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The Journey to "Crab Island"

Priest Pt. Park tide flats
Rivers Through the Tide Flats

Steh-Chass Inlet (Budd Bay) is known for mud. Today in 14mph wind and rain and a very low tide we explored the muddy tide flats in all their glory.

"I love the wind!"

"Me too! It's my favorite because it's cold."

"Look a river!" A child pointed to one of the water flows in the mud that was snaking its way to the water.

"It's all zig zaggy."

"Any ideas about how that happens? Why do rivers curve around?" an adult asked.

"I really don't know."

"We must go to find crab island, they will know."

And so the journey began. We walked in a line out the "river" towards the water.

(It should be noted that the mud flats can be dangerous-- the mud gets VERY deep in places and one needs to learn how to navigate it and when to turn back. The children in this story are aware of proceeding with adult guidance when on the mud flats).

"Look a sign!" one child says pointing to a small washed up Dungeness crab.

"It's the old grandfather crab; it is leading the way."

One child stepped out of the "river" and found the mud was getting sticky.

"Stay in the river! It doesn't sink as much!" a child advised.

"How strange!" an adult said, testing out the mud phenomenon. "I wonder why we don't sink in as much when we walk in the river?"

"We must find crab island."

"Anyone notice anything else that makes the river different?" said an adult.

"There are lots of little pieces of shells in it and water."

"It sure keeps our boots clean."

After walking some distance, not even the river could protect us from the mud. It was time to turn back. We noted about 8 Great Blue Herons feasting, as well as several gulls and crows.

"But we didn't find crab island! We'll never know why rivers bend now!"

"No! I see it! Look at that green, let's go!"

We made our way up river taking a different fork back.

"What is that stuff."

"It's seaweed."

"It looks like mermaid hair."

"It's crab island!"

We found a tiny crab nearby making its way for a clam hole.

"Crab, crab! Why does the river bend?"

"What did they say?" an adult asks.

"They did not say anything, they just went in the hole."

After a moment the conversation moves on.

"We're lost!"

"I'll draw a map. See the rivers go like this," a child explains, drawing a pattern of forking lines in the mud with a stick.

We decided to keep following the river back toward the tree line, as the adventure continued.


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