Pulling Together ends in Alberni

A mild mannered RCMP officer was the organizational force behind the successful 2011 Pulling Together canoe journey, which ended in Alberni last week.

Members of the Tseshaht First Nation paddle their canoe along the Somass River. The Tseshaht were part of the Pulling Together Canoe Journey

Members of the Tseshaht First Nation paddle their canoe along the Somass River. The Tseshaht were part of the Pulling Together Canoe Journey

A flotilla of traditional and fibreglass canoes from as far away as Hobbema, Alta. coursed through the Somass River making their way to Clutesi Haven Marina.

As their paddles sliced quietly through the water for the last few times, the canoes marshalled at the marina wharfs.

Tseshaht and Hupacasath officials welcomed the paddlers and with that the 2011 Pulling Together canoe journey came to an end.

The 2011 Pulling Together Canoe Journey involved 21 canoes representing police and other public service agencies, First Nations and youth from across the province.

The journey started in Tofino on July 2 and ended in Alberni last Friday afternoon.

At Monday’s city council meeting Coun. Kenn Whiteman was acknowledged for his part in helping organize the journey.

But Whiteman quickly gave credit where credit was due.

“Const. Boyd Pearson did an amazing job of organizing this,” Whiteman said. “He should be acknowledged at a future meeting.”

Pearson is one of the invisible people behind the scenes who made the machinery that was the journey move – and it didn’t always move the way it was supposed to.

“We didn’t paddle today because it got too windy,” Pearson said.

The paddlers detoured from Harbour Quay where they were going to depart from, and instead launched from Tseshaht Park and the Paper Mill Dam.

Herding 21 canoes and more than 200 paddlers every day and paddling in the open waters were the most daunting challenges during the trip, Pearson said.

“I’m still trying to catch my breath.”

Pearson amassed an archive of memories of the trip, but his most poignant happened on the second to last day of the trip.

The canoe pullers were camped on a beach in Pacheena and were hosted by the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.

The pullers stopped on an island, where they watched whales in the water and youth horse around on the beach.

Pearson was a canoe paddler during the last two canoe journeys.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com