The Valley Tourist, that’s me, day one in my journey to be a tourist in my own backyard, the beautiful and incomparable North Thompson Valley. My mission is to see anything and everything that brings fun and adventure in this spectacular Valley.
What attractions are there, you ask? What is there to see, do, eat and drink? Where is there to go and who to talk to? What do we have to show off to the world? Each week you can join me on my journey of discovery and be a Valley Tourist right alongside me, or just maybe… you will want to follow in my footsteps? Do you live in the Valley or are you just visiting? C’mon along with me and let’s begin.
If you look up on Google you come out with the Wells Gray Park Visitors Centre, in Clearwater. It says that is the North Thompson Valley. Ummm, not quite entirely, haha, but luckily I live in the area and know that it’s so much more than just that. This picture will highlight the entire valley from Kamloops to the Jasper National park. Marked with a pink star is the place for today’s adventure.
This first trip will be an easy one, I will load up my walking sticks and head with my hubby up to Spahats Falls and Shaden viewpoint. Where are they? For those who have no idea, you would head towards Jasper from Kamloops and when you get into Clearwater you will go to the roundabout and head up Clearwater Valley road towards Wells Gray Park.
You travel along and after 10.2 Km you will come to easily recognisable signs and turn left to get into the parking lot. You will see a bathroom and beside it you will see a truck and business set up with tables and umbrellas. We will get back to that later.
We decided that we would make Shaden lookout our first point of interest, since there was a big bus unloading other tourists in the parking lot. Haha. Shaden lookout is a one kilometer or so walk from the parking lot, and, the viewpoint that shows off Clearwater Valley. It is spectacular! The Shaden off to the right is a cavern that is seemingly carved directly into the hill on the side of the mountain. Water at some pointed shifted the lava rock on the original mountain and caused pieces to drop away to make this amazing natural cave. The trail to get a better view is not really passable to the regular tourist of which I am one! The distant view is just awesome! We followed the main road over to it and then after drinking in the view we set off down the trail around the mountain to get to the falls. This is an average hike of just over a kilometer in moderate climbing up and down. The reason I mention it is so you can enjoy some nature along the way as well as a couple of spectacular views! If you want to just tour from lookout to lookout that works as well!
Mind you, when you get back to the Spahats parking lot it is still a five-minute walk or so to see the falls! I looked up the meaning of the name and Spahats means Bear to the First Nations people, and since there are many more creeks with the English form of the name already in B.C., they happily kept this distinctive name. A shower or two during our walk did not dampen our spirits, we enjoyed some fresh air and amazing scenery along the way. The Spahats falls view is so unexpectedly stunning it captures your attention no matter which direction you come upon it! The bowl carved from just the power of the water is amazing!
We then more slowly made our way back towards our vehicle. As we got to the parking lot, we noticed again the truck on the side advertising some Belgian Waffles! Now living in the valley, I had heard of this, many times, but never indulged. Luckily today I was a tourist and decided to partake of the goodies! It is owned and run by Johan Raes and the Waffle on a stick dripping with Chocolate sauce was the best I had tasted in years!! I guessed ahead of time that it might be heavy and filling, but it was light and scrumptious! I even had a chance to shop if I wanted, on display were some cool carvings made by another North Thompson Valley resident by the name of Kelly Taylor from Kamloops. What a great day! Now for you other tourists out there this journey is for sure a must see and indulge journey so head on up for a trip, you can say that it was recommended by the Valley Tourist! Enjoy!
Feel free to join me on my next journey soon touring our backyard, the North Thompson Valley!