Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

MONTANA CANADA TRIP - Day 16. Hope, British Columbia

Today is a layover day. The sun is shining and we are in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, being served breakfast by our hostess, Eileen, and learning all about Hope. Here is a photo of our B&B. Our room was on the second floor looking out on the mountains.

Eileen is a native Canadian who spent most of her childhood on a farm in Manitoba and her adulthood in Calgary. Calgary got too big, and other life changes made her decide to begin a new chapter. She visited Hope, bought a wooded lot at the edge of town, and had the vision to see it as a setting for a B&B and a new life. That was just two years ago, and new she has the new house/B&B and her new life up and running.

We wanted to spend the day exploring the area in a fairly leisurely way, so Eileen suggested a hike to the old railway tunnels at Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. Perfect idea. We started at the bottom of the hill and walked along the river from town up to the tunnels. We enjoyed wildflowers, ferns, and interesting moss on the rocks. Up towards the tunnels the path got steeper and the river more dramatic as we approached the canyon.

Built for the Kettle Valley Railway in 1914, the train route only lasted a few decades. What an engineering and building feat to have hacked through solid granite to construct these railroad tunnels out of the sides of cliffs! The area is hard to photograph but this photo gives an idea of the scenery.

After our walk and a rest, we were in the mood for a fairly nice dinner. Restaurant options in Hope are scanty, but we settled on a Korean meal in one of the three or four restaurants that could be considered decent.

Hope is a world class destination waiting to happen. It has all the criteria -- natural beauty, two hours from Vancouver, outdoor recreation opportunities -- yet somehow it remains a sleepy town, with minimal tourist facilities (especially restaurants!). When I asked Eileen about this, she said that the downtown businesses and much of the surrounding real estate is owned by old British Columbian families with conservative ideas. She said that when this generation passes on, development will be up for grabs, and it will be interesting to see whether Hope the kind of tourist destination it will turn in to.

Today is Canada Day, the Canadian equivalent to our July 4th. Except that the day celebrates the union of Canadian provinces into a single nation, instead of the U.S. celebration of the severance of the colonies from the mother country. I was hoping to see an authentic Canadian celebration in this small town, but in fact, British Columbians don't do much for Canada Day. It's a day off work, and a time for families and friends to gather for a barbeque, but not much else.

Accommomdations: Misty Mountain B&B *****
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