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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gorge Park II

A fellow Victoria blogger, "Postie," just posted a photo of the first Gorge Bridge, consisting of a few logs spanning the gap between the rocks that I showed in yesterday's photo. The photo above is taken from beneath the modern bridge. Just to my left (off camera) is a rather uninteresting looking mound of gravel. It is a shell midden over 4,000 years old, the oldest archaeological site on Southern Vancouver Island. This area was important to the Native Peoples both spiritually and materially.

This locality, here at the narrows of the Gorge waterway is a sacred place in the traditions of the Lekwammen (Songhees) Native People. It was here, at the reversible tidal falls that the spirit being Hayls transformed to stone a little girl named Camosun and her grandfather Snukaymelt ("Diving"). This act ensured the protection of the rich food resources of the Gorge - herring, Coho Salmon, oysters and ducks.

On a spirit quest individuals went for long dives into the Gorge until Camosun granted them the powers they were seeking. It was believed that only a person who practised regular spiritual cleansing rituals would gain the powers necessary to acquire success in life.

It was the spirit Hayls who created the Gorge and turned some of Camosun's people into the Garry Oaks, Blue Camas and Easter Lilies that grow along its banks. The natural foam created by the reversing tidal falls was used to wash garments to protect their wearers from drowning.

(The above quote is posted behind a fence erected to protect the midden.)
Below is a photo of the modern Gorge Bridge. The shell midden referred to above is located in a sort of cage beneath the bridge on the right side in this photo.

9 comments:

MurciaDailyPhoto and www.asthes.tk said...

I would like to be there. I think that it is a wonderful place to rest, to walk, to read a book... Wow! it's a lovely place. Thanks to show me this part of your town.

Natalie B said...

that is so cool! I love the history :)

Walker said...

Beautiful. We visited once and saw it. Lovely.

Seeing instead of looking said...

I've paddled through these narrows and I have never seen it so calm. What time of day did you take the photo?

Kris said...

And not a troll in sight!

Virginia said...

GORGEOUS photos . Oh my goodness.!

Michaela said...

Amazing! I love the how the bridge frames the rest of the shot. Terrific!

postie said...

thanks for the nice comment and link to my blog. keep up the good work

Benjamin Madison said...

Thanks all for your kind comments.

Seeing instead...: it was a little before noon but I just happened to be there at the exact moment when the tide was about to reverse direction. If you look at the first picture I posted, you can see on the left side a kind of circular calm - that's the upward moving water. On the right side the ripples mark the downward moving water.