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Down Queen’s Reach

Cruising up the last 8 miles (13 km) to the head of Queen’s Reach took us past more wonderful sights – flowing mosses hanging from the shoreline trees, basking harbour seals, an old mine carved just above the tideline and the usual mountain vistas.  On reaching the end we were the furthest distance from our house, only 50 miles (80 km) – as the crow flies – with all this amazing beauty in between.

The head of Queen’s Reach was once another village of the shíshálh.  This one was the home of the Xénichen sub-group and the village was called Hunaechin.  Mount Victoria at 6,850 feet (2,088 meters) dominates the view but an impressive Mount Alfred, 7,940 feet (2420 meters) can be seen over to the left.

Jervis Inlet Head

Queen's Reach 4

Mount Victoria

Coming back down the upper shoreline of the reach there is another set of pictographs.  These are the brightest coloured of any we found.

 

About 7 miles (11.2 km) down from the head of Queen’s Reach is the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet guarded by the Malibu Rapids.  The Malibu Rapids are another short tidal entrance that must be entered with caution and only at slack tide.  Sitting on the rocks above the rapids is the Malibu Club which is a Christian retreat centre for youth, owned by the Young Life Society.

The retreat was once the home of Thomas F Hamilton, the inventor of the variable pitch airplane propellor.  In the 1930’s Hamilton spent over $2,000,000 creating his luxury resort – building a 9 hole golf course, beaches, tennis courts, etc.  The rich and famous would fly in to stay in the luxurious, rustic setting for $250 a day.  The resort opened in 1941 but only ran for a couple of years.  When WW II broke out the resort hit a financial downturn.  It opened again from 1945 to 1950 entertaining such people as John Wayne, John F Kennedy, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  Because of the difficulty of travel and a short weather season the resort hit another downturn and closed in 1950.  Hamilton put the property up for sale in 1951 for $1,000,000.  In 1954 the Young Life Society bought the property for a reported $300,000.  It now runs as a year round camp.

Inside the rapids is the famous 5 mile (8 km) long Princess Louisa Inlet with the 120 foot (37 meter) Chatterbox Falls at the end.  The area around the falls is part of the Princess Louisa Marine Park which is managed in cooperation with the Princess Louisa International Society.  As mentioned in an earlier post, 2,755 (840 meters) James Bruce Falls is to the left of Chatterbox Falls.  It is thought to be the tallest falls in North America.

Princess Louisa can be a very busy place for boats in the summer.  We didn’t visit there mainly because of that reason but also because it was late summer and the falls weren’t at their best.  Boat tours to Chatterbox Falls can be taken from Egmont in the spring and summer on the Malibu Princess.

Malibu

Malibu

Heading south down Queen’s Reach you arrive at Deserted Bay or Skwáh-kwee-em.  This was the home of the Ts´únay, another sept of the shíshálh and it was one of the largest villages of the shíshálh’s.

Deserted Bay has seen a variety of activities.  Logging started in the early 1900’s and continued throughout the years and in 1904 a salmon salting factory opened and ran until 1907.  In 1910 a slate deposit, previously used to make Indian arrowheads, was “re-discovered” and a slate quarry established but it closed in 1916.  In 1988 the Sechelt Band opened an outdoor education school at Deserted Bay on the site of an old logging camp.  It was later converted to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for a short time.

When we anchored in the bay it was absolutely still and quiet.  All we could hear was the Deserted River flowing into the bay.  A beautiful place to kayak.

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To Queen’s Reach

Continuing up the left side of Prince of Wales Reach 1.5 miles (2.4 km) brings you to the Brittain River and the start of Princess Royal Reach.  Brittain River is the site of another deserted shíshálh (Sechelt) village, Sláy-ah-thlun that was famous for it’s dugout canoe makers.  Logging has taken place in the area since the 1930’s and no trace of the village remains.

Princess Royal Reach continues to have incredible scenery with steep and unusual rock outcrops.  We found two more sets of pictographs and missed one more.  Ten miles (16 km) up the Reach you turn left around Patrick Point and enter Queen’s Reach.

We travelled another 3.4 miles (5.4 km) and anchored in front of an old homestead.  Again weather was favourable and we had a beautiful afternoon and evening there.  We kayaked a little further up the inlet and found an old logging camp with lots of discarded equipment left in the bush.  Unfortunately this was not an uncommon practice – it was cheaper to just leave the equipment rather than haul it out.

We also found lots of erratic boulders along and under the waterline.  Many of them were massive chunks of rock piled on top of each other descending into the depths.  The trees were also amazing to see, growing right down to the tideline.  These would be second growth timber as most of the accessible old growth trees in all the inlets had been logged out in earlier times.

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Jervis Inlet & Vancouver Bay

Pictograph - Vancouver Bay 1

Pictograph - Vancouver Bay 3

From Granville Bay, heading east 5.6 miles (9.2 km) you arrive on the east side of the mouth of the reaches of Jervis Inlet.  Heading north you enter the deepest fjord in British Columbia, measuring 2402 feet (732 meters) deep.  Quite dramatic when you consider some of the walls of the fjord rise over 5900 feet (1800 meters) almost straight up out of the water.  Like the other inlets in the area, Jervis Inlet was carved out by glaciers following ancient river valleys to the sea.  It is made up of three arms or reaches – Prince of Wales Reach, Princess Royal Reach and Queen’s Reach.  Each reach makes an almost right angle turn from one to the other.

