Bears

BEARS

If you go down to the woods today     You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better go in disguise! For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnicTeddy bears, bears, Wells GRay, Clearwater, Valley Hideaway

 

Well, despite the lyrics to this old children’s rhyme, you probably won’t see any teddy bears in the wild.

 

Here in the Clearwater BC area, is the season to see real bears. You may see them feeding on roots and berries but not carrying a picnic basket.

Late spring, early summer and early fall are the best times to see bear in the Clearwater, Wells Grey Park area. Watch for them along the side of the roadways or in the fields. There are plenty of places to see them and at this time of year you are quite likely to come across a mother with cubs. There are two species of bears in the area.

 

Black Bear

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) is a medium-sized bear native to North America.Despite the name “black” bear, this species actually come in a variety of colour patterns. I have seen blacks, browns, cinnamons and even a bleak bear with a huge white spot on his chest. Last year Kathy and I spotted a mother black with three cubs, one was black, one was brown and the third cinnamon. They took off back into the woods from the roadside before we could get a photo.

Black bears are the most common species in the world, but that does not make seeing one an everyday occurrence, even in bear season. They are different and it is a special treat to see them in their natural habitat.

Black bear

It is the continent’s smallest and most widely distributed bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in search of food. They can be seen fishing in the creeks and rivers, particularly during the salmon spawning run. The rich fishy diet helps put on needed weight for winter hibernation.

 

Grizzly Bear

The Grizzly bear is the much larger cousin of the black bear. The hump is a good way to distinguish a grizzly bear from a black bear, as black bears do not have this hump. Aside from the distinguishing hump a grizzly bear can be identified by a “dished in” profile of their face with short, rounded ears, whereas a black bear has a straight face profile and longer ears. A grizzly bear can also be identified by its rump, which is lower than its shoulders, while a black bear’s rump is higher.

Grizzly bear

Grizzly Bear – “griz”

Bear Safety.

The Government of Canada has some great tips on being bear safe. While bears generally avoid people, they are not pets and can be dangerous. Take appropriate precautions.

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

Retreat … Rest… Restore… Explore

 

 

Clearwater Spring – in Wells Gray Country

CLEARWATER SPRING

Spring is here … okay Clearwater Spring. That means the calendar shows spring as being here and winter has almost fully retreated. There is still snow in the high country and some down here in the valley but it is rapidly melting. If the weather stays as forecast the valley should be relatively snow free in the next week to ten days.

Our waterfalls are spectacular any time of the year. They have a special beauty in late spring and early summer. Water levels are at their peak in that season increasing stare volumes over all the falls. Clearwater Spring has its own brand of beauty.

Buds are popping out on some of the trees. In areas where the snow has left things are greening up. Tulips and other bulbs are peeking out at the side of Valley Hideaway Guest House. Soon more perennials will show and by the end of May the garden will be in.

BIRDS AND WILDLIFE

The spring birds are returning in droves. Once again the back yard is filled with the songs of robins, nuthatches, chickadees and more. In the evening sky you can often here the honk of the Canada Geese or flights of mallard flying overhead. Some will nest here and other will travel many hundreds of miles further north before settling in. The drumming of woodpeckers can be heard as they begin searching for insects that nestled under the tree bark for the winter.

 

Canada Geese in Flight. Clearwater spring is a birder's paradise

Canada Geese in Flight

Clearwater is a birder’s paradise.

The wildlife is beginning to move around, by next month bears will be visible. You can catch sight of bears any time in the spring, summer and fall, but the prime season is mid Mid through June. In the back country you can see both grizzly bear and black bears. Black bears are black by name but come in a wide range of colour varieties including black, brown, cinnamon, black with white chests and more.

 

Black Bear. Clearwater Spring is an excellent time to see both black and grizzly bear

Black Bear

Remember that bears are wild animals and deceptively fast. Be sure to take any photos from safely inside your vehicles and do not approach bears, particularly cubs or mothers with cubs. While bear attacks are relatively uncommon, they are nasty when they do happen. Stay safe.

In addition to spotting bears keep a sharp lookout for a wide range of game animals both large and small. The North Thompson Valley and Wells Grey Park play host to a large number of animals.  Watch for moose, deer, coyotes, foxes, wolves, cougars and more. Also be on the lookout for squirrels, marmots, weasels, beavers, muskrats, rabbits and more.

