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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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06
Feb
2007
argaiv1839
Buntzen Lake: Lindsay Lake Loop E-mail
(13 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Access: Click for details on Getting to Buntzen Lake.
Level: Challenging
Distance: 15 km
Time: 7 hr
Elevation Change: 1020 m
Season: June - October
Map: 92 G/7
Multiple-Use: Open to Mountain Bikes and Hikers Only

Popular Lindsay Lake Loop follows Buntzen Creek up to Eagle Ridge and along the ridgeline to Lindsay Lake. As you reach high ground you'll come to a fork in the trail called El Paso.

Things are looking up: Century old red cedar stumps, many hosting a new generation, bear the scars of springboard logging throughout the Buntzen Lake area. This shot was taken from inside a giant hollow stump.
Hollow Stump

Take the left fork through old-growth forest past five different westward facing viewpoints. At Lindsay Lake the trail loops back following a different route through a sprinkling of mountain tarns. At El Paso once again you'll regain the main route back to the park.

bearpaw

 

Comments 

 
0 #2 linda 2010-11-04 00:32
I liked this article very much. I think that you and I may have the same interest.
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+2 #1 Guest 2009-10-22 15:29
very nice - did it today (Oct 22, 2009) in misty conditions and saw a family of deer near a stream just south of a lookout called "west point". Very magic. Lake district trails starting to flood. very wet. 6 hours exactly.
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