Clyde Young, tour guide for Copper Sun Journeys

The joy of being an author is the research for my young-adult adventure novels that sometimes involves fun trips.

I just returned from several days in Bella Coola, British Columbia, 267 miles (429 kilometers) northwest of Vancouver in the Great Bear Rainforest. With my traveling companion Deb, I hiked waterfall trails and saw grizzly bears, ancient petroglyphs and giant old-growth cedars. We also visited art galleries and the wharf, and I spoke at two schools: Bella Coola Elementary and Sir Alexander Mackenzie High School, where the students were lively and inquisitive and the teachers were super welcoming. (Thanks Katy Best, James Peckett and Jeremy Baillie at Sir Alexander Mackenzie School; sorry I didn’t get around to snapping a photo!) Though regretfully I had no time to visit the Nusatsum Learning Centre, I dropped off a book there.

Jake Curry, Terry Johnson and Tasha Hans at Bella Coola Elementary, where I spoke on Monday.

But the highlight of the trip was a cultural tour of old-growth cedar trees by Clyde Young, top photo above. He sang and drummed for us, and explained all the ways cedar was used by the Nuxalt people over the past millennia, all while walking in a stunning grove of giant, mossy trees. (I couldn’t help being bemused that his handsome drum case, decorated with buttons and traditional motifs, had a can of bear spray attached to it.) He’s one of the tour guides at Copper Sun Journeys, which I highly recommend.

Ancient petroglyphs

My next novel will be set in the Great Bear Rainforest and I feel I’ve returned with rich material and contacts (and no bear bites). So it’s back to work now!