Coquihalla Provincial Park: 14km
Hope to Vancouver (by car).
Monday, September 8, 2014
Cloudy with some sun. 22C.
One thing we really wanted to see In Hope was the Othello tunnels the final leg of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. We learned that the bridge between the 2nd and 3rd tunnels is structurally unsafe and therefore closed so we decided to drive to the park to see them instead if riding the 10km from town.
After the bikes were assembled it only took a few minutes to ride to the tunnels. We had the place to ourselves for awhile and walked around in awe.
The beauty of the canyon and the audacity of the engineering
make this one of the highlights of the KVR.
It was too bad that we were unable to ride through the tunnels and into Hope along the trail. We decided that we would drive back to Hope and then pedal out on the trail to the 5th tunnel on the other side of the barricade. So we loaded the bikes into the car again and before we got in to leave a an on a bicycle appeared.
We swapped stories about the KVR and then we told him how we were disappointed that we couldn’t see all of the Othello tunnels. “Riverwind” we call him now, offered up a solution. He described a trail that goes up and over the tunnels and down to tunnel #5 on the other side. Phrases like “You might have to push your bikes up a bit”, “a couple of switchbacks” and a “gravel pit on the right’.
It sounded very straight forward so we thanked him for the information, declined a guided tour and then pulled the bikes out of the trunk again.
The Trail started off quite sandy and steep but we pushed our bikes up anyways.
The forest was beautiful, lush and green which helped keep our minds off of the fact that we were slogging away up a steep hill.
After an hour of hiking with our bikes we were just about ready to give up and head back down the mountain. I suggested that we leave the bikes for a minute and walk up to the next trail marker. Well sure enough there were two benches at the top and a small plaque. We had reached the summit. We still had to get down the other side to the tunnels, but we were enthused enough that we went and got our bikes and continued our adventure.
Finally we reached the trail at the bottom on the other side of the hill.
We rode up to the tunnels only to find another barricade. So another decision was made and we rode the 4km down the KVR to the access gate.
Then we had a snack, locked the bikes to a sign post and the walked the 4km back to the Nicola Valley Trail.
We proceeded to retrace our route by hiking back up and over the large hill to the parking lot which took just over an hour without our bikes.
By the time we reached the car after our impromptu hike we were feeling a little tired but invigorated. We drove to the access gate and picked up our bikes. Then we enjoyed relaxing in the car on our drive to Vancouver.