One of the experiences Elena encounters in the novel is a salmon run. Salmon runs would have been important events historically for those First Nation people that relied heavily on fish as a food source. Today, salmon runs are recognized as an important educational opportunity to learn more about sustainability and our natural environment.
The most well-known salmon run in the southern part of British Columbia is the Adams River Salmon Run, pictured here. It has become a tourist attraction because of its significance as one of the most important breeding sites for sockeye salmon in North America. Archaeological evidence has shown that the salmon have always drawn people; the Secwepemc lived and fished here for thousands of years.
The Adams River Salmon Run is quite a sight, particularly during dominant years when millions of sockeye salmon can make the journey. Visitors can watch the salmon run at Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, and the park itself is worth a visit at any time of year for hiking and other activities. Every October, the trails become packed with onlookers as the river fills with flashes of deep red, the colour the sockeye take on as they get closer to their spawning grounds (in the ocean they are a silvery-blue colour).
The salmon that are migrating up the Adams River to spawn have travelled all the way from the Pacific Ocean up the Fraser River, into the Thompson River and finally into the Adams River. Every four years, the occasion is marked with a Salute to the Sockeye festival, which falls on the dominant year and attracts many visitors.
Latecomers beware; all those fish will eventually lay their eggs and die, and their bodies will be washed up on the shoreline for the birds to peck at. Come too late and you are likely to be overwhelmed by the sight, and particularly the smell, of rotting fish!