Friday, September 13, 2013

Mountains, Lakes and Rivers

Our Friday in Wells Gray started with a drive to the Green Mountain Lookout. We turned off Clearwater Road at the 35.9 km mark and drove 3.5 kms up Green Mountain Road.  It's a bit narrow and steep but you can do it in a car without difficulty.  Our plan was to take in the beautiful scenery then head up to Clearwater Lake to kayak for the afternoon.  We thought we might stop for a short hike along the way if anything caught our fancy.


The Trophy Mountains

The lookout gives you a great view of the surrounding mountains, valleys and lakes from this corner of the park.  There are identifying photos at the top so you have an idea of what you're seeing.  

Garnet Peak in the distance.  Huntley Mountain and Buchanan Ridge in the foreground.

Battle Mountain in the distance, Inca Ridge to the left.

Mahood Lake

Pyramid Mountain.

We decided to stop part way down the mountain road and do the hike to White Horse Bluff.  Though I read the description out loud to hubby from our bible Exploring Wells Gray Park, in my head I was thinking that it would only take an hour or two. The description pronounced it "Easy" so I guess that was part of my misunderstanding. 

The trail had a 170m descent which seemed fairly simple.  We donned our fleeces because it was overcast and cool, and packed the bear spray and bear bell.  After about twenty steps I shoved the bear bell in my pocket quickly realizing I would go insane if I had to listen to that noise the whole way.  I recalled our horseback guide's remark that bears expect you to smell them and keep away.  When they hear a bell they may often head towards you to investigate.  Another scenario ran through my mind:  Don't farmers put bells on cows?  Do bears attack cows?  If I wear the bell will a bear think I'm a cow?




Before long we were joined by a persistent flock of mosquitos that dive bombed us most of the way to the bluff, even through the rain that fell on and off for the first hour or so.

If only I'd read the end of the paragraph on Hike B which we weren't doing, that said "For both hikes, carry insect repellant.."

The first kilometre was pretty easy going and I wondered when we would start the decent.  At the 2.5 km mark we came to a sign and map and it dawned on me that this was going to be much longer than I thought.  Turns out the hike was 6 km each way and this was the point where the descent began...and kept going...and kept going.

As we continued to trudge downhill for the next 3K, I began to dread the hike back.  The book promised an amazing view that would be worth the effort and I suppose it was but I'm sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I we hadn't left the DEET back at the cabin.  We spent most of the walk flapping our arms, brushing mosquitos off each other and slapping ourselves.   I guess I should be thankful for the addition of an upper body workout.

The mosquitos had abandoned us around the 5K mark as the rainforest retreated.  We  followed an up and down path along the forested face of the bluffs.  It was a pretty view.

After a quick couple of photos we turned around for the return hike.

We came across a few grouse that were happy to pose for a photo or two.  We never did see anything much bigger than a rabbit the whole time in the park.

I was proud of the fact that I hiked the entire 3K uphill, only stopping once for a drink.  By the time I got to the flat part of the hike I was a puddle of sweat but there was no way I was going to take my fleece off and be eaten alive by mosquitoes.  We trudged along the mostly flat trail the rest of the way and coincidentally ran into John, our trail riding guide who also works for a forestry company.  He and a coworker were out cutting down some trees that had blown across the trail in a recent windstorm.

We made it back to the truck around the four hour mark and ate our lunch on the drive north to Clearwater Lake, stopping to snap a few photos along the way.


We pulled into a small cafĂ© at Falls Creek Campground at the south end of Clearwater Lake, ordered a coffee and did our best to dry off and warm up. We met a very nice couple from England that were spending a few weeks touring BC and Alberta with their two kids.  I enjoyed hearing their impressions of Canada.  Other then their frustration with Budget Rent A Car and the fact that our sales taxes are not included within the pricing, it sounded like they were having a great time.  Our B.C. wines had made a good impression as well.



Our cheerful visit with the Brits reawakened my adventurous spirit and our plan to spend the rest of the afternoon on Clearwater Lake.





Garnet Peak in the distance

We decided we could fit in one more stop along Bailey Chute to see the salmon jumping.  Ok, three more stops when you include the photo hops as I call them - when I hop out of the truck to get a photo while Mike waits patiently for me.


Shadow Lake

I was impressed by these giant, tropical looking plants along the short hike to Bailey's Chute.

Chinook Salmon trying, without success, to get up Bailey's chute.
Eventually they give up and return down river to spawn and die.


    I think this was the night that hubby made dinner, much to my great appreciation. At the cabin I collapsed on the bed with visions of the next day's Whitewater Rafting dancing through my head. 

For previous posts on our Wells Gray holiday check out:

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