WEST END: CANOEISTS CELEBRATE END OF PADDLE JOURNEY 2002

TAHOLAH — Fog and the smell of burning wood hung in the air Sunday morning as a few people walked along the sand looking at the tribal canoes that landed at the Quinault tribal reservation Saturday at the end of Paddle Journey 2002.

The wood was used to cook blueback fish and elk for a feast of celebration Saturday, and the aroma served as a pleasant reminder of the meal.

Twenty-one canoes pulled onto the shore Saturday afternoon, completing a journey that covered about 250 miles since it started at Port Madison on July 29.

Some of the canoes traveled longer distances over a longer time, said Donie Venske, one of the Makah tribe’s canoe skipper.

Venske said the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes from Washington state and a few from Canada started their journeys a week early as they paddled their canoes to Suquamish for the official beginning of the traditional voyage.

And, although the official journey ended with Saturday’s landing here, the Makah canoe crew, for one, will paddle off into the Pacific Ocean to return home.

“We’re going home the way we came,” Venske said Sunday morning as he shuttled people back and forth between a makeshift campground and the Taholah school where showers and breakfast awaited.

Venske said other tribes are welcome to join the northward voyage, but he wasn’t sure they would take up the offer.

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