Starry Nights – Enjoy the northern night sky

Starry Nights

Who doesn’t love starry nights? I don’t mean Vincent Van Gogh’s classic painting, which I confess doesn’t speak to me personally, although it does speak to millions of other people. I mean staying out after dark and seeing God’s magnificent handiwork in the skies.

Living in in urban areas often causes people to lose out on the beauty of the night sky simply because light pollution causes the view of the heavens to be dimmed. The clear skies of Clearwater provide incredible breath taking views.

 

Starry Night - Constellations - Clearwater BC

Starry Night – Constellations – Clearwater BC

 

STARGAZING NIGHTS

Every summer, we have held an evening with the stars in Wells Grey Park (weather permitting). We are excited by a recent announcement from Tourism Wells Grey that this event will be expanded this year.

“In order to improve the visitor experience during the summer, in partnership with Wells Gray Air, there will be Stargazing Nights every Wednesday night at the Wells Gray Air base in Clearwater during the months of July and August. Every Wednesday night enjoy an outdoor movie as the sun sets, then lay back and count the stars! This free event will be open to any and all visitors and community members. More details to come”

 

Starry Nights - Aurora - Clearwater BC

Starry Nights – Aurora – Clearwater BC

 

What a great way to spend a family evening! A free movie followed by some stargazing. Come out and enjoy an evening under the stars.  It’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy the multitude of the stars in the northern hemisphere in a new and fresh way. Allow the incomparable beauty of a starry Clearwater night to take your breath away.

The starry night photos on this page were all taken by Mike Lahaie in the past two years and all copyright belongs to him. Used by permission.Thanks Mike for your starry night images.

 

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Retreat, Rest, Explore, Explore

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

 

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

While Visiting Wells Grey Park Stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Dawson Falls – Waterfalls of Wells Gray

DAWSON FALLS

In our fourth instalment on the waterfalls of Wells Gray we look at Dawson Falls. What these falls lack in height compared to Spahats and Helmcken, they more than make up for in width. The Murtle River thunders nearly 60 feet (18 meters) across a 350 foot (107 meters) curved vista.

Sometime referred to as Little Niagara because of their broad, curved shape, easy access to the falls allows for an up close and personal waterfall experience. While at their highest levels in late spring or early summer, every visitor to Wells Gray Provincial Park should make a point of checking these falls out, no matter what time of the year.

Two different views of the falls provide very differing perspectives. Downstream by the canyon’s rim you can appreciate the width of the cascade. Up closer you can experience them in a more intimate way and almost touch them.

Dawson Falls, Wells Gray Provincial Park

GETTING TO DAWSON FALLS

The falls are located in the heart of the Clearwater Corridor section of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Take the Clearwater Valley Road 41 kilometers north from the Yellowhead Highway in Clearwater to the parking area and trailhead. The easy trail brings you to the falls in about ten minutes, with occasional sneak peeks along the way. Alternately it is accessible on the other side via a 20 minute hike from Pyramid Campground to a viewing area.

HISTORY OF DAWSON FALLS

According to the World Waterfall Database… “Its not entirely clear who first discovered the falls, but it may have been surveyor Robert Lee who was responsible for first mapping and naming the falls in 1913. The falls bear the name of George Herbert Dawson, who acted as the Land Surveyor General for British Columbia between 1912 and 1917.”

 

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House (open year round)

Valley Hideaway is a non-smoking property.

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Turcotte Compound Drag Races

Turcotte Compound Drag Races and Charity Event

Fans of snowmobiling and extreme sports will want to check out the Turcotte Compound Drag Races Charity Event in Clearwater, BC on March 3, 2018.

The Turcotte Compound is hosting Snowmobile Drag Races and a Snowmobile Freestyle show Charity Event In Beautiful Clearwater B.C! The Event will take place in The Field beside the Raft River Elementary School, both the school and Clearwater Redi-Mix have donated weekend use for the event!! 

