Community Papers

Beyond Hope

The airtram over Hell’s Gate delivers both beauty and terror. - Photo courtesy Hell’s Gate Airtram
The airtram over Hell’s Gate delivers both beauty and terror.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Hell’s Gate Airtram

Some day trips are longer than others—and if you’re looking for a full-fledged eight- or nine-hour day away from town, heading out East to Rosedale or Hope might be your best bet.

Taking the TransCanada Highway into the mountains is an instant way to cool down thanks to the combination of shade and air rushing through the windows—and is bound to give you the sense of getting further away than you actually do.

Sightseeing

Did you know Hope is the (albeit self-proclaimed) chainsaw carving capital of Canada? More than 30 carvings line Hope’s main roads and town centre, ranging from sheep to eagles. No matter what

your wildlife preference, you’re bound to find a few worthy to pose with. Pete Ryan is the artist behind many of the works, and if the carvings really catch your fancy drop by his studio and shop on Old Flood Hope Road.

 

A touch of Shakespeare

If you’re looking for a perfect balance between beautiful and spooky, you should mark the Othello Tunnels on your map: these three tunnels were built to provide railway access through three mountain ranges, by an engineer with a penchant for—you guessed it—Shakespeare. After track washed out further down the line, the whole kit and caboodle closed for good in 1961. The result? A beautiful and breathtaking stroll for pedestrians without the slightest fear of being squished by a train. Currently, two of the tunnels are accessible by the main path, but the bridge connecting the third is damaged and unsafe—so limit your wanderings to the first two and stay off the bridge.

 

Hell’s bells? Hell’s Gate!

Simon Fraser explored most of British Columbia, which is why his name keeps popping up everywhere you turn. One place you might not expect to see it? Hell’s Gate, which earned its name from Fraser’s description of the wide canyon and roaring waters. If you have a streak of adventurer in you, the descending airtram provides both terror and beauty—the component parts of British Columbia. When you get to the other side, you’ll find at least a day’s worth of activities to fill your time: exploring the nearby wilderness or historical displays, panning for gold or browsing through the fudge shop to name a few. Make sure you stop at the cafe for lunch; the salmon chowder is a home-run. Hell’s Gate is open until October 13, so check their website for hours and rates. Although the prices might seem steep, you’re investing in a season pass—so once you go the first time, you can go again as many times as you like until they close for the winter.

 

Day activities

One of Hope’s best attributes is the way it nestles in the heart of B.C. wilderness, which spawns a broad variety of activities for all ages. Hiking and mountain biking are a given, but Lake of the Woods (just off the Trans Canada Highway, also known as Schkam Lake) also makes for good scuba diving, swimming, fishing and canoeing. It’s a little further afield than Cultus, but you’ll be rewarded with a quieter experience and a more relaxing atmosphere.

 

Things to do

Hope Mountain Market

Memorial Park

Every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Think farmer’s market—but bigger. Pairing fresh and organic food with artists, small businesses, as well as a nearby playground and live acoustic music means a fun morning browse for families of all ages.

 

Gold panning lessons—Yale

Thursday and Friday, Aug. 21 and 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.

It’s hard to resist the glitter of gold, and even harder to resist free gold panning lessons from a man named Yukon Dan. This all-ages tutorial will help you get your feet wet—literally. Email gold@yukondan.com for more information or to sign up.

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