Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Skeena Swim Blog

Sunday, August 09: Ali on Kitselas Canyon and the celebration at Kitsumkalum

Hi, it’s Ali calling in the blog for Skeena Swim for August 9 from Terrace.

I’m calling in a little bit late; we had a late night last night; the celebration went a little bit long. By the time we got to the house of Rachel Slanina-Moulder, who has generously loaned her house to us in her absence, it was after nine oclock. We were all very happy to get here. It’s a beautiful house; a bit strange to be at a house in the suburbs, but wonderful just the same that people continue to extend hospitality to strangers like us.

The day started at Kitselas Canyon, which for me was a bit of a milestone. I had visited the Canyon with Brian in May when we did our school tour and we sat on the rocks thinking “we’ll be here in a little whille” and we couldn’t conceptualize what it was going to be like. So to swim through it was yesterday was quite something. There was an area called Shaman’s whirlpool which I felt was a personal crucible, and I was allowed to pass through it unharmed. I take that as a good sign. The people of Kitselas showed us great generosity by allowing us to stay in their longhouse overnight, which was a super gesture and one that was definitely appreciated. We were met by Hatha, from Skeena River Expeditions, and he provided two rafts for people in a flotilla, so many people were able to join us. We were also joined by several kayakers, including Kimmy’s husband Chris Roberts. It was great to meet him and understand what kind of special guy gets to hang out with a woman as special as Kimmy.

When we got in to Kitsumkalum, Kim was there wating for us and welcoming us in with the Kitsumkalum chiefs and matriarchs and the Terrace Women’s Drumming Circle. They put on an excellent show and were very hospitable. The Mayor of Terrace was there to greet us. It was a big celebration and was worth swimming upstream in the Kalum to get to.

A special thanks again to Hatha and Terry who joined us from Prince Rupert with his war canoe. And an extra special thanks to Laura Bakermans who has saved me by loaning me her drysuit — mine gave up the ghost yesterday.


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Posted by Arleigh  on  08/10  at  04:05 PM

Hi Ali! You go Girl!
What a thrill it was to be on the old bridge at Terrace yesterday with more of our family and your folks, too, all of us shouting for amazing you, that marvellous lead kayak, the whole team and all accompanying you! Wow! Thanks for the wave! You all went past sooo quickly! Your Mom and I choked up of course! I’m sure the Mulder family will all be blessed by their generosity to share with you ‘strangers’- and proud of your accomplishment! Blessings galore on your final days! See you in Rupert with hugs and high fives!

Posted by Terry  on  08/10  at  04:40 PM

Hi Ali,
What a great inspiration to spend Sunday with you on the River courtesy of Hatha and crew.  To see you swim all that time downstream and then to have the strength to power upstream on the Kalum was purely magical.  I had the opportunity to talk with your dad and brother for awhile and realized were some of your strength has come from.  What you and your team are doing for the River is truly wonderful and cannot but help keep the cause in the forefront of peoples mind.  Good luck on your final leg and we look forward to seeing you again some day.

Posted by Christy  on  08/10  at  07:15 PM

Hi Ali,
I just finished listening to your interview on CFNR radio, with Lynn at Kitselsa Canyon.  You sounded amazing!  I was remembering our little conversation the morning you dropped off Jo at my house and how we talked about how you were going to navigate through the canyon. I’m so proud of you and what you are doing. 
For generations many people travelled up the Skeena to find homesteads and a better way life, including my great grandfather in 1913. All have shared incredible stories of their journeys and now our generation has a great story too. “The girl who swam with the fishes.”
The children and I, from time to time, visit the web site and watch you jump in at the head waters.  I do believe that they would had loved to jumped in with you.  They all gather around the computer with their eyes wide open, watching you as you take your leap.  You are an inspiration to us all-big and little.

So stay strong and in the words of the little ones——“Go Ali Go!”

Our thoughts are with you!

Posted by Lynne Dunford  on  08/11  at  01:36 PM

Hi Ali,  We have all been watching your videos.  You are amazing.  We all got together last night for Mom’s 75th birthday and we all talked about you.  Your ears must have been burning! We are all so very proud.  I come to tears whenever I watch your videos. Wish I could be there with you and the family.  I am with you in heart!  Hugs and Love to all of you.  Be Safe!  Love from your cousin Lynne smile

Posted by christy wilson  on  08/11  at  03:07 PM

I am so amazed, inspired and joyed by what you are doing! Thank you for doing this Ali and all the best in the final stretch….
From a northerner at heart (grew up in Kitimat, great friends of Slanina’s and Mulders), a long time swimmer, an often fisheries biologist and a total environmentalist!