Thursday, 31 August 2017 – Day 5 – Golden – Abbotsford

Thursday, 31 August 2017 – Golden – Abbotsford (Day 5)

Another early start with breakfast and onto the coach at 8.50 on our way to Abbotsford. We now entered the Glacier National Park. In 1883, a Mr Van Horne, the general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway suggested to the federal government that national parks should be created along the rail line. The park was established in 1886.

Once again, beautiful forests of pines covering the slopes of the mountains and passed Three Valley Lake . We thought we were going to be detained as there had been a nasty accident on the highway but by the time we arrived there was only the remains of a burnt out semitrailer.  It was quite hazy from the recent fires that have been burning throughout Canada. Our first stop was at Rogers Pass Visitors Centre, a small museum. There were some of the “local inhabitants” information – caribou, mountain goat, grizzly bear, wolverine. Along with each story, there was a stuffed owner.

Rogers Pass history commenced in 1871.  When British Columbia joined Confederation in 1871, it was on the condition that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald would build a railway to link the province to the rest of the country. In 1881 construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway proceeds westward across the Prairies and eastward from the Pacific Coast. Major Rogers is sent to find a route across the seemingly impenetrable Rocky Mountains. He approached from the west, but because of the lateness of the season he turns back. The following year he confirms the existence of the pass when he reaches the summit from the east side – hence the name Rogers Pass.  So much construction was being done in the mountains until 7th November, 1885 the east and west construction crews met at Craigellachie.  We will hear more about the Railway when we visit Craigellachie (pronounced Kray-gell-a-Key) later.

For some distance we drove under Snow sheds and we learnt these were constructed to take the force of avalanches crashing down in the area. The area receives up to 15m of snow each winter.  Sadly, there were enormous avalanches along the way with loss of lives, and when on 4th March 1910 about 60 lives were lost there was public outcry over the dangers of railway operations in Rogers Pass.

In 1913 construction began on an 8kms tunnel through Mt Macdonald and in 1916 the Connaught Tunnel opened.  It seems that tunnels were being constructed to make rail travel much more safer.

We continued our travelling onto the town of Revelstoke for a refreshment stop. Throughout Canada there are many Tim Horton cafes and when we got back on the coach, Ron handed out Timbits – tasty mini donuts.  Thanks Ron. On we went until Craigellachie. It was at Craigellachie that on 7th November 1885  the last spike was placed into position to signify the conclusion of the Canadian Pacific Railway from coast to coast. This was mainly due to Major Albert Bowman Rogers and William Cornelius Van Horne.  Aside from overseeing the largest construction project ever attempted in Canada, Van Horne also chose the site and name for Vancouver, inaugurated a steamship line to the Orient and supervised the building of the Chateau Frontenac. Van Horne was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1894. He died in Montreal in 1915 at the age of 72.  For this wonderful day to take place, a great deal of credit should go to many Chinese workers who lived in substandard facilities and worked the dangerous jobs at which many lost their lives.

I hope whoever reads this, you can get some idea of the workings of the railway as there are so many facts that I cannot possibly mention them all – I hope I have covered the pertinent facts. My mind just boggles at the enormity of the railway system that is enjoyed by Canadians as well as many people from all over the world.

We continue on through the Shuswap region travelling near the huge Shuswap Lake.  We pass through Sicamous with its lovely sandy beaches and is known as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. Then through Salmon Arm which is the largest urban centre in the Shuswap between the peaceful shores of Shuswap Lake and mountains and hills.

The Thompson River, home to several varieties of Pacific salmon and trout, is the largest tributary of the Fraser River, flowing through the south-central portion of British Columbia. The Thompson River has two main branches, the South Thompson River –  which we follow for quite some time and the North Thompson River. The huge Shuswap is the source of the South Thompson River, the only outlet of the Shuswap Lake system, and it eventually flows into the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver.

We leave the Rockies and see the Columbia Mountains. Our route seems to be flatter with fields of corn and various farmlands. Around this area is the largest grower of ginseng. We pass through the village of Chase. Here the South Thompson River originates.

We did not go into the city of Kamloops but saw it from the highway. Kamloops,  meaning “Meeting of the Waters”, is the largest community in the Thompson-Nicola Valley region where the North and South Thompson rivers meet near Kamloops Lake.   A very short stop was at Merritt with the Coastal Mountains in the distance.  We heard that Merritt is known as the “Country Music Capital of Canada” for its wealth of country music attractions, activities, and events. Merritt’s economy is dominated by the primary industries of forestry, tourism, and cattle ranches.

Our next short stop was at the pretty village of Hope with many wood carvings around.  I wandered down to Memorial Park where there several wood carvings. Hope is home to a notable widely known carver named Pete Ryan who has carved a number of the chainsaw wood carvings exhibited in downtown Hope. Chainsaw wood carving competitions and exhibitions are held.  Gayle, Dianne, Andy and Vincent (on my tour) were also having a wander before it was time to board the coach.


Gayle and I in Hope at one of the many carvings

Chilliwak was another town passed through before we finally reached our destination for the night in Abbotsford at about 6.30pm. After seeing my room (562) I met with Marilyn, Paul, Phil and Kay (fellow passengers) in the adjoining very popular “Rickys” restaurant for a very enjoyable meal and company.  When I put the TV on, there was a report that there had been a murder evidently not far from our hotel.  Evidently only happened about ½ hour before our arrival. We did hear and see a couple of police cars pass by!  

Another very long, but very interesting and informative day. Travelled through very diverse countryside once more and sad that we have left the mesmerising Rockies behind. Truly magnificent formations.












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