Exploring Haida Gwaii
By Savannah Stuart
Haida Gwaii is often referred to as the Northern Galapagos- this is because of its beautiful lush forests meeting the edge of the Pacific Ocean. From Chanterelle scavenging in late summer, salmon runs in the fall, and the beautiful snow-capped mountains in the winter, Haida Gwaii is worth the rain and clouds many times over.
Following are some of the popular attractions on Haida Gwaii.
Christian White’s longhouse in Old Masset: Christian White is a well-known Haida artist that carves traditional Haida totem poles to argillite. His longhouse is a must visit place in the community, as it is a gathering place for many different groups and occasions.
Murals in downtown Masset near “The Ground” at Collison Avenue and Main Street. The Ground is a great café in downtown Masset that has great treats, specialty coffees, as well as lunch specials!
The Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay in Skidegate: The Haida Heritage Centre is home to the award-winning Haida Gwaii Museum and the Kay Bistro. The Bistro is open during the week at lunch time and has many amazing dishes. The museum holds amazing exhibits focusing both on Haida history as well as the natural history of the islands.
Balance Rock in Skidegate: This is a beautiful and spiritual place to visit. It is asked that you do not touch or disturb this rock but simply admire its presence. It is accessible driving out of Skidegate off the Yellowhead; keep your eyes peeled for the sign on the right side of the road. The other well known “balanced rock” in North America is located in Arches National Park, Utah. Haida Gwaii’s balance rock is a product of glacial retreat after the ice age. It is a wonder that the rock is still perched in such a position even though constantly hit by crashing waves.
The Queen Charlotte docks and Queen B’s Café. You are able to access the docks from the road and stroll along them as you please. Queen B’s is the main hub in Queen Charlotte for lunch, snacks, and a great cup of coffee! There is lots of patio seating for the sunny days outside as well as many comfy couches inside for the rainy ones.
Tarundl Creek: The creek is easily accessible by trail and a great place to watch the salmon run in the months of September and October. There are five main species of salmon that you will see in coastal BC; the Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye. The salmon you will see the most of at Tarundl Creek are Chum salmon, who begin their travel upstream in early October. Their normal light pink colour slowly decays as they expel energy moving upstream.
The Sleeping Beauty Trail. The hike is absolutely stunning, featuring many man made steps and ropes to assist your hike up. There is even a small lake in the bowl that you can jump in (if it’s not too chilly). Here is a link to Haida Gwaii Tourism's blog on the hike http://www.gohaidagwaii.ca/directory/detail/sleeping-beauty-trail. You can also check out the multiple trails accessible in this trail system at http://www.bceh.com/haida-gwaii/parks/sleeping/
Explore and enjoy all that Haida Gwaii offers!