Friday 28 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 35

     It's been 5 weeks of incredible adventure and discovery. This is one big, beautiful country. Be proud you're Canadian, there's nothing better. We met a great cross section of people and spent valuable time with some cherished old friends. That all made it a great vacation but all great things must end. I'm sad it's over but very happy it happened. There's a psychological syndrome in there somewhere isn't there?
     I hope you have all enjoyed following along. It's been our pleasure to have you along for the ride.

Thursday 27 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 34

     Sadly our trip is all but finished. Today was essentially the last day. Tomorrow we head back to Vancouver then fly home on Saturday. I suppose it's only fitting we should finish in Hope. The tour of the Rambo movie sites is a self-conducted tour of 13 sites that no longer exist. There has to be a  joke there.
     In the nearby Coquihalla Gorge the river cut a 300 foot deep channel through the rock. It is even more impressive than Hell's Gate in spots. The Othello Tunnels is a straight line of abandoned railway tunnels built through the solid granite. There are some spectacular viewing opportunities and the one remaining site from First Blood is the rock face between tunnels one and two. You remember the scene where the evil deputy falls to his death out of the helicopter. So sad.
     They were filming an unknown (to me) TV show in the canyon. That was interesting, especially the behemoth drone they use over the river. Modern technology is indeed impressive.
Othello Tunnels
our shadows in the tunnel
Othello Tunnel Trail
modern movie technology - this contraption is likely worth more than my house

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 33

     A cloudy, cool (5 degrees) day turned into a sunny beautiful day in southern BC. It was 20 degrees which is verging on hot in my book but the mountain scenery heading south was exquisite. We left Dave and Christy's paradise around 9AM. They have been incredible companions on this trip - that's what friends are all about. After about 5 hours of driving we have landed in Hope again. Reviving Hope! There were numerous stops along the way.
     I still cannot get over the fact there is a large desert in BC. Still say it's New Mexico. The TCH was not too busy so stopping didn't hurt. Everyone I passed passed me when I stopped so I had to pass them again. Felt like I was in the Gumball Rally.
     Hell's Gate was a different kind of sight. Not as much water as I had anticipated but not to be missed on any first trip to BC. We'll be doing some exploring tomorrow - stay tuned, only 2 days left.
south of Cache Creek - New Mexico again
Clear Range, South Interior Mountains
Who, me?
Hell's Gate
on the gondola

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 32

     Cloud and mist in the valleys were the words of the day. Karen and I don't get to see beautiful countryside like this often so we thoroughly enjoyed the 3 hour drive (one way) to Barkerville. It is a gold rush town from the mid nineteenth century and oozes charm and authenticity right down to the roaming re-enactors.
     One really should have 2 days to do this justice but we managed to see all the highlights in the time we were there. We also took a hike to nearby Richfield, on a distant extension of the site. The sign promised a 1 6/10 kilometre, easy, 30 minute walk. You know as well as I do that was not about to happen. It was uphill most of the way so "easy" didn't ring too true. We also managed a 3 km detour because the Canadian Sign Conundrum raised its head once again. In this case, no signs whatsoever. A fork in the road should indicate which path to take; before you climb a mountain to encounter a barrier at the top. When we arrived at the courthouse in Richfield the "judge" agreed with us that a sign would be nice and perhaps the barrier should be placed at the forks not at the top. Nevertheless it was a red ribbon day.
cloud and mist in the valley
it doesn't get much more authentic than this
the church is the centrepiece of Barkerville

Monday 24 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 31

     A day to observe and enjoy nature in the splendour that is BC. It started at sunrise at Dave and Christy's home and was followed by a morning rainbow shortly thereafter. The River Valley Trail in Williams Lake was enjoyable (trying to ignore the invasion of snakes on the pathway) in part due to the glorious weather, sunny and about 14 degrees.
     A visit to Horsefly finished our day as we were fortunate to see the very last of the salmon run. These were definitely the Bruce Willises of the fish world - swimming slowly and refusing to die. A hike along the artificial spawning channels led us back down to the Horsefly River where the deer watched us cautiously as we passed by.
Rose Lake sunrise
morning rainbow - no pot of gold though
River Valley Hiking Trail - Williams Lake
last of the Horsefly salmon run
the deer are watching us just as intently as we are watching them - maybe more

Sunday 23 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 30

     The day went from drizzling as we left Cache Creek to a beautiful sunny day by the time we arrived at Dave and Christy's at Rose Lake. I still had trouble adjusting to a desert in BC as we left Cache Creek and it stayed with us as we entered Clinton to the north.
     Clinton was a nice enough town but about 20 vintage cars parked on the main street made it irresistible. We talked to the owners for awhile - these cars have bigger engines and better equipment than a lot of cars on the road today. The care that goes into them shows in the immaculate finishes and attention to historic detail.
     As we got further north on Highway 97, near 70 Mile House, the sun came out in time to treat us to the beautiful fall colour in the hills. By the time we reach Dave and Christy's it was a legitimate beautiful day. After about 4 days of rain this was a welcome sight and feeling.
leaving the desert-like terrain of Cache Creek
vintage cars in Clinton
fall colour near 70 Mile House
Dave and Christy's - our home for the next 3 days

Saturday 22 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 29

     I may have left the impression that I did not enjoy Hope. Not so. It is a pretty mountain town. My disappointment is the TCH being part of it. We were here in the early 80s before the highway arrived. At that time Hope was charming. Today it is busy and overrun with people. The way around that is to get up ahead of everyone as we did this morning around 7AM. That's the secret...but I'm still ticked that they demolished the Rambo bridge.
     I have never seen a speed limit like this in Canada (see 2nd photo below). It really is a shame it is through a scenic mountain pass just north of Hope. What are you guys thinking?
     Doh! a deer! Actually about half a dozen of them. We drove by in the pouring rain, turned around, went back and sat watching them. As more cars went by they all got spooked and effortlessly jumped over the fence and headed into the woods. All but the fawn who knew where to go and crawled under the fence. Even the deer have an escape plan.
     It rained all day but finally stopped when we arrived in Cache Creek. It sits in the middle of a sage brush landscape unlike anything I ever anticipated seeing in BC. As a matter of fact I felt like I was in Texas or New Mexico. Beautiful!
the Fraser River in Hope, BC
certainly don't need this in such a picturesque (not so much today) spot
took getting to BC to see any wildlife
sure not what I expected to see in BC

Friday 21 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 28

     The BC weather finally caught up to us big time. The rain overnight was torrential and minus some timely breaks it continued throughout the entire day and into the evening today. The Trans Canada Highway from Vancouver to Hope is not exactly stimulating so we got off at Abbotsford. As good a plan as that was there seemed to be more bloody people on the secondary road. I knew where I wanted to go but the Canadian road sign conundrum reared it's ugly head. I decided following a utility truck would get us going but we soon stopped behind it to ask where the hell we were.
     Back at the TCH we took a very short hike up to the Bridal Veil Falls. A steady climb to the foot of the falls, the result of a moisture-challenged summer, it was a nice break in the drive.
     We arrived in Hope mid-afternoon just in time for the skies to open and damn near drown us. Hope is a victim of the times. Many people in Vancouver told us there is no hope for Hope. Like countless towns along Route 66, Hope has suffered by the Trans Canada Highway passing through it. Why does progress always seem to destroy history? We were here in the early 80s and it was a charming mountain time. Now you have to get off the highway and search for the remaining signs of the old Hope. The ultimate blow came in 2011 when the Rambo bridge was demolished - a beloved piece of history gone forever.
Bridal Veil Falls
Karen on the Bridal Veil hiking trail
the approach to Hope, BC
old Hope - the appearance before the TCH brought hordes of people and ruined the ambiance

Thursday 20 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 27

     Many people have told us the Museum of Anthropology at UBC should not be missed. It is raining here today so the ideal time to go. I'm not much of a museum person but the MOA, founded in 1949, is Canada's largest teaching museum and occupies a picturesque setting on the university campus.
     The MOA houses one of the world's finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts and I was impressed with the enormous selection of artefacts on display. A few highlights are pictured below. I especially enjoyed the carved welcome figure The Cedar Man. I noticed immediately that this had obviously been incorrectly identified as it is unquestionably The Macarena Man.
     The fact that we spent 10 days on Haida Gwaii proved to be an asset as we found our understanding of the culture and art was increased as a result. Every little bit helps when you are trying to get an education.
a symbol of strength and leadership the eagle sits atop the poles
The Cedar Man? No, the Macarena Man!
Bill Reid's the Raven and the First Men
MOA grounds crown a perfect visit

Tuk Trip - Day 26

     Sorry - a little late today but it's not every day you get such a beautiful one in Vancouver. We were originally going to walk to and across Granville Island then take a bus to meet an old school friend. However, it was such a great day we ended up walking all the way downtown to the Harbour Air depot on the waterfront.
     Vancouver is a beautiful city in the Coastal Range. Sadly I can't now or ever will be able to afford to live here - I can barely afford to visit. Granville Island is an older, charming Vancouver. The waterfront is entrancing. The Olympic site brings a wave of pride to our 2010 prowess in the winter. Harbour Air is the way air travel should be - I'll bet they don't lose much luggage.
     Paul Cote is a Vancouver lawyer and a school friend of both Karen and myself and a lot of people reading this blog. He is in good health, extremely happy and quite content working - he takes great pride in the commitment he has to his clients and rightly so. Paul makes a difference - that's special.
     We took the bus back to our B&B and met the best bus driver on the planet. He waved us through when we got on (maybe he just didn't want to deal with any more dumbass tourists) and at an intermediate stop walked back and handed us a couple of transfers. "This one's on me." He also asked us what street we wanted to get off at. It was a regular stop but he was prepared to stop where we needed him to. What a city!
view from the Granville Island bridge
Olympic memories
Harbour Air on the waterfront
Vancouver lawyer Paul Cote with Karen and Eric - old friends

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Tuk Trip - special edition

Well it took just about a month but our wayward bag was waiting for us at our B&B in Vancouver. It looks like it has been around the world. Thanks Air Canada, just what the hell am I supposed to do with this NOW?! Better late than never I guess.

Tuk Trip - Day 25

     Travel days are usually not exciting and often (at least for me) stressful days - we are presently in the Sandspit airport (for 7 hours) awaiting a 4 o'clock flight, hence the early posting. The timing on holidays does not always work, therefore, we were up at 5:15AM to get to the docks in Skidegate by 8. Lucky we did because it was dark, raining and the traffic was horrendous - I think we passed 10 cars in 100 kilometres.
     We each made our connection; Dave and Christy the BC Ferry to Prince Rupert and Karen and I the local ferry to Sandspit. As when we arrived on Haida Gwaii it was windy and raining. The amazing thing is the weather was almost perfect between those two events.
     So we bid a fond farewell to Haida Gwaii, on our way to Vancouver for a few days. It was a cultural experience in a beautiful part of Canada that few see. We are blessed to be amongst those who did and the journey has touched us - the natural beauty of Canada is second to none and one can never run out of opportunities to participate in life from coast to coast to coast.
it was a delightful 10 days
a little less than 7 hours in the Sandspit airport and nothing much changed

Monday 17 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 24

     We awoke to the news that Air Canada seems to have located our luggage; they were informing me that they planned to send it to us in Inuvik. Well, we haven't been there for two weeks now. They just keep amazing me.
     Our home in Masset looks even nicer at sunrise. It has been a wonderful place - not much of a view but the house is perfect.
     Created by molten lava being forced up in cracks in the earth's crust Tow Hill has the best hiking trails I have ever seen. Plank boardwalks sealed in shingle-like slip-proof covers with a visible leading edge made the stairs safe and manageable and the flatter surfaces wheelchair accessible. The network is about 4 kilometres long but leads to some very interesting, beautiful sites.
     This is our last day together on Haida Gwaii - not counting the drive back to Skidegate at 6AM tomorrow. We plan to go out to dinner to celebrate our good fortune. Thank you Dave and Christie for making this such a meaningful and memorable vacation. Old friends are the best friends and I don't mean age I mean duration.
Eagle's Landing sunrise
that's Alaska in the background - it really is
the blowhole
the Haida Gwaii explorers for the last time
Dave on the Tow Hill Trail

Sunday 16 September 2018

Tuk Trip - Day 23

     Once again today was a perfect weather day. Clear blue skies and about 15 degrees - it actually got hot walking in the sun. The drive up Tow Hill Road was beautiful through heavy forests emerging through tunnels into the sunlight at times. We passed a nudist camp sign but as much as Dave and I looked we couldn't find anything. Maybe someone tampered with the sign as was evidenced when we got to the Old Ass Road.
     The hike at Agate Beach was on comfortable hard-packed sand so seemed effortless. Not so for the salt marsh hike that followed as we circled the marsh on an nondescript circuit of roads and trails. When I asked the guy in the centre how far it was he indicated, "Oh, it's quite a ways." He was right.
unusual moss pods in the branches on Tow Hill Road
Agate Beach
it was a peaceful walk - notice the crowds - I feel like I'm in Nova Scotia
Christy and Karen finishing the beach walk
the sign says it all