When I woke this morning, I could hear the gentle patter of rain on the roof so I did what any self respecting Glamper would do, I pulled up the blankets and went back to sleep. That didn’t work for long, by 7:30 I was up brewing coffee and while lingering over my second cup, planning to take Dusty the toad on a 200 km rainy day drive. Wells Gray Provincial Park had been recommended as a worthwhile side trip and since there was the small possibility that it wouldn’t be raining when we got there, there is where we were heading. 🙂
We set out along the South Thompson River valley, to Kamloops.
After stopping for lunch and a short walk in McArthur Island Park, Kamloops, http://www.kamloops.ca/parks/macisland.shtml#.V1wvRi1fOrV we headed north on Highway 5 to Clearwater. Apparently this is a very popular trip to make on a rainy day. We encountered a minimum of 35 rented Motorhomes as well as a large variety of other campers and vehicles coming from or going to Wells Gray Provincial Park. Somehow this seemed like encouragement to brave the weather and continue our drive.
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/wells_gry/ I recommend stopping at the information centre in Clearwater for a map of the area before heading into the park. There was no advance road signage to indicate staging areas, view points or campsites. Without the map, we would have missed the small signs standing right at the access points.
The park is in rugged country, well suited to the traveller that likes to hike through forest and rocky terrain or camp in the wilderness. Side roads and parking areas are gravel, there are no tour guides or souvenir shops and with few exceptions, the only facilities on site are outhouses. If, like me, this isn’t your idea of a fun time, don’t let it stop you from making the drive through the park. There is a lot of spectacular viewing to be had by taking brief hikes along some of the shorter groomed trails. On your way back from the park you can stop in Clearwater to do some shopping or have a meal.
The thunder of Helmcken Falls could be heard from the parking lot so the hike would be short. I found this encouraging because since the rain had stopped briefly, the mosquitos were out to impale anything that had blood pumping through it’s veins. We doused ourselves in citronella bug repellant and took the short walk to the viewpoint at the top of the falls. I pitied some of our fellow tourists that had come less prepared, as their bare arms and legs soon became host to swarms of hungry and determined mosquitos.
Parker has really enjoyed her day in the forest. She was nose to the ground all day and even tried to get under the safety fence in order to follow some invisible scent. Thankfully she got to the end of the leash before she got to the edge of the cliff and I didn’t suffer from the heart attack that I was sure she had given me. She fell asleep as soon as she got back to the car.
Summer was traumatized by the whole experience, especially since she had to walk on a wet trail and it ruined her pedicure. On the ride home she was determined not to relax and fall asleep but in the end, well, see for yourself.