The hummingbirds are back

HUMMINGBIRDS

The hummingbirds are back. Kathy spotted the first one about a week ago and more are arriving daily. From late April until  early May every year these fascinating little birds return from wintering in California, and Central and South America. That is an incredible journey for a bird that weighs somewhere between the weight of a nickel (5 cent coin) and a penny (one cent coin)

Over the season we typically see three species, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Caliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Black chinned Hummingbird. I have also seen what I believe to be a male Anna’s Hummingbird, and a male Caliope Hummingbird but only once.

 

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Hummers are fascinating to watch. They hover like bejewelled works of art over the feeder enjoying the (dye free) nectar. They dart in and out chasing each other, often resembling a world war 2 arial dogfight… doing high speed acrobatics, the sound of their beating wings like little jets.

Despite their diminutive size, hummingbirds actually have very loud voices. The first time I heard one I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we have several feeders placed at strategic places in the front and back yards so that you will have maximum opportunities to watch these tiny, colourful delights.

Hummingbird Trivia

Hummingbirds are amazing little creatures. They’re the only birds capable of flying backwards, and their wings flap between 15-200 times per second.

Hummers not only lap at nectar, they aisles eat small insects for protein.

Many species of hummingbird raise more than one brood of young per season.

Photographing Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds can be tricky to photograph. The best bet is to sit still in the vicinity of a feeder with camera at the ready. They buzz in quickly, hover and lap up the nectar and are gone again. sometimes they take a seat on the feeder and will rest there between laps.

You will need a high shutter speed (because of the speed of their wings), patience and maybe even a little luck.

Birding

The North Thompson Valley, Clearwater and Wells Gray Park area is a treasure trove for birders. More than 200 species have been recorded in the area.  A checklist for species in the park can be found here.  

 

Book Your Stay

Book your stay with us. We are open year round.

 

 

Cannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest HouseNo Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Valley Hideaway Guest House is non-smoking and cannabis Free

 

Winter Summer, Spring and Fall

It takes all year to do it all

In Clearwater

 

Sarlaac Pit

Sarlaac Pit – Newly Discovered Cave

We are excited to learn of the discovery of a previously unknown cave system, tentatively named the Sarlaac Pit (a formal name will be given after consultation with appropriate stakeholders including local first Nations people). This deep cave is located in a very remote part of Wells Gray Park.

The exact location of the newly discovered cave/cavern is being kept under close wraps until such time as it can be explored properly. It is protected by its location (in Wells Gray Provincial Park) and the remoteness of the terrain.

It is believed to be one of the largest caves in Canada and may have never been seem by human eyes before. Informal surveys of long time residents reveal no knowledge of the cave, nor is their any mention in the journals of explorers in the area.`Geoscientist Catherine Hickson, part of the initial exploration team said the team believes no one has explored it previously, and that it may also be unknown to local First Nations due to the fact that it was likely covered by snow year-round until some point in the last 20-50 years.

 

 

Sarlaac Pit – newly discovered cave in Wells Gray Park

 

How Big is It?

It’s humungous … the cave is 100 metres by 60 metres — virtually the same dimensions of a Canadian football field. It’s also extremely deep, extending more than 100 metres underground, with the first 80 metres of that being a straight vertical drop.

Geologist Catherine Hickson said it was luck that the aerial crew happened to fly over the cave when it wasn’t covered in snow. Hickson and a team that included cave experts John Pollack and Lee Hollis spent months studying satellite imagery and preparing to visit the site, before flying into the rugged alpine on Sept. 9 to confirm the cave’s significance.

A huge volume of water flows into the cave from area snow melt, making the lower water flow of  September the prime time for exploration. A more in depth exploration trip is likely in September 2020.

“My immediate reaction was that there can’t be a cave there, it’s impossible,” geoscientist Catherine Hickson, who conducted an expedition to the site in September, told Global News. “It is huge. It is enormous. When you first see it, you just gasp because it’s just this huge hole in the ground.”

Can we Visit it?

The cave is not likely to be readily accessible for tourists because of it remoteness and difficulty of access. The remoteness means that even helicopter flights into the area require special permits. A hike would be a massive undertaking to be done only by people with advanced technical mountain climbing skills.

