Update: fixed access problem with the alder road video.
Last Friday we took off for a 4 day exploration of the Klanawa watershed here on Vancouver Island. Was a repeat of a trip we made last year, same people, same dogs, same van. One difference was we did not stop at Nitinat Falls, we drove on and camped west of Blue Lake, about 2.5 km from the ocean.
Long exposure makes the fire look larger than it really was.
And the next morning, weather was good. We were hoping the weather was going to be good – after a month of dry warm weather the rain had started a week before. Pretty heavy rain at times and we hoped that the forecast of a fair weekend was accurate. The recent rain had filled the rivers, we noticed that as we drove in. Our plan for this day, Saturday, was to head down to the Klanawa river and we were a little concerned that the river might be to high to wade across.
Got down through the alder choked trail around noon. There is bear poop everywhere, the bears are gorging on red huckleberries and salal berries.
Down at the river and it is higher than on last year’s trip.
My son had convinced me that we should bring along a little inflatable dinghy. That was a good idea.
You might think it would be foolhardy to mess around in these little rapids with no PFDs or helmets. Maybe you’d be right. But the guys had fun.
(I stupidly left the GoPro back in the van, movie shot with the little Canon Powershot with a dirty lens)
We managed to wade across the river to get to an area that is old growth, untouched, river bottom forest. The trees in this spot are Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Red Cedar, and a few Bigleaf Maples. More info here. Impressive place, the pics do not come anywhere close to how it looks in reality.
Then back to the van and up the alder choked road which was a bit less choked after the van’s trip down it. For some reason I had a heck of a time processing this vid shot with the GoPro. Must have been slightly corrupted or something. The vid is sped up, but try selecting the 720p option to reduce the blockiness.
This kind of road is one of the reasons I don’t worry too much about the condition of the van’s paint.
All four of us agreed that we wanted this evening’s campsite to have a view, and we got one.
We’re looking down the edge of the island, Washington State way in the distance.
For a little perspective, here is the picture of previous night’s spot and arrow points to approximate location of viewpoint campsite. Why didn’t we try for the higher ground? Access was more difficult and would have taken more time. We really wanted to set up camp before the sun disappeared so we could enjoy the spot.
We wanted to explore more around Blue Lake, we had this idea we could get closer to it. So that is what we did the next day. No luck getting closer than about 300 metres to the lake. We did run into a bear when we were walking an old road – the dogs took off after it. When we caught up to them they were barking at the bear from the edge of the road. The bear was against a tree. Got the dogs under control and tried to get a video of the bear. Not very exciting vid, par for the course for this type of thing.
We camped that night at the little gem of a lake that we camped at last year. I’m not saying the name.
Next day was our last day. We stopped for lunch and afternoon exploring at a spot further upstream on the Klanawa. It is the nature of these short freestone west coast rivers – they go from a stream to a full grown river in a short distance. And you can judge by the gravel bars just how much the water level changes.
We did some exploring, sans camera, doh! Big Sitka spruce, Western Hemlock and moss covered Bigleaf Maple. At one point, the boys went off upstream with the dogs and ran into a large male elk. Much excitement ensued, but thankfully no creature was hurt.
The westy table mod was used throughout this trip. We came up with a name for it- “Swelegent”
It was one of the best trips ever.