On the Road Adventures
Thursday, September 3, 2009
September 2 and 3 Burns Lake and Prince George
We showed up at 9:30 for the tour of the ‘Ksan village. We were the only ones on the tour so it was a private showing. Each house had a theme and a recorded soundtrack showing how the Gitxsan (geet-san) people lived in the past. The band’s name means “people of the misty river” and they had plenty of natural resources so they could build permanent villages. During the summers the families all went out and gathered and preserved food for the winter, and when winter came they all lived together in the long houses. Winter was the time for creating art, and the designs they wove, painted and carved were complex and interesting.
What was sad was the guide, who was very good at turning on the sound and light shows, had no idea what the different symbols were. She just kept saying that there was a story with the totem pole/weaving/painting but it belonged to the one who made it and she didn’t know. We kept saying, “but you need to know so you can tell the stories and keep them alive.” She never looked convinced. So when the tour was done, we weren’t sure we were much more informed than we were last night. There was a carving of a woman holding a dead loon and crying. Why? And the weavings - each figure has a meaning, but the girl didn't know so neither do we. Sad.
After the tour we headed down the road to a park near Burns Lake. The landscape has become more agricultural and, well, civilized. We passed farm after farm, all with their winter’s hay cut and rolled and stuffed into shrink wrap. After having the road pretty much to ourselves it is a little annoying to have to watch for so much traffic. There’s still some wildlife – we had a little black bear cross the road right in front of us, and there are ‘watch for moose’ signs every few miles, although we still think the moose union is on strike. We even drove out in the evening to troll for moose and saw nothing.
There are still patches of fireweed, all gone to feathers, although it is getting rarer; and the woods have changed to largely deciduous mixed with pine and cedar. The pine is all falling victim to a bark beetle, so there are large swaths of red-brown across the hills. It’s frighteningly ripe for a big fire.
We had a glorious thunderstorm last night with lightning all across the sky, so everything’s washed clean this morning, including my dirty car.
Sept 3: Prince George
It was a easy drive into town, with the only excitement being another black bear who wanted to cross the road but traffic was thick so Gerry leaned on the horn (and the brakes) and scared him back into the underbrush beside the road. Hope he made it safely across or better yet, decided not to cross the road at all. We kept seeing those 'watch for moose' signs with no sighting of moose one. I think they're just a hoax on the tourists.
We're spending the Labor Day weekend here since apparently all of Prince George has gone camping elsewhere and finding a camp spot will, according to the locals, be darned near impossible. Ah, well, we have laundry and other fun stuff to entertain us.