Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Day 17 and 18...Our Cross Canada Tour....East to West










Day 17

We left the Wapiti Campground in Jasper National Park, still heading west. The morning was delightful and sunny, but I still needed to wear my long pants.

The mountains stayed with us all day. At 11:00a.m. we entered British Columbia. As we traveled along you could see the trees getting bigger and the valley floor began to expand. It wasn't long before the valley floor gave way to fields contained by fences. We were coming into cattle country.

We were looking for a VIC to gather information and sure enough we seen the signs and followed them on in. In order to get to this particular VIC we had to take a road that took a big swing backward. When we did this I saw it first. I took in an extra big gasp of air, scared Richard, who quickly inquired disgustingly,
"What's the matter?" No sooner had he got the words out of his mouth when he saw it, and gasped,
"Oh my word, oh my word!" It was Mount Robson, the highest peek in the Rockies. To add to it's luster it was covered with snow. As you can well imagine I fumbled with my camera to get it turned on as quickly as possible.

Mount Robson is 3954 m (1297 ft.) high. It is located in the Frazer River Valley, 4km. south of Berh Lake. Mount Robson Park is the major headwater for the Frazer River.

"Oh what a glorious sight he was that day we first saw him. There, buttressed across the whole valley and more, with his high flung crest mantled with a thousand ages of snow, Mount Robson shouldered his way into the eternal solitudes thousands of feet higher than the surrounding mountains." These were the words written by George Kinney when he first saw Mount Robson. Mr. Kinney was born in New Brunswick, Canada and was the founding member of the Alpine Club of Canada. Kinney joined fellow climbers Quincy and Arthur Coleman on an expedition to be the first to climb Mount Robson. To learn more of this adventure go to www.peakfinder.com

When our eyes could take in no more we made our way into the Mount Robson Visitor Information Centre. There the lady who helped us was most informative, and we soon learned she was originally from Fredericton, N.B. She told us of where the campsites were and of the attractions we didn't want to miss in Clearwater 250 kilometers up the road. Off again we went still taking pictures as we left.

We stopped by a brook that flowed through a reststop area for a little lunch. As we prepared our lunch I noticed a guy walking around our RV. He came to the door and hollered in,
"How many days on the road?" From there the conversation took off. The man and his family sat at a picnic table across from us. We learned that he and his wife were retired beef farmers from nearby Edson, Alberta, close to Jasper.

They had done a lot of traveling since they retired. They shared fond memories of their trip to the east coast. Such places like the Confederation Bridge, Peggy's Cove, and The Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick.

At this point Richard went back to the RV and brought out a brochure (we just happened to have some, about 200) of the Hopewell Rocks Motel. After we retired from this tourism business, Richard's son Brian bought it, but we still promote it every chance we get.

As soon as he saw the pictures of the Rocks, he said with great enthusiasm,
"I remember them, we were there, they were just something else!" He said on their east coast trip his favorite province was Prince Edward Island, but his wife's was New Brunswick.

As we made our way back to our RV to resume our journey, the guy drew our attention to his fifth wheel. He explained that he bought it new in 1997 and have worn out two sets of tires. We made our exit wishing each other a safe journey, and you know we never caught each others names.

We got into Clearwater, what a beautiful little town with the river running through it. The girl at the VIC called and booked a campsite for us. We headed off the beaten trail, wound our way up, up and up some more on a 37 kilometer winding road to Wells Gray Golf Resort, Lodge and RV Park. The site was just super! We registered in for two nights. {www.wellsgraygolf.bcresort.com}

After a short rest we headed 15 km. back down the mountain in search of the sigh we seen on our way up. There it was, Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch. The sigh told us they had a BBQ every night, and the menu said buffalo steak. We were ready.

The setting was so peaceful, as you drove down the drive, to your right was a pasture full of horses, to your left a herd of buffalo. We parked and followed the stone walkway, lined with flowers, to a fenced in open air dining room. The floor was made of stone, metal patio furnishings complete with umbrellas, the blue sky as our canopy and the Rocky Mountains as the back drop. We ordered a Buffalo Rib Eye, a bottle of red wine, how perfect a way to end the day.

Day 18

We went back into town the next day for supplies and sightseeing. The Town of Clearwater was aptly named and hints at the pristine surroundings and the many opportunities for adventure. The Wells Gray Provincial Park encompasses 515,301 ha; established in 1939, and named after Wellesley Gray, a prominent Minister of Lands.

We hiked through an old growth cedar and hemlock forest, along the canyons edge to find Spahats Falls. We were thrilled at the 47 meter high falls. Our next excurshion was a trail that lead us along Myrtle River to the top of Helmcken Falls. Richard and I were spell bound. These falls plunged 141 meter down into Helmcken Canyon. The falls arcs cleanly over the edge and roars down into the pool below. The local people say that this pool is as deep as the falls are high. The falls leap and drop one more time, 15 meters as the Murtle River made hast passed the canyon walls to meet the Clearwater River a kilometer down river. The Helmcken Falls are considered the fourth largest waterfalls in Canada, and are three times higher than Niagara Falls. And I might add here they are 100% pure nature, no motels or gift shops are found anywhere, just majestic forests, and well worn paths to lookout platforms. I got some great shots.

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