Wells women know winter adventures
Quesnel's Brenda Beatty heads an hour down the road to meet some cool Wells women and check out the local outdoor scene. If you’re up for winter adventure in northern BC but looking for companions, connect to friendly folk in Wells, BC and find community when you #SkiNorthBC. Tag #SkiNorthBC to share your adventures!
Wells, BC - For me, climbing is the most rewarding part of a hike. Every incline looks daunting from the bottom and I wonder if I’ll ever get to the top, but I always check my watch after 20 minutes of climbing, then look back down to where I started. Never once I have not been impressed by how far up you can get in such a short time.
The other way to make time pass easily is to go with a group. Whether you’re out with your closest buds or a group of strangers (aka friends you haven’t met yet), climbing is easier when you share stories as you go, or just mutually complain about how tough it is. Finding that community is part of the adventure. In Wells, BC, women like Ember Harper-Fedirko and Cheryl McCarthy are coming together to advance the scene and open the door onto cool experiences in the Cariboo Mountains.
If you’re in Wells and looking for a hiking buddy who is familiar with the trails in the Cariboo Mountains, check in with Harper-Fedirko. She’s always keen to hit the trails, whether on foot or on snowshoe and she’ll include you in the group, offer knowledge, and fill you with confidence as she gets you both to the top of the mountain, and back down.
Ember has been spending time in the Wells outdoors since she was a child at her family cabin, rambling on the mountain trails that were literally on her doorstep. As an adult, this has blossomed into partnerships as a trip leader with The Lady Alliance and the Prince George-based Adventure Bus.
She had been meeting women who wanted to explore the mountains but were “nervous, didn’t have a group to go out with or just weren’t confident in their own abilities.” Her goal is to get other women exploring the Cariboo Chilcotin region and find the love for it. Ember’s enthusiasm and warmth first set you at ease, then amps up the fun of being outside.
Devil’s Canyon sounds like a far more sinister place than it is: the final descent on the highway before you arrive at the quaint and colourful village of Wells, British Columbia. From 1870 to the 1920s, the road was crossed overhead here by a 52-foot high wooden trestle used for transporting water to power the search for gold in these mountain streams.
The snowshoe trail begins at the Slough Creek pullout at the bottom of Devil’s Canyon and travels past historic evidence of mining. The trip can be completed in about 3 hours (round-trip). Ember recommends this hike for people newer to snowshoeing or to the Wells area, who don’t want to commit to a full daylight-chasing mountain summit but who still want ‘great views and a nice day out’.
As I near the top, a long exhale and a slow gaze up the valley brings me right back to the present moment. A snowy mountain view after some uphill slogging always does that, and the imagination and the horizon conspire to start plotting the next trip.
Mountain adventures necessitate a little celebration to cap off a great day outside. Swap your layers for something dry and cozy, put on the kettle or crack a cold one and let the story-telling begin!
Cheryl Mcarthy, Wells outdoorswoman and co-owner of the Frog on the Bog is an unabashed winter lover. It’s her favourite season, even when her face feels crisp with cold. She says that ‘when you go out in challenging weather for an adventure, at the end, you feel like you’ve conquered something and had a perfect day; if the weather is perfect, you still had a perfect day.’ Cheryl is famous for her cranberry carrot cake, but she also skis and snowshoes the meadows and mountains of Wells as though it’s her day job.
The best way to explore new mountains is to join up with folks who know where they’re going and are excited to include you too. In Wells, pop into the Frog on the Bog or meet up with Ember, get some trail tips or invite yourself along on one of their trips. That’s just how we do things out here. And finish off the day with some cranberry carrot cake.
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When You Go
- Wells is a 1h drive from Quesnel, or 2h15 from Prince George, BC.
- Get into a Wells adventure with Harper-Fedirko through Cariboo Mountain Adventures.
- Visit Frog on the Bog for cool local products and great eats, and book a stay at the adjoining Willow River Inn
- For all your outdoor gear, check out Rocky Peak Outfitters in Quesnel. (And say hi to Brenda while you’re there!)