It does serve as a wonderful reminder though that we are located in one of the few areas of the world that still contains unexplored wilderness. Even some of our world famous waterfalls are relatively recent discoveries. Helmcken Falls was only seen the first time just over 100 years ago. Canim Falls and Mahood Falls were not known until into the 20th century, except for a few First Nations People.

 

Other Things to See and Do

This is the Canada you come hoping to see. Wild, untamed and unspoiled. We are surrounded by pristine and near pristine wilderness. Experience our clear rivers, our many fishable lakes. Stand under waterfalls. Be awed by the height and width of the falls (more than 40 named falls in Wells Gray Park). See the remnants of more forms of volcanic activity than anywhere else in the world.

Raft raging white waters. Ride horseback in the forest. Canoe. Kayak. Ride miles of mountain bike trails. Snowshoe and cross country ski in the winter. Paraglide. Fly over Wells Gray Park. Take in the Farmers Market and local arts and craft vendors.

Soak up the sun and swim at spring fed Dutch Lake beach. It’s conveniently located right in Clearwater. Or try Dunn Lake for a more rugged swim. It’s just a 20 minute drive.

In season see one of the largest subalpine wildflower meadows in the world when you hike the Trophy Mountain Trail.

Fish … more than 50 lakes within an hours drive (appropriate licences required).

Be amazed by the depth of  our local history when you visit the Aboriginal Centre.

 

Are extreme sports your thing?   There are mountains still to be climbed.  In winter there are waterfalls to climb (not to be undertaken by the novice)

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

Book your stay with us.

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

 

 

 

Bedroom Renovations Completed

BEDROOM RENOVATIONS COMPLETED

We have completed the second bedroom renovations.  The room now features two comfortable single beds which are convertible to a large queen size on request. These beds are in addition to the queen in the master guest suite and the double hideabed in the master suite sitting room.

This new configuration gives us far more flexibility when meeting your accommodation needs. The renovations give a room that is spacious with plenty of closet space. It is ideal for two singles or a couple.

 

Bedroom renovations completed.

Newly renovated second bedroom in suite – Now 2 twin beds convertible to large queen on request. Valley Hideaway Guest House, Interior Photos – Clearwater BC

 

The room is presently decorated in our winter decor. The decor is changed seasonally.

Valley Hideaway Guest house is conveniently located just off of highway 5, between Edmonton and Vancouver, (Vancouver to Edmonton) making it the ideal stopover point for those travelling the Yellowhead corridor. Unlike most B&B’s in the area, we are open year round, which is really handy for the winter trek.

Our bed and breakfast is a great spot to stay for a few days and explore the natural beauty of Wells Gray Park and the North Thompson Valley. Our breakfast is second to none, and has received great reviews from guests around the world.

Whether for one night or an extended stay, we look forward to hosting your Clearwater stay.

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premisesCannabis Free Zone - Valley Hideaway Guest House

Book your stay with us.

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

Perfect Rest Stop

Perfect Rest Stop on Busy Holiday

There is an old joke that says “If it’s Tuesday it must be (fill in the city)” We have all had the holidays where we want to see and do as much as we can in a very limited time. It can be tricky to choose the perfect rest stop on a busy holiday of two, three or even four weeks.

Many of the guests at Valley Hideaway have experienced that very dilemma. They have been hitting the well known high points, Jasper, Banff, Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver Island. At some point in that route they come through Clearwater and book a night with us. The majority of our guests tell us that if they had known how beautiful and peaceful it is here in Clearwater they would have planned for a longer stay.

When travelling your circuit we recommend that you spend at least two nights in Clearwater. There is plenty to see and do and it is also a wonderful place to rest and just digest all that you have already seen.

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we take only one party at a time. That gives you exclusive use of our two story guest area and a full acre of land to wander in. Sit a spell on the rustic backyard swing. Grab a seat under the front yard crabapple tree.

 

Valley Hideaway Guesthouse - crabapple tree front view

Valley Hideaway – crabapple tree front view

Enjoy a fire in our outdoor fire pit (weather permitting) or inside by the woodburning fireplace on a rainy day.

Living room with wood burning fireplace - Valley Hideaway Guest House ( B&B )

Living room with wood burning fireplace – Valley Hideaway Guest House

Stop and smell the flowers (both literally and figuratively). Breathe the fresh air. Enjoy seeing a large variety of birdlife. Watch the squirrels chase each other through the stately Douglas firs.

