Trail Features

Historic origin and background of some noted features along the trail.

WCThiking1

Historic origin and background of some noted features along the trail.

DONKEY MACHINE
Origin of name is uncertain. Some suggest that it did the work of a donkey, others that the heavy steel cables were hitched to donkeys. Used in forest industry. The cables were wound round the steel drums. Cables were sent out and pulled to fallen trees by horses. Once cable was attached to tree, it was winched back. Worked on steam principle.

NOTCHED TREE STUMPS
Found on a number of cedar stumps at the base. Because cedars flare out at their base, it was easier to cut them higher up from the ground where they are narrower. Cutters would axe a notch in the base large enough to insert a wooden plank. They would then stand on the plank with a mate on the other side and saw through the cedar.

 OWEN POINT
Named for Admiral William Owen, surveyor who mapped coast around 1830.

CULLITE CREEK
From the native word “Kowshet” which referred to elk droppings on the beach there.

LOGAN CREEK
Named for David Logan, one of the early settlers in the late 1800s who made a home for himself and family near Clo-oose. He also was employed to maintain a section of the telegraph line between Victoria and the light stations.

WALBRAN CREEK
Named for captain of the Princess Maquinna, one of the supply ships that plied the coast.

BONILLA POINT SHIPWRECK
Bonilla is Spanish for “high”. The wreckage near the waterfall is probably from the Lizzie Marshall which was lost in February 1884. A three masted wooden vessel with a crew of 13. All but one crew member was saved.

CARMANAH  COAL COMPANY
A hole drilled in 1910 at Coal Creek, just north of Carmanah lighthouse. Camp then moved south to Bonilla Point. Original hole at Coal Creek still spills water with a sulphuric content. Therapeutic advantages of this water were highlighted in literature promoting development at Clo-oose.

CARMANAH LIGHTHOUSE
Built in 1891. It was planned for Bonilla Point, which protrudes further out than Carmanah. Builders mistook Carmanah for Bonilla. By time the error was realized, it was decide to keep it at Carmanah.

William Daykin was the original keeper. Kept a daily diary during his tempestuous stay there from 1891 to 1912. His gruff ways often irritated and alienated his superiors. If supply ship was late or did not deliver what he ordered or it spoiled, he was on the phone to Victoria complaining. And he used expletives freely. He did enjoy his spirits, a bottle of scotch each day.

Stay took its toll on family. Wife developed pneumonia and died in Victoria. Youngest son, 17, was killed when the line holding the supply trolley he was riding  from the beach to the lighthouse snapped and the he was flung to his death. The other son went hunting with a friend to the Nitinat area. Search party found their boat drifting on lake with all equipment including guns but no boys. Disappearance is still a mystery.

NITINAT LAKE
One of only two tidal lakes (levels determined by tide) in the world. Other one also in BC at Pitt Lake (near Vancouver)  Largest canoe ever built (72’/28m) was from a cedar behind the cannery. It proved to be unseaworthy.

Pilings which held the cannery can be seen from Nitinat crossing along the south shore. It was built in 1917 to provide economic opportunity for area. Chinese from Victoria were boated in the provide labour. Overfishing led to its closure in 1921. Restarted temporarily, but finally closed 1931.

TSUQUADRA VILLAGE & CAVES
The small population was wiped out in smallpox epidemic in late 1800s. All but one died. Burial in caves at west end of beach. Natives buried dead in boxes facing east. Corpses were left sitting up with heads above the boxes. Scavenging of these burial sites by hikers over the years has led to the area’s closure. Remains of communal house posts still evident.

TSUSIAT FALLS/LAKES
It means “where the water runs down always”. The region of lower lakes was where natives felled cedar trees for their canoes. They were roughed out there, then either lowered by rope over the falls or skidded over to Hole in the Wall and paddled over to a summer village at Whyac at the head of the Nitinat Narrows for completion.

KLANAWA
Area between the remains of a telegraph lineman’s cabin and the cable car crossing was a native burial ground. The dead here were suspended from the trees.

TRESTLE CREEK
The anchor here is believed to be from the Janet Cowan. Read about the story of this shipwreck in the  “Human History” section.

DARLING RIVER
The steel plates which can be seen at the mouth are from the Uzbekistan, a Russian freighter that went aground during WWII . Read about the story of this shipwreck in the  “Human History” section.

MICHIGAN CREEK
The Michigan went aground here in 1893. Small schooner. The boiler is  just west of the creek, and can be reached at low tide.

PACHENA LIGHT
Built 1907 in response to sinking of the SS Valencia. Operational in May 1908. Glass lens measures 3m [10’] tall, 2.5 m wide [8’], weighs 400 kg [900 lbs]. Brought round Cape Horn. Puts out 1000 watt bulb/4 million candlepower and is visible from Olympic Peninsula. It is the last prismatic light still in use along the coast.