Monday, November 20, 2006
to do a light trail ride in the Harrison Lake area of the
Lower Mainland. In attendance was a YJ, XJ, & a TJ
For those of you going "huh?", the 95 Wrangler (YJ)
was driven by Cheryl Steele of Everett, the 97 Cherokee
(XJ) by Noreen Machon of Maple Ridge and Ed Pedersen
driving the 98 Wrangler (TJ).
Noreen was accompanied by her friend Donna and her
"Everett?" you say...yep that's right...Cheryl came all
the way from Everett just for the day...
she's a true Backroader, she just LOVES to drive !
Let me tell you the whole story..
I had hosted the Fraser Valley tour a couple of weeks ago,
and, of course Cheryl (CJ as she like to be called) was there
for the tour. We had a good days outing, as you'll know if
you read the trip report, we all got home kinda late, especially
CJ who had to drive all the way home to Everett the same night.
A day or two later I got an email from CJ saying,
"hmm, I noticed that the next trip is at the end of June,
that's a long time from now. We should do something before
then". CJ was all gung ho to come up here again the next
weekend for another drive!
I said it would be a couple of weeks before I could go again,
and that I had a few ideas but they might be long drives,
and CJ said "great!...let me know what day, what time and
Fast forward a couple of weeks; Noreen works with me,
so I mention to her that I was going out on the weekend for
a trail ride....mostly good FSR's with the occasional
bad spot, but nothing that a 4X4 couldn't easily handle.
Noreen said "sure, sounds like fun"..
So......Sunday I meet Noreen at her house, only two blocks
away, and those of you who have read my past trip reports
will know that I don't do mornings well, so I'm still half
asleep when I meet Noreen, her girl friend Donna,
(whom coincidently I've known as a business acquaintance
for many years) and her friend Bill.
We convoy out to Mission, meet up with CJ, have a too
large breakfast, then head for Dewdney Valley,
our portal into the woods of BC.
This is a trip I've done several times before, but I still
enjoy it; It's one of the few trips you can do that allows
you to travel from one valley to the next.
Most of the FSR's dead-end at the head of the valley...
drive in 20 miles, turn around and drive out....
This trip I aimed to go in through Dewdney Valley,
crossover via Margaret's Pass to Chehalis Valley,
head around the north end of Chehalis Lake and
use Mystery Valley as a side road to reach the last
FSR.. that being the Harrison Lake West FSR.
The road up Dewdney was showing a lack of upkeep,
many potholes and the occasional overhanging branches
meant that it had not rec'd any upkeep since the winter.
We found out why...at mile 25 a huge landslide had washed
out the road, and there was now way past it.
We stopped at the slide for a while and marveled at
how much damage it had done, then turned around and
re-traced our steps back down the valley for the main
paved road to take us east towards the start of the Chehalis
Up the road we went, reading with trepidation the signs
stating that a bridge we would need to cross was washed out,
as well a bridge we needed for our exit via Harrison lake
was scheduled to be worked on the next day.
With fingers crossed we started our 25 mile trip up the valley
hoping that any washouts would be passable.
The Chehalis road too was in pothole condition,
with a few washouts and slide zones to cross.
This also was not a good sign....another indication
that the road ahead might be blocked.
The creek washouts and slide zones were not possible
by car, but the 4X4's had no problem with them..
CJ has a some 4X4 experience, so most of the trouble spots
she took in stride.
Noreen had only been out once before, and she was a
bit tentative in spots, but her passengers had never been
before and Donna continually reminded her when the
road got to narrow and the cliff on the passenger side
was too close for comfort..,,,,
I think Donna's words during the day was something like
" NO ROAD........NO ROAD ON THIS SIDE" !!!!!
Bill rode with me for some of the day and he was
impressed at what a 4X4 could do over that of a
regular truck or car.
In more than once instance where we crossed
a rocky washed out section of the road we would
have to crawl down into a "wide stream size"
ditch, and after we crawled out the other side Bill
would make comments like "wow", or "what a surprise",
or words to that effect.
