The British Columbia Coastal Mountains
When thinking of a trip to Western Canada, the first destination that comes to mind is the Rocky Mountains. And of course, the Rockies bring together natural beauty and the easy of travel: amazing views adjacent to a highly developed infrastructure, large hotels and the short distance from the Calgary airport.
The price is the growing number of tourists, especially in July and August. We are not, by any means, trying to discourage you from visiting the Rockies – after all, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. On the other hand, if you are looking to add a more natural destination to your trip, one that is much less toured, distant and untouched, look no further than the coastal ridge of British Colombia. Particularly one very interesting spot called Nuk Tessli.
Nuk Tessli and Doron Erel
When looking at a map of Canada, it is hard to miss the huge white mountain range, raging over the shores of the Pacific ocean. Very few roads lead into these mountains. Aside from the southern ski town of Whistler, the coastal range has stayed out of Westerns’ Canada tourist books.
That is exactly what drew Israeli mountain climber Doron Erel, to the area. Doron Erel is known for being the first Israeli to reach the top of Everest, way back in 1992. He is also known for not compromising on a view.
In 2012 Doron fulfilled his childhood dream and bought Nuk Tessli – a group of wooden cabins, in the heart of the Northern Mountains, right next to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The cabins were originally built by a tough woman called Chris Czakowski, a well-known and admired figure in the British Colombia hiking scene, who lives here for over 20 years.
A dream come true
Doron found all that he was looking for in this place: a private paradise on the shores of a blue lake in the middle of no-where, no connecting roads, surrounded by flourishing forests and snowy peaks. The lake is situated on an elevated plain, on the border of the forests. This means that from here, you could reach exposed alpine ridges, with wide panoramic views of peaks, valleys and lakes – a kind of amusement park for any hiking and trekking enthusiast.
Over the years Doron, with the help of Israeli volunteers, has put many hours and days into fixing up and improving the cabins and the place is a magnet for nature lovers from all around the world. Visitors can, amongst other things, enjoy minimalistic but warm rooms, with big windows facing the amazing views, comfortable beds, friendly compost services, solar power and even wireless internet in the main dining room.
The team makes sure to add an Israeli touch to the meals, but the crown jewel of the place is the homemade hot tub, heated by wood fire, overlooking the lake and surrounding mountains – an exceptional treat, especially after a long day of hiking.
The Coastal Range is about the same height as the Rockies but it gets more precipitation due to its proximity to the ocean, therefore it gets more snow than the Rockies and, for the same reason, has more glaciers and ice fields. The lodge is located on the eastern side of the mountain range so it gets less precipitation and the air around it is dryer and warmer during the summer. The trail system in the area is maintained by the onsite team and you can take a guided tour or enjoy them by yourself.
- Jacobson Lake
Reaching the lodge is an adventure of its own. It is located not too far from a little town called Nimpo Lake that sits on the banks of a lake with the same name ( along route 20, connecting the towns of Williams Lake and Bella Coola, See map). To reach the lodge you must take a float plane from Nimpo Lake (about 20 minutes), to the lake where the lodge is located.
There are 2 ways of getting to the area:
1 – A flight from Vancouver to Anahim Lake (about 25 minutes drive from Nimpo Lake) – the flight is about an hour and 15 minutes and after landing, the local pilot will meet you and then fly you to the lodge.
2 – By car: coming from the Rockies, the drive from Clearwater lasts around 7 hours. Coming from Vancouver, you can either drive through Williams Lake or from the coast, through Bella Coola (for more information about this route, check out our Western Canada “Off the Grid” trip, that details arrival though Bella Coola, Here).