Queen Charlotte Islands: Haida Gwaii, Gwaii Haanas: adventure travel
The Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii, contains some of the most spectacular forests, wilderness, and eccentric people in the world. Here is an excerpt from IN, AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas, which speaks of just such marvelous things.
    "In the Avalon of North America- the misty and mystic Queen Charlotte Islands- I would, for the first time in my life, experience a genuine understanding of what the word 'wild' really meant. I say this with absolute sincerity, for I had been to a few of the untouched places on earth earlier in life, but never before had I seen the staggering display of Tolkienesque landforms, forests, and people as such exist in the Charlottes. It is a land unlike any other land. A world set apart from the world. A unique, thriving, ecologically astounding archipelago often referred to as the Galapagos of the north.
     I have read
The Origin of Species, and I can assure you that had Darwin voyaged to the bountiful forests of the Queen Charlotte Islands instead of the desert landscapes of the Galapagos, he would have forgotten instantly his ad hoc hypothesis based on the spurious mental constructs of survival and mutation, for he would have at once fallen to his knees in awe-struck bewilderment and been forced to accept what every scientist spends their whole life attempting to disprove- their own inexorable stupefaction.
Had The Beagle sailed north to the Charlottes instead of southward, students of biology everywhere today would be trained in the poetics of mystery and the art of appreciation, rather than the mechanistic obscurations of statistical analysis, laboratory research, vivisection, and the laughable, fascist confines of the scientific method.
     Had Darwin studied the outlandish Puffin, or the irrepressible Pigeon Guillemot, rather than the common Finch, his eyes may have been opened to the incomprehensible living spirit animating all things, instead of arriving at his inert conclusion based on the precise mathematical attrition of obsolete budgie colons.
     Darwin's essentially morbid outlook, formed on the barren rocks of the Galapagos, necessarily produced a theory whose main operating factor is death, whereas, had he set his eyes upon the thriving plenitude of nature's finest, he would have instead propounded a vision based on Life, and life's inherently vital mechanisms. For a philosophy based on 'life' belongs innately to a living universe- one which is still expanding, even after eighteen billion years! After all, the Big Bang implies a sexual super nova, not a chaste black hole; it implies a life more abundant, not a cosmos based on scarcity and struggle.
     Had Darwin not been a biologist, he would certainly have been a mortician.
     When I first arrived on the blessed isles, I walked about in a sort of disbelieving stupor that such a magnitude of life actually exists on earth. I have heard tales of visitors to the islands walking into the forests and bursting into tears, because they, like I, could not believe in the beauty and majesty that the earth has brought forth, and which has been eliminated almost everywhere but for a few isolated areas on Vancouver Island and along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska.
     To walk into one of these ancient forests is to be transported to another planet. It is to walk through a time warp, and enter Eden before the Fall.

    …my frequent sojourns to the luminescent isles were regularly peopled by a plethora of colorful locals, drifters, and eccentrics; individuals who, for one reason or another, had seen fit to step aside from the stampeding herd of manic degenerates- from civilization, that is- and venture out into the isolated and forgotten reaches where the malaise of the mob had not yet fully infiltrated.
    …From a fellow named Grant I heard about one such man, whom had been perhaps the most notorious resident to ever inhabit the islands- Jerry the Bear man.
    …Seems Jerry was a different sort of man altogether, which is to say, he was a
gentleman. Apparently he had always been set apart from the average bloke on the streets. As an adult he had gone off and spent eight years in meditation in one of the remote valleys on the island, and when he emerged from his hermitage the animals had grown to trust and love him and followed him back to town. It was there, at his house overlooking the town, that all sorts of beasts would gather, hang about, and play as if they had returned to the Garden of Eden and no one had ever heard of the Fall.
     Grant showed me pictures of crows doing antics on his porch, dear grazing in the backyard, raccoons sauntering about as if they were card-carrying citizens of the state, and, of course, bears- all living within Jerry's home. The bears were the most astonishing. Coming and going as they pleased, eating breakfast at his kitchen table- sitting up, holding cornbread like proper Victorian ladies- and sleeping on his couch.
     Grant told me that though the bears were absolutely wild, they accepted anyone whom Jerry accepted- which was everyone- and had never shown any sign of fear or hostility.
     The Queen Charlotte Islands are home to the largest black bears in the world, so we're not talking here about any scrawny, goat-sized Himalayan dancing bears- we're talking about the big boys.
     At one point there were as many as six bears coming and going as adopted members of Jerry's household, and never a problem, never an attack, never any aggression of any type. And yet this was too much for the authorities to assimilate into their neolithic heads. No one should be allowed to love and harbor such unpredictable and terrifying beasts. It was unheard of. And the uncreative, imprisoned, confounded consciousness of the cops could, in the end, no longer tolerate such a preposterous, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous event. And so one day the thick skulled gendarmes entered Jerry's house while he was away and gunned down all the bears that were peacefully hanging about in what they had come to know as their home.
     And that was too much for Jerry. The story goes that, soon after the genocide, Jerry set his house ablaze to release the massacred spirits of the bears, and a rainbow could be seen coming out of the inferno. A few days later Jerry's vehicle was found on a logging road off in the hills, destroyed as well by fire, and with a mess of what were assumed to be Jerry's bones amongst the ashes. To the authorities it was an obvious suicide, but Grant claimed Jerry was a different kind of man than that, and though the murders of his friends had been horribly grievous to him, he was still alive somewhere, and had simply gone away to where he would not have to endure the violence, brutality, and stupidity of humankind ever again. ..."

Queen Charlotte Islands: Haida Gwaii

To see more about IN, AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, click here.
Jack Haas is a wilderness explorer, world traveller, and independent researcher and writer. He shares his time between British Columbia, Hawaii, Ireland, and India.
All books by Jack Haas

Queen Charlotte Islands: Haida Gwaii





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