I know what he was feeling.......the first time you have ever
been offroad with a 4X4 you are continually amazed at
what doesn't stop you. As a car driver you are so conditioned
to avoiding bumps and rocks in the road,
let alone drive up a small embankment,
that it doesn't occur to you that to a 4X4 they aren't even
an obstacle...they're not even worth worrying about!
I remember my first time out with a friend in his 4X4...
I'm sure I told him 4 or 5 times to turn around cause
the road was rough, or the mud too deep,
or the washed out culvert impassable.
Each time he just nosed the 4X4 into the bad stuff,
kept a slow steady pace and we walked out the other side.
Once we had to go over a small ledge that I was sure
was impassable......I remember vividly the feel of the
front tires reaching the rock ledge, and instead of spinning
tires and stuck front wheels, I felt the front tires
literally reach out and climb up the rock,
just like you would crawl up a steep stretch of a hill
with your hands to help pull you up...
And I know Bill was experiencing that feeling as well...
The washed out bridge was in Mystery Valley,
but it wasn't a problem.
The creek had sliced through the road creating a gap
in the FRS as wide as a car was, and the water flowing
in the creek was axle deep.
We stopped and looked over the obstacle, checked out
the creek depth, ensured the creek bottom was solid,
made sure the 2 foot embankment climbing out of
the creek wasn't too bad, and then in I went.
It looked worse than it was...the Jeep crawled through
and climbed out the other side with barely a spin of the
Bill in the passenger seat was again surprised that this
obstacle that at first looked like a 'trip stopper"
was so easily passed.
Next in was CJ...she gave it just a little too much
gas and came out of the creek in a hurray,
making me scramble to get out of her way as I
was taking a picture of her...
Noreen was next....after watching CJ rush through
the creek Noreen thought that she had better give it
some gas so she wouldn't get "stuck" in the creek
either....so again Ed was forced to take a picture
and then move out of the way quickly to give Noreen
room to get by....
Jeez...I'm just trying to take a picture and people are
trying to run me over >>>>>
The rest of the trip was uneventful, other than us
enjoying the mountain vistas, the glaciers in the next
valley over, and superb views of Chehalis and
Harrison Lakes from various view points along the way.
So, I think we have Noreen hooked on easy 4X4'ng,
Donna and Bill definitely had a good time,
and CJ has already badgered me into going out again
in a couple of weeks for some more bumping around.
I think this time we'll head into the Chilliwack Valley.
Ironically Noreen's brother has just bought a 97
Grand Cherokee Laredo and can't wait to get out
and play with it....maybe will have 4 little Jeepsters
out playing around next time....
Eddie in Maple Ridge
One of those Jeep Nutz
Had another free Sunday coming up, so I made plans to
enjoy it outdoors in the beautiful sunshine. At least, that's
what the weatherman promised on Friday's forecast.
Saturday he was saying "sunny with cloudy periods and
a possiblity of a shower".
SUNDAY MORNING 6.30am.
It's pitchblack outside and it's raining, no, it's absolutely
pouring down!!! Thanks Mr. Weatherman ! :(
I stumbled around the darkened house putting together
a lunch and trying to find my wet weather gear.
Got organized finally, (left my mug of wake up tea
on the counter...arrgh) and wandered over to pick
up Ron Patrick at 9.00am.
The agenda for the day was the Coquihalla Canyon
north east of Hope. The canyon is now the main highway
out of the Vancouver area heading for the Interior of BC.
The "super highway" has now cut 1.5 hours of travel time
for travelers heading to towns such as Vernon and Kelowna.
This was going to be a low altitude preamble for a summer run
that's been percolating in the back of my mind for a year or
two; that is to follow the path of the old Kettle Valley Railway
that went from Hope to Penticton. As the days are short now,
and the first snows are coming to the upper reaches of the
Coquihalla Summit, I wanted to spend a day poking around
the lower reaches of this historic route.
