Sunday, September 2, 2018

First Few Days in Canada

IMG_2776                                                            Mush Bowl, Wells Gray Park, BC

We crossed into Canada at Sumas, WA on Thursday, both feeling a bit apprehensive after reading about border crossing experiences of other RVers. It turned out to be a non-event. There were only a couple cars in front of us that passed through quickly, then we pulled up and were asked for our passports and RV registration. The agent asked where we were going in Canada, had we been before, if we had any other people or pets with us, and did we have any liquor, guns or ammunition. His last question was “are you 100% sure you are not carrying any guns with you?”. I guess we answered everything correctly since he then told us to have a nice trip, and that was it. I read that no produce was allowed into Canada and I was ready to give up the little we had left, but the question didn’t even come up, unlike our friends who had some green peppers confiscated earlier this summer. Hope it’s as quick and easy when we return.

Traffic was very heavy on 1 east for many miles but thinned out as we got closer to our destination for the day, Hope, British Columbia. It’s a pretty location on the Fraser River, and we were ready to stop after 125 miles. We had some trouble getting our lights to work on the car after we hooked it up in Anacortes, so we were delayed trying to get that fixed. I had picked out Telte-Yet campground since it was within walking distance of town and claimed to have free WiFi.

We initially picked a site on the river but when we plugged in the power our EMS showed a ground fault. Of course the office manager had no idea that anything was wrong with the power at that site, so we moved across the road to a pull-through where it worked fine. We then discovered that the WiFi only works near the office, where we were not. It’s going to be a long few weeks having to rely on public WiFi instead of our own internet.


It’s pretty basic, rustic, and overpriced, but it served our needs for a night. We paid the $35 CAD, which was only $27 USD. We are liking the current exchange rate which for us means a 23% lower price on everything we buy in Canada.



Some scenes from our walk around Hope.



The blue on the right is a fairly well hidden homeless camp we came across on a path along the river.


Hope has a large population of First Nations people and seemed rather depressed to us, despite its scenic location.


They seem to like silly wood carvings.

Hope, British Columbia

On Friday we drove 200 miles north on Highway 5 to Clearwater, the gateway to Wells Gray Provincial Park. We also stopped in Kamloops to pick up some things at Walmart, which was very similar to ours, although the layout was unlike any I’ve ever seen in a US Walmart. It was a pretty drive and there was not much traffic given it was the start of the Labor Day weekend. This is a scene from a pull off where we took a break.


We stayed at Lacaraya Golf and RV Park a few miles from Clearwater. It looks like a nice golf course but the RV park is another strange one, with water and electric sites scattered about in a treed area. This is another park that advertises free wifi but you can only get it at the clubhouse where it barely worked.



We stopped here to visit Wells Gray Provincial Park, 1.4 million acres of forests, mountains, lakes and rivers, and well known for its waterfalls. Spent all day yesterday driving the main park access road and hiking short trails to the falls after getting a map and some information at the visitor center. We thought it was kind of funny that they don’t tell you the distance of the trails, just how long it takes to walk them, as if everyone takes an hour to walk a mile and a half.

Sphats Falls, just inside the park boundary. We were not anticipating such a deep, dramatic canyon.


The water appeared to come out of a cave.


The one hour trail to Moul Falls. We clocked it as a 3.4 mile round trip hike.




Looking down over the top of Moul Falls. There is a trail somewhere that takes you to the base of the falls but we didn’t find it.


We were looking for a picnic table to stop at for lunch and saw a picture of one on the map. It turned out to be at the end of a 3.6 km steep, narrow dirt road that goes to a viewing tower that supposedly has a panoramic view of the park. Given that we woke up that morning to smoky haze, we knew there would be no views, but, it really wouldn’t have mattered as the trees have grown up so much they obstructed much of the view anyway.  I think the tower needs to be a bit higher..


These were taken at the top of the tower. I’m sure on a clear day it would be lovely.



The very impressive 300’ wide Moul Falls. The sound of the water was deafening.



From above.


Between the mist from the water and the haze in the air, we didn’t get good photos of Hemlcken Falls, said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Canada.




Our final stop for the day was Bailey’s Chute, an extreme whitewater rapid caused by a lava flow narrowing the river bed. Poor Jim Bailey got this named after him following his drowning in 1952 after his canoe capsized in the Clearwater River just downstream of the falls.

