liked the quiet of this traditional, truly hand-crafted canoe and knowing the history of it.  It made the experience of being on the water even more special.

View from the bow

The weather was typical, "Wet Coast" weather but we were clad in our Kokatat Gore-Tex Anorak / Kokatat Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket and Goretex Paclite Shell Boater Pants to keep us dry.  Paddling over to Meares Island in the rain listening to the traditional songs Tsimka sang made for a very beautiful and mystical experience.  Thank you, Tsimka!

Mark on the boardwalk
Stopping to check things out.
Once we arrived on Meares we were greeted by a couple of groups of sea kayakers who were also there to enjoy the beauty of the Big Tree Trail.  The Big Tree Trail takes you through stunning old-growth forest via a cedar boardwalk maintained by the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park.  Learning about the ways the forest has provided and continues to provide for its people was very interesting.  It feeds, clothes, shelters and so much more.

I highly recommend that if your travels take you to Tofino that you get out on the water with Tsimka and the folks at Tashii Paddle School.  Thank you, Emre for the suggestion it was a highlight of our Thanksgiving weekend.

T'ashii Paddle School is First Nation owned and a proud supporter of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park. 1% of revenue is donated to the Tribal Park to help the grass roots initiative of First Nation lead sustainability in Tla-o-qui-aht Ha'Houlthee.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin