Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Falls, Falls, and More Waterfalls

Helmecken Falls
The Wells Gray Provincial Park in Clearwater, BC is known for its waterfalls, so much so that it bears the nickname “Canada’s Waterfalls Park.”  Scattered throughout the piney park are some 39 named waterfalls and plenty more unnamed cascading flows channeling cold water into the Clearwater River. The falls range from tall and narrow to short and wide but are all powerful and awesome cascades of rushing water that appear to have a purpose and somewhere to go.

The Clearwater River
The park covers over 1.3 million acres, making it British Columbia’s fourth largest provincial park but it almost was not to be.  The minister of public lands was not swayed by environmental lobbyists that were convinced the pristine falls and dense forests needed protection.  He declared that the falls were already there and surely could not go away.  Early developers (as far back as 1918) saw the Clearwater River as a source of hydropower and schemed an extensive series of dams to harness the rivers' power.  A concerned ecological group devised a plan to sabotage the dam and subsequent flooding by generating public opposition.  They greeted tourists as they were overlooking the falls and told them to imagine how the valley would look when it was flooded and how the marvelous Clearwater River would no longer flow free with concrete dams.  The strategy worked and under a new lands minister (Arthur Wellesley Gray, after whom the park is named) the park came to fruition. 

Our neighbors at the RV park (Bob and Vicki) visited the park the day before and shared their pictures and video of the falls which got us really excited to start touring ourselves.  (By the way, not only did they share park information but gave us a jar of homemade jelly – how nice!)  Most of the main falls are easily accessible by a short walk from the parking lot.  But a few offer a little more of a hike.
Dawson Falls

Bailey's Chute - one of more than a dozen stretches of turbulent whitewater stretches of the Clearwater River. 

Spahat Falls - an amazing 120-meter deep falls that flows through a deep volcanic canyon.
Thank you Mr. Gray and tireless crusaders who protected this beautifully unique piece of land for all to enjoy.  Too bad our hiking was cut short when Betsy and the baby dog stirred up a nest of fast-flying vengent stinging insects so we all ran for the car and called it a day.  Spirit took the brunt of the beasts.  Despite the pathetic face that resembled the losing side of a bar room brawl, we couldn't help making "head smashed-in" comments again.  Don't worry she and Betsy recovered well and are back on the trails.

Disclaimer: No animals were permanently harmed in the making of this blog.



5 comments:

  1. Oh, poor Spirit! She looks so sad. What a bummer of an ending to such a beautiful hike.:c(

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  2. We ended up at Wells Gray in 2009 on our quest to see the salmon run. When our original plans didn't work out, it was suggested we head for Bailey's Chute. Mind you, we were staying in Jasper, so it turned out to be a really long driving day ... on a miserable weather day no less. But we had a ball, and managed to squeeze in several of the falls into our sightseeing too.

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  3. Poor baby--Spirit that is!! Gorgeous waterfalls--I'm putting those on my must see list.

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  4. Poor Spirit--AND Betsy! What an experience! Once again, gorgeous pictures and great narratives of your fantastic exploration! Soooo glad damage not permanent! :)

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  5. Oh my goodness I wanted to cry when I saw the picture of Spirit! Then laughed when I read your disclaimer:) I am so glad Spirit and Betsy are okay! The pictures are spectacular! I guess we will have to work that area into our plans for next year.

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