All Photos Cece M. Scott

My friends and I had been planning a very special and unique adventure while in Haida Gwaii, an archipelago canvas of islands that Mother Nature created on what must have been one of her finest and most spiritual of days.

To get a true sense and appreciation of the Haida’s ancestral history and culture, we planned to visit the sacred village of Skedans, (K’uuna Linagaay), which is just outside Gwaii Hannas National Park Reserve. The illustrious National Geographic Traveler Magazine rates the park as the No. 1 park destination in North America.

Did I mention that this plan, in fact the entire trip, had been planned several months before my new hip and concurrent RA diagnosis? I mean, I’ve been known to say ‘yes’ to extreme adventure BEFORE I bother to get all the details, but in this case my hurtin’ hands, swollen knees, and my brand new 90-da hip, came completely out of left field.

The issue was…to get to Skedans, we either had to take a four-hour Zodiac ride in the roiling ocean, OR a float plane out of Queen Charlotte City, a two-hour drive from the house we were staying in. I figured both options were pretty much going to be a holy bleep bleep, but the third option- staying back- was no option at all. At least for me. I had read a RA post on dealing with the disease…one that advised that no matter what, never give up…never give in.  I have taken that advice to heart ever since, especially on the real (real!) hard days.   So, I prednisoned-up, celebrex-ed-up, brought my pain killers(sss) and packed my courage. My choice of transportation, of course, was the float plane.  I have a fascination for float planes, so the promise of soaring over the patchwork of lushly draped islands floating in sapphire waters was just too tempting…UNTIL, I spied the three-rung ladder we had to climb in order to squish into the bobbing and swaying seven-seater Beaver plane.

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My emotions were a cross between excitement and all-encompassing worry as I turned to my friend and said, “Well the doctor told me I had to wait 90 days to fly.  He wasn’t specific as to how many days before I could climb aboard a float plane whilst the eye-brow raised pilot held my glittery gold cane, and my friend Gloria gently took my glove-protected hands and helped me up the last rung and into the cramped bench seat.”

Tips for getting into a float plane with RA: Be the last one in so that you do not have to climb through to the cock pit or across the bumpy passenger bench seat.

The scenic flight over was absolutely everything we could have possibly imagined- our eyes gorged on Nature’s eye candy. It wasn’t until the pilot made his descent towards Skedans that I realized that we were landing in the water- with no dock to climb down to. If my arthritic legs were a-jumpin’ climbing aboard- just imagine how they were at the thought of exiting onto the plane’s  pontoons.  I mean, it would have been a challenge a decade ago when I was young and clumsy, now I was ten years older, still clumsy and on a cane!

Never give in! Never give up!

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Next post: Sacred Secrets of Skedans


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