Today was another day of moving for us, we left cosy Jasper and headed out on highway 5 to Wells Gray Provincial Park. In particular, we left for Clearwater but that is so tiny, the Provincial Park is the only reason for its existence.
Clearwater is basically built right next to the highway, with our hotel literally metres away from the leftmost line on the tarmac. All visitors come just for one thing: British Columbia’s roughest and wildest part, Wells Gray Provincial Park. It has an incredibly large area of remote and virtually unreachable parts that most of that is only accessible by long boat trips, week-long hikes and helicopter. To make things clear: it basically has only 1 road, of which only half is actually paved. The length of that is about 50 km, the rest is ‘secondary’ road. We would call that a dirt road. And that is all. Nothing else, apart from small hiking trails and a complete absence of guidelines on how the trails go. You’d need a very detailed map to get around the place.
With all this in mind, it is quite remarkable the park is as busy as it is, but it is mostly visited by adventurous hikers because of the rugged nature of the park. We are not like that and will definately stick to the easy trails as we *really* dislike bumping into a bear while on foot.
After arriving at our hotel too early, because of the transition from Mountain Time (-8) to Pacific Time (-9) and because the 4 hour trip took us 2.5 hours as of the awful weather during the drive. With weather that bad, going out really would suck, so we stayed in the car and just drove through it. In Clearwater, all was well and with a healthy 26 degrees a nice place to be compared to the cold trip at 7 degrees…
We started our day off with a drive up the park and visits to three falls in total. All three really different but equally beautiful. We started off with Spahats Falls, and went on to something described as BC’s own Niagra Falls: Dawson Falls. The most amazing one was Helmcken Falls, where the river has a free drop of 142 metres. Now that is high!
Tomorrow, there is some hiking planned. We will not be doing anything where bear encounters are a possibility as we are not adequately equipped but easy and well tread hikes will have to do. Did you know they sell something called bear spray (which is pepperspray on steroids) and it costs a whopping $40 CAD per can?