Our first stop was the Weaver Creek Spawing Channel in the
Harrison area. I had just been here last week, but Ron had
not seen it, and, as it is a "must see", we spent an hour walking
the grounds looking at the Sockeye, Chum and Pink Salmons
that were spawning.
Then it was back in the Jeep and eastward to Hope and beyond.
On the hour long drive to Hope I remembered a small community
spawing channel that had been built recently in the Hope townsite
on a small tributary of the Coquihalla called Sucker Creek.
We arrived in the pouring rain, of course, and had a walk around
the short loop trail that allows access to approximately one
kilometre of the creeks banks.
In the creek we saw numerous Chum and Coho salmon using the
new "creek bed" to it's fullest.
We then headed up the "Coke", as the Coquihalla is known to locals,
and searched out any backroad that we could find to explore.
One turn put us on an old Forest Service Road that quickly took
us away from the main highway and up a side valley. As this is
not what we had in mind for the day, I filed that route away for
another visit, and we headed back down the road to the
main highway. Here we found a paved road that I believed
ran up-canyon, paralleling the super highway, while it accessed
a small park along the river. As we slowly went along the road
it occured to me that the land we were now on was the right
of way for the Kettle Valley Railway...WOO WOO, we found
part of our intended path !!..err accidently of course....
In short order the road turned to a potholed dirt road that only
lasted another 2 miles. A bridge washout over the Coquihalla
River ended our hopes that this was the road to the canyon
park. It was obvious that we were only on an old logging road
but that did not diminish that fact that we had achieved at least
part of our planned agenda; that of finding a section of the
old railway bed.
By now we had only a couple of hours of daylight left,
and with the heavy rain that occasionally engulfed us
causing the sky to be blacker than it should be,
we decided to call it a day and headed back down the
canyon towards Hope and ultimately home.
Stopping in the small logging town we looked back on the
day's accomplishments....we saw lots and lots of fish,
saw some new territory, and found some new routes for
we got kinda wet, the windshield wipers got a work out
and I got the Jeep a little muddy....all in all a good day
in the rainy Pacific Northwest!!
Eddie in Vancouver BC
(who's baseball cap is just now drying out)
Had another opportunity to visit the the Reifel Wildlife Sanctuary in Ladner, just southwest of Vancouver B.C. I had been here earlier in the year during the late summer when there had been a preponderance of songbirds but few water fowl. This being Autumn was a prime time for viewing as the Flyways are busy with many species migrating south to their wintering grounds.
Especially notable are the Snow Geese that stop over in the Fraser River delta as they feed and recuperate from their long flight. Usually 15,000-20,000 of these large birds will make the migration. As the past five years have been relatively mild many chicks have survived to make the arduous journey; as many as 45,000 to 50,000 are believed to be in transit along the Western Flyway this year.
Ron Patrick and I had been waiting for their arrival, and with a beautiful sunny Sunday tempting us to comeout, we loaded the cameras into the Jeep and headed for the ocean. We wanted to get there early in the day as parking and admittance to the Refuge is limited. Normally this is not a problem, but the star attraction of the Snow Geese had been reported in the local newspapers and on T.V., so we knew we had to get there early to beat the crowds. The lot was full, but we found a spot no problem, broke out the cameras, and then our warm clothing.
It had been down to freezing over night, and it was still only a few degrees above that now, with a cold wind blowing off the ocean. We paid our $4.00 entry fee and picked up a couple of bags of bird seed to tempt the birds into camera range if necessary. There were literally hundreds of Mallard ducks crowding around the pathways in the park, all waiting for a free handout from those little brown paper bags. We walked around the refuge making note of the numerous types of water fowl present, some of which were:
Mallard ducks, American Coots, Great Blue Herons, Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, Wood ducks, Blue Winged Teals (ducks), Lesser Scaup, (ducks), and more Mallard ducks.