Get Away

Retreat from the world for a couple of days. Rest up and soak in what you have seen so far. Restore your mind and spirit. Explore the beauty of Wells Grey Park and the North Thompson area.

Some Reviews

What do our guests say? Here is a sample from actual guest reviews…

“Kevin and Kathy are the most warmth and friendly host we ever met, they seemed to leave most of their house to the guest, not only just one room, and those rooms are impeccable clean …” J. Taiwan

“Everything was perfect. There’s no word to describe this amazing stay! We were very sad to leave after only one night!” L. France

“This was not B&B per se, basically we had free use of a whole house. Kevin and Kathy so welcoming and helpful. We felt guilty only staying for one night. It would suit someone wanting a longer stay…. the Wells Grey NP is close by and very pretty.” R. U.K.

“Brilliant breakfast. Best I have ever had in a B&B. Great owners. We could have stayed there for more time, if looking to stay in the area.” A. U.K.

“The hosts were wonderful and made us feel like we were right at home after many weeks of travelling”. E. Netherlands

“Like home …. only better”. S. Israel

Book your multi day stay in Clearwater today, it is the perfect rest stop on a busy holiday. You’ll be glad you did.

Contact Us

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Book your stay with us

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

Helmcken Falls – Jewel of Wells Grey Park

Helmcken Falls – The Jewel of Wells Grey

It is no exaggeration to call Helmcken Falls the “Jewel of Wells Grey Park“. Rated by Readers Digest as one of “Canada’s 10 most Beautiful Waterfalls”. Helmcken Falls is the centerpiece to Wells Gray Provincial Park, one of the most powerful waterfalls on earth and one of BC’s prime tourist draws,” says the World’s Waterfall Database. This is truly a must see when you are in the area.

The Murtle River narrows from 300 feet wide just a few kilometres upstream (Dawson Falls) to 75 feet and roars over the lip of the canyon. The water hurtles 462 feet to create a large amphitheatre (one of North America’s largest natural amphitheatre). The bowl is more than 500 feet wide and carves back over 100 feet into the cliff behind the falls.

Further downstream there is a second 50 foot drop which isn’t counted in Helmcken’s official height. The two drops make Helmcken over 500 feet. The volume of spray is sufficient that under the right conditions it can be seen well above the canyon rim.

The view point is some distance from the falls making it difficult to truly appreciate the power and size of the falls. Still, the view is nothing short of awe inspiring. The World Waterfall Database says, “Simply put, Helmcken Falls is unquestionably one of the best waterfalls in all of North America.”

Helmcken Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Helmcken Falls

 

Helmcken Falls in Winter

The water plunges over the canyon rim year round. The spray bowl in winter can exceed 200 feet tall. In recent years ice climbers have discovered the falls and it is rated as the world’s most difficult mixed climb. The falls are accessible year round.

Helmcken falls - Winter

Helmcken falls – Winter

Helmcken – the name

The falls were discovered in the summer of 1913 by by Canadian Government land surveyor Robert Lee in July of 1913. The falls were named for Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken who was active in the early governance of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Getting to Helmcken

Take the Clearwater Valley Road (main park access road) 42 kilometers north from the highway in Clearwater, then turn left at the signs for the falls and follow 4 kilometers to the end of the road. A short well maintained trail will take you to the viewing area from the parking lot (approx 5 minutes).

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Contact us

Book your stay

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non- smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Clearwater – A Restful Stop

Clearwater – A Restful Stop

Clearwater is a restful stop for those who are doing their Alberta/BC tour. One of the most common comments from our overseas visitor is “If we had known it was this beautiful and peaceful we would have booked to stay longer”.

Tourist come from around the world to explore the beauty and majesty of Canada’s incredible wilderness. Here in Clearwater, we have it all. Majestic mountains. Pristine wilderness. Breath taking waterfalls. Wildlife. Birding. Unspoiled lakes and rivers.

It is with good reason that Tourism Wells Grey uses the slogan “The Canada You Imagined”. We have the things you want to see without all the heavily commercialized tourism that accompanies some of the better known locations such as Banff, Jasper and Whistler. Wells Grey Park has more than 5,200 square kilometres (1.3 million acres) of alpine wilderness.

