Last December, a Clearwater Lakes Tour package for two was donated as a prize to help raise money for the local Food Bank. Murray Stockton, a long-time volunteer at the Food Bank, drew my name as the winner of the prize. I can’t express enough thanks to the Jones family for donating such an amazing experience.
On Thursday August 16, Murray Stockton and I enjoyed a day in Paradise. The trusty powerboat Merganser was loaded and ready to depart for Rainbow Falls at 10:30. Murray and I, along with six other Canadians, a couple from Luxemburg, and an Italian tourist and a German tourist climbed aboard. We were comfortable amid carefully stowed camping gear, supplies for camps along the way and coolers of food and drink.
Two canoes were lashed to the roof of the boat for the lucky foursome who was being ferried to Rainbow Falls and intended to canoe back. The day was pristine.
“Just like being in National Geographic,” I kept saying as the stunning scenery, mirror calm water and brilliant blue sky seemed to include us in the award-winning picture that was our surroundings. Our genial and energetic skipper and guide, Ray, gave us some reference points and topics to think about when he stopped mid-lake to talk about the geology of the area, the various mountains and the amazing effect of glaciation. A highlight was stopping to photograph the ospreys and their babies situated high in their nest at the top of a dead tree.
Kingfishers, loons and a variety of ducks also provided interest along the way as we whizzed past campsites, kayakers and canoeists. On through the river joining Azure and Clearwater Lakes and into Azure Lake we sped. The amazing color of the water, the multitude of waterfalls, still full of melt water, glaciers on the shady sides of the mountains were all too breathtaking to remember to take picture. When we arrived at Rainbow Falls, our guide lead us along the sandy beach to the trapper’s cabin where we wondered at all the whittled signs telling of people who had enjoyed the campsite and the places they were from.
We walked to Rainbow Falls, amid the mossy gnome homes and lush vegetation thriving in the mist from the falls. Colorful mushrooms, toadstools and fungus lent an air of elfin mystery. Blueberries and huckleberries were abundant, making the walk back to lunch slow and tasty.
After a delicious lunch topped off with s’mores and the most decadent hot chocolate I have ever tasted, it was time for some folks to go for a canoe ride and others to have a swim.
Azure Lake, with its fresh feed of glacial waterfalls was an exhilarating place to swim. The bay we were in was shallow enough to have warm water in pools and the rest was like being in the bathtub with the cold water running; very refreshing on that hot summer day. All too soon we packed up and headed back to reality.
I cannot thank the Jones family enough for their generous gift of this trip for two to Rainbow Falls. And I cannot thank them enough for their generosity in supporting the Food Bank by donating this trip. It is a trip I highly recommend. And thank you to Ray, for being such a gracious and energetic guide and skipper.