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Megin watershed kayak trip

August 29, 2018

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I’m very lucky to own two Feathercraft folding sea kayaks. I bought my first one well over 20 years ago, a gift to myself for completing my PhD. My mom bought one a few years later – and, last year at age 87, she finally agreed she probably wouldn’t be using hers much more, and she gave it to me.

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Which means that Dave and I now have two folding boats! So here are pix from our first expedition together – taking advantage of the fact that we can pack these kayaks into a float plane. We flew in with Tofino-based Atleo Air to Megin Lake, northern Clayoquot Sound (Vancouver Island, BC), and descended the Megin River to the ocean and paddled back to Tofino – the whole trip taking a week.

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This summer was the 30th anniversary of the Sulphur Passage blockades and protests that ultimately saved the Megin watershed. It is the largest remaining intact watershed on all of Vancouver Island! Being so fortunate to travel it allowed me the opportunity to see first-hand the value of this intact and pristine watershed – from the diversity of the wildlife to the massive size of the old-growth trees!

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Above is one many giant cedars on the shores of Megin Lake, and below is me bumping my loaded kayak down the many shallows in the river (it was a very hot and dry summer – and you can see from the photos that we were affected by all the smoke from the wildfires that were ravaging the province).

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I feel intense gratitude to the people who dropped what was going on in their lives in 1988 to attend the blockades.

In so many of these environmental “fights”, a win is just temporary – the logging company or mining company or government agency will just come back and then they have to fight the fight all over again (whereas a loss is forever, the area they were fighting to protect is destroyed, and there is no reason to come back for a second fight). But in the case of the Megin, the watershed became designated as an addition to Strathcona Provincial Park – preserved for real!

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The photos above are emerging at the mouth of the Megin into the saltwater of Shelter Inlet, and then the evening view from our first oceanside campsite at Shark Creek.

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Our final three days were spent navigating the ocean in fog, and then camping on the surf-washed sand beaches of Flores and Vargas Islands.

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Here’s the Bob Bossin song No Pasarán – the anthem of those protectors of Clayoquot and the Megin, from back in those days. I still get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I hear it – thank you to all of you!

 

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