Autumn Delights – Wells Grey and Area

AUTUMN DELIGHTS

Visit Clearwater in September and October and experience the Autumn Delights. The autumn season is less busy that the peak season and the wilderness has a beauty all its own.The water flow over our many falls is lower than the spring but they are still awe inspiring. Catch them on an early foggy morning for a surreal view you will remember forever.

The leaves are changing bringing new colour to the deciduous trees. The reds and yellows flash against the deep green of the coniferous trees.

Clearwater River in Autumn

Birds heading south for the winter will be passing through giving extra opportunities for adding to your life lists.

The cooler weather makes it ideal to try your hand at trail riding on horseback. Several local area ranches are available to guide you.

Fall weather is typically a little cooler than the summer but is ideal for hiking. In addition, the animals (particularly the Park’s black and Grizzly bears) are preparing for winter and moving around more, so wildlife, viewing opportunities are good. Remember though that these are wild animals so stay safe and don’t get too close. The deer, moose, wolves and more in the park are around all year.

Autumn at the Lake

 

Autumn is a great time to fish for trout and Kokanee in the many local lakes. Remember that a valid BC Angler’s Licence is required. There is even a local trout pond loaded with rainbows for free catch and release fishing. They have gear for you to borrow.

Need still one more reason? Off season rates are typically lower so you still get to enjoy the pristine wilderness but for less. Bonus!

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation in Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

New Farmer’s Market

Upper Clearwater’s New Farmer’s Market

Last week marked the successful launch of the Upper Clearwater New Farmer’s Market. There were plenty of fresh baked goodies and farm fresh produce on hand. There were hand made sweaters, walking sticks and a yard sale. A raffle with great prizes was being held raising funds for the Upper Clearwater Fire Department. We took home some baking, some fresh corn and a few books. We also got to visit with some friendly local vendors.

While the launch was small, we expect it to grow as the weeks pass. The location is great for those coming and going from Wells Gray Park. Plenty of free parking is available.

In talking with the vendors we were impressed with their community spirit. Not only did the want to bless Upper Clearwater and its visitors, they set the time and day for the market to not conflict with our in town Saturday market.

Support your local farmer’s market. Quality local products and fair pricing.

Make a day of it, enjoy the world class scenery of Wells Gray Park and make a stop at the Farmer’s Market on your way back into town.

Upper Clearwater’s New Farmer’s Market

 

Location of Farmer’s Market

Upper Clearwater Community Hall

5276 Clearwater Valley Road
Clearwater, British Columbia

(about 25 km up the Park road) between Moule Falls and Dawson Falls.

Days and Times

Thursdays 3:00-7:00 PM (Summer season)

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation in Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

 

 

Delicious Treats

Delicious Treats

Yesterday afternoon, Kathy and I took a road trip and stopped at some new places for delicious treats. The drive was a familiar one, up Clearwater Valley Road towards Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park. While the drive is familiar, it is never the same twice, the scenery varies from day to day, hour to hour year round and we never get tired of seeing it. There are some new snack stops in the first 30km, that we want to introduce you to.

Helmcken Chocolates and Waffles

Conveniently located in the parking area of Spahats Falls this is a great stop. Hot Dogs or sausages on a bun, Belgian Fries, Belgian waffles, and of course delicious locally made chocolates are a tasty, delicious treat.

Delicious hot dogs, waffles and Belgian fries

Grouse Creek General Store

Grouse Creek General Store  is your stop for fresh baking, local produce, cold drinks and souvenirs. They are located about half way to Helmcken Falls.

Their giant ginger snap cookie is the best I have ever had (I confess I ate it before thinking to take a picture). Delicious muffins, cupcakes, tarts and more await you. The selection varies daily.

