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Cycle Touring
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" Exit, pursued by a bear. "
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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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Buntzen Lake Introduction E-mail
(6 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Access: Click for details on Getting to Buntzen Lake.

Buntzen Lake, on the far side of Burrard Inlet, has been an important source of hydroelectric power for the Lower Mainland since 1903. More than a source of power though, Buntzen Lake Reservoir is the centrepiece of a host of recreational activities attracting more than half a million visitors each year. Trout fishing, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking are all popular pursuits in the park.

If trout fishing is your objective Buntzen Lake is well-fished but is well-stocked too. In cooperation with the BC Fish and Wildlife Branch, BC Hydro raises and releases 15-20,000 catchable trout each year. Non-aficionados will be pleased to note that the Anmore General Store at the entrance to the park sells worms, as a limited selection of fishing tackle. Under new management as of 2008, they no longer carry fishing licenses.

Overload: With just 15 centimetres of freeboard and not enough life jackets this canoe is an accident waiting to happen.
Canoeing on Buntzen Lake

Canoes, kayaks and mountain bikes can be rented from the store as well. Drop in to the store to take care of the paperwork and pick up life jackets, paddles and so on. For those who arrive by bus, staff at the store will shuttle you down to South Beach where your boats are waiting.

South Beach, adjacent to the main parking area, is the hub of the more sedate forms of recreation. For that reason South Beach is often as crowded as the city streets left behind on a hot summer day. Hiking and mountain biking trails radiate from the main picnic site. Hikers will be pleased to note that trails in the vicinity are numerous, offering a variety of hiking experiences for all levels of fitness. At the easy end of the scale Buntzen Lake offers everything from a simple lakeside stroll to longer rambles over fairly even terrain.

Hard core hikers won't be disappointed either. Trails up to and along the ridges surrounding Buntzen Lake can be challenging and even difficult at times. Among them, the popular group of routes known collectively as the Halvor Lunden Eagle Ridge Trail are treated individually in the next few pages. Click "Next" below for the lowdown on individual trails.

For information on Horseback Riding in Buntzen Lake Recreation Area visit this link.

Buntzen Lake Recreation Area closes at dusk. If your group arrived by car be sure you have enough time to complete your hike before the gate is locked. If you arrive by bus keep in mind that the last bus leaves Anmore before 7 pm.



Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
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