Friday, June 12, 2020

Alexandra Bridge ~ Alexandra Lodge ~ Fraser Canyon, BC

There is so much history about the Fraser Canyon Highway region.  Slowly, as time goes on, the old sights and buildings are disappearing.  We are losing those reminders of the history here.  But if we look, we may find.

I’ve wanted to be sure we got to see the old Alexandra Bridge before it was taken down or destroyed somehow.  So the plan was finally made that we would go see the bridge.

Keith and Maggie lead the way
There is a small parking lot on the highway that is part of the Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park so we parked here.  The sign points us to a path in the right direction that also says it is a ten minute walk.  That is how long it takes if you don’t look around and just keep on walking down and down!  It felt longer than ten minutes.

Old Fraser Highway
The original highway is part of the trail taking us down and for those who have been before and know where they are going, they were able to drive and park down the hill a ways.  Then there are the railway tracks.  Look both ways before crossing.

Alexandra Bridge
The original Alexandra Bridge, named after Princess Alexandra of Wales, was built to be part of the Cariboo Wagon Trail that went from Yale to Barkerville, BC to link the coastal and interior regions and serve the traffic during the Gold Rush days. It was built in 1861 but was destroyed by flooding of the Fraser River in 1894 and that bridge was never rebuilt.  

See through grid
I was so excited to see the bridge that I didn’t look down to realize that it was a grid platform and I could see the river down below. I was part way across when I looked down and saw moving water!  DIZZY !! It took a minute to move again, but I was determined so would keep my head up and get to the other side.  I needed a few reminders to face the fear and get the photos! lol

Grand bridge towers
This Alexandra Bridge is a suspension bridge and was the second bridge built to cross over the Fraser River. It was built by Joseph Trutch in 1926 and considered a very important engineering feat with suspension bridge technology.  It was used until the newest one, which is the one we now use to cross the river, was completed in 1964.

Spans 563 metres (1848')
The old Cariboo Wagon Road leaves a lot of old trails that can be used as walking trails today, more so once you get to the Yale side of the bridge.  We are now just east of Spuzzum, which has a history but with nothing but a few homes in the area, Yale is the town further west that would have the maps to show the trails and the stories of the history to share in their museum.

Alexandra Bridge on TCHwy
This bridge still feels very safe and did not look that it would be willing to cave into the raging river, which the Fraser River can be at this time of year, especially.  This location was chosen because it is a narrow gorge and therefore the best choice for a bridge.

View from the Alexandra Bridge
Now it is time to return back to the truck and this hill is much steeper going up than it was coming down.  I would recommend allowing yourself several more minutes than ten for the return!! lol There is a spot to view the river part way up, it makes a good resting area, if need be.

Alexandra Lodge

This is one of the last remaining buildings that sits at the side of the highway as a reminder of some of the history and it is the Alexandra Lodge.  It was an important roadhouse and part of the Cariboo Wagon Road and would have  fascinating stories.  It was lodging for the workers of the Alexandra Bridge during its’ construction and a lodge for travellers passing through for many years after.

The Fraser Canyon is part of the TransCanada Highway but does not get the traffic it once had before the Coquihalla Highway opened in 1986.  As a result of that there are many small businesses that have closed down which has created a change of scenery for many locations along this canyon highway. 

It also makes for an easy drive that allows you to enjoy the views this beautiful Canyon has to offer.  I am so happy that we got to see the Alexandra Bridge and am able to share photos with those of you who do not have that opportunity, we’ve saved you the walk!


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