Photo: Coho Flats

(Credit: Carly Goddard)

Kitimat, BC — Between the ages of 8 and 12 I lived in a town in the Northwest of BC called Kitimat. It's a small town, driven by the aluminum and pulp and paper industry, yet nestled among spectacular mountains, forests, rivers and the Douglas Channel that connects to the Pacific.

One of my fondest memories is of hiking with my school, or with the Girl Guides to the Kitimat River to go fishing and generally spend the day outside. The hike through the Coho Flats forest trail to the Kitimat River was walking distance from my elementary school, and steps from my home. It was a fairly short hike (my child's memory recalls about 45-60 minutes of easy hiking).

I recall making my way through the woods with friends, our fishing rods, and our backpacks. We'd sing away, talk, and be ridiculous, all the while pots or pans clanking to let the bears know we were coming through (with 20+ children running through the woods I think they knew anyway). At the end of the hike we came to the Kitimat River; from my memory, a beautiful, rugged, pebbly bank away from everything, where you could skip rocks on the calm river, fish for coho and other numerous species of fish, make a fire, and then eat the catch! It was an awesome day. There was nothing quite like spending the day with friends outdoors, and then be served a delicious fish meal for lunch cooked compliments of your teacher or Girl Guide leader.

I only made the connection today that I, too, have this Pacific Ocean story. The waters that I hiked to and fished at are connected to this ocean and so are its inhabitants. Now that I'm a mother to a little girl, these memories have become more vivid, and my desire to share these kinds of experiences with her have become more vital.

By Jennifer Rodriguez

Port Moody

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