As we got closer to the northwest boundary of the Refuge, we could hear, but not yet see, the loud honking of thousands of geese as they foraged on the outer tidal flats. We climbed an observation tower that was approx. 45 feet tall, and it easily lifted us high above the surrounding maze of hedges and marsh lagoons. Off in the distance we could see what appeared to be snow lying on acres of tidal flats, but a low flying Harrier Hawk spooked our "snow" and the honking of geese sounded an alarm as thousands upon thousands of Snow Geese suddenly took to the sky as one giant flock It was quite a sight to behold, and all around us every body stopped to watch the spectacle.
At strategic locations, such as bird blinds and the observation tower, volunteers were there to answer questions. One volunteer told us that there were an estimated 15,000 Snow Geese on site today and we had the opportuinty to see the entire flock in action a while later after a Bald Eagle did a fly-by and every single bird in view took off in the opposite direction. WHAT A SIGHT !!
Ron and I made our way back towards the exit stopping for photos whenever we could. Back at the parking lot I came across a Sandhill Crane begging for handouts from people. This was a surprise as normally these birds are quite aggresive and do not hesitate to attack people.
As the Cranes stand almost 4 feet tall, they are definitely dangerous to humans with their quick jabs with their sharp beaks. However, this one let us get within feet of it, and hence I fired off a few good shots, as did Ron.
It was now after lunch and we were getting hungry, so we left the hordes of folks to the birds, and we wandered down some dyke roads looking for a scenic stop. Well, we found it on Fuller Slough...we had a picturesque view with the mountains north of Vancouver stretching from west to east, unbroken for over 80 miles all the way to Hope, gateway to the Interior of B.C.
To the west was Vancouver Island and it's mountains only 26 miles away across Georgia Straight, to the south was the superport of Roberts Bank, and to the east was the Cascade Mountain range running in a northerly direction to meet the Coast Mountain chain at Hope.
Mt. Baker was prominent in the Cascade Range, and as it is an active volcano, I always look at it and wonder...what if? .............
Back in the Jeep we meandered down a few more roads and wound up at Roberts Bank Terminal. Here we watched in amazement at the giant cranes, called gantries, speedily unloaded a container ship of it's containers, of which there were too many for us too count.
We then decided to more or less call it a day and slowly headed for home in a circuitous route. 45 minutes of driving found us well out to the east of the ocean, we were now out in the farming community of Langley which borders the Fraser River. Having an hour left of daylight, I wanted to find Derby Reach Regional Park. As well as being a riverside campground with excellent bar fishing, it is the site of the original Fort Langley built by the Hudsons Bay company in 1827.
As it turned out the fort site was a couple of miles upstream from the campground. We went up to the historic site, had a quick tour around, but the fading light meant that we didn't have much time, so we made a mental note to come back another sunny Sunday. That was it for the day..Ron had taken a couple of dozen of quality photos with his telephoto lens, while I had used up 60 pictures with my digital camera.
While we were now only a ten minutes from home, as the crow flies, across the river to Maple Ridge, we had to drive around on Hwy #1 over the Port Mann bridge through Coquitlam, and it was almost an hour's drive before we were home.
It was a great day of exploring in our own back yard, and Ron was continually surprised at all the things to see in our own town..a nice change instead of driving 500-600 miles in day as we had done on our summer drives.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
A typical one day trip for me....600 miles, 60 pictures and
17.5 hours on the road....
Sheesh, when will I learn !!!
Grab a coffee or put the kettle on for
a cup of tea cause this is going to be a long one...
My usual shotgun partner Ron Patrick and myself set a daunting agenda for the day, but we did it, and we're not tired.. or proud... (apologies to Arlo Guthrie of "Alice's Restaurant" fame)
Time stamp: 5.20 am
where's my shoe when I need it..
Get up to feed the cat, then get up 10 minutes later to let the cat out, then get up again 10 minutes later to let said cat in.. oh well, guess I'm up now.....
Picked up Ron Patrick around 7.00 am and we highballed it from Maple Ridge to the Fraser Canyon for our first highlight stop of the day, the town of Lytton.
