Trip – Nitinat and Klanawa

A few days exploring the Klanawa river watershed, this general area – from Nitinat falls on the upper right, to Blue Lake on the lower left.

First night spent on Nitinat river, near the falls. It was raining on and off, plus their were other campers 300 metres downriver, we headed off next morning to find a better spot.

We had brought along the GoPro Hero 2 cam, and the only even close to worthwhile vid we shot was this less than exciting “vanagon in puddle” sequence on the road out of the campsite.

We headed northwest, over into the Klanawa watershed, and followed the river downstream. We stopped here and there, looking for a nice spot. An example of a side track – grey skies but it was mild and not raining.

My son trying “logging parkour”.

And at last we found a spot, secluded lake, not logged.

Nice big bear poop close by.

Next day was sunny.

And off we went again, further west, looking for a spot on the Klanawa river  and no, we didn’t want to camp under the bridge. We did swing past the spot on the Tsucowis that we camped at 2 years ago, but it was occupied. We went part way around Darling main loop, and took one spur that led down through an old (1960’s?) logged area and found a skidder. I’m thinking that someone took it down there to salvage cedar logs for shake block cutting.

We didn’t find any nice spots, so back east to the bridge across Klanawa and then west again on south side of river. Finally found an OK spot west of Blue lake. Slash camping again, but a nice view.

Plenty signs of elk.

And bear, of course. Dogs are tired out.

As the sun went down, the marine cloud formed. That’s the west coast trail way down there in the cloud.

The moon was pretty, sky red with smoke from Russian and Alaskan fires?

The lads slept in the tent that night.

Nice sunny morning.

After breakfast we packed up and made a concerted effort to find a trail down to the Klanawa. Some false leads and a lot of bushwhacking later, we got there.

It was a lovely spot, virgin forest and clear water. At five pm we headed back to van, and then home. Van ran fine, but we were heavily loaded and the stock tintop syncro springs are not stiff enough for this sort of thing. Perhaps my old ’82 westy springs might be installed in the front and coil over shocks to help the rear?

  1. #1 by Ryan on July 26, 2012 - 8:01 pm

    By elk do you mean wapiti? Or moose, or raindeer?

    • #2 by albell on July 26, 2012 - 8:09 pm

      Wapiti, variety known as Roosevelt Elk. Found on Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.


  2. #3 by joel Salter on July 26, 2012 - 9:45 pm

    Thank you for posting your adventure. It does look like you had quite a load of people, dogs and gear. Great adventure does everyone share in the driving?

    Did you make the pop top forward extension? It looks good.

    • #4 by albell on July 26, 2012 - 9:56 pm

      hi and thanks,

      I was using my go westy wasserstopper rain fly. worked quite well.



  3. #5 by pwz on July 27, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Wonderful looking trip Alistair…
    How were the skeeter s?

    Interim transport was just purchased..
    Honda Element awd….

    • #6 by albell on July 27, 2012 - 12:48 pm

      black flies, mossies, no-see-ums were moderate 🙂

      Element awd seems like a pretty good car.


  4. #7 by Robert H. Elliott on July 27, 2012 - 11:54 am

    Your travels are always visually amazing … they are a joy for this couch traveler!!!

    • #8 by albell on July 27, 2012 - 12:49 pm

      thanks Robert,



  5. #9 by Robert on August 2, 2012 - 10:41 am

    Nice trip Alistair… and nicely presented with all your various visuals. I especially like the map @ the beginning for orientation and all the wide variety of photos (panoramas along with GP video and the detail shots with your knife for scale). Well documented. Good job! Thank you for sharing your island adventure. Cheers!

  6. #10 by Dusan Dee on November 4, 2021 - 10:06 pm

    There is a camp site on some older maps of Blue lake. Any idea how to reach it ? No luck from either side last week.

    • #11 by albell on November 24, 2021 - 8:25 am


      I’ve looked but also couldn’t find. I’d like to try again next summer.

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