Princess Louisa Reach is a side inlet off Queen’s Reach.  At the end of Princess Louisa Reach is Chatterbox Falls, a popular tourist and boater’s destination.  Near to Chatterbox Falls is James Bruce Falls, thought to be the highest waterfall in North America at 2755 feet (840 meters).

Heading north up the mouth of Jervis Inlet 7 miles (11.24 km) you will find another set of pictographs about 40 feet (12 meters) above the waterline.  Another mile further is the entrance to Vancouver Bay.  On the north side of the bay is Marlborough Peak, 5905 feet (1800 meters). Turning into the bay offers a beautiful view of Mount Churchill, 6562 feet (2000 meters) and the Vancouver River Valley.

Vancouver Bay 4

Mount Churchill and the Skwákwee-em Healing Center in Vancouver Bay

Vancouver Bay was another seasonal village of the shíshálh’s (Sechelt’s) and was known as Skwákwee-em.  As with other village sites in Jervis Inlet, Skwákwee-em was located where there was a good beach, a supply of fresh water and favourable conditions to be able sustain a village i.e food supply and flat, open space.  In the 1860’s European settler’s started to move in and Catholic missionaries arrived to ‘improve’ the lives of the locals.  Unfortunately, one of the first things they brought was a smallpox epidemic that wiped out 90% of the native population.  By the 1881 census only 167 members still survived.  It was thought it was best to gather the remaining members to one central location (Sechelt).

Father Paul Durieu converted the remaining band members to Catholicism and started the now controversial residential school system.  In 1904 a residential school was built in Sechelt and native children were taken from their homes to attend.  The children were only allowed to speak English (even to their parents) and weren’t allowed to go home.  Parents could have a supervised visit only once a week for an hour or two.  The school operated right up to the 1960’s.  All traditional native artifacts were destroyed and native ceremonies were banned.

In the meantime, the new white arrivals realized the economical benefits of the old growth timber all along the inlet shore.  Logging camps started up and the most logical sites were the Indian villages. In most cases the native habitations were razed and the camp was built over the site.  Sympathetic attitudes towards native culture was sadly lacking during this period.  I’ve read accounts of logging companies bulldozing and flattening 30 foot middens to build camp work yards.  Skeletons and artifacts from native burial sites and villages were taken with little thought and sold or given to museums.  This continued right up to 1960 when the British Columbia Archaeological & Historical Sites Act came into law.

Vancouver River Valley

The Vancouver River Valley

In Vancouver Bay the first logging camp was started in 1889. By 1905 there was a narrow gauge railroad running up the Vancouver River Valley to haul out logs.  Between 1926 and 1930 more than 700 men with their wives and children were living in Vancouver Bay.  By 1980 the logging was done and the valley is quiet once more.  Vancouver Bay is still part of the shíshálh (Sechelt) reserve system and in 1983 a native healing centre was started there.

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The mouth of Vancouver Bay

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Hotham Sound to Jervis Inlet

01 Harmony Islands

Approaching the Harmony Islands

Heading down the east side of Hotham Sound 4.7 miles (7.6 km) brings you to the Harmony Islands Marine Park.  These are a cluster of four small islands, two privately owned and two belonging to the park.  In the channel between the islands and the mainland there is plenty of room to anchor and stern tie to shore and it can be quite a busy place in the summer.  The largest island has a grassy area for camping and it is a great place for kayaking, snorkeling and swimming.  Towering over the islands is 4600 foot (1400 meter) Mount Calder.  The park is a wonderful place to take in the vistas of Hotham Sound.

Harmony Islands

The channel between the islands and the mainland – a very sheltered moorage

02 Friel Falls

Friel Falls – not much water flowing when this was taken

A mile south of The Harmonies is Friel Falls which plummets 1,475 feet (450 meters) down a sheer cliff onto the shore.  Very dramatic, especially during the spring melt and after heavy rains.

Granville Bay Homestead 1

Granville Bay

Granville Bay Homestead 2

At the old homestead

Two miles (3.4 km) further south is Granville Bay, the site of a lovely old homestead dating back to 1898.  This belonged to the Hollingsworth family.  At one time there were extensive gardens and apparently Mrs. Hollingsworth would play piano and entertain the local loggers and miners in grand style.  In recent year it had become an oyster farm but it was no longer working when we passed through.

Granville Bay Homestead 3

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Tzoonie Narrows Marine Park

Heading east 3.4 miles (5.4 km) up Narrows Inlet you arrive at Tzoonie Narrows Marine Park which is probably my favourite boating destination.  At 200 acres (80 hectares it is the largest park in Sechelt Inlet, encompassing both sides of Narrows Inlet.  The park is the site of Tzoonie Narrows, an 80 foot (25 meter) wide tidal channel into the upper portion of Narrows Inlet.