There are 39 named water falls in what many call Canada’s Waterfall Park. One of them, Helmcken Falls was named byReader’s Digest as one of “Canada’s 10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls”. There are waterfalls accessible year round for your viewing pleasure.

Our guests have called Valley Hideaway “like home, only better”, “a wonderful retreat” and a “restful place to stay”. After the hustle and bustle of packing up every night and driving several hours for the next sightseeing stop, only to repeat the process the following day, they have appreciated being able to have full use of the house and yard and just enjoy.

There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied, sightseeing, hiking, whitewater rafting, parasailing, horseback riding, kayaking and more. In season there are some unique and delightful restaurants. Even in the offseason, there is good food at fair prices although the number of restaurants is smaller. In the off season enjoy frozen waterfalls, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and more. There is never a shortage of things to enjoy.

 

Front view Valley Hideaway Guest House Clearwater

 

Edmonton to Vancouver (or vice versa)

Clearwater is strategically placed for a great stopover when traveling from Northern Alberta to the Lower Mainland. Break the driving in two. Take a stretch, enjoy a meal in one of the local restaurants and get a good nights sleep.

 

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Contact Us

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Moul Falls a hidden gem

Moul Falls

We continue our exploring the waterfalls of Wells Grey with a look at Moul Falls. Neither as tall as Helmcken Falls or Spahats Falls nor as wide as Dawson Falls, Moul has a unique charm is should be on every visitor’s must see list.

Moul Falls, Grouse Creek, Waterfalls of Wells Grey

Pouring from Grouse creek, spanning 40 feet with a vertical drop of 115 feet, Moul is pretty year round. The crown in this hidden gem is the undercut behind the falls. It is possible to actually stand behind the falls or traverse the creek from behind them.

Accessing the undercut ledge (cave) will mean crossing some slippery, wet rocks and you will likely get wet from the spray. It is worth it (especially on hot summer days), there are few places you can stand behind a real wilderness waterfall. You can photograph the falls from front and behind, just be careful on those wet rocks.

Moul is a little less accessible than some of the other front of park waterfalls as it requires a 6 km round trip hike from the parking area, but is well worth the hike. Like many of the falls in Wells Grey, Moul cascades down where the lava has been eroded to the underlying basalt.

ACCESSING MOUL FALLS

The parking area for Moul falls is approximately 20 km up Clearwater Valley Rd on the south side. After parking, hike through the gate and down the old logging road following the signs. The trail eventually swings to the left and takes you to the falls (distance from trailhead to falls – approx. 3km each way). Note that while the bulk of the trail is a gentle slope, there is a steep set of stairs to access the base of the falls.

Moul Falls, waterfalls of Wells Grey

Stairs to Moul Falls

 

 

Book your stay

 

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Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non-smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

Rainy Day – Things to do

RAINY DAY

Spring is on the way and with it comes rainy days. A rainy day, we all have them. You have been hiking all day or just travelling and the rain starts. Maybe you have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and the rain starts before you head out. What are you going to do?

Rainy day, puddles

At Valley Hideaway Guest House we have plenty to keep our guests entertained.

Kick back in the living room and enjoy a real fire in our wood burning fireplace.

Find something to watch. We have a variety of movies on VHS, DVD and Blue Ray. There is Apple TV hooked up to the internet and Netflix. We have basic cable television. Pop some popcorn and relax.

A cupboard full of board games can keep you amused for hours. Have a family tournament or find out how competitive your friend/partner really is.

RAINY DAY ALTERNATIVES

Don’t mind the rain? Then sit outside under the tall Douglas Firs and enjoy an outdoor fire in the backyard firepit.

Consider going for a white water rafting excursion, after all you are going to get wet anyway. There are three outdoor rafting outfitters in town all with excellent reputations.

Take the hike into Moul Falls. Moul has a feature you don’t often find, you can hike in and stand under it. Why not? You’re wet now anyway.

Grab a fishing licence and take a cast or two. Fish often love the rain. Try your luck for rainbows and kokanee at Dutch Lake. The local rivers are home to more than a dozen species of game fish. There are more than 50 fishable lakes with trout within an hours drive.

Go for a walk in the rain. Let your inner child out to play for a while and splash in some puddles. Watch the clouds change shape and colour as they move over the mountains, the view can change from moment to moment (as can the weather).

