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

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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.

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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

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

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

 

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.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

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.

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises

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.

Valley Hideaway Guest House is a non smoking property

No Smoking inside the guest house or on the premises