I moved back to the north the same summer that COVID hit and the rainfall was higher than any summer on record. It was challenging to feel settled – to feel like I was actually home – when socializing was off the table, and the weather was putting a damper on most outdoor activities. This summer I was restless, with nowhere to go; I was craving time with old friends, when social protocol was dictating I stay at home. I like spending time alone, but even I was feeling the ramifications of the pandemic and the never-ending rain.
I had one distraction at least: I had scheduled a trip to Vancouver to pick up my motorcycle. I had every leg of the trip planned out. I would pick up my bike in Delta, drive it to the shop to have it checked over and the oil changed, and head over to Vancouver Island. From there I would head north through Campbell River to visit friends, then get on the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, where I would stay in my favourite B&B before enjoying the stunning views all the way to Hazelton. It was perfect, and I had never needed a trip like this more. But 2020 had other plans.
My motorcycle needed much more work than I expected and wouldn’t be ready for 3 weeks. I unsuccessfully tried to convince myself this was an opportunity to accept what can’t be changed. But the outcome wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay. I bought an expensive last-minute flight home, and cancelled almost all my bookings after a good cry in my cheap, and very shady, hotel. But there was one booking I couldn’t bring myself to cancel.
In Prince Rupert, there sits a quaint little B&B right on the water (or rather over the water) in Cow Bay. The Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast has been a favourite of mine for years. It all started when my son and I took our first family holiday when he was 7; riding the train from Hazelton to Prince Rupert, staying in the Eagle Bluff and then back home on the train. It was this booking that I couldn’t bring myself to cancel.
After my expensive flight home (did I mention the flight was expensive?) I updated the booking for two people, picked up my son in Hazelton and we headed out on the beautiful drive to Prince Rupert. Dinner at Opa Sushi was a must, and the incredible waterfront view and peaceful sleep was topped only by breakfast. After discovering that I had many food allergies, Blue, the B&B manager, texted me the night before to make sure she could “make the best breakfast ever” – and it certainly was!
Silk Dragon Robe and Untitled Raven’s Tail Weaving
The trip was filled with memories from the first time I had travelled there with my son: His faux-hawk at the barber shop, the fish and chips place that is no longer in business, buying Bridge to Terabithia from the movie rental store and visiting the Museum of Northern BC. I hadn’t planned to go to the museum again, but we had some time in the morning before leaving and my son wanted to go. I’m so glad we did. What an incredible treasure of the north!
A stunning sculpture in the lobby of the Museum of Northern BC by Nisga’a artist Ron Telek. The sculpture portrays the cremation of a shaman. The flames are releasing his spirit and the spirits that helped him to heal the sick while he was alive.
A trip to Prince Rupert isn’t complete without a stop in Terrace for groceries and a little more art-seeing (i.e. sightseeing but with art!). We stopped into the Terrace Art Gallery to see the Skeena Salmon heARTs Show on display, and then happened upon Raven Tacura, the artist collective doing collaborative murals in the north. If I ever doubted the vibrancy of the art scene in the north, this trip was evidence that it is alive and well. It renewed my passion for small-town northern art, and all the creative ways it makes it shows up in our communities.
The artist collective, Raven Tacura, busy at work!
And that concludes my northern adventure, but I know you are all anxiously waiting for a conclusion to my motorcycle dilemma. I did make it back down to Vancouver to pick it up eventually (just in time to park it for the winter!). And even though I had to ride it up the long way, there was plenty of time to think about how blessed I am to have roots in the north, where art comes from a place of community, culture, and collaboration.
Our family trip to Prince Rupert in 2007