Lytton is considered the northern end of the wild Fraser Canyon.
It has also had First Nations people living at the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson rivers for over 9,000 years.
Lytton is usually the hotspot of Canada due to the sheltering nature of the Coast Mountain range. Most of the rain falls on the westward side, so Lytton on the inland side receives only warm dry winds to buffet the canyon. Lodgepole pine and sage grass are typical of the flora in the area.
An amazing sight is the two train bridges over the Fraser just south of Lytton. Here Canadian Pacific and Canadian Rail exchange sides of the river before they plunge into the heart of the Canyon on their southward journey.
Another sight to see is the joining of the water of two rivers.
The Thompson runs through mostly hard rock or gravel hills and mountains on it's journey, picking up "cleaner" detriment while the Fraser eats away at the softer sandstone and clay on it's route, turning the river silt brown.
The blue, clean waters of the Thompson merge with the brown muddy water of the Fraser, and the stark contrast between the two is something to see.
Lytton was also one of the important forks along the Gold Rush Trail.
If you followed the Fraser you headed towards the northern gold fields around Quesnel and Barkerville, and, if you followed the Thompson you headed easterly for the silver and copper mines in the Interior.
Staying on Hwy#1 you follow the Thompson river and are immediately plunged into the Thompson Canyon. While smaller in scale than the Fraser Canyon, it is no less impressive.
Here the river runs through an arid land, even less trees to be seen than before due to lack of good soil. This route travels along the western edge of the Thompson plateau which extends northward for several hundred miles, east for 200 miles, and south for 100 miles.
Most of the plateau was covered in successive glaciers, the latest retreated only 10,000 years ago. As a result, much of the land formations are a direct result of their actions. In this case, most of the area in the Thompson's watershed is comprised of high mountains made of hard bedrock, with the wide valley's between filled with low rolling hills consisting of mostly gravel which was deposited as the glaciers retreated in a northerly direction. Hence, some of the pictures you view will show large areas of unstable river banks, especially evident in the canyon shots.
Our next stop was Ashcroft, specifically Ashcroft Manor, which is now a museum.
This is one of the view remaining road houses from the Gold Rush route to the Cariboo, used at first by miners walking the route, then later as a stage coach overnight stop as they traveled between the coast and inland.
The Manor is truly an oasis among the desert. After traveling for 100 miles or so through an arid land with few trees and only sage grass for ground cover, the bright greens of the grass at the manor have a cooling effect on the body.
We poked around the museum's grounds checking out the antiquated kitchen and the main floor. On the walls of the hallways they had old pictures from the late 1800's of the Manor, as well as a few old rifles such as Enfields and Winchesters.
Out back they had several original buildings still in original shape. One of these was a 3 room sod hut that served as a storage shed and a living quarters. The rooms on either end of the building housed the Chinese who worked on the property, while the middle room was a storage shed for food stores that they kept cool by diverting a creek to run through the cabin.
From Ashcroft we turned southeast and climbed steeply as we
gained the altitude of the Highland Plateau. Here the climate was cooler, and we began to see more spruce and fir, as well as the white bark of Aspen trees. We traversed the plateau for 20-30 miles, then began a descent into the ancient crater of a volcano many miles wide. It is here the Highland mines has one of it's 4 open pit mines.
Coming around a corner of the road we were suddenly treated to a rare treat amongst the drab dark greens of the forest.
Emerald greens and bright white lept of the landscape into our vision.
After a minute of disbelief, we realized that the lake that we saw was an enormous tailing pond for one of the open pit mines in the area.
The pond stretches for 7 miles east to west, with earthen dams at either end. While it was only a "sewage" pond, the scene was amazing nonetheless.
At the eastern end of the pond is the beginning of one of the mines.
This one stretched for 4 miles east to west, and 3 miles north to south.
It filled the entire landscape before us, or I should say, it ate up the entire valley before us.
