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rainy day

So far I have been extremely lucky with the weather; in ten weeks I haven’t had a really wet day, only the occasional shower. Today, rain pours down without pause. I ride into the Nisga’a Lava Bed Valley around lunch time only dimly aware of the tumbled chaotic rock forms created by the solidified lava flow and which produce an eerie surreal landscape.

Riding in to the Nisga'a Lava Bed Valley.

Riding into the Nisga'a Lava Bed Memorial Park.

At the Nisga’a Campground I circle the campsites which are set in a thicket of tall rainforest trees. As usual, the sites are designed with the needs of RVs, rather than tents, in mind and the hard gravel patches are swimming in water. Setting up my tent or trying to cook something to supplement the slice of pizza I consumed at New Aiyansh in this environment is an unattractive prospect.

I return to the entrance and take shelter underneath the information board outside the Visitor Centre and start to cook some ramen noodles. People wander past  from the car park opposite and  give the information above my head a cursory perusal.

A woman approaches to ask if I would like to accompany her and her daughter for a drive in their car. The only real alternative, in the current conditions, is to continue sitting under the information board and so I agree on the proviso that she doesn’t mind waiting until I finish cooking and eating my noodles.

Those tasks completed I lock my bike and go to the woman’s car – a large white four-door pickup truck. Laura, her daughter, is about 14, a pretty blonde girl, sitting in the front of the vehicle. She gets out to let me into the rear of the cabin and I peel off my dripping wet-weather gear before climbing in. Sharon and Laura are from Alberta and spend their holidays each year exploring different parts of Canada and Alaska.

We set off on the road that goes to the coast sixty kilometres away, passing through a number of First Nation communities on the way. As we drive around the villages, Sharon comments disparagingly about the state of the houses and I find myself wishing that I was still alone on my bike in the rain. She has an anecdote to share on everything that we see which she uses to illustrates her poor opinion of First Nations people, none of which I can match with my own experiences and conversations with the local people.

I return to my bike somewhat dispirited by my afternoon with Sharon and Laura. Sharon’s ignorant bigotry left a very sour taste in my mouth. I try hard to reconcile her blatant racism with her obvious kindness to me but I fail to find the connection. The rain holds off for long enough for me to put up my tent and cook in relative comfort and I crawl into my tent. The rain pours down again relentlessly all night.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. julie | September 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Your writing gets better and better – it is a fascinating read, only marred by having to scroll up the page for the right sequence rather than down. The country sounds stunning – as your photos illustrate so well. and your descriptions of people are very witty and amusing. You really have the makings of a book here-it is so good! I look forward to each episode with keen interest. I hope you found the hot springs! Sending lots of love xx

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