View topic - Wells Gray-Clearwater/Azure Lk trip report and pics

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2007, 1:41 am 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
Posts: 1074
Location: Burns Lake, BC
Well this year we decided to explore Wells Gray for our holidays. We left on an overcast day with intermittent rain and afternoon wind (lucky tailwind!). Ended up going down the whole lake and up the river to the .5km portage. Got a little mucky, but the day was done and camp was just across from the portage. Everything was a little wet and it rained through the night. Camped at Indianpoint on Azure.
Woke up to rain the next morning and decided to sleep in. We splurged and just bought a Wander 4 after reading many good things about it and wanted to bring the dogs into the tent instead of bringing a bug tent for them all the time. They like sleeping in too! Luxury! Well, the sleep in worked! Rain was gone and the sun was out. After a holiday 12:00 start, we were off to Rainbow Falls.
Azure is amazing. Falls everywhere, little caves and slots here and there, and surprisingly a couple of small beaches to stop for breaks. Hadn't seen a whole lot of paddlers so far. Had to watch out not to get too much sun (Woo Hoo!). Rounding the corner to Rainbow Falls about 6:00, we were amazed to see hundreds of feet of beach at the sites. After walking the sites we realized that there were only two sites left! There were several groups that had boated in with a commercial boat taxi or their own motor boats. The guy beside us tells us that a tour usually goes through our site (which is right beside an old cabin) about 9 or 10 in the morning. Looks like an early morning.
Wake up to the expected forcast of sun, and were off! Back down Azure on the opposite side for a different view. Knocking off early, we decide to camp early at 4 1/2 mile campsite on Azure. Have a nice shower and relax and hide from the sun. After our "easy bake oven pizza" supper, my wife goes to filter water out on the lake in the canoe and I was on the beach taking pictures. A few minutes later and I see a bear come out of the forest heading towards our site. After making some noise to alert the bear, my wife, and our neighbours, the bear decided to change plans. It turned back and walked to the next spit, and started to swim. We watched the bear cross the lake in about 20-25 minutes. Pretty Cool!
The next morning we have a short river run (don't have to portage on the way down- we would actually paddle and line up after seeing it with the water level the way it was). Starting to run into more canoes back on Clearwater lk. Trying to hide from the sun again we stop at a very busy Huckleberry Creek campsite for a late lunch. Beautiful site, but just a little busy. Once we were fueled up, we were off for a short paddle to one of the next two sites.
A group of three, in a single boat were thinking the same as us, and were paddling on as well. The three decide to stay at Ivor Creek site, and we pressed on to Bar View site. Woo Hoo! We get to this super huge beach, beautiful sites to pick from, and not a single soul there! Last night we get spoiled.
Another great sleep in. We watch many paddlers go by in each direction. A couple stops and decides to camp here for the night. We're almost packed, so we move our crap and insist they take the best site. We swap some great paddling info ( they were from Prince George). Not wanting to leave we take our time. Hopping across the lake to paddle new ground, we go down (past the take out) to the top of Osprey Falls. Have a far away look, and paddle back up to the take out.
This is a must for tripping paddlers. Certain sites are canoe/kayak only. Dogs are allowed! Too bad about the motor boat access, but they allow other to experience the lakes and offer some security to paddlers.
Here's a couple of pics,

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Finally, the Canoeheads. Image


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2007, 11:16 am 
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Joined: August 4th, 2006, 2:00 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Vancouver
Beautiful shots. What were the bugs like? (I hear its been a wet summer up there).


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2007, 6:52 pm 
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Joined: June 25th, 2004, 9:42 pm
Posts: 1658
Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
Ted, great to hear you had a great trip. We did this with a bunch of friends 2 years ago in mid July. We took the easy way up using the water taxi. We spent 2 nights at Rainbow Falls with nobody else there, camped right along Angus Horne River. We paddled to the end of the lake to explore on Day 2 and hiked up well above the falls. The next day we went to 4 1/2 mile campground for the night. We then threw our packs on and hiked up to Huntley Col for 2 nights, a real tough slog but a great view. Saw a ma Griz with 3 cubs on the way up. We paddled back halfway down Clearwater Lake on day 7 and spent 2 nights there (can't remember the name of the campground off the top of my head).

I would gladly go back again. I found the few boats the we saw on Azure we fishing and traveling real slow, not much of a bother.

Not to hijack your thread, but here is a link to some photos of places you will recognize. AZURE/CLEARWATER 2005

_________________
-Jim-

"Paddle faster, I hear banjos!"


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2007, 10:08 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
Posts: 1074
Location: Burns Lake, BC
Thanks guys, the bugs were almost non-existent. Being from Burns Lake we were prepared with bug shirts but didn't pull them out once. Great pics Dunkin'. We've looked at a fair amount of your paddling pics. Your Huntly Mt. pics are great teasers for our next trip to Wells Gray. We're heading up Huntly for sure.


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 Post subject: Nice Trip!
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2007, 9:56 pm 
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Joined: May 7th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 137
Location: Thunder Bay
Thanks for posting it Ted...the pics bring back good memories from the couple of times I paddled up there in the past. Makes me want to head and do it again!

Cheers...Joe


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PostPosted: October 4th, 2007, 7:59 am 
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Joined: February 10th, 2005, 2:36 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Southwest Michigan
Thank you for taking the time to give the report and post the pictures. This MIchigander had the privilege of camping in Wells Gray about 6 years back. You are blessed having such a pristinely beautiful place near to you.


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