Welcoming the new canoe

Spring’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 Institute’s newest family member—the big, BIG canoe. This 36-foot canoe—made by Clipper Canoe in Abbotsford, British Columbia—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 Institute’s Executive Director, Saul Weisberg, followed by a communal toast. Staff gathered in both of the Institute’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.

Staff from North Cascades Institute gather on Diablo Lake, Photo by Christian Martin
Gliding across the lake water, the new canoe is welcomed, Photo by Christian Martin
A friendly race ensues as the two canoes take to the lake, Photo by Christian Martin

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 summer’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.

Photos courtesy of Christian Martin & Saul Weisberg.

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