Friday, May 29, 2020

Thompson Canyon ~ Fraser Canyon ~ Hope, BC

We are making a round trip to Hope, BC today and had decided we would go down through the Thompson and Fraser Canyons to enjoy the different views then return on the Coquihalla Highway.  The Thompson River leaves Savona at the end of Kamloops Lake and meets the Fraser Canyon at Lilloett, so we get to enjoy two canyons.

Thompson River and CP train
Although there is some confusion when doing the research for this, it appears that the CN and CP share their rail lines.  Once they reach the Fraser River, one side is used for one direction, the other side is for going the opposite direction, with the crossover happening at Siska in the Fraser Canyon. 

CNR tunnels
As we can only imagine this day and age, these rail lines were carved into these rock bluffs with many problems.  Construction was done manually with much risk to human lives 1881-1885 and the history that goes with this is not something we’d want to see again, thankfully we won’t.

Thompson River Rapids
Muddy waters this time of year with runoffs happening and the rapids in this part of the Thompson River are great for summer rides but not this time of year.  CN on opposite side transporting potash.  Always a busy mode of transporting freight, it is very common to see potash, coal, oil plus much more.

View from Jackass Mountain
We are climbing Jackass Mountain, elevation 2006m (6581ft.) which is part of the Cascade Range.  In 1862 the Cariboo Road was built for access to the Cariboo gold fields but the very difficult part was a trail to cross Nicaragua Bluff.  Many muletrains perished on this trail as they tried to traverse it, therefore the name.

Hell's Gate Airtram
The airtram at Hell’s Gate will be open again once the pandemic allows that to happen.  Traffic is light and over the years since the Coquihalla opened, small businesses have had to close down due to the lack of business, but thankfully the airtram survives. 

Alexandra Lodge
The Fraser Canyon part of the Trans Canada Highway was built in the 1950’s and it was definitely not easy travelling through here back in those days.  I remember sitting in the family car roadside waiting for another vehicle to pass by on those dirt and narrow roads during construction days.  It’s likely the Alexandra Lodge housed many construction workers at that time.

Bridge over Fraser River
We are now on the ‘new’ Alexandra Bridge that was built 1960-1964 and can see the ‘old’ Alexandra upstream.  We did make a stop to see the old bridge on this trip so I’ll be sharing that soon.

Yale Tunnel
As we follow the Fraser River we drive Highway 1 and pass through seven tunnels.  The Yale tunnel is where Lady Franklin Rock, named after a visiting British aristocrat, pokes out of the river allowing a very narrow passageway. This was as far as the steamboats could make it up the Fraser River from the coast. 

Yale, BC

The history of this tiny town is amazing.  It is hard to believe that this town of less than 200 people once had about 10,000 residents.  The Goldrush days in 1861 brought everyone north and at that time, Barkerville became the largest town and Yale was the second largest north of San Francisco!

I do find history very interesting now, it is too bad I didn’t feel that way when studying it in school! Lol 
Hope to make the Yale Museum a stop on the next trip down through the Fraser Canyon.


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