Saturday 16th June, 2018
We’re climbing ever higher today – driving up into the Rocky Mountains proper.
We hadn’t been on the road long before we spied an Osprey on the nest. You’ve got to admire the confidence of a bird who places itself in such an exposed position, albeit that it is high up.
We followed the shoreline of Little Shuswap Lake along Trans-Canadian Highway 1 until we reached Craigellachie, a tiny stop which is famous as being the place where the last spike was driven in for the Canadian Pacific Railway which joined the east and west of the country, taming the isolation and playing a role in why parts of what are now Canada did not amalgamate with the States instead.
I want to say the below photo, which depicts driving in the last spike, is remarkable because it doesn’t have any women it. Sadly, though, that was just a sign of the times in November 7, 1885. What is remarkable is that the Chinese workers were cleared from view. According to one official source, referring to the British Columbia section, “by the end of 1882, of the 9,000 railway workers, 6,500 were Chinese Canadians”.
Back on the bus, we headed into Revelstoke National Park, taking time out to stretch our legs on the Giant Cedars Boardwalk, a kilometre saunter (except for steep steps) through old growth forest. As you see from the photo gallery, it is not only those trees which are still standing which caught my eye.
After Revelstoke, Highway 1 continues to climb into the Rockies, and soon reaches Rogers Pass (elevation 4,534 feet/1382 m) at the summit in Glacier National Park.
It must have been a challenge to discover the pass and then build a railway through it but by 1884 the Canadian Pacific Railway was on the job. Apparently the vehicle road wasn’t constructed until the early 60s. We drove under five long tunnels, built to protect travellers from avalanches. In winter this area has huge snowfall and evidence of avalanches is often visible by the track of fir trees missing on the mountainsides.
We lingered for a time at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre.
The highway winds around through mountains and reaches the township of Golden, which is near six national parks (Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Yoho); three mountain ranges (Canadian Rockies, Selkirk and Purcell); and two rivers (The Columbia and Kicking Horse).
Golden is a pretty town of around 4,000 which must really come to life in winter when people flock to the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. We had time for lunch outdoors beside the aqua-coloured river, a stroll down the main street, and an exploration across the timber covered bridge for pedestrian traffic. And a quick snap of a wall mural on the way back to the coach.
Fortified, it was time to move into the Yoho National Park, and this is what we found:
Bill took a fabulous video which demonstrates the noise and power but unfortunately it will consume heaps of space to upload it.However, I found this one on you-tube which is almost as good 🙂 if you care to click on the link
You can walk around this area admiring the rock formations from different angles and watching how the water flow constantly sculpts the landscape. The area is called the “natural bridge”. This photo below gives you some idea of how the water is channelled to descend into a canyon where it joins a river.
After a good time at this amazing spot we headed to bed . . . no! We are in the land of the long days. Our destination for the night, the Emerald Lake Lodge, was only about fifteen minutes further on, and we arrived in plenty of time to settle in and have a good look around before dinner.
For the last several days I’ve been walking around humming, “hello mother, hello father, here we are at, Camp Grenada” – when you take a look at our surroundings I hope you will feel the same outdoorsy inspiration . . . (without the part about getting stung by poison ivy and the head coach not wanting any sissy’s).