Monday, August 19, 2013

By Michael

Eleanor rejoicing in the mist, wind,
and noise before the base of the
Baranof falls. 
In this traveling life, I’m always a visitor, wherever I am. I’m transient, not of the place I was, the place I am, or the place I’m going. I maintain a visitor's mindset. I walk with my head up, noticing things. I greet everyone. I try not to offend.

Up here in Northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, there are lots of First Nations/Native American communities. The first one we visited was Bella Bella, BC, where we hopped off the waterbus and onto the docks of the Heiltsuk First Nation. The air was damp and humid and we ducked into the Thistalalh library/coffee shop/community center/gift shop where we sat down, opened some books, and soaked up the local culture.

The young gal behind the counter greeted every middle-aged-and-older guy as Uncle. A group of activists held a short meeting to develop a strategy for curtailing illegal bear hunts. Two residents worked out the details of a used smart phone purchase.

We left to walk north towards the town dump; we’d heard there was a free store next to it where we might be able to score a replacement for the jacket Eleanor lost days before. Trucks passed us on the winding road and the girls picked berries from along the shoulder. Three teens, all boys, headed our way, laughing and shoving each other.

I nodded and smiled at the first, “How’s it goin’.”

He nodded and smiled, “Moe-gee-oat-eh.”

“MOE-GEE-OAT-EH.” I repeated enthusiastically, carefully extending the greeting to all three of them with a big smile.

I waited until they were out of earshot.

“Did you hear that?” I asked Windy.

“Hear what?”

“Moe-gee-oat-eh, it’s a First Nations greeting. We need to remember that.”

Windy started laughing, snorting.

“What?! What’s so funny?”

“He said to you, ‘It’s muggy out, eh?’ and you repeated it back to him like a crazy man—ohmygod I’m gonna pee my pants.”

This is an old woody that anchored near us at
Baranof. This guy is at least 100 years old.
There are a lot of boats like this up here, some
private, many doing charters, micro-cruise ships.
They're all pretty.

These are natural hot springs at Baranof,
right next to this raging river of glacial
melt that drains from nearby Baranof Lake.
These springs are just a short hike from the falls
where Eleanor was rejoicing in the first pic.


  1. Hilarious! Accents can throw you even when speaking the same language. :-D

    The waterfall and hotsprings look amazing!

    (Just added your blog to my bloglovin feed, look forward to following your adventures.)

  2. Mark likes to throw people off by saying "Go boil yer head" quickly. So many people think its Scots Gaelic. I will admit that this is usually believed by folks in the Deep South of the US, at the pub who have been there for a bit.

  3. Too funny! Having worked on native reservations myself, I could understand that sometimes the accent can throw you off. Great story though! :)

    The pics of the waterfall and hotsprings are amazing. Keep the fantastic posts coming.


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