In June 2021, I had the privilege to hike the Berg Lake Trail this trail is located in Mt. Robson National Park. The original name for Mt. Robson is Yexyexéscen (striped rock) named by the Texqukallt, a Secwepmec people. What I have researched is that it was spelled by George Dawson back in the late 1800s as “Yuh-hai-has-kun”, meaning “The Mountain of the Spiraling Road”. Here on in, I will be referring to the mountain as Yexyexéscen.
My hiking partner planned our hike so we would enjoy the back-country for 5 days. First day I made sure to offer tobacco thanking the Great Spirit for this experience, asking for protection and to keep us safe.
We had the privilege of staying at Berg Lake Campground for two nights and experienced Solstice while up there which would have been the third day of our adventure. The day of Solstice, I woke up, got my food from the bear cache and went straight to the water. I sat down to filter water, another hiker was a few feet from me and noticed that I was sitting there staring, “It’s beautiful, hey?” “It is incredible”, I replied, “I feel so lucky to be here!” The hiker left and I proceeded to just stare at the breath-taking beauty. It is hard to articulate what I was feeling that morning, the best I can describe is that it felt like nature was giving me a giant hug. It had been a few years that I went backpacking and my hiking dwindled due to surgery and the pandemic; hiking around Vancouver got super busy (more than usual) with people getting outside. I knew my spirit needed it so I was grateful I was asked to hike this trail.
I made an offering of tobacco and proceeded to filter my water. I made coffee and enjoyed my morning, my hiking partners eventually joining me by the water. That day we dunked in glacier water, hiked to Alberta, and adventured on other trails by our camp. By the end of day, we went back to the water and made dinner. I went and filtered water for all three of us and as I sat there pumping water, I looked and noticed a rock, it had some markings. I picked it up and knew I found something extremely special. I went back to my friends and showed them what I had found. It was for sure a fossil, but not sure of what, maybe a trilobite?
On the last day of the hike, we were almost close to the trail head and one of my hiking partners pointed out a sign. One of those educational signs explaining how Yexyexéscen formed. “All the rock in Yexyexéscen was deposited bit-by-bit in the sea during the Cambrian Period about 510-570 million years ago.” Paula suggested to look up fossils from that time period.
We finished the hike and headed to the hotel, I immediately looked up fossils from the Cambrian Period (way before the dinosaurs) and came across fossils from that era, most common was the Trilobite. Looking at the shape of the fossil, it matched the bottom half of what a Trilobite looked like.
After a bit of research, I learned that Trilobite fossils can be found all over the world. Their sizes ranged from microscopic to 2ft. They were a marine arthropod and in our present time their closest relative is said to be the Horseshoe Crab. Their fossils are common because they shed their exoskeleton as they grew. Fucking mind blowing!
To think we were hiking what used to be the sea floor 510-570 million years ago and to also be blessed with such a gift! Never in my life have I found a fossil just sitting right next to me. On the last day of our adventure, I went to the river to offer tobacco, thanked Creator for the water, the earth, the beautiful nature. I had a moment and broke down and had a cry, not a sad cry, a grateful one. I will never forget that beautiful experience.
The type of fossil that I had received is called a mold fossil, since mold fossils are hollow, the image is a negative image. I wanted to make a positive and cast it in silver, this is the outcome. I wanted to share this gift and wear it as a medallion to honor its spirit. A Trilobite medallion, a talisman for protection and gratitude.