Welcoming the new canoe
Springâ€™s presence is not the only thing that North Cascades Institute is welcoming at the Environmental Learning Center this season.
As the season continues to reveal itself more each day, whether it be through the scent of black cottonwood blossoms dancing on a wind from Diablo Lake or the more frequent blue skies serving as a backdrop for the steep, snow-coated hillsides of Pyramid and Colonial Peaks, an even newer welcoming has taken place in the North Cascades.
On March 16th, for the spring staff retreat, a plethora of Institute staff from both up river and down valley gathered on the shores of Diablo Lake to welcome the Instituteâ€™s newest family memberâ€”the big, BIG canoe. This 36-foot canoeâ€”made by Clipper Canoe in Abbotsford, British Columbiaâ€”holds up to 18 paddlers on any given excursion. Its black exterior, red interior and wolf-like decorative bow are indicative of the traditional design and coloration of canoes in the Coast Salish culture.
(Title) The graduate students travel in the new big canoe, Photo by Saul Weisberg (Above) The new canoe tests the waters of Diablo Lake, Photo by Christian Martin
The welcoming ceremony commenced with a poem read by the Instituteâ€™s Executive Director, Saul Weisberg, followed by a communal toast. Staff gathered in both of the Instituteâ€™s big canoes for a welcoming first paddle on Diablo Lake. Shanty singing and laughter took place as both canoes took part in a friendly race from the Learning Center to Hidden Cove and back.
A contest is currently underway, among Institute staff and graduate students, in naming both of the big canoes. For the time being, they float happily on the waters of Diablo Lake, eagerly awaiting adventure from this spring and summerâ€™s program participants.
If you are interested in exploring the North Cascades with the new big canoe, check out our Family Getaways, Diablo Downtime, Base Camp and other Learning Center Programs.