Sunday, April 7, 2013

Othello Tunnels - Morning Hike

The rain pitter pattered all night long on the roof. I woke several times unused to the quiet and the sound of the propane heater kicking in. Gilbert was sure to wake me at the regular hour, snuggling in beside me, crowding me into the day.
The rain was light and feathery. The canyon light surreal. I leashed Gilbert for the initial walk along the road, enjoying the chamber music of the birds.
Gnatcatchers, chickadees, robins all love the conifers. Gilbert joyfully ran ahead sniffing the trail for God knows what.
It was a lovely walk. I only wore shorts and sandals and a light rain jacket. The weather is that mild.
This region is called the Coquihalla Gorge after the Coquihalla River which runs through here. The Othello Tunnels, closed now, are in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. The tunnels were built in 1914 at the time of building the Kettle Valley Railway grade part of the plan to connect the Kootenay interior of British Columia to the coast.
I didn't find them but apparently the hiking trails link to the Hope-Nicola Cattle Trail. That's part of the famed history of the Gang Ranch. The civil engineer with the Canadian Pacific Railway was an avid reader off Shakespeare so named the stations in the vicinity after characters from Shakespeare. That explains why I've seen all these Shakespearean names driving up and down the Coquihalla Highway a short distance away. Apparently, building the Kettle Valley Railway was the most daunting of his illustrious career.
I don't know if this applies but I once learned from a folk singer historian that normally geographical references to Kettles had to do with the making of moonshine.

By the time we got back to Othello Tunnels RV Park Gilbert was soaking wet. I was glad to find a towel and rub him down. Now he's sleeping contentedly at my feet. I've made coffee and porridge. Soon I'll actually think about packing up and heading back to Vancouver. It's only an hour and a half a way but seems a world apart.

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