I left with Bob on the 12:30 Ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, and driving through the lower mainland of Vancouver on Hwy 1 we headed for Hope. One of the little but not so insignificant considerations of driving the Hwy 1 or Trans- Canada from Horseshoe Bay through the city and beyond is the absence of any- nil, zero -traffic lights all the way for 170 km. It’s a smooth long flow right on through to Chilliwack, Abbotsford and on to Hope. Actually, to the opposite end of the country if you kept on going, the Trans-Can is one of the longest uninterrupted highways in the world.
Bob has a few days of work in Prince George and I’m taking the opportunity to go along for the mini tour. Again, fun for me, poor Bob has made this trek countless times over thirty-five years of working Pulp Mill Shut-Downs, saying he knows every stump and stone all along the way. I contemplated testing him. Naw, I’ll take his word.
Ok, so back to Hope. This is the first and only stop over on the little leg of our journey on our way to Prince George, the second largest city in B.C. in the centre of British Columbia and a good 7 1/2 hour drive from Hope. In his robust younger days Bob would do the drive from Vancouver Island to P. G. in one go, but really that’s just madness, which makes me question exactly how many stumps and stones could one actually see driving like a dirt devil for twelve hours? (Total of 15 hours when you include waiting for the ferry and riding the ferry before even starting the drive!)
Ferry travel- another post.
Hope, the location where Rambo: First Blood was filmed. Hope with its massive fir-tree covered mountains RIGHT THERE looming over you, which caused me to wonder if the town came by the name of Hope from pioneer gold miners murmuring a prayer, I HOPE THIS MOUNTAIN DOESN’T FALL ON MY HEAD. Probably not, but that’s what I would (no, I do) say.
Suffice it to say, I don’t enjoy dwelling too long in the crevices and tight canyons of towering rock. Foothills, distant rocky mountain ranges, oceans, meadows, wide valleys, deserts and prairie are more my element. Yes, the looming mountain presence of Hope is pervasive, but in the town its threat feels slightly benign, ok, maybe even spectacular. Impressive also is the Fraser River running through the town, one of the longest rivers in Canada, with humble beginnings in Northern B.C.’s Fraser Pass building and running down into Vancouver’s Delta and New Westminster region and into the Strait of Georgia on the Pacific.
We got a room at the Windsor right downtown for $100, on another previous overnight stay in Hope we stayed at the Skagit Motel down the street from the Windsor, which we liked better. But the Windsor is just fine. We went for a walk through the neighbourhood before having dinner at Wallace, good restaurant by the way.
10,000 years ago this region was the home of the Sto:lo first nations until 1782 when, like so many(maybe all) European contact tragedies, small pox wiped out over two-thirds of their populations within six weeks. Below is the Dream Totem. Life had to have been quite glorious and richly abundant here for the Sto:lo along this big waterway before European contact. Way to go white guy.
Hope also holds the oldest church on its original foundation in British Columbia, the Christ Church, consecrated in 1861. The cedar trees that surround the church are magnificently huge, in fact the downtown has kept many of the old growth occupants intact, flanking the pathways to houses or lining a bit of the street and through the small park in the town centre; acknowledging them as part of the residential population, a rightly place in the neighbourhood.
On a bit of ground to the side of the little church is a Labyrinth, which of course I had to walk.
Next morning we grabbed breakfast at the Blue Moose across the street from the Windsor and began the long drive to Prince George.