a contented smile as we arrive in Suquamish.
Suquamish: There were 84 canoes in this line, which extended on
both sides of us.
we’ve landed and had a chance to shower and rest, there is some
time to write about a few items of note.
Crew: Our Ground Crew, a team of more than a dozen helpers
led by Vicki Lowe, has been incredible. They moved camp to Port
Townsend, Port Gamble and then Indianola, and kept us fed and
aware of the locations of various amenities at each stop.
Knowing that our tents and gear would be set up and organized
for us makes such a huge difference when disembarking the canoe
after a long, tiring day on the water. Thank you ground crew!
Ground Crew stalwarts Gretchen, Vicki, Barb and Michelle
Support Boat: Enforcement Officer Andy Axelson and Natural
Resource Technician Bob DeLorm did an amazing job of guiding us,
letting us tie up for a break, towing us, and generally keeping
us safe. They both stayed in good spirits despite some rough
waters, and 20 pullers scrambling around on their small boat.
Thanks, Andy and Bob!
a puller: It is a physical and emotional challenge to pull
for multiple days running. Each of us is experiencing a
different set of aches and pains, and emotional reactions to the
day – ranging from elation to anger, fear to joy- yet each of us
knows that we must keep on paddling in order to reach our
destination. There are lessons both in teamwork and in personal
motivation in this journey.
None of us
would deny that the four days we pulled together, we experienced
some interpersonal tensions as well as some intimate, bonding
moments. The challenge is to weather all of these experiences as
they come, and focus on the shared goal of reaching each day’s
destination with relationships intact.
told us several times that there will be some clear lesson for
each of us on each journey, and that we should keep our hearts
and minds open enough to recognize those lessons when they
This is the
beach where we landed, empty after all of the canoes were
brought up onto the grass. In the distance you can see the Agate
Pass bridge that connects the Kitsap Peninsula to the north end
of Bainbridge Island.
Suquamish Tribe has done an amazing job of orchestrating a
huge event in a very small space. Hundreds of volunteers are
available to provide maps, information, food and directions.
Dozens of bus drivers shuttle us from remote locations
(including campgrounds and the vendor area) to the landing area,
where the House of Awakened Culture – the Tribe’s new community
longhouse – is located.
The House of Awakened Culture is a
longhouse with carved houseposts in each corner,
Douglas Fir beams throughout.
Suquamish made a wonderful decision to be environmentally aware
during this journey, providing metal water bottles to every
participant, and water stations at all locations to refill empty
bottles, to eliminate the massive piles of plastic bottles that
have characterized past journeys. In addition, they are using
compostable utensils and plates for food service, and rather
than providing trash and recycle bins for their meal service,
volunteers pick up used plates and take them to a recycling area
where they can insure that the food, paper, plastic and metals
go into the proper bins. Way to care for the planet, Suquamish!
Lax at Longhouse
E’owitza on the grass above the water
People wandered through the sea of canoes
“parked” on the grass in front of the House of Awakened Culture,
looking at the workmanship and artwork unique to each.