The Walk of Life

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Day 11 -To Wells Gray

Days 12, 13 - Overnight canoeing

September 4, 5, 1998
Lake Clearwater, Wells Gray Provincial Park

Preparing for the trip

After a ride through Wells Gray Provincial Park on roads getting bumpier we reached the southern end of Lake Clearwater. The canoes were already at the parking (close to the water). The rest was brought by us and our canoeing guide. She also had waterproof bags (even one or two for cameras which we didn't expect) with her. We had to pack everything into our canoes to get ready. Personal belongings went into waterproof bags. Tents, kitchen and food directly into the canoes. "Who gets the beer eski???"

1st day canoeing

After an extremely short introduction we started paddling upwards. We made the teams not as we were told to, in groups with strong and not so strong paddlers each. So we had strong crews and other paddling in circles. But after some time everything went well. The French boat took a straight line in the middle of the lake. The British girls enjoyed turning in circles from time to time and the boys boats ... racing against each other and against the guide.
We decided to have lunch on the water. We could also have gone to the shore. But that's too normal. The water was that clean that we were not even allowed to dump food garbage into it. But the advantage was that we had enough to drink. And it was a great experience. Towing all canoes together. Pass food from one end to the other.
After another two hours of paddling and a short stop at a beach with some swimming (the water was not too warm) we saw our beach. The race was open. And we won. We had enough time for a swim, to relax and to establish our amp. establish the camp? The only thing we had to do was to get the kitchen up into the forest. We decided not to use tents (not allowed on the beach) and sleep in our sleeping bags directly at the beach instead.

The night at the camp

The boat of our guideAfter a famous curry dinner by Mimmi we got our beds ready. No, not for sleeping. But it's just nicer to sit and enjoy the evening. After some waiting also Robs campfire and arrived out of the dark. Three canoes, two guitars. We enjoyed the night with some campfire songs, without a fire till one or the other fell asleep.
In the morning it was the sun to wake us up. A short dip into the lake to really get alive. And breakfast was already being prepared. Pancakes! This was probably the best breakfast on the whole trek. We had enough time and delicious pancakes (and more as usual).

Mario and Urs in the canoeDean relaxing after the first day of paddling

Canoeing back

The way back seemed easier than the way there. We went (or should have gone) to the other side of the lake. There were some impressing rocks and underwater cliffs. This time we were almost last. We enjoyed it. We arrived back before lunch time and cleaned up everything.

On the way to Spences Bridge

On the way back we first stop - still in Wells Gray Provincial Park - at Helmcken Falls. It's a wonderful quite big waterfall in a very green area. No this wasn't lunch stop although it was time and we were all hungry enough.
Next stop - back in Wells Gray and outside the Park - was lunch stop. We stopped at the big junction at the hamburger store. It was special. They probably sell the best burgers far around. They have everything from plain hamburgers to vegi-burgers. The spicy mexican style burger was delicious. And the ice cream shop next door is worth the stop anyway. Taste the colors of ice cream.

Barbecue at Spences Bridge

After a few more hours (and a shopping stop) we arrived at the junction at Spences Bridge turning right to the camping. It was another 5 minutes ride on extremely bumpy and dusty road. But we reached the rustical camping. Showers were not too attractive - at least not at night because there was no light. The only thing you can do at this camping is sit around the campfire, enjoy the barbecue and a wild west campfire soiree. That's what we did.

Day 14 - Spences Bridge to Whistler
(c) 1.999 by Urs Künzler
Thanx to all the crew members