Thursday, November 18, 2010

Summer Holiday in BC - Part Three

July 2010 - Little Fort, BC to 100 Mile House

After a wonderful breakfast and excellent conversation with our host at the Rose Garden Bed & Breakfast in Clearwater, we headed south to the road that would take us west to 100 Mile House.

One stop I was intent on making was to take a look at the ferry at Little Fort. CBC Radio gives road reports for our province and the Little Fort ferry is mentioned sometimes. For some reason I was intrigued and expected that we would be crossing on it. However the ferry  transports people and vehicles to the east side of the North Thompson River, and we were heading west. That little ferry serves just a very few people on the west side of the river, along with any vehicles that take the alternate route to and from Clearwater.

See the man with the dark t-shirt? He operates the ferry, and since this is a pretty low-key job, he chatted with us for awhile. He even gave us a tip about the gallery of photographer Chris Harris, just north of 100 Mile House. We did visit and were impressed! He has pictures in the Magma gallery on his website that I find are hard to believe were taken in BC! If I could snag a picture I would show it here, so you could see what I mean, but it seems that I can't.

We proceeded west from Little Fort, over the hump to the Cariboo region. We were thinking that it would be nice to find a place for coffee. Since there was very few signs of habitation, once we did find a sign that said, in huge letters, Cappucino, we steered right in.

A strange sign that said "Gated ...?" (we can't remember) then greeted us. Since we were truly in the middle of nowhere we couldn't understand why any kind of fence and gate would be needed. Maybe for bears, moose, etc?

So we went into the log building's restaurant and placed our order with an Italian man. It was for a cappucino, a double latte and a piece of home-made lemon cake (no prices were posted). We ate outside on the deck, overlooking the lake.

Had a nice chat with the him about how to make coffee (cappucino with Espresso, latte with a French press), the coffee was good, the atmosphere very pleasant, but things changed when we went to pay. The bill was $25!!!!! 

When we reached 100 Mile House, we happened to see some fun Dutch people who had also stopped for coffee here. I asked them if they were shocked at the cost of their coffee and indeed they were, as they each had two cups and their bill was $60!!

I can only assume it was because of the remoteness. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Summer Holiday in My Own Backyard - Part Two

July 2010 - Salmon Arm to Clearwater

Proceeding west from the Adams Lake, I was surprised to encounter a sign that said "Pick your own cherries." Having been raised in a orchard, I am particularly fond of directly supporting the farmer, as well as being able to pick tree-ripened fruit. But what really amazed me is that the area could grow cherries! It seemed like it would be too cold there in the winter. True enough the trees were on the small side, but the cherries still tasted great.

After we arrived at the door we found a sign that said they weren't home right now, but that we could go to the orchard and pick our own, weigh them, and just leave the money. I LOVE it when people do business this way. It helps me to maintain some optimism about society, in light of all the awful stuff we hear on the news. I guess the secret is to live remotely. Wait...that is exactly what we do. And I LOVE it. Too bad I didn't get to meet those orchardists. We have a lot in common.

On to the small town of Clearwater, where we found the lovely Rose Garden Bed & Breakfast for the night. It was another one of those small-town situations where we told them we were heading to the waterfalls, and that we would be back fairly late. They said to just go and all the other stuff could be taken care of later. Our room would be waiting for us whenever we returned, and it was.

Clearwater is at the junction of the Yellowhead Highway (between Kamloops, BC and Jasper, Alberta), and the road to Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is famous for its collection of waterfalls, including Spahats Falls:

We gasped when we suddenly came upon this scene, as it was a very steep-sided narrow canyon (400' deep).

I am always amazed to see how tiny a stream it is that makes such a dramatic waterfall.

Next stop was Dawson Falls, with a much shorter drop, but has a significantly larger volume of water:

The tallest in the park, and fourth tallest waterfall in Canada, is Helmcken Falls, with a height of 141 mtrs (462').

From our vantage point on this side, it felt less dramatic than I expected. I think were were just too far away.

There is also a viewpoint on the other side, which is a longer hike, but it was getting too late to go there.

On the way back to Clearwater I was determined to check out Moul Falls. We had seen a sign, but the info on it was scarce, probably because it wasn't within the Park boundaries. It involved quite a hike in, and signage was not very good. My husband went up ahead and returned with the news that there didn't seem to be anything ahead. As doubtful as it seemed, could the tiny waterfall we had already passed been the Moul Falls? We decided to assume so and returned to the car.

A few miles closer to town we stopped for dinner at a sign indicating a buffalo barbecue. Down a lengthy dirt road we drove, past the buffalo, to the lovely Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch Grill, which is 20km (12 mi) north of Clearwater, in a location you would never expect to find a restaurant, let alone such a nice one.

While viewing the menu I noticed that there was a picture of a beautiful waterfall on the cover. I asked if it was the Moul Falls and sure enough, it was. My husband may never hear the end of this!

The outdoor restaurant was full and we may have been the only Canadians eating there. Next to our table were some lovely Dutch people. Their 13 yr son made the comment that they were seeing a LOT of trees. I guess to someone from the Netherlands, that would be a very significant feature of our landscape, as we have so many trees they become quite boring and we don't even think about them.

On the menu for 2011?:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Summer Holiday in My Own Backyard - BC

July 2010 - Grand Forks to Salmon Arm

I love waterfalls, and could easily make a holiday of visiting as many as I can. So on our way to a wedding in 100 Mile House, we took a detour to Wells Gray Park, which is famous for having many waterfalls.

But first, we found one in Fintry Provincial Park, while travelling up the west side of the Okanagan Lake, north of Kelowna. I was born and raised not too far from this waterfall, yet did not know of its existence!

Short Creek Waterfall

It had great steps going all the way to the top. Great exercise!

That's the Okanagan Lake in the background

We were intentionally taking roads that were not the typical routes to get to Clearwater, which is the closest town to Wells Gray Park. So we found a gravel road that took us from Chase, alongside the Adams Lake, and then over to Barriere, which is north of Kamloops and south of Clearwater. 

View of Adams Lake

In the distance in the picture above is where the famous Adams River leaves the lake. This is where sockeye salmon come to spawn in October. I am writing this as the event is just finishing. This year was the largest run in 97 years. Millions of salmon returned to lay their eggs (the turn red before they do this), after which, they die. I did not take this video, but it is so nice that I thought I would add it here:

You can leave the maker of the video comments on this page at YouTube.