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

Spring Time in Wells Gray Country

Spring time in Wells Gray Country

It is nearly Spring Time in Wells Gray Country. The weather is warming, the snow is beginning to melt (although we could still have a bit more yet). The gardeners have their seed catalogues out and are busy planning for warmer weather. Visions of fresh fruits and vegetables and beautiful flowers have them counting the days until we are frost free.

The first bear was sighted a week or so outside of town. Although bears are not true hibernators, that one was defiantly early. It won’t be long though before bear sightings in the area are a regular occurrence. Late April through early June will see lots of bears out and about. They are common sights in the Park and along any of the back roads. It is not uncommon to see several during a days drive in the area. The most Kathy and I have personally seen was 21 bear in 21 km, but that included cubs and was assuredly not the norm.

 

Black bear

Despite the name, black bears are not just black. They come in browns and cinnamons. Sometimes they even have large white spots on their chest or side.

A biologist told me that there are more black bears here than anyplace else in North America. I don’t know if that is total number or per square kilometre, I just know bears are not rare. At higher altitudes and in more remote areas, you will sometimes see grizzly bears.

Black bear with cub

There are plenty of opportunities to see other forms of wildlife as well. Whitetail and mule deer are common. You may be fortunate enough to see moose. Wolves; foxes; coyotes; lynx and cougar are around. That doesn’t count the many species of smaller mammals.

It’s a birder’s paradise here with more than 200 species recorded in the park. You might check off a few from your life list while visiting.

Waterfalls

The spring time in Wells Gray Country is also the best time to see our many spectacular waterfalls. While they never fail to disappoint, at any time, spring our spring time waterfalls a special magic. With the snow melt off the mountains, the sheer volume of water rushing over the falls is absolutely breathtaking.

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 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

WHAT IS THERE TO DO

What is There to do?

What is there to do in Clearwater, B.C.?

What is there to see?

What can we do?

Those questions or some variant of them are often asked by our guests. Stay for days and be kept busy all the time, because there are so many things to see and do. We’ve been visiting Clearwater for 15 years and lived here for 3 and haven’t exhausted the list yet! Explore on your own, as a family, as a group or as part of an organized tour. Clearwater has it all.

Wells Gray Park

We would be remiss if we didn’t start with the pristine wilderness of Wells Grey Park. A big plus over the national parks is that there are no visitor fees.

Wells Gray Park is half a million + hectares of pristine wilderness with waterfalls roaring off of lava cliffs, hiking trails, wildlife, streams, rivers, glaciers, and more. Evidence of more types of volcanic activity are found here than any other place on earth. Volcanologists come from around the world to study here.

 

What id there to do? Check out Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Park, one of Canada's highest waterfalls

Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Park, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Cuts through hundreds of feet of volcanic lave.

Take a flight over Wells Gray Park and see the area as few people ever have. Scenic flights can be arranged.

While the Park is indeed first class, there is so much more to do in the area.

Other Things to do in the Clearwater Area

What is there to do in Clearwater, B.C.?  Other than enjoying one of the world’s best pristine wilderness parks? Lots!

Ride the wild waters. World class white water rafting and calmer float trips are available on the Clearwater and North Thompson River. We are fortunate enough to have three rafting companies to choose from.

Take a western trail ride. Enjoy the majesty of our wilderness on the back of a horse. From the absolute novice to the experienced trail hand we have somewhere here for you to ride.

What is there to do in Clearwater? Ride a horse. Battle Mountain Equine - Western horseback riding - Find your inner cowboy. Wells Gray Park, Clearwater BC, tourism adventure

Battle Mountain Equine – Western horseback riding – Find your inner cowboy

Test your nerve and go parasailing.

Hike or mountain bike one of the many trails. Country ski or snowshoe those trails if its winter.

Grab your clubs and enjoy a round of golf. No clubs with you? Rent a set.

Fish one of the many rivers and lakes. Be sure to check out the regulations.

Enjoy a relaxing meal at one of our many restaurants or grab a quick bite at one of several fast food places. Try the Belgian Waffles and other treats up at Spahats Falls.

Maybe birding or wildlife viewing is your idea of fun. There are plenty of birds and critters to see.

Join the locals for the Saturday morning Elk’s Club Pancake Breakfast and stroll on over the the Farmer’s Market.

Catch a few rays on the beach at Dutch Lake and enjoy some swimming. There are canoe and Kayaks rentals available.

See the work of local artists and artisans at the Red Umbrella. Perhaps you will find that perfect remembrance of the trip of a lifetime there.

Educational and Cultural Things to do

What is there to do? Get educated. It is always fun to combine a little learning with some fun.

Visit a historic sheep ranch. If you come in the spring there is the bonus of lambing tours.

What is there to do? Check out the sheep

Day old lambs at historic Avenly Ranch. they don’t get any cuter than this.

Tour the fish hatchery.

Visit the Aboriginal Centre and learn about our earliest people. Check out some of the first nations archaeological sites in the area.

On a rainy day pop on in to the local library and enjoy a good book.

Thursday evenings in the summer check out the live music outside at the Dutch Lake Community Center. Be amazed at the local talent.

Check out the stars at one of the stargazing nights. The skies are beautiful.

Check out displays from local artists at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

Special events and festivals happen throughout the summer.

Learn about the geology, geography, flora, fauna and history of the area.

On a Sunday morning there are a number of fine Christian churches to attend.

Check out some of the primitive skills classes that are periodically offered.

 

Contact Us

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

 

 

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.

 

Contact Us

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