 

Delicious looking tarts (photo courtesy of Grouse Creek General Store)

On Thursdays from 3-7 PM, you will find them at the Upper Clearwater Farmer’s Market (more about that another day)

Murphy Mountain Ice Cream – More Delicious Treats

At about the 30 Km mark you will fine a delightful little vintage travel trailer, home to Murphy Mountain Ice Cream. Easy access, ample parking. picnic tables and a wide lawn, combined with delicious ice cream and friendly service make this a summer afternoon must stop. open afternoon, weather dependant.

A must stop for a midafternoon summer treat.

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation in Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

 

Wild Flour Cafe

Wild Flour Cafe

Two new dining establishments, the “Wild Flour Cafe and Bakery” and the “Kettle Cafe” have opened in Clearwater BC over the past couple of weeks. We have enjoyed them both.

The Wild Flour specializes in lunch with homemade baking and organic ingredients. The owner Chris Olson is well known in the area for her specialty organic, artisan, breads. Locals have enjoyed her artisan breads for a number of years through preorder and at summer Farmer’s markets.

Wild Flour serves organically grown, fair trade Oso Negro coffee, fresh ground in nearby Nelson, BC.

Menu of the day

We popped in for lunch last Sunday after church, and were tempted by the creamy dill pickle soup. None of us had ever eaten dill pickle soup, so soup it was all round. The soup was served with a slice of home made bread and was delicious. While we only tried the one dish, the meals being served to other diners looked equally delicious.

The cafe is small but comfortable. It is conveniently located across the street from Wells Gray Tourism Information and nearby our local mall.

Cafe – Interior

Inside the Wild Flour

 

Location

343 Clearwater Valley Rd

Clearwater BC

 

Valley Hideaway Guest House

Make us your first choice for accommodation In Clearwater BC. We are ideally located for visitors to Wells Gray Provincial Park or travellers between Vancouver and Edmonton.

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

 

The Kettle Cafe – A Clearwater Classic Reopens

The Kettle Cafe

The Kettle Cafe, a classic Clearwater summer cafe has reopened under new ownership. Kathy and I dined there this evening and were impressed. The new owners Alain and Evelyn Bouckaert offer great service, a classic menu (with a Belgian twist) and delicious food.

The Kettle Burger and Kettle Pizza

We shared the Kettle Pizza and the Kettle Burger, both were freshly made and delicious.

The Kettle Buger

1/4 lb 100% beef burger, topped with cheddar, tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, burger sauce served on a warm toasted bun with Belgian Fries.

The Kettle Pizza

A Homemade crust with salami, fried ground beef. slices of ham, fresh green peppers and slices of ham topped with an extra layer of cheese. There is also a special secret blend of house spices atop the cheese … quite unique and definitely worth having again. A nicely sized 8 size pizza (I brought home 4 slices of it for tomorrow).

The Menu

Choose from a variety of Dutch Pancakes/crepes and Belgian Waffles. Ice cream and milkshakes. Try one of a variety of pastas; pizzas (on homemade crust); burgers; sandwiches or grilled sandwiches (on fresh homemade bread). The menu is select but if our meal is any indicator of quality and flavour it should all be good.

Check out their facebook page.

Location

Conveniently located at

73 Old North Thompson Highway

Clearwater BC

in the Interior Whitewater Expeditions building

Within close walking distance of Valley Hideaway Guest House

Summer Hours

Sunday-Saturday 8AM- 7 PM, call in orders for takeaway available (250-674-7824)

Book with us

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs. Make the Kettle one of your lunchtime choices.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

 

 

Hiking the Kettle – Off the Beaten Track.

Hiking the Kettle

The Kettle Rapids, on the Clearwater River, in Wells Gray Park (Clearwater, BC), are off the beaten path and missed by many of the tourists who visit the area. A series of surging, boiling rapids, they are unsafe even for whitewater enthusiasts to run until late in the summer when the waters have subsided, but they make for beautiful sightseeing all summer long. The Kettle is accessible by a short well marked walking trail through old growth cedars. There are several steep stairs so it is not recommended for people with mobility issues but otherwise is an easy trip.