 

The Turcotte Compound Drag Races & Freestyle Charity Event - Clearwater BC, March 3, 2018

Charity Event and Freestyle Show, March 3, 2018

 

All proceeds raised from the event will go to The B.C Snowmobile Federation and The British Columbia Lions Club Society Easter Seals fundraiser for Children with disabilities! 

This event will be presented by X-Games Silver Medalist Brett Turcotte along with the help of The Clearwater Sno-Drifters! 

Pre Registration will open January 1, 2018 

Contact Niki@Turcottecompound.com to get registration forms and information.

 

UPDATE : Turcotte wins two gold medals in Aspen in 2018 https://www.clearwatertimes.com/sports/update-turcotte-wins-second-gold-at-x-games/

 

In support of this Event Valley Hideaway Guest House is offering discounted rates March 1-4, 2018 inclusive. Book your stay with us.

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

 

Open Year Round – Valley Hideaway Guest House

Open year round at Valley Hideaway Guest House, Clearwater BC.

Open Year Round? Why?

Some guests are amazed to find out that we are open year round at Valley Hideaway. Why do you stay open? What is there to do in Clearwater in the off season?

It is true that the peak tourist season here is the May long weekend through the Thanksgiving weekend. It is also true that some of the tourist attractions close for the off season but there are still plenty of reasons to come by for a visit.

Clearwater is the perfect stopover point for those travelling from Northern Alberta or British Columbia to the lower mainland. Edmonton to Vancouver? Stop over in Clearwater. It’s a natural break in the driving and will leave you refreshed for the balance of your journey.

Autumn

The fall season is a beautiful time to enjoy the fall scenery and the waterfalls Wells Gray Park is famous for. There are less people around and the water falls remain accessible during the autumn allowing you more space to enjoy our pristine wilderness.

Deer, moose and other wildlife are in their mating season or “rut” during the fall. That means they will be on the move and you have a good chance of seeing them.

There are more than 50 fishable lakes within an hours drive and the river fishing can be great. 

Winter

If winter is your season enjoy the sight of spectacular ice formations on Helmcken Falls. Traverse miles of cross country and snowshoe trails. Enjoy great snowmobile trails within an hours drive. Try a Canadian winter treat and ice fish for rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon right in town on Dutch Lake.

 

Helmcken Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC,

We have a volunteer run local downhill ski slope. It’s not as fancy as some, but it is a great way to spend the day on some easy slopes.

Relax and enjoy the outdoor fire pit at Valley Hideaway or sit in the living room and cuddle up by the indoor fireplace with a good book.

Check out some of the local events and get to know some of our residents. Try the Blackpool Hall Coffee House once a month and hear great local musicians. Enjoy one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Saturday Suppers. Watch a local amateur ice hockey team, it’s not the National Hockey League but it is a Canadian tradition.

The pace of life slows down here in the off season, come and relax with us.

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

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House now.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property.

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Harvest Faire

Clearwater 2nd Annual Harvest Faire

Check out the Harvest Faire if you want something to do this weekend.

The second annual Harvest Faire will be celebrating Canada’s 150th Anniversary with good ol’ time fun activities and delicious contests for the whole family! There will be fresh bannock made on site, and the Great Zucchini Cook Off Competition. Check out hands-on wheat threshing demonstrations. Listen to live music.  Kids can enjoy zucchini races and other fun activities.

YCS Food Security will be handing out our 150 berry plants! A great big thanks to the North Thompson Communities Foundation and the Community Foundation of Canada for their support in making this event possible!

Harvest Faire Poster 2017

 

Where? At the Clearwater Farmer’s Market, Old North Thompson Highway, Clearwater BC.

When? Saturday, September 23, 2017. 9:00- 12:00.

 

Be sure to check out the rest of the Clearwater Farmer’s Market while you are there as well, and the crafts and other goodies for sale in the Elks Hall.

Looking for a play to stay in Clearwater? Book with Valley Hideaway Guest House. The B&B of choice and open year round. Ideal for couples and family of up to seven.

 

Rest, Restore, Relax, Explore

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises