And the Winner is

Coffee and Chocolates

And the winner of the coffee and chocolates is …Me, moi, Kevin Corbin of Valley Hideaway Guest House. Okay, perhaps I am a little excited, but I don’t usually win. The mug didn’t come filled with coffee, but it will be as soon as we finish eating the chocolates in it.

Photo of "And the winner is" - Kevin Corbin - obtaining his prize of a coffee mg and HElmcken Chocolates from the owners of teh Kettle Cafe

Being presented my prize

The Details

Alain and Evelyn Bouckaert, owners of the Kettle Cafe in Clearwater BC, did a random draw to promote visitors to their newly opened eatery. The prize was a coffee mug filled with delicious locally made Belgian chocolates from Helmcken Chocates. The chocolates were every bit as delicious as the food the kettle sells and can be purchased at the Red Umbrella. Kathy and I have been there several times since they opened. Here is our review  The Kettle Cafe – A Clearwater Classic Reopens

The Red Umbrella, is a local gallery/emporium that features the works of local artists, artisans and craftspeople. It is located just across the street from the Kettle Cafe. It’s a great place to find unique items of decor and giftware. The talent of our local people is astounding.

 

Coffee (mug) and Chocolates Prize

Valley Hideaway Guest House

When staying in Clearwater BC, whether visiting magnificent Wells Gray Provincial Park, or travelling between Edmonton and Vancouver, stay with us. We are open Year Round. Valley Hideaway is a short drive from the entrance to the park and bot the Kettle and the Red Umbrella are within walking distance.

There is lots to do and plenty to see, in the area. The biggest regret of visitors to the area is that they didn’t book enough time here.

 

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

 

 

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

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.

Contact us

Book your stay

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

 

 

Book your stay

 

Contact Us

 

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

Clearwater Canoe Regatta

CLEARWATER CANOE REGATTA – Saturday September 9, 2017

If you are looking for some family fun this weekend, check out the annual Clearwater Canoe Regatta.

A full day of fun races and all FREE events at Dutch Lake in Clearwater, BC. Bring your community spirit!

Participants launching canoes at the Clearwater Regatta

 

Clearwater Canoe Regatta events line-up:

Morning

-8AM Run for Fun! Run or walk a 5km route.
-9AM Rotary Relay Race. Individual or team up to 4 5km run, 10km bike and Canoe around the island
-10AM Kids Triathalon for ages 6-10.
-11AM Opening Ceremony-11:30 AM Family Canoe Race
-11:30AM CANFOR Community BBQ! Free:)

Afternoon

-12:30-3:30PM Activities and Games on the Beach
-1PM The Main Event! Challenge First Responders in obstacles and canoe races, support those who do so much!
-1:30PM Whatever floats your boat! Create a raft from materials and race it to the finish line.
-2PM Paddle Board/Kayak Race, Bring your own to race.
-3PM Dinghy Dash Surprise, Teams of two race to win
-3:30PM Scavenger Hunt, teams of four race to win.

 

Thanks to the generous sponsors, all events and the community BBQ are free.

Arts, crafts and face painting. Be a participant and or come and be a spectator.

 

A TOURISM WELLS GRAY EVENT

 

Need a place to stay in Clearwater? Book now at Valley Hideaway Guest House.

 

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