A walk at the Othello Tunnels, Hope, British Columbia, Canada

A compilation of two walks. 2017 with my son and today with hubby and my pooches

Three weeks of retirement he has had now. It has been the longest year in my life. Yeah I said year. It feels like a year anyways even if it is only three weeks he has been around all day long. All week long. 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind him around all the time, but I just have to get use to it. I am so use to right now doing my own thing. If I want to go someplace. I just head out the door and go. If I want to do something around the house I just get to it. Now if I want to take the dogs for a walk in the morning. Something I have done on my own for so many years. Now I have to wait for him to get up so he can walk with me. If I am planning on heading out I get asked well when are you going to be back. What are you doing? Bring me back a treat or lunch when you come back. Are you going to be back for supper? Or the other times he comes along with me so my outing is not mine anymore. It is ours. If I had a couple of other stops to make besides the one that he knew about I get asked why I needed to go there and how long is it going to take. Sometimes I have to hold my lips shut so tight or I am going to say something I shouldn’t say.

Now when we are at home. He has made some projects in the backyard for himself. The thing is it is his projects but it is we that have to go outside and work. So my projects have gone to the wayside for a bit until I can get to them later. I have to go outside and keep him company while he works at something.

Okay! I will quit whining. This will work itself out sooner or later. Well at least I hope. I like him around, but not all the dang time.

So now today. After sitting on the couch waiting for him to get up so we could get the dogs walked. He says it is him waiting for me not me waiting for him. Well we finally both get up and walk the dogs around the block. After we come back to the house I get asked. Well, are we going to go work in the backyard or are we going to go out for a drive.

Well you know my answer came out so fast. We are going for a drive. I don’t really want to sit outside in the hot sun and watch him do something with the watering system for the garden.so we load up the pooches and head on down the road towards Agassi. a little ways down the highway he asked where are these Othello tunnels you have been talking about.

I explain where they are. You want to go there I ask. He says sure. Oh heck! I don’t have my camera in my purse. I took it out to charge it back up and now I don’t have it. I always like to go places I can take pictures. Now I don’t have my camera. Well you can use your phone. No can do. It is at home charging as well. Why didn’t you charge that before now. I never use it so I never think about it. Well you can use my phone and take your pictures.

So on down the highway we go. Have something to eat in Hope. Then we make our way over to the Coquahalla highway. How far is it? You just go up here a little bit and then turn off on Othello road. Well how far is it. This goes on a bit until we finally come to that road. We follow down the Othello road. You know it does not mark very well that there is a park here to go to. Just keep going down this road and then turn left just up here. Well how far is it. I don’t know. It has been a couple of years since I have been here.

Finally the road we want comes into view. You turn left here. You mean this road. It isn’t marked very well. yes this road.

Down we follow this road to the park. It goes on for a few minutes. You sure this is the right road. Yes it is. The parking lot is just down here. Your not taking me down a dead end road that I can not turn around in. No there is a parking lot at the end. Whew! The parking lot comes into view. He drives around and picks a spot in the shade.

I hook up the pooches and we start to walk towards the trail. Across the parking lot and to the trail head. Well which way do we go. We go the way the sign says. The tunnels are about a km down this trail.

Ah! The questions stop and we start enjoying the walk. The tunnels had just opened up last week. So not too many people know it is opened yet. Nice walk with an easy wide traveled trail. You can hear the river off to the left side of us. It is really rushing right now. With spring thaw there is lots of water to make it through that small area. Over rocks and down water falls. It is loud but so beautiful to hear and watch the water rush over the rocks.

Some people make there way down to the waters edge. I think it is kinda a dangerous situation to do that. You don’t know which way the water is going to go. But that is up to them to decide what they want to do.

We walk on. The tunnels are just ahead. There are five tunnels in all. Some have some reinforcement put in to hold up the rock. Others are still in their natural state. The tunnels have been blown out with dynamite through the rock to make these tunnel. As we walk through them you are under so many layers of rock. Such a feat to make a railway tunnel through the rock. Things like this fascinate me.

Oh if you look at the picture below. There are globs floating in the air on that picture. You think I got some of the ghosts of the workers who built these tunnels. This picture has always fascinated me. When I took it back in 2017

There is an orb on my sons back

Just a whole bunch of floaty things in the air that was not there when we walked through and I took the picture.

Anyways today we walked along through all the tunnels. Over bridges and through more tunnels. Some of them a pretty long and get dang dark. Not easy walking if you don’t see very well. The dogs walked right beside me through the dark.

One thing I can say. I didn’t stumble and fall, but I did take it slow through there. We made it to the last tunnel. Walked a little further along. The trail stayed wide and we could have gone allot further, but as always happen. My bod starts to disagree with walking.

I use to walk for miles and miles and miles and miles. Well you get the point. Now I can only walk miles and miles. Then I have a foot that starts to bother me. And my hips that starts to tell me I want to sit down. And oh that crazy back that starts to spasm a little. Then I start to hobble along instead of walk. My walking turns into a drunkin sailor. First I may be on one side of a trail and the next I will be on the other side of the trail. I would keep walking cause I like walking, but I know I have to go back and get my feet up.

