Cow Bay

Cow Bay Photo

Cow Bay is nearly five kilometers of uninterrupted white sand. The beach is made even more vast during low tides when it becomes half a kilometer wide in some places. In the sand here, there are often wolf, bear and cougar prints waiting to be spotted. During the summer it is common to find 10 or more grey whales congregating in this bay, easily seen and heard from shore. Cow Bay is a great place for finding sand dollars and a variety of seashells. This beach is an ideal place to stop for lunch as there are plenty of sunny, sheltered spots. There is an outhouse inside the forest at the trailhead, as well as food caches for campers near the river mouth (be aware that in past there have been wasps nests in the hollows at the base of Sitka trees in the first 10 ft of the trail). This beach is also provides an ideal place to facilitate learning activities that require lots of space or may be physically rambunctious. Below are some learning activities that can be used with groups at Cow Bay to help them consider the ecology of this place and to gain a greater appreciation of this exquisite landscape.

Activity: Hungry Campers

This activity is inspired by the story a friend told me of a cultural camp that she went on where the facilitator brought only buns but forgot the hotdogs. There were 22 kids, one adult and 50 buns but not hotdogs for the two nights and three day trip. When she told me this story I was concerned and asked how they managed, she laughed and said it was great, they found some much other food that at the end of the trip they still had extra buns left.

Imagine that your group had just arrived for a weekend camping trip only to realize that everyone thought someone else was in charge of bringing the food. In groups of one or two, ask everyone to forge along the seashore and along the bush (but not into the forest) and find at least one source of food that could help sustain the group over the next two days. If they choose to fish, they will have to also identify what ecological tools they would employ to do this, the same applies to any type of hunting. If they choose intertidal foods, they must explain their strategy to collect them and if they select berries they must explain how they can be sure they are not poisonous.

When everyone returns to the group, they must share their ideas about how they will contribute to the group’s food source. After each group member has shared the group will be led into discuss about the novel considerations regarding food and ecology that emerged during this exercise.

Activity: Log Racers

Cow Bay is lined with giant drift wood logs that have washed ashore during winter months and big storms. These logs are fun to play on, a game that everyone seems to love is trying to get across the beach on the logs only, not touching the sand. Turning this into a race or a game is a great way to rise energy and refocus your group if they are becoming distracted or bored.

If you want to integrate more learning into this activity you can turn it into a game of trivia flash tag. Select a designated home-free point and then turn your back to the group as they try to reach it only touching the logs, until you call out freeze. When you call out freeze, ask everyone who was able to remain on their log to take three minutes to observe the log, look at its rings, its coloring and any other distinguishing features. After three minutes, ask each person to share how old they think their log is (judging from diameter and number of rings), what species of tree they think it is, what animals might have once lived in it (or are living in it now) and how they think they got there. If anyone else playing the game can disprove their theories than they can make them out of the game. As soon as everyone has shared, turn your back again and let the race resume until the next time you call out freeze. Remember, the aim of this game is not that participants correctly identify information about their log, but that they consider these ideas.

Cow Bay Link

Cultural History