Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Going North

I am on the road again, this time from Vancouver to Yellowknife where I will pick up my daughter Kate and return to Calgary. As you can likely surmise from this blog, I like to be on the road. It keeps my mind busy and helps me think of the many adventures and wonderful things that have happened to me as I have explored the back roads of this land.

Yesterday started with that kind of dreary, grey misery that is a chilled rainy spring day in Vancouver. The clouds were so heavy and low they clung to the North Shore mountains like damp wool. The rain was thick enough to be torrential, near monsoon. Yet into this Ricky and I plunged, down to our boat to get the last of readiness ready and to deliver it to Race Rocks Yacht Services for its annual bottom inspection. Ricky did this run on his own this year as there is no way I can get off the boat at Race Rocks. They lift the boat out of the water into a sling and the only egress is by walking off the pulpit while the boat hangs halfway up, near the edge of the boat yard wall.

It was Ricky's first time as skipper and he did well, guiding the boat out of Sewell's Marine, around Tyee Point, past Whytecliffe Park and into Eagle Harbour. Once the boat was on the hard we headed to have the truck serviced; I have put a lot of miles on my steel chariot in only 16 months. Serviced and ready, we headed out. I dropped Ricky off in Abbotsford and headed up the Fraser Canyon for Cache Creek.

The canyon road is another one of those amazing feats of engineering which I failed to truly appreciate the many times I drove it in my younger years. It is a thin band of pavement notched into the near vertical sides of the Fraser River canyon. This rip in the granite and shale mountains was cut by glaciers in the last ice age and has been beaten deeper down into the gorge by 10,000 and more freshet seasons of the roaring Fraser River.

The road winds and climbs, clinging to the edge of the mountains and sometimes going directly through them via tunnels with romantic names like Yale and Ferrabee and Alexandria, or landmark names like Boston Bar, Kanaka Bar or, one my my favourites, Hell's Gate. Hell's Gate is the narrowest point of the Fraser Canyon and for time immemorial blocked access to the upper Fraser from the lower Fraser. It demanded a road, so we built one, carved through the mountain by Chinese and Irish labourers in the early part of the 20th century.

Clearing the canyon brings you to Lytton, the place where the Thompson River meets the Fraser River. After that you head up the lower Thompson Valley and end up in Cache Creek. From here I get to decide. Go north, or go east? Today, I think north.

1 comment:

  1. I like your travel blogs. I haven't been to Canada, only USA so interesting and can follow virtually on google earth. Carol