So we have turned around and heading back through the tunnels. Back through the long dark one and back to the car. Give the dogs a drink. The thing is while I was giving the dogs a drink hubby got in the passenger seat. There is no way in the world I am driving. I really don’t like driving with him in the car. For some reason I get all nervous and can’t concentrate. So I don’t drive him around. He finally gets the point I am not driving. Well he knew that already but was waiting to see what I might do. His funny for the day. He gets out of the passenger seat and gets into drive. Yes!

When we come to the first cross road I say you can go right and go back to the Coquahalla or you can go left and take a slow ride into Hope. I have been on that road once, but don’t remember it very well. Well we go left. Next thing I know he turns on the navigation. So the navigation (this lovely voice). Gave us the direction to get home.

Off to the right was a big lake I never knew was there. Lake kawkawa. Then we pass a plant for Neslies. I bet that is where they get water for their bottles. He says no they get the water from the Fraser River. Just clean all the brown out of it. Ew! Yuk ain’t drinking that water. Another of his funny for the day.

We make it back to Hope and then onto highway 1. Traffic is light for things opening up. Nice drive back to highway 9 and then onto highway 7. We are home and all four of us are resting up from our walk. The pooches are snoring away on the couch.

Well that is about it for the day. My adventure is over. Had a nice day together. Even if we did badger each other a bit.

Oh below is a little blurb on the Othello tunnels

I guess that is about it for the day. Talk to you later


DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

The Othello Tunnels are a series of five tunnels originally built for railway access, and now part of the Trans Canada Trail system. The tunnels are constructed through native granite, with concrete and wood interior supports, connected in several areas by trestles. The tunnels are located on the old rail grade of the Kettle Valley Railway just north of Hope in southwestern British Columbia.

HERITAGE VALUE

The Othello Tunnels are significant for their natural, historic, aesthetic and scientific values, particularly for their role in the early development of the province and for their technical achievement.

Originally constructed in 1914 for railroad use, the Othello Tunnels have significant natural history values for the opportunity they provide to observe and study the original metamorphic bedrock geology of the Coquihalla Canyon, while the granite cliffs form the primary construction material of the tunnels.

Historical value is found in the fact that the tunnels were built in the early era of railroad development in the province, at a time when newly discovered mineral resources and their extraction were fuelling the province’s growing economy. The tunnels were part of a southern railway route constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), called the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). The KVR connected the west coast to the city of Nelson in the central Kootenay. There is historical value in the naming of the Othello tunnels after an adjacent railway station on the KVR line–all the stations were named after characters in William Shakespeare’s plays–and for early references to the tunnels and the railway as ‘McCulloch’s Wonder,’ nicknamed for the chief engineer who designed them. The KVR line was in service until a major washout occurred in 1959; it was abandoned in 1961. The tunnels became part of Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park’s trail system in 1986.

The tunnels and the abandoned railway grade have scientific value for the significant technical engineering achievement of their construction, seen in the excavation of the tunnels themselves, the ingenuity of cliff ladders, suspension bridges and ropes that allowed workers access to the area, and in the concrete and wood supporting structures. The construction of the tunnels through solid rock in a straight line was CPR chief engineer Andrew McCulloch’s ingenious and unique engineering response to the canyon geology, while the Coquihalla River canyon necessitated the construction of connecting railway trestles between the tunnels.

The canyon itself is significant for its breathtaking immense scale, the sheer vertical walls, and spectacular views up and down the Coquihalla River and to the Cascade Mountains to the north. The canyon and tunnels engage all of the senses with the visual experience of passing through the tunnels and the canyon, the cool temperature and damp scents in the tunnels, and the sound of the swirling Coquihalla River below.

The tunnels express a continuum of time through the use of different construction materials such as wood, concrete, and stone. Aesthetic value is found in the design of the wooden support structure in Tunnel No. 1, the elaborate concrete columns in Tunnel No. 2, and the decorative concrete tunnel entrances.

The location of the Othello tunnels near the convergence of several historic trails–the Hudson’s Bay Company brigade trail, the Dewdney Trail and the Hope-Nicola Valley Trail–has both historical and recreational importance. These early trails assisted in the opening up of the province for settlement and resource extraction beginning in the late 1840s. The Hope-Nicola Trail is now a popular hiking route.

The tunnels are the most important visitor attraction in the Hope area, representing both an economic and interpretive opportunity for the town of Hope. A destination for local and regional outdoors groups, the tunnels, park and trails are valued for the recreational opportunities they provide local citizens and tourists for viewing, walking, picnicking, photography and fishing. The site is also important for its extensive use by the film industry (the most well-known film being ‘First Blood’) and for the establishment of visitor facilities by the Hope Chamber of Commerce through a Canada Works Grant prior to the area being designated a recreation area.

Source: Ministry of Environment, BC Parks

Not my picture. Just from the internet. Shows the rushing water along and under the tresses bridges

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