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Dentalia Shells
These thin, tubular mollusks formed the currency of commerce throughout the Pacific Northwest as long as 3000 years ago. Pre-European civilization is often considered a barter economy, with, for instance, coastal tribes swapping oolichan grease directly for prized Oregon obsidian. Commodity traders, however, could rely on this wampum to close a transaction when interest in the goods was decidedly one-sided. Called hykwa in Chinook jargon, dentalia shells possessed all the necessary attributes of money, being portable, recognizable and durable but rare and desirable enough to foster trade. Being available in a variety of sizes, the tusk-like shells were even divisible into small change. Professional traders are known to have tattooed measuring lines on their forearms as a handy calculator of individual shell values. Only a handful of groups, including the Nuu-chah-nulth in the vicinity of Tofino, possessed dentalia in quantities sufficient enough to make them wealthy. Harvesting the deep water mollusks was no easy undertaking however. From a dugout canoe a long, broom-like apparatus was thrust straight down into the muddy sea bottom then retrieved. With any luck a shell or two would be trapped amongst the stiff twigs at the end of the handle. Dentalia were also ostentatiously displayed as symbols of wealth and power in the form of body adornments. Perhaps most recognizable are the breast plates invariably worn by cheesy Hollywood Indians.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
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07
Feb
2007
argaiv1913
Baden-Powell Centennial Trail E-mail
(17 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Introduction
A project initiated by the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail was constructed in 1971 to commemorate British Columbia's first 100 years as a province. This 41.7-km trail stretches from Horseshoe Bay in the west, across the south-facing slopes of the North Shore Mountains to Deep Cove in the east.

Most of the trails on Canada's rugged west coast have a lot of vertical mixed in with their horizontal. This trail is no exception. Over the course of the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail you can expect to encounter nearly 5 km of elevation change. You'll climb 2438 metres and lose slightly more, 2530 metres, on the downside. Nearly half of your elevation gain will be in the first section alone.

The trail is readily accessible at many points along its length using public transportation and is best undertaken over a number of days. The Baden-Powell Trail is especially popular in the springtime for pre-season conditioning while most hiking routes in the province of are still under snow. The route cuts across a large number of administrative areas. For that reason you will find great variety in the quality of maintenance and signage along the way. Though closed to mountain bikes expect to encounter cyclists at any point on the trail. Keep in mind that if you choose to complete any sections of the trail in the opposite direction from those described below your time could vary considerably depending on the slope.

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Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
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