Discover the beauty of BC's Haida Gwaii
Haida Gwaii, which translates to “islands of the people” in the indigenous language, is a remote archipelago consisting of about 150 islands of incredible raw, untamed beauty and vibrant First Nations culture. The dense rainforests, sprawling beaches and abundant wildlife, all surrounded by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, are intrinsically interwoven with the culture and history of the Haida people, who’ve called these islands home for thousands of years.
It’s well worth spending at least a week in Haida Gwaii in order to appreciate the region’s remote beauty and to learn about its indigenous culture - and exploring on foot, via some of the region’s numerous hiking trails, is the perfect way to start. Naikoon Provincial Park’s Tow Hill Trail, known for the blowhole along the route, offers visitors a combination of peaceful walking through temperate rainforest, breathtaking views from the top of a two-million-year-old volcanic plug and encounters with a geyser of saltwater that can reach heights of up to seven metres. Experienced hikers may want to tackle the park’s East Beach route, a multi-day hike that can last close to a week, from the Pesuta shipwreck, around Rose Spit, to Tow Hill. Also of note is the Golden Spruce Trail, set among giant cedars and spruce trees near the Village of Port Clements, which leads to the former home of the revered Kiidk’yaas, the ill-fated Sitka spruce with the golden needles.
First Nations culture is powerful and all-compassing on Haida Gwaii. The Haida people are well-known for their bold art, which includes painting, weaving, jewellery and carving. The iconic carved poles are one of the most recognisable styles of Haida art. The poles are often made from red cedar, a soft, rot-resistant wood, and can tower over 30 metres high. They are carved and raised for a number of reasons. For example, a house frontal pole, attached to the front of a dwelling, indicates which family lives inside; mortuary poles act as both tombs and gravestones; and memorial poles are carved to honour and remember important figures. While most poles don’t stand for more than 100 years, the poles at the World Heritage site of SGang Gwaay (Ninstints) date back to the 1830s and are one of the most visited sites on Haida Gwaii.
And don’t forget the wildlife. Orcas and other whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, sea and river otters, harbour seals and Steller sea lions dwell in the sea around Haida Gwaii, while overhead, bald eagles are regularly spotted. And lucky visitors will be blessed with a sighting of the mighty Haida Gwaii black bear - a distinct subspecies endemic to Haida Gwaii - foraging along the shoreline for the myriad intertidal creatures found in the area.
Experience all the wonders of Haida Gwaii on Adventure World’s nine-day Galapagos of the North cruise, priced from AU$5985 / NZ$6252 per person.
O'Loughlin | with 0 comments