Check out the North Thompson Aboriginal Centre, located in the flats of Clearwater.  Visit some of the local shops.

Don’t let a little liquid sunshine ruin your day. Stay inside or head outside, but take charge and enjoy yourself. It’s your holiday, don’t let a little inclement weather ruin it.

Rainy Day, release your inner child, puddle jump

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House. Open year round … rain or shine.

Winter, spring, summer, fall … it takes all year to do it all … in Clearwater

Valley Hideaway Guesthouse is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

 

 

 

 

Equine Skijoring

Skijoring

Skijoring, what in the world is skijoring? Its is a winter sport where a person on skis is towed behind a horse, dog(s), or motor vehicle. While many countries have sports involving being pulled on skis, the name is derived from the Norwegian skikjoring. (ski driving)

Equine Skijoring

The popularity of this sport has ebbed and flowed over the years. Skijoring rose to the level of demonstration sport in the 1928 winter Olympics. The sport has been seeing a resurgence of popularity in North America over the past decades. People;e are reconnecting with the skill and excitement of skiing behind a galloping horse.

 

Equestrian skijoring consists of a team of a single horse, generally guided by a rider, pulling a person on skis who carries no poles and simply hangs onto a tow rope. The North American Ski Joring Association holds competitions in which a rider guides the horse with skier navigating a series of jumps and obstacles. More informal competitions are held on flat ground over short courses, often as simple sprint races on a straightaway, sometimes with turns on the course.

 

The sport requires sound horsemanship, skilled skiing, a sense of adventure and a quick mind to adapt to the challenges of a high speed winter sport.

Wells Gray Skijoring

On Feb 24, 2018, the Wells Gray Riders Association is providing a demonstration of this exciting nordic equine sport. Where? Right here in beautiful Clearwater BC.  This promises to be great winter fun for the whole family. Come on out and cheer the spectators on. Be prepared for high speed thrills, spills and chills.

Wells Gray Skijoring event poster. Feb 2018. Clearwater BC. A family event. Stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House.

Wells Grays Riders Present – Skijoring

 

 

For more information, or to register a team 

 

Winter, spring, summer, and fall …. it takes all year to do it all in Clearwater.

We are offering a special rate for this event, contact us to book.

 

Book your stay

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

The Birchleg

The Birchleg is coming February 3, 2018

What is the Birchleg?

The Birchleg is a family fun cross country ski event. It begins with a mass start at 10:00 AM at the Candle Creek Cross Country Ski Trails. You can expect expert skiers, families and novices out for a good time. Ski all 28 km of trails or ski just a bit, its up to you.

Its your chance to dress up like a viking or ancient Norwegian. There are prizes for the best costume. It’s followed by a hot Norwegian Style lunch (or vegetarian lunch). Its a fun filled community event.

Whats it all about?

According to the Wells Gray Outdoors Club (Clearwater, BC, Canada):

Rescue of-Haakon-Haakonsson-painted-by-Knud-Bergslien

Rescue of Haakon Haakonsson. Painted by Knud Bergslien

 “The Birchleg is a fun ski event in early February re-enacting a cross country ski trip made by two Viking warriors in the 13th Century. King Haakon of Norway was murdered in 1204 during a time of civil war. The King’s infant son was in immediate peril of the same fate. Two Viking warriors loyal to their dead king and his heir took the baby to safety in Trondheim. Their flight was in midwinter, skiing 55 kilometres across the mountains. Holding the child secure behind a shield, these warriors were armed with a battle-axe and spears. Young Haakon Haakonson grew to adulthood in safety, returning to Norway to claim his father’s throne.”

There was even a movie made recently about the rescue of King Haakon based on the mythic historical story. The Last King is worth watching, whether you plan to ski the Birchleg or not.

A scene from the rescue as depicted in “The Last King” – Image Courtesy Norwegian Film Institute

Follow this link for waiver and entry form.

Busy BirchLeg day? No problem, there’ re still lots of opportunities to cross country (nordic) ski here through the rest of the winter.  More than 25 km of groomed trails at Candle Creek await you at. There are still more groomed trails at North Thompson Provincial Park and there are miles upon miles of unbroken trails through the wilderness.

If you are looking for a place to stay while here, book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House, we are open year round.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises