Day 11 and 12

Day 11
On the road again

Well Doug had to catch a train in Vancouver so we decided to hit the road again. I’m not the greatest traveler so I don’t stop as much as I should… gotta keep going…

We cruised out of Castlegar and headed down the#3 towards Grand Forks. If you’ve never made this drive you should. The climbs and passes are awesome and the views quite phenomenal. We passed the much talked about Christina Lake, which was not at all what I expected and headed on down the twisty roads. As we pulled into Grand Forks the country side changed again and it started to look like th dry hill prairie from the north part of the Okanogan. I had intended to stop and visit Shane on the way through and probably would have if I had seen Bron and Sons from the road (or even a sign) but as it was, my tendency to keep going pushed us through and onwards. The road swings north at Grand Forks and you get that feeling that you are going the wrong way until it swings back.

Zak’s method of travel involves, books, Gameboy and lots of zzzzzz.

The road went on and on and on and and eventually we came to edge of the valley that houses Oosyoos. Another must see if you’ve never been.

Downtown Oosyoos is basically this thin strip of land separating two parts of the lake

We pulled over and enjoyed the lake for a bit and even toyed with the idea of renting a boat but time and money dictated otherwise. We did walk around and there was this awesome desert-like public garden.

We pulled out of Oosyoos using the #3 and got our first taste of wine country as we worked out way up the the broad Similkameen valley towards Keremeos. As we followed the river the valley gets narrow and narrower and signs of population get a bit sparser. We had intended to tour the gold mine in Hedley but when we arrived we found out it was a twice a day thing and would have taken until around 6 to complete. The Mascot mine was built way up on the side of a mountain and sure seems like it would be worth the time. But we toured the gift shop checked out the displays and moved on.

The road took us to Princeton where stopped and got some info on Manning Park where we wanted to stay and then headed south again into the mountains. Unfortunately all the campsites with showers in Manning park were full and as Doug wanted toe presentable for his train ride home we decided to push onto Hope.

The elevation changes from Castlegar to Hope are phenomenal. We climbed and climbed into before Grand Forks (1746m) and down to 277m in Oosoyoos. Then it’s up to 650m at Princeton and higher through Manning and then basically descend down to 42m (the elevation of Hope).

On the way down to Hope we passed the Hope Slide and stopped to take a gander

We pulled into Hope and visited the Information booth for a list of campsites with showers, chose Othello Tunnels and headed up the hill. The campsite was privately run small but nice enough. We set up camp, had a good meal and decided to head out for a walk to look at the Othello tunnels, having absolutely no idea what they were.

Camping underneath two huge cedars.

After you follow this road from the campsite for a bout 5 minutes you come to the parking lot . Thew path then leads off past a river to the first of the signs.

Standing by the river which formed the canyon through which the railway had to run.

The Othello tunnels were one of a series of tunnels that were blasted out when they were making a railway from Vancouver to the interior of B.C. Apparently the engineer was a Shakespeare fan so they were all named after characters from his plays. They, combined with eh bridge spas between the tunnels create a straight, shallow grade for the trains to climb upwards from sea level.

Doug heading int the first of the tunnels.

After walking the length of the path and visiting all the tunnels, we headed back as the sun was setting. On the way back we encountered the first of the famous west coast slugs. Cute little devils.

Then it was off to bed and a nice nights sleep…that is until late arriver’s showed up and loudly argued about how to set up their tent in the dark.

Day 12
In the City
We awoke to find not only had the noisy people shown up but a hiker had also crashed next door with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a ground sheet. Not my way of camping. We packed up and headed down the Number 1 Highway to Vancouver. The drive was ok for the first part, but just outside of Abbotsford the traffic backed up for about 2 hours for no apparent reason.Driving at a crawl n a standard is always a pain cause inevitably none of the gears is just right and you end up shifting and clutching for constantly.

Eventually we found Vancouver and missed the turn off for downtown. After a nice side journey through North Van we headed back across the Lion’s Gate bridge , through downtown and back around to the train station. On the way we stopped briefly in Granville Island to see if we could spot the Naughty Doc. We found a likely suspect and found out later we had been correct. We parked at the train station and had a little walk to the bay with Doug pausing at the Telus Science Center and eventually saw him off at the station.

Zak and I, now on out own headed back to North V and onwards to Squamish. The drive to Squamish is great, especially if the traffic is light. There is lots of construction going on for the Olympics but is hasn’t done too much to ruin the majesty of the place.

As you pull into Squamish you see the huge granite dome that is the Chief. Zak and I stopped for a gander and then headed into town to find out Hostel.

To call the Inn on the Water a hostel does it a disservice. Other than communal washrooms and kitchen space it is as good as any hotel. Two double beds with real sheets and out own sink.

We had a quite night after driving around and exploring and eventually hit the sack in a comfy bed.