Old Growth Cedar

 

Getting to the Kettle

Travel west off of the Old North Thompson Highway onto Camp Road 2 (adjacent to the Clearwater River, right in Clearwater). Travel .8km until you see the sign for Wells Gray Air on the right. Turn right and travel 7.2 Km where you will see a sign advising travellers with RV’s to turn back. Park at this pullout area. The road in is gravelled but up to this point generally well maintained.

Narrow Road Ahead – Go no further

When the road says “Narrow Road Ahead” … heed the sign travelling past that point is not recommended. The washout just past the sign (where the road narrows to a single lane) is just beginning. At times in places the road can be completely washed out, or strewn with boulders from rock slides, travel past here at your own risk. Travel without a 4 wheel drive vehicle from this point on is not recommended. Up to this point the road is fine.

Continue to walk down the road 100 meters or so from the parking area and you will see the trail head sign. Follow it down to the river and prepare to be awed.

Kettle Rapids Trailhead sign. Turn left here and follow to the river.

 

The Rapids …

My pictures do not do the rapids justice. The Kettle Rapids are a simply stunning must see.

Kettle Rapids on the Clearwater River

Kettle Rapids, Clearwater BC

Book with us

 

Plan on spending a couple of days at least in the area. There is lots to do and plenty to see.  Valley Hideaway Guest House is open year round to meet your Clearwater and area accommodation needs

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

 

 

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies

It’s June and one of the most spectacular sub alpine flower meadows in the world, the Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies are in full bloom. There is still some snow on the hiking trail (to the knees by latest report, but the view makes it worthwhile. It’s a hike you will remember.

Trophy Mountain Glacier Lillies June 2019 – Photo courtesy of Marco Bokor. Used by permission

The Trophy Mountain meadows are one of the most easily accessible sub-alpine meadows in British Columbia. The meadows bloom twice each year, in early June it is the brilliant yellow of the glacier Lillies. The same meadows are transformed into a rainbow of colour when mountain daisy, Indian paintbrush, arctic lupine and a myriad of other flowers bloom in late July to early August. Both blooms are breathtakingly beautiful.

The Trophy Mountains

“The Trophy Mountains rise 2,575 metres into the sky, with nine peaks towering over the Shuswap Highlands of southern Wells Gray Provincial Park. Their northern slopes are steep and cloaked in glaciers, while their southern slopes are gentle and dotted with alpine lakes and flower meadows.” BC Parks.

Getting There

From the junction at Highway #5 and the Information Centre, drive north along the Clearwater Valley Road (Wells Gray park Road) for 11.8 km and then turn right onto the gravel road. Travel along this road for 1.7 km and then turn left onto Road 10 (Road 80 on the right leads to an alternate route; for experienced persons only). Continue on Road 10 for 3.1 km before turning right onto Road 201. This road soon enters and skirts up and around a large logging clear cut area. Ignore small branch roads as you travel 4.4 km along Road 201 to where it dead-ends in a parking lot. The trail to the meadows begins to the left of the parking area.

Hiking

From the parking lot a gently ascending trail takes you on a relaxed 45 minute, 1 km., hike to the sub-alpine meadows of the Trophy Mountains. The elevation gain is 200 metres.

The trail winds its way through an old-growth forest of fragrant Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir. The small size of these 250-year-old trees attests to  the harsh living conditions at this altitude.

The trail passes several small streams before breaking out into the open expanses of the sub-alpine meadow. In July and August the endless waves of vibrant coloured wildflowers make this one of the most popular hikes in the area.

From the meadow, the trail continues a further 1.25 hours across lichen encrusted rocks to Sheila Lake. The trail ends at the lake, however, an additional hour of uphill climbing will get you to the panoramic views of Skyline Ridge (12 km round trip from the parking lot). These ridges are over 2,500 metres and weather can change quickly, therefore, you should be sure to carry a topographic map, compass, warm clothing and extra food. Maps can be purchased at the Wells Gray Visitor Centre.

