Friday’s ceremony was poignant for former guardian Edward Johnson of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
“The trail was a huge part of my life,” said Johnson, who was a guardian from 1998 to 2009. He works in Port Alberni now, and lives in Nanaimo.
He told a story about conversing with his cousins, who were driving to Lake Cowichan, where they were taking the six-week-long guardian training course. He was waiting on the side of the road for the crummy to arrive to take him to his forestry job, cork boots in hand.
“This conversation was happening at 5:30 in the morning…I had a choice to make,” he recalled.
“I took the jump.”
He said it was a move he never regretted.
“When I worked out there I felt connected. I felt strong. I felt things out there.”
When Johnson first started working on the trail he was in Ditidaht territory. He said he spent a lot of time at Clo-oose.
“I swear at night I heard music, I heard singing.”