Friday, June 3, 2011

ReQua, Klamath, Oregos, & Wogé

We spent two nights at the ReQua Inn on the Yurok Reservation at Klamath, just south of Crescent City.

The mouth of the Klamath River, with the sand-spit visible on the left. (Click to see full-size.)
Wogé, in Yurok, means 'guardian spirit' (and is also the local tongue-in-cheek name for white person). This Wogé lives up to his name. As we parked our car by Sweet Grandma Lavina's gate, there were no other humans anywhere in sight. Wogé met us at his front gate, which also happens to be the top of the trail down to the beach. There was no hesitation, and also no social fussiness. He had a mission, and that was to be our guide.

Wogé took us down to the beach.

See that rock at the end of the beach? We walked past her on the way down.
She looks like a woman carrying a burden-basket.

Her name is Oregos. People pray to her and she takes their burdens away. When our host Geneva came home to live at Requa, she despaired that she might not find a partner on the reservation. So she went down to pray with Oregos. She made a list of the things she wanted in a man. 3 surfers came in from the beach, and she and her mother joked that they were the answer to her prayer. Before too long, she traveled to New Zealand, where she met Reweti, a Maori man who became the answer to her dreams.
The spit across the water was populated by various fishers.

Most were catching salmon, and thankfully we ate some of that fresh-caught salmon, beautifully prepared for our dinner by the artistic chef at the ReQua Inn. Thomas, Geneva's brother, serves a beautiful assortment of local, homegrown and wild foods. They're not cheap, but they're utterly worth the money. Some favourites of ours were the homemade yogurt, lemon-poppyseed hotcakes, the rich red salmon, the home-made mountain-tea icecream, and the acorn tart. The acorns were harvested further away and bartered for seaweed from Klamath. The Mountain Tea was locally harvested, as were the salmon, and some of the herbs and veggies. And the chicken was smoked that day as "a bit of an experiment" behind the Inn. All were delicious.
The fishers were catching the fish along the edges, laying nets in the eddies. The fish swim up in the eddies, because it's easier to get up the stream and to escape the sea lions who wait in the centre of the river to catch their meals. This particular sea lion was using the fishers' strategy, and was only about 15 feet from the shore.
We also saw our first up-close pelicans!

They seemed to be the most personable birds we'd ever met! We didn't get much closer than this, but the way they stood around just looking at us was fascinating!

Wogé used to be Reweti and Geneva's dog, but their first daughter TeMaia was allergic to him, so he went to live with Sweet Grandma, who lives in the house her grandfather built, near the water. After Wogé showed us around, introduced us to all his special games (chewing sticks, jumping on waves, barking at waves, etc.) he waited for us. When it was time for us to go, he led us back up the path. The neighbours' dogs barked at us, so he went and got them, somehow convinced them to stop barking, and brought them over to introduce to us. He sat patiently while they interrogated us. Then, as we were leaving, he stood by to watch, before heading back to his house.

1 comment:

  1. <3
    What an adventure! And such a gracious and giving host and guide you had in Woge! :)


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