Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Skeena Swim Blog

Friday, July 31: A challenging day of swirly water, hard oaring, and smoke from fires

[Transmitted by satellite phone]

“>Click here to listen to the audio file of Ali’s blog entry.

Hi Friends of the Spirit of the Skeena Swim 2009. It’s Ali, it is July 31st, and it’s my good friend Wes Martin’s birthday. And I wanted to mention him because Wes pretty much paid for today. He made it possible for us to be out on the water by donating a huge day of work for E.L.F. silviculture, which the company then matched. It was enough to get us down from our camp last night at Kuldo all the way to just below the confluence of the Babine River.

We’re camped on a beautiful island, and we’ve seen our first cedars of the trip. The day was a challenging one, a long day of about 35 kilometres. We did it in about four and a half hours, but it was a tough slog through swirly, boiling, challenging water. The rafters had to oar pretty hard, and I was pretty challenged by getting through whirlpools. It was a long day.

[Above: Video footage of Ali and crew going through rapids just downstream of the the Kuldo Bridge. Courtesy Incite Media.]

The first thing I noticed when we turned the corner just downstream from the Babine confluence was the forest fire at Shegeshe [spelling?]. And it got me thinking about natural processes and how nature would renew itself. And it made me think of how fortunate we are that the upper Skeena is so wild and untouched and acts as a filter — sort of the lungs and liver, if you will — of the whole watershed, and balances out the activities of day-to-day life and industry in the lower half of the Skeena. It made me ever more grateful of the conditions that the upper Skeena currently enjoys, and I hope continues to enjoy. It’s the reason we’re doing this swim; to raise awareness of the state that it’s in, and invite all the residents to become part of the dialogue about the future so we can continue to enjoy the quality of life we do now.

Thank you, and tomorrow we head into some more whitewater. It should be a big fun day. We’ve got the kids from YOW (Youth On Water; a program of Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition) with here now — they joined us in the afternoon — and everybody’s pretty excited.

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Posted by Brent Lamb  on  08/01  at  11:31 AM

Way to go Ali and team! Such a big journey which blows my mind! I’m working on the fire at Sediesh Creek and was hoping to cheer you on via the Salmon River FSR. I’m sure you’ll receive the charge of energy in Hazelton to push you to the sea!

Posted by Tracy O'Neil  on  08/01  at  07:04 PM

Watching this video, I am once again amazed and speechless at the awe and beauty of God’s creation.

Ali, Papa Howard would have been so incredibly proud of you. Did your Dad ever tell you, Papa taught every kid at the cottage for 2 generations how to swim?  I wish he could see you now…

Blessings from your cousin,

Posted by Alex & Jim Howard  on  08/02  at  06:27 AM

Wow, after seeing your latest blog, your father and I are blown away.  The scariest view from the top had me yelling, stop… and then I saw Chris in the blue mchine leading the pack… and the two smaller kayaks so close to you, it was like a mother keeping her child in the safety of her arms.

Your dad siblings are amazed with each blog that we look at.  You have always been trying to catch up to them.. you are now their hero Alison.  Chris and Monica, along with dad and I are humbled by your effort.  We are grateful for the team looking after you fully. 

Chris invited Monica and family, along with Jill and Dave AND Naomi’s family.  It was very hot outside so we ate indoors and had dessert in the shade at the side of the house… horses in background and two dogs climbing all over Naomi.  Wonderful day, special evening… all thoughts on you and the team.

We are all headed to Kispiox today and look forward to seeing you come through   Our love and prayers continue to surround you.  I am sure the Holy Fanily prayer group has been praying up a storm.  dad and mum   wlumtylu!!

Posted by Andrea Vickers  on  08/02  at  10:09 AM

Hello Ali,

I was moved to tears this morning as I read and watched your journey thus far.  Thank you for making a difference in my life, in the lives of our community members and in this incredible land we have the priviledge of living in.
We will be seeing you soon, Ali and cheering you on from Kispiox Park, our home on the Skeena, 4 mile bridge and Ksan.
Blessings to you and all your crew.

Posted by Ruth Wilkie  on  08/02  at  12:00 PM

Hi Ali
I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Kispiox Festival last summer while I was visiting Meagan. You are on an unbelievable adventure for a wonderful cause.  I have been reading your blog daily and watching your video and the scenery takes your breath away. It reminds you what an amazing and beautiful country we live in.

You are an inspiration to anyone that reads your blog and follows your journey. Good luck with the rest of your swim.  I will be anxiously waiting to hear from Meagan after she sees you along the way.

Posted by stellarzadki  on  08/04  at  07:58 PM

Great stuff Ali, We’re with you every stroke of the way. Your angel
goes before you and keeps you safe. Love you Stella and family