Hiking the Nootka Trail (6)

September 1 Friendly Cove

Tuesday morning, we loaded our lightened packs and followed the last part of the trail onto the Yuquot Reserve, passing a group of trim holiday cabins and a cemetery with early 20th century graves marked with stone crosses and a recent one for a seventeen year old girl marked with a carved bear totem. The large campsite adjoining the Church was well mowed but as deserted as the trail had been for the last five days.  We entered the store attached to the church at 10:00 A.M. and awakened the young caretaker, who bore a strong resemblance to the image of Chief Maquinna embroidered on the garments for sale, and who checked our receipts for the $45 we each paid at Gold River for permission to cross tribal land.  He said the boat on which we had confirmed reservations was not expected today and let us into the Church sanctuary, dimly lit by stained glass windows featuring chalices and crosses. On the stripped altar lay an opened Roman Missal, behind it stood two colorful totem poles and at the back of the sanctuary two more flanking a brilliant carved eagle. The incongruous mix of delapidation and restoration was also evident in the vestibule museum, where a ransacked display case and strewn framed historical photographs accompanied posters detailing a recent government plan for developing the whole settlement as a tourist attraction.  Ours were the first signatures in the guestbook for several days, but earlier entries indicated that several hundred hikers had passed through during the current season.



We roamed the paths cut through great mounds of blackberry brambles growing on the site of the old longhouses pictured in the museum and came upon a large fallen totem pole next to a pile of trash.  My book mentioned that this had been carved in 1929 as a gift to the Governor General of Canada who returned it to the Indians along with a chainsaw, which they’d expected in trade.  As we headed for the dock near the Coast Guard station, the caretaker hailed us and said that he’d called the MV UChuck office and confirmed that they were not coming to pick us up today, but that his grandfather could provide us a ride back to Gold River in his speedboat for $300, a discount from the $500 normally charged.  Somewhat perturbed, we thanked him and asked permission to phone ourselves.  The woman at the office said that the boat would be there within the hour as promised, and indeed the elegant old minesweeper turned freighter turned tourist boat soon appeared out of the fog.  In the galley we were amiably welcomed with coffee, home cooked soup and sandwiches. The sky cleared as we steamed up the inlet, escorted by the Air Nootka Cessna overhead.




For a full photoset and slideshow of this day’s sights, go here

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