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Rose Spit - where the Hecate Strait meets Dixon Entrance - Photo: Owen Perry

The rainforest experience - moss carpeted paths, a lingering scent of fresh cedar and the sounds of silence - Photo: Owen Perry

Step into another world as you tour ancient Haida village sites in Gwaii Haanas - Photo: Owen Perry


The Queen Charlotte Shuffle

By Kara Steel

It all started on a Friday night at Howlers  in Queen Charlotte.  The music was pounding and I was dancing my little face off.  A new friend I had made in town told me of a field trip he was doing the following day to Rennel Sound saying it was one of the most beautiful places on Haida Gwaii and “I just simply must see it!”   I had no other plans for my Saturday so I agreed to tag along.  I didn’t want to go on such a big adventure with a headache so I ordered a tall glass of water, danced around for a couple more tunes, and then I headed home for a good night's sleep. 

I woke up at 9 the next morning feeling great and ready to tackle the day in Rennell Sound.  The only trouble was that my new friend had messaged me saying he stayed too long at Howlers and was now no longer up for the adventure.  So there I was, up early on a Saturday, full of energy, but with no ride to take me where I wanted to go.  So I thought to myself “Okay Kara, what are you going to do instead?  I decided then and there that I was going to have a solo activity day in Queen Charlotte!   I filled my bag with some snacks, water bottle, extra clothes, and then I jumped on my bike and headed into town.  My first stop was at the Sun Studio, which is a wonderful yoga studio on the west side of town that offers a diverse variety of relaxing but also challenging yoga classes.  I highly recommend trying out Kiki’s Kundalini yoga classes, as they are a great way to inspire positive feelings in a space that is incredibly welcoming and full of good vibes.   Once yoga was finished I thanked Kiki for a wonderful class and then I hoped back on my bike and headed up the highway to the Spirit Lake Trail.

Sun Studio

Spirit Lake is located alongside the highway in Skidegate, roughly a 10-minute drive away from Queen Charlotte or half an hour by bike.  

Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos

Upon arrival I was delighted to find a few of my fellow student friends at the entrance to the trail.  They told me they were there to do some trail running and check out some of the lookout points.  I was already a bit tired from the bike ride, and had only planned on walking the trail, but I thought to myself “why not? I can try running and it might even be fun!?  Unfortunately, the lesson I learned on this journey was that I am definitely not a runner.  I spent 2 hours feeling like my lungs might possibly burst out of my chest and therefore I would die.  I did not die however, and I ended up seeing some incredibly beautiful lookouts over the ocean and Skidegate that thoroughly inspired me to continue to keep pace with everyone on the journey.

Flavien Mabit

As I lay crumpled on the grass, gasping desperately for air at the end of the trail run, I thought about what my next move should be.  I realized I probably couldn’t handle much more activity that afternoon and what I really needed was some coffee and comfort food.  I caught my breath, had some water, and headed back into Queen Charlotte on my bike.  I ended my afternoon at the famous Queen B’s coffee shop with a delicious cappuccino, some hot lunch, and a good long sit on the patio. 

Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos

As I looked out over the harbor, I felt incredibly accomplished. 

Guy Kimola / Haida Gwaii Photos

Even though I didn’t make it to Rennell Sound, I still had an incredibly active and fun day.  After a few hours of sitting there, talking with the very friendly staff and a number of locals, my energy levels were back up again and I was ready for a Saturday night in Queen Charlotte. 

Mary Helmer


Contact Us

Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-559-8316

Sandspit Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250.637.5362

Port Clements Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-557-4576

Masset Visitor Centre

email: | telephone: 250-626-3982

Haida Gwaii Tourism

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Super Natural British Columbia