Turtles and Trophies
After we left Interior Whitewater Expeditions, we drove to the near by Dutch Lake Resort to make a dinner reservation at The Painted Turtle. We had looked at Dutch Lake Resort as a possible place to stay but there were no vacancies when it came time to book our accommodation. Once we arrived, we discovered a calm lake surrounded by trees, replete with lily pads, turtles, fish, and a sandy beach at one end. The resort looked clean and well run, but the cabins seemed fairly close together. And right behind the cabins there were about fifty RV's, also close together. I don't think we would have enjoyed this spot as much as Alpine Meadows and Across the Creek Cabins. It looks like a good spot for families though. Children were running around, canoeing, swimming in the lake...
...and picking moose noses.
The public beach at the south end of Dutch Lake.
Views from the Dutch Lake Resort dock.
We booked our table for two and found our way back to Clearwater Valley Road, aiming for the 11 km point where we would head up an old logging road to hike to the Trophy Mountains Meadow.
The gravel road had few spots for photo hops and some washboard stretches, but we managed it easily. When we reached the trail head I noticed a mercedes sedan in the parking lot so it can be done without four wheel drive.
It was a bit late in the season to see the meadow in bloom, but we'd heard the views were worth it and I was hoping for one more good hike before the end of the trip. I was pleased to discover I had cell service so I could use my favourite app: "Map My Hike". At the end of a hike it's fun to see how far you went, the elevation change, your walking speed and a map of your route.
I found this hike more challenging than the previous day's despite the fact that they were about the same length. I imagine a few of the slopes were a bit steeper as we climbed about 80 m higher in elevation. Though I was tempted to do my Julie Andrews imitation as I ran into the meadow at the top of the hike, I couldn't muster the energy.
We met a family from Kamloops in the meadow and took each other's photos for posterity. There were a few flowers left and I can just imagine how colourful it would have been a mere two weeks earlier. We'll time our next visit to catch the wildflowers.
Back to the cabin we went, showering and dressing for dinner - nothing too fancy just a clean blouse and capris. We weren't able to get a reservation until 7:00 so we decided to find a pub for a pre-dinner cocktail. We ended up at the Old Caboose Pub which was nice enough, but not very busy. The menu looked tempting and I was famished, but hubby convinced me to hold off.
It was well worth the wait. Above is the view from our table on the deck. The meal was truly delicious. I had the chicken with mushroom and dill. It was fork tender with woodsy mushrooms and tangy dill, two of my favourite flavours. The potatoes and veggies were perfectly cooked and delicious. I'm not much a bread eater but the bread that came with the meal was warm and flavourful, sprinkled with what I think might have been summer savoury, another of my favourites. At this late date I can't remember what hubby had but I do recall it was chicken and it was good.
We savoured each morsel and discussed the highlights of the week. I was thinking about the British couple we met at the cafe, wishing we had invited them to come to stay with us for a day or two - I think I have a secret yen to own a B&B. My husband interrupted my reverie saying "Look who it is!" and I turned to see the hostess seating the very family we had met two days earlier. We ended up joining them for dessert and had a lovely visit, where I got my opportunity to invite them to Kelowna. They were heading up to Whistler for their last few days but we exchanged emails and promised to visit them in York, if we made it to England again.
The next morning we packed up the truck and drove back to the Saphats Creek Falls access road since we couldn't leave without one more stop. I realize now it was rather fitting that we come full circle and our last stop was near our first.
Past the falls, along the canyon there's a trail that gives you a lovely view of the Clearwater valley and a peek at The Shaden, a huge cave that's 45m high and 25m deep. In 1997 the hiking trail to it was destroyed by a flood so you can only admire it from afar. Unfortunately early morning is not the best time to photograph it, but I included this shot anyway.
After a short hike along a woodsy trail near the canyon we turned our truck towards Kelowna and set out for home. I guarantee we'll be back. It's exciting to realize we live so close to this huge park and I can't wait to do some kayak camping around one of the lakes next summer.
To catch up on other posts about our Wells Gray Park holiday check out the following links.