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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
argaiv1572
Lynn Loop E-mail
(10 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   
Access: Getting to Lynn Headwaters
Level: Easy
Distance: 5.7 km r/t
Time: 2½ h
Elevation Change: 250 m
Map: 92 G/6
Season: April to Nov

At 5.7 km, Lynn Loop is slightly longer and a somewhat steeper than the former stroll. In order to avoid climbing the switchback sections at the top end of the trail it is recommended that you complete the trail in a counter-clockwise direction. If so, expect the first half of the hike to wind through a mature, second generation forest while the return trip is more open, following the banks of Lynn Creek. Pause a moment to cool your toes here: but remember your toes and everyone else's have rendered the water undrinkable.

Be Bear Aware: Lynn Headwaters is home -- you are the invasive species -- to both black bears and cougars. Neither wants an encounter with that nasty species, homo sapiens. Be alert at all times, travel as a group and possess foreknowledge of how to react when encountering these magnificent creatures on their own turf.
Bear Advisory Sign.

Lynn Loop Trail begins a short distance to the right [south-east] of the bridge. Watch for directional signs on the left of the road towards Rice Lake. The first half of the trail follows the high ground along a bench well above Lynn Creek. The first junction you'll encounter leads up to Lynn Peak. Take the left fork instead for a short distance until you see another side trail veering off to the right. A few minutes along this track leads to a couple of glacial erratics, giant boulders deposited by receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age. Back on the main trail you'll reach a major junction at the 3.1 km mark. Note the massive, upside-down cedar stump here. To return to where you started take the left fork 0.7 km down through a series of steep switchbacks. At the bottom you'll take a left again following Lynn Creek downstream for 1.7 km of easy hiking.

An alternative route continues along the bench land for an additional 2.4 km to the debris chute at the start of the trail to Norvan Falls and on to Grouse Mountain. Though, considerably longer, you'll drop down to Lynn Creek at a much more gradual pace. From the debris chute double back along the Cedars Mill Trail for 2.1 km before regaining the Lynn Loop Trail. Altogether, this extension will nearly double your hike to 10.3 km but the going is no more difficult than the shorter option detailed above.

bearpaw

 

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