Whitewater and Waterfalls

(20th-22nd August)
After some research it was clear what Wells Gray, the National Park down the road from Clearwater, was famous for- Whitewater Rafting and Waterfalls. So for our brief time here, this was the order of the day. We woke up early and headed into Clearwater town to Interior Whitewater Expeditions. We met our guides, Scottie and Kade, who would have our lives in their hands for the next four hours and hopefully wouldn’t let go of them! We headed into Wells Gray Park, up another bumpy road along the side of the river, until we reached our put-in spot on the riverbank. After chucking the raft on the river we clambered in ourselves and set off. Scottie gave us a run through of all the instructions and also a quick safety briefing which left us wondering if we had been better off just taking kayaks out at the calm lake of Alpine Meadows instead! It wasn’t long before the rapids themselves were upon us and we were paddling “easy/hard forward” (these were both the same for me) and “holding on”. Meanwhile Kade was bobbing alongside us in a kayak (and when I say bobbing I actually mean “doing really fancy turns and stuff”) ready to save us should we fall in. It was So. Much. Fun! After the first rapid, we hopped out and portaged the raft, which simply required the guys to put it on the trailer while me and Shell looked on. We then went for a hike past “The Kettle” grade 5 rapid, which apparently was far too difficult for our level. They weren’t wrong! The water was pretty mental at this part of the river and is illegal to raft down… it didn’t look like we were missing out on anything except a very close call with death and I was more than happy looking at it from the cliff edge. It wasn’t long before we were back in our raft and heading down the river once again. The next section had us taking turns sitting at the very front of the raft, with our legs hanging over the front so we could be hit right in the face by the waves and knocked back into the boat- Super Fun! We also had a bit of gentle swimming and afterwards some not so gentle swimming as we stayed in the water for the Grade 2 rapids, enjoying swallowing mouthfuls of water and clinging on to each other. There were undoubtedly some ridiculous faces being pulled, sadly Dad was behind us so didn’t catch them on the GoPro. We made it back safely into the boat, but it wasn’t long before we were around a corner and the option to do a cliffjump was upon us. Not the type to pass on an adrenaline kick, I felt obliged to clamber up the cliff and I quickly found myself on the edge, shuffling forward and clutching Scottie’s hand probably slightly too hard. I quickly became one of those people he had warned us not to be… Outstaying my welcome standing on the edge, counting up to three more than once without a jump following. I wont lie, climbing down did pass my mind but the way up had been quite the scramble and so I decided that jumping was probably actually safer. So before long, one of the counts did follow with a jump and I was in the water wondering what it was I had been so worried about! We floated down the rest of the river, taking note of the scenery and wildlife around us as we had failed to do so before, and also noticing how drastically the water level has dropped over the summer due to the lack of snow during the winter and the subsequent drought they have been having in the West of the country. Soon we were back at base with everyone having made it to the bottom of the river in one piece! Dried and warmed up we had a quick drink before starting the second part of the day! 

Slightly more relaxed, we headed up the Clearwater Valley Road to see the falls. We started at Helmcken Falls, before heading over to Dawson Falls and then down to Spahats Falls. They were beautiful and thankfully it was not far to walk at all. We were absolutely shattered due to soo much whitewater action, so after a few hours we headed back to our little cabins, promising to visit Mouhls Falls the next morning! Too tired to get reasonably presentable for the restaurant we decided to have a pizza night and make the most of the facitilites we had to hand. In true family tradition, one pizza got completely burnt but we did manage to make a fruit salad for desert from the little bits we had!

Helmcken Falls

Dawson Falls

Spahats Falls

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