Our Cabin by the Sea

January 5, 2011 - Masset, Canada

Driving down Toll Hill road was very exciting because we began encountering the trees which drip of moss which hangs from the branches and look like live fuzzy green sloths sleeping in the mist.  This is the image of the Queen Charlotte Islands that I have had in my mind for many years and here we were! You will notice that from now on, you will encounter a great number of photos of this phenomenal growth, but none of them can do justice ...you will just have to come here one day and see this stuff for yourself!

We rolled along, looking at the grand trees and their soft coverings and giant ferns on the ground, meeting only one other car as we travelled for about 20 minutes until we got to the sign for North Beach Cabins and Rapid Ritchie's (the 2 organizations have the same entrance off the road).  We saw the cabin owner and she gave us a choice of staying in a cabin in the forest with a marsh next to it or a cabin in the forest on one side, and the ocean on the other.  We took the ocean!!  To get to the cabin from the parking lot, one needed to walk along a bridge, then step on some boards that had been placed in the mud and then jump to the stairs which would take you up to the porch where the front door was.  I didn't really think at the time, how this walk would be in the dark and the cold in my pyjamas, to get to the loo!!!  The cabin, called the "moonshell" was very cute and nicely furnished and decorated.  It was heated by a wood-stove and lit by 2 kerosene lamps that wI ere fixed to posts in the living area and the kitchen area.  There was a fold-out futon for a couch and a loft with another big bed.  A smaller bed was situated over-top of a tub! that you could use if you wanted to heat a lot of water on the stove (no!!) A large window with sliding door created a back entrance that faced a deck with chairs, then lots of sand, some short trees, then the sea and the waves!!!

Erik became a master of cabin-warming through creating a lasting fire in the wood-stove.  This was after a few unsuccessful attempt however, and one night he was too successful.  The room was so hot, I couldn't sleep in our bed in the loft and had to use the couch-bed next to a slightly open window!  Most of the time it was very comfortable and in the evening, while Erik was tending the fire or reading, I was making the dinner.  It was fun to cook by kerosene lamp with no time pressures for cooking, eating or sleeping.  As with camping, the food tasted so much better than usual!

I attempted a run on the beach one day.  I found I was not in shape after many hours lounging in the train, but at least I had a nice long walk and got to a more far-away part of the beach.  Erik and I went walking a few times, noticing the many clam shells, seaweed pods and driftwood thrown up on the beach by incoming tides.  We tempted the waves and the foam and tried, without success to get close to the group of tiny sandpipers which would run along all together ahead of us on the beach.

The weather was at times cold and wet and at times, sunny and crisp but always windy.  We were lucky that one more than one night, we were able to see more stars than I have ever seen before in my life!!!

One day we drove into Masset and kept going into Old Masset, the aboriginal community.  We were driving around and noticing that this town did not appear to be as well-off as the Skidegate Band on the south part of Graham Island.  I wonder what the difference was?  Was the Masset band more dependent on forestry and fishing, both industries in decline, while Skidegate had some other source of revenue?

We noticed a house built in the traditional Northwest Coast native style and it had 2 totem poles in front.  We stopped and hoped to see someone come out to talk to us because Vern had told us that you need to ask before you take photos of totem poles.  As we were standing on the street, a truck pulled up and a guy asked us if we would be interested in looking at his carvings.  His name was Kevin and we was quite trying to make a few dollars in the tourist off-season.  We welcomed the chance to talk to someone about the area and the inhabitants!  We learned some interesing things from Kevin and it reminded me of when I worked on the native reserve of Rama, near Orillia for 4 years.  People are much the same wherever you go!  Erik bought a pendant of a traditional hummingbird design from him and I bought a small carving of a hook-nosed salmon.  We knew these would be the only Haida carvings we would ever be able to afford!!

One day, as we were coming back to the cabin for the last evening we would spend there, we decided not to turn into the cabin parking entrance, but to keep going on Toll Hill road, towards the hill.  To the left and to the right were the creepy-looking animal shapes fashioned out of moss which hung from almost every limb of the tall trees.  A bright green carpet covered the mounds that stretched forever into the forest on the right and to the sea on the left.  We had hope to be able to climb Toll Hill and experience its famous view of the north coast.  However, it was too late and by the time we got to the base of the hill, we only had time to take a long look at the wild pink-tinged clouds and the undulating water which stretched to some land with white peaks, said to be an island belonging to Alaska.

We drank the water from St. Mary's spring, so I think that someday we will go back...









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