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Grouse Mountain One-Day Fieldtrip Report
On Tuesday, 9 January 2018, 39 students and three staff members participated in the Grouse Mountain Snowshoe and Hiwus Feasthouse Cultural experience. This group from Windsor Secondary school comprised international students and ambassadors, all engaged in a new program offered to schools on Grouse Mountain.
Students gathered at the valley station by 8:30 am, where they were met by three guides from Grouse Mountain, who issued staff and students their tickets for the day. The day's program included a film at Theatre in the Sky, followed by a one-hour hike along groomed snowshoe trails, and a two-hour cultural presentation at the Hiwus Feasthouse.
The first activity of the day was the screening of the film "Xtremely Wild", which documents the lives of Grouse Mountain's two orphaned grizzly bears, Coola and Grinder, currently in their 17th hibernation period at the Grouse Mountain Endangered Wildlife Refuge.
Following the film, the group filed out of the chalet to glorious sunshine. Next was the much-anticipated snowshoe event of the day. Guides issued the snowshoes to the members of the group, being careful to explain the optimum ways of fastening the shoes to ensure maximum comfort during the one-hour hike.
At this point the group was divided in two for the hike along the trail. The trail follows a clearly-marked route through the trees. Once all snowshoes had been returned to the rental office, the group hiked back to the feasthouse, where a two-hour presentation followed, under the tutelage of well-known Squamish Nation elder, William Nahanee, fondly known as Willie. Students were able to sample some typical foods that would have been enjoyed by the residents of the bighouse, including prized smoked salmon. The workshop also allowed for students to decorate a small cedar-wood paddle, similar to the ones adorning the elder's cultural regalia. Willie was careful to explain the significance to his nation of each element highlighted in the presentation.
All that remained was for students to hike back to the lodge for one last group photograph, to ensure lasting memories of a long-anticipated cultural day on Grouse Mountain, the Peak of Vancouver.