Molybdenum and low grade ore are hauled from the mine face in large mine trucks, some of which we could see off in the distance hauling waste ore to the dumps sites.
Even from our vantage point a mile or so away they looked huge.
Their true size was evident when one of them passed a school bus used to shuttle employees within the mine. The bus looked like a Tonka toy in front of a real car.
Another 10 miles brought us to the instant town of Logan Lake.
Most of the mining company's employees live in Merritt, approx 50 miles away. The company wanted to have the people live closer to the mine, so in 1970 they created the town of Logan Lake. One of the more unique tourist bureau's I have ever seen is located here. The mine donated an old mine truck and an old tractor-shovel used for loading the massive trucks.
Inside the main body of the shovel is the tourist centre...pretty cool!
After a quick look around town, we once again did a pinball move on the map.
Instead of continuing south east to Merritt, we instead headed due north along 45 miles of gravel road for a meeting with the Trans-Canada Hwy at a point west of Kamloops. Halfway into the route we passed Tunkwa Lake. This is a newly created park with 3 large open area campgrounds at the north end of the lake. Very picturesque, worth a visit if you get up that way. The main activities are fishing and walks along the open grass areas around the lake. Yes, the biozone had changed again, and as we headed north we lost elevation, the air warmed up, and we entered the transition zone from cool mountain with large trees to open rolling grassland with lodgepole pines dominating the landscape. We noticed unusually large samples of bunchgrass, some six feet high. These were so strong they were pushing the farm fences out of their way as they grew.
We finished our descent and arrived at the small community of Savona.
Reunited with Hwy#1, we headed 60 miles east to Kamloops.
As we were pulling into town we realized that it was nearing dinner time, meaning we had already been on the road for 10 hours. I phoned home to let Annette know where we were, and she just laughed and asked if we were spending the night! I said "No, we'd be home tonight", maybe very late, but we'd be home......
Kamloops is one of the larger towns in the Interior of BC, and, as usual, every time I come through here there are more and more houses, condos, strip malls and traffic. We gassed up in town, but what we really wanted was the east side of town and the road signs pointing us in the direction of Monte Lake. The route we were now on was once one of the original Hudson Bay Fur Brigade trails, and along these trails the famous brigades were a sight to behold. 400 horses handled by 40 men stretched out for miles, a sight that the local Indians always found curious.
The route originated in Merritt, went to Nicola Lake, east to the Douglas Plateau past Douglas Lake, then north to Westwold were it forked, one path west to Monte Lake, the other east towards Salmon Arm. We were following the Brigade Trail in a reverse direction, starting from Westwold and heading south into Cowboy Country......
This was also the northern terminus of the Douglas Lake Road, one of my main objectives for the day.
We turned south and entered the narrow canyon through which the Salmon River flowed. Once again we were in the cool air, only this time we had not climbed 2000 feet.
Ron and I were surprised when we noticed that the canyon looked like any other in the P.N.W.
This was a different venue for us, as all day we had either been traveling through a barren, arid landscape, or driving through alpine areas with small evergreens that were sparsely spaced.
The small river traveled quietly as it threaded it's way along the valley floor amid the ferns and firs that lined the route.
Just when we thought we were a long way from civilization, we would turn a corner and come across a small farm nestled in the turn of the river. Each one of these idyllic settings caused us to murmur that we would like to live here, but we were both sure that we would be all by ourselves if we did.
25 miles driving gave us another transition zone. The canyon walls slowly faded away, and see forever rolling hills of prairie grass were before us.
We could see the higher, "real" mountains miles off in the distance, but all around us was prime grazing land.
We could just imagine all the cattle that must be grazing just over the crest of every hill we saw.
Here high on the Douglas Plateau was ample evidence of glacial action.
The creation of the plateau itself was caused by the massive ice sheets that covered most of B.C., the latest ice age occurring just 10,000 years ago. The mountains were ground down, the plateaus ripped open and reformed, leaving wide open valleys filled with rolling hills. In between ice ages the area was covered three different times by huge ice melt lakes that stretched from Spences Bridge and Ashcroft in the west, to Merritt in the south and Kamloops in the north. The ancient shoreline of these lakes are still visible high on the surrounding mountains, particularly so when accented by the first snow of the season.
