I like to travel in the Alfa from one park to another, get settled, and then go places in the Jeep. I'm not crazy about trying to park the Alfa in crowded parking lots.
So, on Monday, leaving the Alfa at the RV park, we set out in the Jeep to see a place Craig had read about in the last Escapee magazine, and I had noticed in a couple of my guide books: the Othello Tunnels.
Located in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, near Hope BC, the series of five railroad tunnels were designed and engineered by Andrew McCulloch one hundred years ago.
Our son-in-law is a professor of engineering named Andrew
McCulloch, which peaked our interest in this attraction.
I find it hard to come up with appropriate words to describe the tunnels, other than remarkable. Each was created by blasting and clearing tons of rock. The gravel walk-through that is there now is over the original roadbed. I think the tracks were removed.
You can see straight through to the exit on some, but this one had a little correcting curve.
Four of the tunnels were rough blasted rock, but this one in the middle of the set had a cement ceiling and portal, with cement struts on the sides. Presumably for structural reasons.
The tunnels are linked by bridges over the roaring river canyon below.
They now have sturdy wood handrails to protect the awestruck tourists. But when they were in use by the railroad, no railing existed.
Looking over the edge you could see the old railroad ties and metal supports of some sort.
One of the posters said that most of the trains were scheduled to run at night so the passengers could not see the river canyon as they crossed over it.
The river is really wild through this area. It continues to carve away at the rock canyon walls.
Another view of the rapidly moving water.
The five tunnels are quite close together. A final bridge leaves the last, and hikers are able to continue along a wooded trail that was once the railroad right-of-way overlooking the river.
We walked a little way and then turned around and went back through the tunnels to the parking area where we enjoyed our picnic lunch on a table in the shade.
By the way, if you happen to be here because you are interested in Andrew McCullochs, here are the ones on Wikipedia:
- Andrew McCulloch (civil engineer) (1864–1945), Chief Engineer of the Kettle Valley Railway
- Andrew McCulloch (politician) (died 1908), Australian politician
- Andrew McCulloch (drummer) (born 1945), English drummer
- Andrew McCulloch (writer and actor) (born 1945), British television writer and actor
- Andrew McCulloch (footballer) (born 1950), English/Scottish footballer between 1970 and 1985
It was still early afternoon when we drove back west toward our second tourist stop of the day, the Harrison Hot Springs public hot spring pool. I had noticed some information about it last fall when I was first researching our route.
There are two hot springs in the area, and mineral water is pumped to the public pool and cooled to a nice 100°F. Very relaxing and good for old bodies! I can imagine the locals must love it on a cold January day! We spent about an hour there.
One of the mountain peaks we saw today. I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know what it is.
We drive tomorrow (Tuesday) and I'm a bit apprehensive. I've been reading the road description in The Milepost, a book about all things relating to driving to Alaska, and it seems we are heading for a 50 mile stretch of winding roads and sharp curves with seven tunnels!
Oh well, if you are reading this, we survived. (No Wifi at our Wednesday night spot, but there is at our Thursday - Friday location near St. George BC.)