We went there to see the salmon jumping.



Managed to capture a few images of them leaping up the chute, then watched them come crashing back down on the rocks. It’s rather sad to watch even though it’s part of the natural course of events of their lives.



There is a lot more to Wells Gray than what we saw but much of the park is only accessible by hiking or whitewater rafting. If we had stayed longer and the air had been clearer it would have been nice to go up to the higher altitude alpine meadows and lakes, although I’m not sure if there still would be wildflowers this late in the summer.

Today we drove another 125 miles north to Valemount, BC. It was a beautiful drive along the North Thompson River despite the mist and rain we had for most of the trip. We’re staying at iRVin’s RV Park, which actually has usable WiFi at our site, full hookups, heated showers and a laundry room, for $27 USD.


Tomorrow we move on another 75 miles to Jasper National Park in Alberta, where we plan to stay put for a week.


  1. I am loving taking the tour of Canada you are providing. Thank you.

  2. We are heading to BC next summer. You gave me a couple of ideas:) You may need more than a week in Jasper!! We used Tim Horton's in town for WiFi. We always found Tim's WiFi rather fast. The brewery also had good WiFi. Safe travels!!

    1. We spent some time on the internet at Tim Hortons in Clearwater yesterday so we're happy to hear there's one in Jasper. I'm sure we'll visit the brewery often, too!

  3. Beautiful! It mystifies me why any map or brochure would use time instead of distance to describe a trail. Looking forward to following your travels through this gorgeous green area.

    We're heading to Prescott in a few days. Let us know if you come through there on your way home...

    1. The woman at the Wells Gray visitor center had no idea how long any of the trails were, just a time estimate. We found it very strange.
      Have fun in Prescott, and happy house hunting! Not sure yet of our return route.

  4. And did you get a Goody Treat while at Tim Horton's???? Killer muffins...literally!
    We found similar goodies at a Wi Fi bakery in Jasper...FYI :) Hope you pack Bear Spray while hiking up there.

    1. We did get some good multi-grain bagels at Tim Horton's.

      Carla and I plan to use Jim and Chuck as bear bait ;-)

  5. Is it possible to meet up with you all in Calgary, we are planning on being there next, we would love to visit.

    1. Are you heading for the parks? We'll be in Banff starting the 12th for a week. Let us know if you'll be anywhere close by.

  6. Is it possible to meet up with you all in Calgary, we are planning on being there next, we would love to visit.

  7. Replies
    1. We had no idea what to expect. We were told the falls are better in the spring but to us they were pretty impressive even now.

  8. There is a steep! trail to the base of Moul Falls where you can enjoy the mist, a few younger/braver kids rock scrambled behind the falls. We earned a nice dinner at the Hop'n'Hog (beer and bbq) just outside the entrance Wells Gray. We plan to drive the Ice Fields next year. Looking forward to your posts from there.

    1. Didn't know there was a trail to the base of Moul Falls, either. Need to go back and spend more time there!

  9. Hope the smoke stays away so you can get some hiking in and capture some beautiful scenery. Have a great time!

    1. Very low clouds and rain here this morning so can't tell if there is smoke. We're hoping the rain took it all away!

    2. Very low clouds and rain here this morning so can't tell if there is smoke. We're hoping the rain took it all away!

  10. It's always surprising to me how RV parks don't have a clue as to what the various failure codes are on power poles. As long as they stick a tester in it and it lights up, they think it's fine.

  11. Glad to hear you had no trouble at the border. Our trouble was never going into Canada but with the US customs coming back. Looks like a great park and a decent rate. Nice that the exchange rate is in your favor. Hope the tiff with you know who doesn’t change that abruptly. Hope looks like a gorgeous area. Sorry to hear the First Nations people there are struggling. I doubt Canada does Labor Day do they? Funny the lack of trail information. What a great falls! And so many. Gorgeous pictures! I think your shot of Hemicken Falls is wonderful. What a beauty! I was surprised that you could get that picture of the salmon going upstream. It seems sad to me too but I remember that I’m happy they still can do what they want since in so many places we’ve made it impossible.

  12. Bummer about the smoke, but WOW, sure is beautiful country.