Monday, August 17, 2015
Vagabonding on Dangerous Ground: Stone Rings, Glaciers, and "Dinosaurs" on the Coast of the Salish Sea
Our vagabonding trip along the Cascadia Subduction Zone involved a desire to spend most nights camping, but we now we had reached Canada, our gear was all wet, and we were in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Victoria. We decided to spend a few days in the comfort of a hotel and dry out a bit.
Victoria is an architecturally scenic city, but it is also a city of geology and archaeology. Some of the best parts are found in city parks like Beacon Hill and a series of shoreline green areas (although not so green in this dry year). We spent some time here last year, but I was flabbergasted to find I had missed an obvious link to the past that had been in plain view. It was a group of stone rings on the slope of Beacon Hill above Finlayson Point, right next to Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The stone rings were burial sites of the First Nation Songhees people. When Europeans established the city in the middle 1800s, there were several dozen of these rings on the hill, but the new colonizers were not particularly interested in preserving evidence of the past. They removed most of the stones and used them elsewhere. By the 1980s only four rings remained on the slope below Beacon Hill, hidden from sight by a thick growth of vegetation. In 1986, the parks department removed the vegetation, and then bulldozed the stone rings to facilitate mowing. They didn't realize what they were doing. Archaeologists directed to crews to replace the stones as best as could be remembered, and there were promises to protected the site and to provide interpretive signage. A low fence surrounds the rings, but when we were there, I didn't see any signs explaining the site.
check out my story at Geotripper's California Birds).
fantastic. It really is a wonderful spot to gain an appreciation of the regional geography. The Olympic Mountains were visible across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and I'm told that Mt. Rainier is visible on the clearest days (it's over 130 miles away). The entire city of Victoria spreads out to the south.
heretical review of the place here). The following day we were going to be seafarers once more, crossing the Strait of Georgia onto the Canadian mainland, and the Sea to the Sky Highway. I was anxiously watching the weather, because we traveled there last year, and never saw it because of low overcast conditions. What would we would see?