Masset Magic: From Rosey’s rescue to the Hiellen pole, it’s all about Taaw Hill

“Just ask Carla Russ how we come together in a time of need.”

By Jana McLeod

The silence has ended.

My time as a columnist stopped years ago after it was suggested I take a break. It’s been about 20 years. I was stale and repetitive — I still am — but I think most people who read me have passed on or are in a home, so I get to be new again. It’s like the bum jokes I used to tell my children; they’re just as funny to my grandchildren. Waiting has its merits. Just ask my fiancé.

I asked what people wanted to see in the column and the response was incredibly underwhelming. I chose to believe it’s because people trust me to put something half decent out, either that or my eight followers on Facebook were AFK.

Our little communities are rich in stories and unique relationships. Just ask Carla Russ how we come together in a time of need. After a nice climb at Taaw Hill last Tuesday she was horrified to discover her puppy Rosey was nowhere in sight. She and her daughter Shyannes’ nice outing turned into a nightmare fast. Carla and Chalaine tried in vain to save her since they could faintly hear her.

Carla quickly enlisted help from Nonni Michelle in the management cabin at Hiellen. After calling around Ross Hayes and his crew hiked up. Collin tried that first day to rappel to the stranded pooch, but it was getting late and the weather was not co-operating. Carla and her daughter had to leave as it became clear her rescue wasn’t possible. She posted on Facebook explaining her despair over having to leave the doggy behind.

After what must have been a restless night she returned the next day. That little lady had other ideas as she barked loud enough to head a new resolve to reach her. Len Arens was already looking when she got there and a drone was in the works.

Finally, her father Mitchell and uncles Chris and Marshall came out. Putting aside their own safety the brothers came up with a plan. While Chris rappelled down they each took on different posts, working together to locate and grab the little damsel in distress. She spent a night and day perched precariously on the side of the sheer cliff so she was very happily reunited with family.

Candace submits the following: on Wednesday, June 21 there will be a raising of a 51-foot red cedar pole, “Totems in the Forest,” or Adiideed aa Gyaa’angee iijang. The pole will be raised out at Hiellen, where the original pole stood in the 1800s.

Carved by Haida artist Christian White with his brother Derek, son Vernon, Corey Bulpitt and Roger Smith, along with eight young Haida apprentices — Captain Stewart-Burton, Shane Bell, Jay Bellis, Paul Biron, Tiffany Boyko, Jennica Bell, Daisy White, and Shaylanna Brown. The artists have been busy putting in full hours and working hard for the completion.

We invite all to witness and help raise the pole on June 21! Bring your drum, wear your regalia, dress for the weather and stay for a salmon barbecue and games throughout the day.

I was also lucky enough to host some visiting instructors for the upcoming Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society semester set to take place on the north end this fall. I love seeing people experience this magical place. Jason Thompson and I sent them off with full bellies.

Take care and God bless.


The Russ brothers — Mitchell, Marshall, and Chris — were the cliff-climbing, Rosey-rescuing heroes of the day. Collin Camire and friends from Archipelago Search and Rescue also rappelled down Tow Hill looking for Rosey the day before, but although they could hear her, the dog was hiding under a tree root. (Image courtesy Carla Russ)

Carla, Shyanne and Rosey re-united (Image courtesy Carla Russ).