Mt Robson and Wells Gray

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, June 21, 2012

Howdy folks,

On our final morning in Jasper and Alberta Province we were up and ready to go by 8am, so we decided to go to the Valley of the Five Lakes hike just south of the campground. The rain clouds were threatening us, but once we started hiking the rain stopped which was nice. After a short hike through the trees, we came out at a small river valley which we crossed by boardwalk. Not long afterwards we found a smaller dark coloured pond which was not part of the valley and kept going. The view that eventually greeted us through the trees was a chain of crystal clear blue-green lakes, one running into the next. There was even a rowboat at the end of the 5th lake, but we didn't have the time.

It was fantastic to hike along the high side of the lakes and take in the magnificent colour. We turned between the 1st and 2nd lake to head home and were soon back at the car after only 1.5 hours. The 4.5km hike was definitely worth it.

We dropped our couch surfer/tent sharer Julien off on the side of the highway to hitchhike his way to Banff in the rain with a sign that said Hawaii! He must have gotten a ride because he updated his facebook later that night. We meanwhile drove into Jasper to escape the rain and check our emails before we gathered our supplies for the short drive to Mt Robson. The 90km journey although short was important because we crossed into British Columbia and left Alberta for the last time. We paused briefly at Moose Lake where we found 2 bicycle riders who had been riding from the Yukon since the start of May!

At the sign for the start of Mt Robson Provincial Park was a small display regarding the Yellow Head Pass supposedly named after one of the fur trader’s hair colour. When we arrived at the information centre at the base of Mt Robson, the mountains were clouded over which spoilt our view. We set up base camp at the Robson Meadows Campground where we were greeted by around 1000 mosquitos. We quickly learnt that time spent outdoors was filled with arm and neck slapping.

Rather than stay around to be made a meal of, Steffie and I decided to go and do a short hike to Overlander Falls which lies on the Fraser River. The hike also took 1.5 hours long for 6 kms and paralleled the river high on the embankment. The lush green hike was different than that of the morning hike and the Overlander Falls were certainly flowing. They were apparently named after a group of settlers in the mid 19th Century who were travelleing to the western gold fields from Ontario.

The next few hours were filled with fun as we reorganised the car. After cooking a delicious dinner, went to bed quite exhausted. In the morning, we got up early so that we could especially get a good view of Mt Robson and hike the first section of the Berg Lake trail. Thankfully the view of Mt Robson was clear and gorgeous. The hike followed the first 4.5kms of the 22km linear trail along the Robson River. The river was definitely raging which lots of white water and the trail wasn’t that hard, but was well worth the effort. The end point at Kinney Lake was just amazing. The lake was dead calm which gave a perfect reflection of Whitehorn Mountain in the background.

We got back to the car around 10:30am and stopped off at Rearguard Falls just before reaching the highway intersection. Rearguard Falls is famous for being the final resting place of Chinook salmon who journey over 1000kms from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in breeding grounds and then die. Quite a fantastic journey! From Rearguard Falls it was a long drive down with many stops for roadworks and quite a few wide loads on their way up north to Prince George.

After stopping for lunch on the roadside, we finally drove into Clearwater which is the gateway town to Wells Gray. The information centre provided us with a map and because it was still early in the afternoon, we headed to A & W to have a burger and connect with the outside world. From there it was a 40km windy drive to the campground which we found to be deserted. Putting in the tent pegs proved to be difficult in the hard rocky soil, so we had a little help from the Park Warden. Because we had some time on our hands we decided to head across the way to Helmcken Falls. They were absolutely huge at 141m almost 3 times that of Niagara Falls. The roar and steam given off as the water thundered down on the rocks below was quite impressive.

In the morning, we got up unusually early because Steffie can’t read her watch right. Oh well, let’s go to Dawson Falls at 6am in the morning then. So we set off, but the falls were a bit too bright because the rising sun was right behind it. The next stop as we drove to the end of the road was Ray’s Farm named after John Ray who farmed there until 1946. The hike was supposed to be short and seemingly uninteresting, but we came across some fresh animal poo which we interpreted to be from a bear or moose so we sang to make sure we didn’t startle it! Needless to say we were glad to be back at the car.

The drive out to the end wasn’t so interesting, but we saw a black bear cross the road ahead of us and then when we drove back to the campground we stopped to watch a brown coloured black bear pass us on the road less than 1km from where we slept! After all that excitement, it was time for a nap.

Looking forward to getting back to civilisation!
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