The many north-south lying chain of lakes indicate the direction of the ice movement. Drumlins and eskers, side and front moraines, and erratics such as huge boulders in the open fields, mark were the ice melted, dropping it's heavy load.
Finally, after miles and miles of grassland, we turned a corner and there below us, nestled against the north shore of Douglas Lake was the ranch. It is the largest working ranch in Canada, consisting of 500,000 acres. It had it's beginnings during the days of construction of the Trans-Canada railways.
It supplied most of the beef and a lot of the farm food for the hungry crews in Western Canada. As was common, with the ranch being so large and so far from the nearest town, the ranch took on all the functions of a small town, complete with general store and it's own post office, even it's own church. Hundreds of thousands of cattle and horses have passed through the ranch over the years. For a long time it was owned by the Woodwards family, which owned the now defunct Woowards department stores. Guests such as Tom Jones and Queen Elizabeth have been entertained in the luxurious ranch house, and ridden the open range with the cowboys on the ranch.
At the small Indian village of Spahomin, (meaning little reeds, which are woven to form fish nets), we once again changed direction and headed for the eastern shore of Nicola Lake. Just north of the Quilchena Hotel, (been there, done that) we arrived back on blacktop at the junction of the Douglas Lake Road and Hwy 97C. This was the official "end" of our day's drive, however we still had a 3 hour drive back to theVancouver area and home.
We stopped off in Merritt for a break, filled up the tummies and drinking mugs, gassed up the Jeep and made some re-assuring phone calls to home to let them know we were still in one piece.
It was now 9.30pm, which put our arrival time home after midnight.
17.5 hours on the road was a bit much, but we wanted to cover some new territory and not have to backtrack in doing so.
WELL, WE MADE IT!!
And did you go through a whole pot of coffee or tea reading this road trip?
Monday was a holiday in Canada, so that created a long weekend that was very welcome in my house.
Saturday started off slow in the weather department, but Sunday was good weather and Monday was great! It was 75 degrees in the Vancouver area and summer was here.
I had been a good boy and got all the yard chores done on Saturday, Sunday I spent some quality time with the younguns, well, teenagers now, and even found time for a 15 mile bike ride with Annette, followed up with steaks on the barbie with Annette's sister over for dinner and a visit that night.
Monday I woke up at 7.30 AM, aware that this had the makings of a hot summer day. What better way to enjoy the summer then a Backroads drive!!!
ROAD TRIP !!!
I called my friend Ron Patrick, checked with his wife Donna Mae to see if he was allowed to come out to play..he was, so I scooped him up and we headed to the Fraser Canyon.
If you haven't heard of the Fraser Canyon, it is a wild gorge that lasts for 30 miles, with the Fraser River crashing and boiling it's way all along.
We meandered along up the Canyon, stopping at places like Emory Creek, where the Chinese, that were brought over to work on the railway in the 1800's, worked over supposedly played out sand bars and meticuously (sp) strained even more gold from the river.
We then headed up river and visited the old Alexandra Bridge. The first bridge was built in 1863, but was washed away by floods and rebuilt twice, the last in 1926. It was used until 1962, when the road through the Canyon was rebuilt and a new higher bridge was built.
The it was up to Hell's Gate for a quick look around, snapped some pics of the tram cars and the buildings below in the gorge, then back down the Canyon and a side trip to the Hope Slide which occured in 1965.
If all this sounds familiar, it's because this trip was a pre-amble to the Hell's Gate tour I am leading on July 21 Saturday with the PNW Backroad Drivers. It should be the same type of weather then, beautiful summer, lots of sunshine and stunning views to be had.........
Hope you enjoy them, I had a GREAT day getting them......!!!!
Eddie in Vancouver BC