If you check out my list of goals for this year, you will see that "Attend Tribal Journey" is goal #19. This goal didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to, but I will consider it completed. Tribal Journey is a huge event where all of the tribes in our region send canoes for an annual gathering to a host tribe each summer. The tribal members literally paddle for days (weeks even depending on how far they are coming from) to participate in the event. I have often seen local tribes practicing for the event out in the bay but I have never attended the actual week-long event which is why it landed on my list this year.
Anyway, the event is being hosted by the Makah Tribe at Neah Bay this year so while I really would love to be there and watch the event, logistically it just isn't going to happen. I had to work out in that area last Friday so I drove from my home to Neah Bay hoping that at least some of the canoes had come in a bit early (the official event starts Monday). After a nearly four hour drive, mostly along beautiful windswept but super narrow and windy roads, I made it. I stopped by and talked to some friends I know who live on the reservation and got the grand tour of the places on the reservation where all of next week's events will be happening at, got a run down on the preparations the organizers have been making (like how they will be cooking and serving food for about 10,000! people and plans for medical and other emergencies), and got to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in ages. They did ask if I was coming back on Monday to volunteer but with no hotels available within a hundred mile radius, an eight-hour round-trip drive from my home, an expected 12,000 extra people who will be coming into a reservation that holds maybe 3,000 members, a tiny two lane road that I would have to be driving along with many thousands of others, and very limited facilities, I figured I would be more hindrance than help. I suspect it will be a zoo out there and I am really not a fan of overwhelming crowds. I have no doubt that it will come off well as the people who are putting the event together are really amazing, but I just decided that it would be better for all if I stay home and be one less logistic to manage. I was, however, able to watch some of the inland tribe canoes as they stopped in Pt Angeles on their way to the event so that (kind of) counts.