Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kitlope, no, something, whatever, Field School

Eight months ago a friend of mine told me that there was this really amazing field school that NWCC puts on in the Summer where you go to the Kitlope. The Kitlope is a ways down the Douglas Channel, past Alcan, past Kemano and into the wilderness where the 1st Nations people used to have villages before European contact. Sounds great right? Even better is that the course is two weeks long and is worth 6 credits, a geography and an anthropology. Right up my alley. I went straight down to registration and signed up.

So there I am, totally set, 8 months in advance, I booked the time off work, let everyone know what I was doing, and didn't really think about it for another 7 1/2 months.

Then what happens? I got a phone call from the college, two weeks before the class began, letting me know that it wasn't looking good. There were some problems happening between the college and the 1st Nations group that was supposed to take us and it looked like we were going to have to do something else instead.

So, like a trooper, I'm like, ok, no big deal, I trust that we'll do something interesting and worthwhile, and I guess it'll cost a bit less, so that's a bonus. NO WORRIES.

Ok. So there has been some give and take. Our first field trip consisted of a cancellation of our hike at Glacier Creek because it might have been flooded, but no one was sure either way, so instead we drove the 20 minutes to Old Remo to look at culturally modified trees, but SURPRISE the road was flooded out, so we had to turn around and go somewhere else. (Oh, did I mention we had already left late because the teacher had forgotten to book something for the next day so we had to wait for her to get her shit together?) Where? 30 minutes out of town to a deactivated logging road that had completely grown over. We had to trudge through solid bush, shoving juvenile spruce trees out of our way and braving steep, muddy, embankments. Not a trip for the faint of heart, or knees. We then arrived on the bank of the Skeena, and apparently we were looking for culturally modified trees and cache pits, which were used by the 1st Nations to store food during a hunt. We walked around for about 20 minutes, didn't find them, (because of course the INSTRUCTORS didn't know where they were), and decided to leave, because OH WELL I GUESS THEY AREN'T HERE.

Most of us decided to walk back on the tracks because the trek in was beyond ridiculous, until we heard a shout in the woods from the teacher saying that they had found them. We then hiked it back in so that we could look at, wait for it, a bunch of holes in the ground. Holes in the ground that contained food 300 years ago. HOLES.

This is my two weeks of holidays for the entire YEAR, PEOPLE! Sigh.

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