Above the treeline, weather can change without warning. Sun fog, rain and snow are all possible, even in July or August. So dress accordingly, and watch the weather. (All directions courtesy of BC Parks. More information and maps are available here.)

Where to Stay

When travelling the North Thompson, when visiting Wells Gray Park and area or when going to Vancouver to Edmonton (or vice versa) stay at Valley Hideaway Guest House. We are open year round.

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

 

 

 

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

 

Hiking Wells Gray Park

Hiking Wells Gray Park

Are you looking to explore world class wilderness? Then you should consider hiking Wells Gray Park. With over 1.3 million acres of protected wilderness, there is something for everyone, from a simple self guided half day hike to full scale wilderness excursions and mountains yet unclimbed. Much of the park remains unexplored. A giant cave was discovered this year. The cave is  presently closed to visitors at the moment but who knows what the future holds?

Fire and ice  formed and molded this incredible landscape. There are volcanoes to explore, waterfalls to be awed by, gorgeous lakes, unpolluted rivers and more. See one of the largest alpine meadow blooms in the Trophy Mountains. Check out an incredible variety of wildlife and birdlife.

How to see it

There are a number of liscenced guides in the area who will help you explore. Dr Guy Ovenden, a professional wildlife biologist and his team can guide you. Tourism Wells Gray  also maintains a list of contacts for many of the activities in the area.

For those who prefer self guided tours we highly recommend Roland Neave’s book, Exploring wells Gray Park , now in its sixth edition. If you plan on spending more than a day in Clearwater (and we do recommend you stay several days at least) this guidebook is the one you must have. This is the book that Kathy and I use for our exploring. It is available locally, or can be ordered from a variety of sources.

 

Exploring Wells Gray book by Roland Neave. Your guidebook to Hiking Wells Gray Park

Do you have mobility issues?  If so, two of our two most beautiful waterfalls are easily accessible. Both Spahats Falls and Helmcken falls have good accessible access with parking nearby.

In the winter, you can explore on snowshoe or on nordic skis (we have some of the best nordic ski trails in Canada (they are truly an under utilized gem). If mountain bikes are more your thing we also have many kilometres of groomed mountain bike trails to suit the tastes of any style rider.

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

 

Book your stay with us

 

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

Yellowhead From Edmonton to Vancouver

Yellowhead From Edmonton to Vancouver

Winter driving the Yellowhead from Edmonton to Vancouver (or Vancouver to Edmonton) is spectacularly beautiful but can be tiring. Winter weather can change quickly especially in  mountainous areas, daylight driving hours are less and driving in the winter can be more tiring. Fatigue is a major cause of accidents when winter driving.

To make your trip more pleasant, and safer, consider a stopover in Clearwater, BC. We are located approximately half way between Vancouver and Edmonton on the Yellowhead Route. At Valley Hideaway Guest House we are open year round to meet your accommodation needs and even offer reduced rates in January and February. A good night’s rest and a great breakfast will make your trip both safer and more enjoyable.

If you can spare the time take an extra day or two to enjoy the natural beauty of our area.

 

Highway 5 - Yellowhead BC signage - Edmonton to Vancouver

Yellowhead Highway - travel Edmonton to Vancouver

What To Do In Clearwater in the Winter

Many of our world famous waterfalls are accessible in the winter. They have a beauty all their own this time of year. Both Spahats Falls and Helmcken Falls can be driven to with a 5 minute walk from the parking area to the viewing platforms. You drive right over the Mushbowl enrolee to Helmcken. Dawson Falls is but a short hike.

Snowshoe into Moul Falls. Or enjoy one of many miles of groomed cross country ski trails. The confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers is a short hike from town. When there is sufficient snow, the local downhill ski slope is a lot of fun. Its an inexpensive way to spend the day.

Fish for Kokanee and Rainbow trout through the ice, right in town, at Dutch Lake. appropriate BC angler’s licence is required.

Sit back, relax, enjoy a good book in front of our cozy fireplace.

Winter Driving Tips From BCAA

 

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