 

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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

 

The Mushbowl – small but powerful

The Mushbowl

You will find the Mushbowl located between two of the most popular falls in the park, Dawson and Helmcken. Located at a narrowing of the river, under a one way bridge, the Mushbowl highlights the raw power of the river.

Here the otherwise broad Murtle River narrows to about 50 feet wide immediately below a set of side-by-side falls about 15 feet wide that are split by a rock in the middle of the river. as the river narrow the waters churn and roar in a breathtaking display of unrestrainedwater power.

Off to one side is a cave that is accessible during low water giving a unique view of this little powerhouse.

Mushbowl in high season, waterfalls of wells grey

 

Why the Mushbowl?

To be honest no one is certain why the name was chosen. It has been used since at least the 1940’s. Speculation has it that the falls are named for the violent churning pooling above the falls that traps even huge logs from moving downstream.

Mushbowl, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Directions to the Mushbowl

Follow Clearwater Valley Road (main park access road) 42 kilometers north from the Highway in Clearwater the one-lane bridge spanning the Murtle River. There is little room to park and observe the falls – a small turnout on the north side of the bridge has room for  2 or 3 cars.

 

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

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Book your stay at Valley Hideaway when visiting Clearwater

Valley Hideaway is a non smoking property.

 

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

 

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

Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round.

Spahats Falls – Waterfalls of Wells Gray Park

SPAHATS FALLS

In the third instalment of our series “the waterfalls of Wells Gray”, we examine Spahats Falls. Spahats is sometimes known as Bear Falls or Bear Creek Falls Spahats and Bear are the same word in different languages.

Spahats Falls

Spahats Falls, Wells Gray Provincial Park

 

According to the World Worldfall Database ….”Spahats Creek is the first major stream which is crossed along the Clearwater Valley Road in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Like every stream that flows off the Trophy Mountains into the Clearwater River, Spahats Creek intersects the area’s ubiquitous basalt formations and plunges over the rim of the Clearwater Valley. What stands out with Spahats Creek, however, is the sheer size of the canyon the creek has managed to create. As one approaches the falls from the parking lot the creek churns along in a gorge maybe 75 feet deep, but at the falls suddenly and spectacularly expands and deepens to 400 feet in dramatic fashion, with the waters of Spahats Creek pouring out of a keyhole slot in the amphitheater, plunging over an impressive waterfall. The falls stand approximately 240 feet tall, with drops of 40 and 200 feet respectively, but only the 200 foot drop can be seen due to the shape of the gorge.”

ACCESS TO SPAHATS FALLS

Access to this waterfall is an easy drive off of Clearwater Valley Road (the main artery for Wells Gray Park). The access road off of Clearwater Valley is not plowed into Spahats in the winter but it is a short hike, snowshoe or cross country ski trip into the viewing platform. It is a spectacular visit year round.

If you are passing through and have just a short time, Spahats Falls is only about 15 minutes off the main highway and well worth a side trip.

 

 

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Valley Hideaway Guest House 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.

 

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

 

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.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

Waterfalls of Wells Grey Park – Triple Decker

 WATERFALLS OF WELLS GREY – TRIPLE DECKER FALLS

We start with Triple Decker Falls to kickoff the Wells Grey Waterfall tour because its the first one up the Park Road. Triple Decker is also known as known as Candle Creek (because it is located on Candle Creek).

Triple Decker Falls, Wells Grey Park, Clearwater BC

Triple Decker (Candle Creek) Falls – Image courtesy www.kamloopstrails.net. Used by permission

If you have driven into the park you likely passed the hidden gem and never knew it was there. Candle Creek flows under the road in a culvert and the falls are a short hike downstream. Watch for some steep sections and a few cliff edges along the trail. Use common sense and a little caution  when hiking, but the trail is not unduly dangerous.

As the name implies Triple Decker cascades down three steps (technically a tiered plunge) with a drop of nearly 200 feet. The tallest of the three tiers is about 30m (100feet). 

Triple Decker is a pretty set of falls year round but at it’s most impressive with the early spring waterfall. Be prepared to get wet in the spring as the falls produces a lot of mist in peak runoff.

Facing westward and heavily shaded with old growth forest, the falls are best viewed from the bottom during the morning.

 

 

Book your suite at Valley Hideaway Guest House. Make us your B&B choice as base to explore the unspoiled wilderness and waterfalls of Wells Grey  Park. Retreat – Rest- Restore – Explore

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

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.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises