Review

SEASON IN REVIEW

Now that it is officially autumn in Canada, it is time to review and evaluate our first season at Valley Hideaway Guest House (a B&B in Clearwater, BC).

We launched later than we had hoped. Renovations took longer than planned and we did not open until early July rather than the anticipated May long weekend. That was just in time for the busiest forest fire season on record in British Columbia. Our community spent time on evacuation alert (meaning we could be called to flee at a moment’s notice) and many communities through the province were evacuated.

Wells Gray Park was closed in its entirety for part of the summer due to wildfire risk. When it did finally open, all the back country was closed. Those closures, combined with the fire danger and smoke from seemingly endless fires some hundreds of miles away, slowed down tourism … a lot.

With the September rains fire bans have now been lifted and the park is once again reopened. It remains open in the winter for those tourists who want to see another side of the beauty of this area.

We had some battles with technology and a list of administrative duties to attend to. There were booking agents (OTA’s, online travel agencies) to be worked with, channel managers to be set up (those are the companies that coordinate the calendars for the various OTA’s and our website.  Merchant accounts (to accept credit card payments), bank accounts to open and insurance to obtain.

The drought and the deer played havoc with the garden but we were able to provide some garden fresh fruit and vegetables to our guest. Next year we hope to do more. The work on the grounds continues but we are making progress. There will be some minor fine tuning projects indoors over the winter, but nothing that should hinder our guests.

The menu was fine tuned repeatedly. Follow up emails, and various record keeping systems were developed and revised. All in all it was busy.

HOW DID WE DO?

So in the end what did it look like? More than 80% of our available dates were booked (I haven’t calculated the exact number yet but I suspect it will top 90%). Visitors came from at least 14 different nations. We met wonderful people and enjoyed hosting them and blessing them.

Misty Mountain Dog made many new friends and now considers entertaining the guests to be part of her job description. An informal review from her rated her as delightful.

At booking.com we stand rated at an exceptional 9.8 out of possible 10 by our guests. At Expedia our reviews show us at 5 out of 5. Facebook reviewers give us 5 stars and several ratings at Google maps give us 5 stars as well. There is room for improvement, but I think we can call that a good start.

5 star wreath - great review

It was a tiring season, but worth ever moment of it. We will remain open through the fall, winter and spring and are delighted to be seeing the bookings already coming in for summer 2018.

There is plenty to do all year round in Clearwater, so don’t let our summer wrap up fool you. We are here all year, ready willing and able to host your stay. Come Rest, relax, restore and explore.

Book with us

Wells Gray Park Open

WELLS GRAY PARK OPEN

Update From Wells Grey Tourism … Wells Gray Park Open ….

“OPEN!!!
Wells Gray Park is fully open tomorrow morning (September 12, 2017) at 8:00 AM. This includes Moul Falls, the flower meadows, and the West Lake Loop. See you on the trails! Hooray!”

Wells Gray Park Open

 

The back country of Wells Grey Park, in Clearwater BC has been closed for much of the summer due to fire hazard. Access to some of the Falls (Spahats Falls, Dawson Falls, the Mushbowl, and Helmcken Falls) has been available but most of the walk in falls were inaccessible. The entire park is open.

That all changes tomorrow.

Time for a hike? Come to Clearwater. Hike the Trophies. Explore to your heart’s content.

Want to stand under a waterfall? Come to Clearwater and hike into Moul Falls. It’s an experience you will never forget.

Come check out the salmon at Bailey’s Chute. They are still running.

Come and see the sights that people from all over the world journey here for. Come be amazed at the wonder of it all.

Clearwater BC and Wells Grey Park are worth seeing for the first time or once again.

You might not realize that much of the park is open year round. I think that some of the falls (particularly Helmcken Falls) have a special majestic beauty in the winter season. See ice cones at the bottom of the falls several hundred feet tall. 

Come cross country ski or snowshoe. Try your hand at ice fishing.

BOOK YOUR STAY WITH AT VALLEY HIDEAWAY GUEST HOUSE. Like the Park, we are open year round as well.

Clearwater is for more than summer. 

Canyon Falls

In the second instalment of our series “the waterfalls of Wells Grey”, we examine the trio of Canyon Falls. Rather unimaginatively named, the canyons are named as they appear on the park road. First, second and third canyon all have waterfalls. You will likely drive past these falls without ever knowing they exist. Only one of the three is visible from the road.

First Canyon Falls

According to the world waterfall database “The first of the three Canyon Creeks along the Wells Gray – Clearwater corridor holds a small waterfall at its head, but because of the angle of the gorge and the crumbly substrate, viewing the falls is exceptionally dangerous and not recommended. The falls can be heard from the road, and partially glimpsed from the left side of the bridge, but getting close would warrant being in a harness. First Canyon Creek flashed in 1997, wiping out the bridge spanning the stream and in the process, deepened the canyon considerably. There is supposedly a second fall downstream a short distance that can be accessed from the First Canyon Creek access to the Clearwater River Trail. First Canyon is crossed 13 ½ km up the Clearwater Valley Road from the Yellowhead Highway in Clearwater.”

Second Canyon Falls

Another set of falls not visible by road. The upper falls were destroyed some time ago in a flash flood. This canyon has proved troublesome by damaging or destroying four bridges and causing many problems with the culvert system  with serious flash floods and erosions. Apparently another falls is still to be found somewhat downstream although we have not visited it. It is possible to hike up from the Clearwater River but be cautious as the trail is not great and flash floods are dangerous.

Third Canyon Falls

At least part of these falls are visible if you park and walk out onto the bridge. The canyon snakes around quite a bit so it is not possible to see the full falls clearly. Trying to walk out and get to see the falls better could prove dangerous.

While not spectacular like some others, Third Canyon falls are pretty enough to warrant a stop and see. Be certain to stop before or after the bridge and park safely.

There is another falls downstream but it is not visible from the bridge.

Third Canyon Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Third Canyon Falls

 

Be sure to book your guest suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House B&B. We are open year round.

Wells Grey Park Reopens

Wells Gray Park Reopens

It’s official, Wells Grey Park reopens tomorrow morning (July 25) at 7:00 AM. While the park was not directly affected by any of the wildfire, it was prudent to close it. None the less we are glad that its open.

During the closure it was business as usual in Clearwater BC. At Valley Hideaway Guest House, we had guests who wanted to visit the world famous falls but could not. That changes tomorrow.

Once again we can go into the park. We can enjoy the magnificent waterfalls and unspoiled wilderness. Visit Helmcken Falls, one  of the highest in Canada. With a drop of 462 feet, Helmcken is rated by World Waterfall Database as “one of the most powerful waterfalls on earth”. 

Check out the many other easily accessible falls on your way up. Hike into Moul Falls and walk behind them. It’s definitely worth the trip.

Stop by the third canyon bridge and see Third Canyon Falls. Check out Spahats Falls, just minutes from the Wells Grey Information Centre.

See Little Niagara (Dawson Falls) and be astounded at the raw power of the river at the Mushbowl as the river narrows. Plenty of other falls to explore as well.

Check out the lakes in Wells Grey Park. Marvel at some of the old growth forest. Hike some of the beautiful trails.  Be astounded at the vista from Green Mountain Lookout. There is enough to see and do to keep you occupied for days.

Watch for wildlife, there is plenty of it.

WHITEWATER AND MORE

Interior Whitewater Expeditions has announced that with the Park reopening they will be resuming their trips on the Clearwater River. No doubt the other companies will be announcing the same. Be sure to check them out. Enjoy wild white water or a gentle float trip. 

IWE, Whitewater rafting, Wells Grey Park

Riding the White Water on the Clearwater River, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

 

WELLS GREY INFORMATION CENTRE

The staff at the info centre have been great through the wildfire problem. Be sure to stop by and get the latest updates on tours, sights to see and activities. They can direct you to all the sights in Wells Grey Park and many of the other things to see and do in Clearwater.

 

Looking to Retreat, Rest, Restore, or Explore? Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House.

Clearwater Farmer’s Market

Enjoying the Clearwater Farmer’s Market

As we do many Saturday’s Kathy and I stopped by the Clearwater Farmer’s Market this morning. It is always an enjoyable stop. Our only purchase today was farm fresh, free range, brown eggs for our B&B guest’s breakfast, but we have purchased many things from the different vendors over time.

Located just about 1 kilometre from Valley Hideaway Guest House is the delightful local Clearwater farmer’s market. Artisan crafts and gifts; farm fresh produce; farm fresh eggs; meat; home made preserves; locally made European style chocolates and more can be found there. 

This trip we saw homemade quilts, crochet work and hand made fishing tackle. Walking sticks, locally made and perfect for hiking Wells Grey Park with were on display and available. There was handcrafted wooden furniture for sale.

Fresh flowers. Fresh and dried herbs. Framed photos of some of the local scenery were on offer.

 

Clearwater Farmer's Market

                                                          Clearwater Farmer’s Market

 

Clearwater Farmer's Market welcome sign

 

The Market happens on Saturday mornings throughout the season and is worth a stop, The local Elks Club offers a wonderful pancake breakfast adjacent to the market for only a few dollars. Enjoy a meal and spend some time at the market, Clearwater style.

MEET THE LOCALS AT CLEARWATER FARMER’S MARKET

One of the joys of a local market is meeting the locals. Whether catching up with old friends or meeting new once from the area, there is always someone to talk to. Learn a bit of local history, share in some local culture. Find out about events you might not know of or attractions that many tourists miss. Some will be long time residents and others who are new. Visit with others from around the world who have stopped to check out the market as well. There are plenty of friendly folks hereabouts.

View the Farmer’s Market FaceBook Page

 

Book your Guest Suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House.

Happy Canada Day

Let’s Celebrate Canada Day

A Canada Day anniversary Celebration.

July 1, 1867, a new nation was formed. Ontario (then Canada West), Quebec (then Canada East),  and the British colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick came together to become the Confederation of Canada.

The red Ensign. Canada's first flag

Canada’s First Flag – The Canadian Red Ensign

Other provinces joined the initial four over the years. We now number ten provinces and three territories.

July 1st is Canada Day, the day we celebrate the official founding of our nation. Like every other country in the world the were various people groups, nations, states and tribes here before this nation was formed. That is the nature of nations, tribes and empires. They rise and fall and change. Canada is far from perfect but it is a wonderful place to live and we love her.

Canada's Current Flag - The familiar Maple Leaf - adopted in February 1965

Canada’s Current Flag – The familiar Maple Leaf – adopted in February 1965

Here in Clearwater, BC we will be celebrating with festivities down at Dutch Lake. There will be lots to do and the forecast is for hot and sunny weather. Come on down and celebrate our birthday if you can. If you can’t make it here try and take in the festivities at your local or nearest Canadian community. It will be fun.

In celebration of Canada Day, we have attached a flag pole and Canadian Flag to the front Valley Hideaway Guesthouse. It will be a permanent feature of our B&B. We are proudly Canadian but look forward to hosting guests from around the world and learning more about them and their nations.

 

Canada 150 Flag, Canada Day logo

HAPPY CANADA DAY

Book your guest suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House, the B&B choice for Wells Grey Park.

We are open

Open at Last

It’s been a journey since we moved to Clearwater, BC in August 2016 but Valley Hideaway Guest House is now open. New home, new life, new church, new friends and more. 

We now enter into a new phase with the opening of Valley Hideaway Guest House. Clearwater’s newest B&B is now officially open. Thanks to the local contractors and many friends, family members and the team(s) from “the cowboy church” in Sherwood Park, Alberta for all the work that went into making this day possible.

We are officially open.

 

Your hosts at Valley Hideaway Guest House celebrating that we are open.

It is official. We are now open

 

Book your Guest Suite at the Guest House today. Close to the hub of Clearwater BC. Great access to Wells Grey Provincial Park.

Crabapples for Dessert

Crabapples and Deer

One of the blessings of our one acre property in Sunshine Valley is the frequent opportunity to see deer and other wild game, often grazing on crabapples.. Birdlife is abundant and the squirrels are often comical to watch, particularly in the early spring when they seem to be everywhere looking for mates. Their games of chase are frantic, high speed romps up and down the trees and across the forest floor.

Here at Valley Hideaway Guesthouse in Clearwater, BC, we are blessed to have two small herds of deer in the neighbourhood as well.  A half dozen whitetail deer are often seen along with three or four mule deer. We have learned that the deer love to eat roses. One day my minis will be in bloom, the next the deer will have gotten them all. They enjoy nibbling on our cedars, one in particular is quite malformed from their browsing.

A special treat seems to be the crabapples. In our front yard is a big old crabapple tree of some nearly inedible ornamental variety. It blooms a bright pink in the spring and is quite beautiful and in season it sets massive quantities of fruit. It’s not uncommon to see grouse nestled in the branch picking fruit or for the deer to drop by and have crabapples for breakfast or dessert.

Deer and Grouse

More than once I have been started when a ruffed grouse flushed out of the tree. Sitting invisibly unless you are looking for them they wait until you get close. Then they explode out and away, leaving you to catch your breath. A grouse will not hurt you but they can sure make you jump.

The deer and the grouse are a delight. A real blessing is to look out the living room window and see them munching ten feet away. I sometimes mutter to myself when I have to rake up the fallen fruit in the fall but can’t help smiling when I remember the deer having crabapples for dessert. Or how high I jumped when the grouse startled me.

Mule deer buck and doe enjoying a crabapple feast

 

Crabapples for dessert

 

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House, in beautiful Clearwater BC