Remains of a 1970’s commune and remnants of logging equipment from the 1930’s lie in the bush around the park.  There is also archaeological evidence that the area was well used by the shíshálh’s (Sechelt).  On the north side of the park are the ruins of an old homestead where we found apple and plum trees along with grape vines.

There is one fire pit, one pit toilet and room for 15 tents on the more developed south side of the park.  A fairly abundant creek supplies water that can be used for cooking.  Boat anchorage is best between the shore and a tidal islet at the most easterly end of the park.

The scenery is spectacular with the mountains on the north side rising over 4,600 feet (1400 meters) from the waters edge.  A mountain backing the south side of the park measures 3,200 feet (1000 meters).  It is a beautiful area to explore by kayak.

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Misery Bay

At the mouth of Salmon Inlet kayakers and canoeists have a decision to make.  The next marine park on the south side of Salmon Inlet is Thornhill Creek Marine Park, located about 9 miles (14.4 km) from the Old Glad Tidings Camp.  It is a small campground with two tent sites on hard packed gravel, a pit toilet and creek water that must be boiled.  There is limited shelter along the way and wind can be a problem so this might be of more interest to power boaters.  We anchored at Thornhill and immediately got the anchor snagged on an old submerged logging cable.  Made for an interesting time pulling up the anchor.

Misery Falls

The reward for going this far though is seeing Misery Falls tumbling down a granite cleft into the ocean, located less than a mile on the north side of the Inlet.  Three quarters of a mile east of the falls is Misery Bay that is the site of a now deactivated logging camp.  There is an old dock that we tied up to.  Misery Bay, despite it’s ominous name, is quite picturesque and sheltered.  We walked up one of the old logging roads and found a series of falls which was a surprise to come upon.

Misery Falls (upper)

Logging has been going on in this particular area since the early 1920’s and by 1934, when the operation ended, over 7 miles (11.2 km) of railway track ran down the mountainside.  Train cars were hauled up empty up and lowered down full of logs.  This had to be done by cable because of the steep incline. There are little signs of the old operation but more recent logging has left a bit of a mess around the dock area. We just faced out into the bay and quite enjoyed our stay there.

Misery Bay

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The Old Glad Tidings Camp

Old Camp

From Nine Mile Point you now make a right and enter into Salmon Inlet.  A little over a mile up the south side of the inlet is the site of the old Glad Tidings Church Camp.  This place always leaves me with mixed emotions.  The area is absolutely beautiful but what has been done to it is very disheartening.  The property is a government Crown lease that was held by the Glad Tidings Church since the 1950’s I believe.  The church had been running it as a summer camp and had built cabins, a rustic but very attractive dining hall, a very large A-frame type structure for activities and equipment storage and numerous staff quarters.  During the summer of 1992 the camp was suddenly closed down because of health issues.

In September of 1992 I happened to be boating in the area and dropped in to see the camp.  I had just spent nine years as Property Manager/Maintenance Director at Keats Camps on Keats Island, so camp operations were of some interest to me.  The place looked as if everyone had been airlifted out with little notice.  The tables in the dining hall were still set, the covered dock had rows of life jackets hanging up.  In the staff quarters books and shoes were still beside the beds and clothes in the closets.  Already there had been some minor vandalism.  The toolroom door was broken open as was the storage building where the food was stored.  There was a backhoe in the A-frame and  if I remember correctly, a skidder.  The diesel generator building had also been broken into.  A sorry sight.

When we returned home we contacted the Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver and told them of the vandalism that we had seen and suggested that the site needed to be secured better.  They indicated that they were dealing with it.

I didn’t get back to the camp until 2008.  The dining hall had been torched (apparently by vandals in 2006) and the long dock had completely disappeared.  Most of the outbuilding were heavily vandalized.  In the A-frame the backhoe had been stripped and smashed with rocks and the entire building was in danger of collapse.  Very little was left of the diesel generator.  Once again we contacted the Glad Tidings organization, more this time to express our disgust.  We were told that they were also concerned and they were trying to formulate some sort of plan.

Very little had changed when this picture was taken in 2010 and it was obvious nothing more had been done to secure or clean up the camp site.  With my years of camp experience I know how hard it is to get funds to run and maintain a camp.  Much of the money comes through people’s tithes and donations.  It was difficult for me to see hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of resources abandoned and wasted and I think the Glad Tidings organization should be ashamed of itself.

There is conflicting information on whether Glad Tidings still holds the lease but recently there has been some very significant archaeological discoveries made in the area, in fact the camp had been built over an ancient burial site.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t an uncommon practice, especially with logging operations, prior to 1960.  It was then that the British Columbia government finally initiated the British Columbia Archaeological & Historical Sites Act.  This act made it a punishable offence to disturb or desecrate middens, burial sites, habitation sites, pictographs, etc.  Desecration is the perfect word for what I have seen happen at the church camp property and I think the government should rescind this government lease and put the land under the protection of the shíshálh (Sechelt) Nation, to the people who respect what they have and what they have been given.