Delighted to announce the launch of Book Two in the Emily Carr’s BC trilogy. This time I follow Emily on the path of her great northern expeditions of 1912 and 1928, both of which followed pivotal developments in her career and which featured so large in her work – then and in later years. Travelling through Northern BC’s Skeena and Naas River country and the islands of Haida Gwaii, I met amazing and talented people, marvelled at unparalleled scenery and came away wanting to return.
I’m delighted that my story, Circle North, a tour of Northern BC has won the 2013 TMAC Award for Best Story About Travel in Canada. It’s great to see this recognition for a part of the world that is relatively unknown, but absolutely spectacular in terms of Aboriginal culture, British Columbia history, ecology and scenery. The TMAC Awards were presented at the annual conference in Pittsburg, PA, on May 31, 2014.
A passing comment by a Haida Watchman last summer in Haida Gwaii started an unexpected chain of events. In answer to a question from my husband, Walter Russ said that his grandparents had been the Haida couple who guided Emily Carr on her visit to what was then known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. When this got me thinking about the iconic BC artist and the relationship between her travels and her work, the idea for a book began to take shape – Emily Carr’s BC.
At that point my itinerary didn’t include Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, which encompasses the southern half of the Haida Gwaii archipelago and protects numerous Haida Heritage Sites that Emily painted. So a return visit topped my research list. I got a tip about a 70-foot Roué-designed (think Bluenose) schooner offering expeditions to the area. Ideal. I love sailing. Enter Russ Markel, OuterShores Expeditions and Passing Cloud.
If you’re planning a trip to Haida Gwaii, consider spending a day with Dick Bellis. This 76-year-old self-described BSer is about as entertaining as a tour guide can get. I recently arranged for him to shepherd my travelling partner (the Octogenarian Mountain Goat – a.k.a. Dad) and me to Rennell Sound on the rugged west coast of Graham Island. Genetically half-Haida/half-Welsh, Dick is all Haida in outlook. Skil Q’uas (Dick’s Haida name) belongs to the Ravens, one of the Middle Town People, from Masset. He now lives in Skidegate. (more…)
BC Ferries operates crucial links for any Northern BC circle tour. Even if you’re just headed to Haida Gwaii, flying is an option, but getting around the islands without your own vehicle is pretty much restricted to lodge shuttles or hitchhiking. For me, the 15-hour Inside Passage from Port Hardy at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, to Prince Rupert on the North Coast, was a voyage I’d longed to make. And I was equally excited about the crossing of the potentially wild Hecate Strait from Prince Rupert to Skidegate on Haida Gwaii. (more…)