The Helmcken Falls Rim Trail (A Great Day's Conclusion)

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: riverswaterfallsState/Provincial ParksWells Gray Provincial Parksunsets • Places: Helmcken Falls Rim Trailhead

I had already been seeing lots of waterfalls & walking lots of miles at Wells Grey. I was having a great day.

But every great day has an ending, a sunset marking the boundary between day and night.

And that was precisely when I was going to try to visit the Western Rim of Helmcken Falls.

Even though I heard it still had a bit of snow & ice...

Heed these warnings, for they are accurate
Heed these warnings, for they are accurate open_in_full   info

A Great Day at Wells Gray!

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: frogslakeswaterfallsriversrapidsState/Provincial Parksvolcanic rockWells Gray Provincial Park • Places: Spahats Creek Falls Helmcken Falls Bailey's Chute Chain Meadows Trailhead Dawson Falls Upper Viewpoint

After a lousy, loud night's sleep, I was glad to pack up my tent and leave the campground behind. Some of my neighbors were only then starting to sleep.

A glimpse of the Cariboo Mountains on my way from the Mahood Lake area to Clearwater, B.C. -- shot through my filthy windshield
A glimpse of the Cariboo Mountains on my way from the Mahood Lake area to Clearwater, B.C. -- shot through my filthy windshield open_in_full   info

I was even gladder when the dirt roads turned to pavement once more and I spied a much needed gas station in the town of Clearwater, B.C.

From there, I would head into the main, popular section of Wells Gray Provincial Park, home to many waterfalls, some of them among Canada's most iconic.

And from that moment onwards, my day became increasingly magical. Increasingly full of peace and solitude, geological marvels and marvelous frogs. I would soak up solitude, and I would love almost every minute of it.

Mahood Lake & The May Long

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: bad nights sleeplakeswaterfallsWells Gray Provincial Parkstate parks • Places: Mahood Lake Campground Deception Falls Canim Falls

Trees at sunset, Cariboo Mountains in the distance, 
Mahood Lake Campground
Trees at sunset, Cariboo Mountains in the distance,
Mahood Lake Campground
open_in_full   info

I drove past lake cottages, down narrow, woodsy roads until I found myself in the Mahood Lake section of Wells Gray Provincial Park. This area of the park featured its own campground and some lakes, as well as a few waterfalls that were accessible enough.

It was afternoon on the Saturday of Victoria Day Weekend, which meant that I was unable to make any campground reservations for the night, owing to British Columbia regulations that only permit a reservation for the whole duration of any weekend. I figured it would be a good idea to stop first at the Mahood Lake Campground and set up my tent at a first-come first-serve site if any were still available.

A brief perusal showed that a few of these sites were left, most of them "joint sites." I shied away from those, as I didn't really want to potentially directly abut a stranger. So, I took the final single site, which happened to be near some partiers who were already quite loud and wasted.

I pitched my tent, took a breather, and then left to check out three of Wells Gray Park's more easily accessed, but less commonly visited waterfalls: Canim Falls, Mahood Falls, and Deception Falls.

(So, yes, this is a short post!)

Dead-End Detour

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: aborted adventureslakesvolcanoesWells Gray Provincial Parkstate parkspark planning • Places: Chasm Ecological Reserve Viewpoint Canim Beach Provincial Park Forest Service Road towards Flourmill Volcano/Mica Mountain

Imagine that you were in my position.

You're planning a long trip to Canada, opening with some days spent exploring parks and driving, and some days spent working. You're going to traverse a lot of mountain ranges, and there are a number of places for longer, overnight or multi-day hikes.

You already know that some of them, like the famous Berg Lake Trail are officially closed for the entire season. You hope that others will be open.

Your hopes are in vain; your plans, naive. Not long before your travel, every trail report, every scrap of information indicates that you're at least a month too early. Some of the roads to trailheads, even, are snowed in and inaccessible. (This is Canada in May after all.)

You're fine sticking to lowland, non-snowy trails, but you also were originally thinking of trying to do one of the longer hikes between Kamloops and Prince George. You have no set reservations between the two cities, since B.C. Provincial Parks prohibit campsite reservations for individual nights during holiday weekends, and Victoria Day happens to be in the middle.

Searching for longer, backpacking friendly hiking areas mainly leads you to results to the south of Kamloops -- the wrong direction.

Then, somewhere deep in a discussion thread in some untraceable corner of some social media platform or another, someone replies to a request for early season hiking suggestions nearish Prince George with a mention of "Flourmill Volcanoes."

Intriguing, eh?

It's in a corner of Wells Gray Provincial Park that is nearly inaccessible, down forest roads whose conditions are rumored to be impassable to most vehicles.

The day's first destination -- Chasm Ecological Reserve!
The day's first destination -- Chasm Ecological Reserve! open_in_full   info

But laying in a course there means stopping by a scenic canyon overlook, visiting a lake with a Turkish-looking name, and maybe having an excuse to visit the Mahood Lake section of Wells Gray Provincial Park with its less-visited Deception, Canim, and Mahood Falls.

Would you try it?

Obviously, I did, or I wouldn't have anything to write about...

The Battle Bluff Trail & A Less Frustrating Day in Kamloops

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: lakessunsetsmuseumstrainsbadlandspoliticsresidential schoolsEvery Child Matters • Places: Kamloops Indian Residential School Battle Bluff Trailhead

A derelict car along the Battle Bluff trail. 

Better, more spectacular, car-free views follow in the rest of the post.
A derelict car along the Battle Bluff trail.

Better, more spectacular, car-free views follow in the rest of the post.
open_in_full   info

My second day in Kamloops was another workday. I stayed in bed for a fair few hours, punching away at my laptop. Then, I emerged to make myself coffee.

I figured I could use the caffeine as I looked forward to the day ahead. I was going to get some good eats, hit up some local sights downtown, visit a nature preserve and do some hiking, make up my mind about my plans for the upcoming weekend and my first few days off, and pick up the supplies I'd need for my next few days camping.

In short, I was going to be busy!

Shopping Malls and Frustration in Kamloops

✍️ 🕑 May 18-19, 2022 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands • Tags: riversautomotive foiblessunsetsparksborder crossingsAirbnbproselytizing • Places: Abbotsford Riverside Park, Kamloops, BC

In this post, I start my journey to Haida Gwaii. I travel from Seattle to Kamloops, and find myself not quite feelin' it, until I inevitably do. At which point, I immediately leave. I guess that's my MO.

(Though most of the actual feelin' it is reserved for the next Kamloops post. This is the frustration post.)

How did Steve end up taking a janky webcam selfie to show off this sick mall basement workspace to colleagues?

Guess ya got to read further!
How did Steve end up taking a janky webcam selfie to show off this sick mall basement workspace to colleagues?

Guess ya got to read further!

Towards the Beautiful Islands

✍️ 🕑 May-June 2022 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands

It feels like a world, and a pandemic away, but in June of 2019, I had the great pleasure of going on a road trip, camping around the Yukon with two good friends of mine. Together, we had a blast.

To fly from New York to Whitehorse, I had a few layovers. During the final stretch, from Vancouver to Whitehorse, the scenery was the most spectacular: craggly mountains meeting a stunning coastline for miles and miles.

And, though the Yukon was absolutely stunning and beautiful in its own right, when I flew over those mountain ranges for the first time, I couldn't help but feel some niggling doubt in the back of my mind. If British Columbia was so beautiful, why was I bothering going further North?

In the distance: a B.C. ferry boat, which could eventually take me from piece of land to another.
In the distance: a B.C. ferry boat, which could eventually take me from piece of land to another.