On the remote and wild southwest coast of Vancouver Island lies Nitinat Lake and inlet, a paradise for windsurfers and kitesurfers seeking to get away from it all and be blown about the water. Aging Westfalia’s and funky Delicas abound in the rustic campsite set in old-growth forest, and dozens of tents and makeshift shelters are pegged down in every available nook along the pebbled shoreline, protected by giant driftwood logs and overhanging Douglas fir branches.
A wonderfully carefree attitude and communal atmosphere prevail, and everybody does their own thing. The shared philosophy is to enjoy the outdoors, get away from Facebook, and be happy and content. The wind junkies get their fix when the thermal westerly winds howl across Nitinat Lake from around 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. The consistent winds blow every day, right through the summer, providing some of the best windsurfing in North America. And then there’s the sauna … and the hot tub … and the water slide.
The wood-fired, cedar-plank sauna, complete with change room, was handcrafted by a gentleman from Alberta who has returned to the lake every summer since 1986 to lovingly erect his masterpiece for all to enjoy – even those who stand by and offer no assistance. How fabulous to have a hot, relaxing sauna to soothe aching muscles after a hard day on the water – slap bang in the middle of the wilderness.
Carved out of a giant fallen tree, the hot tub is lined with a tarpaulin and filled with heated lake water that is piped into the tub. Close your eyes and listen to the fish splashing and the grunts and squeaks of animals unknown as they lurk and hunt about the forest and shoreline.
If that’s too decadent for you, then climb the tree ladder, plonk yourself down in the plastic-lined slide – crafted from wooden planks hewn on site – and careen down the slide that will spit you out into the cool, tidal saltwater lake. Repeat as required.
The natural wonder and harmony of this beautiful site will remain for all to enjoy for as long as the happy campers continue to care for the immediate environment, respect the Ditidaht First Nation lands, pack out all trash, and diligently cache food beyond the reach of the many black bears.
More information on Nitinat Lake, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.