Good trip…nice to be back ( Part 4 – Finale )
I’ve made this trip to the Interior for almost 40 years, since the early 1970s. Its a fascinating contrast when one drives past HOPE, BC….its much like time freezes…..not much changes.
As a child, I recall a trip to Prince Rupert with my Dad in the early 1960’s, who wanted to visit a friend of his. That was the time that the highways into the Interior were still being built….and we drove 3 days to get there on roads still being constructed. Actually, in hindsight quite a pioneering drive, literally driving on a brand new highway and seeing how large the Province really was.
What is rather sad is the “decay” I now see…..
I drive by buildings, ie homes and businesses,…. that were once occupied, now sitting vacant, or falling apart.
When the highway opened…little Ma and Pa motels sprang up..often with little cabins and campsites. Back then. they filled the market demand…..simple and basic . Times have changed….more a classic study/ analysis of “then” versus “now”. People want all inclusive lodgings, not some little room built in the 1950’s. I drove past several of these, which are simply shut down and gates locked. One looks to be in excellent shape but it is clear it can’t make a go of it . Similar with others along the route….they were open for decades….now just closed and fading away.
In one town, a whole (2) storey INN , open for decades, is now closed, and weeds growing through the asphalt. Next to it, a (2) storey retail mall is entirely vacant.
I saw a log home along my route ….which I can recall had been added onto not that long ago ….ABANDONED…the roof is starting to cave in…
On and on with this decay in the rural lifestyle and economy. One can reflect on it and ask “why”….and there are probably many answers. I think much of it is demographics, our youth are too urbanized and have lost this once common connection to nature. I also feel that these areas have peaked economically, and exploited , as much of their economy was based on resource extraction. They had a nice ride and grew when the highways were opened, and the people came,…but things are changing and I don’t see a lot of hope on the economic front, as I say, I have had 40 years of observations and see the unchanging pattern.
The person who did the excavation for me was chatting with me. He is originally from Langley, and is in his 70’s. He said he bought his lot in the 1980’s , then he and his wife moved up to the area permanently.He has an absolutley gorgeous property…waterfront. beautiful log home…log garage, yard is neat as a pin..it is perfect for a couple …..best of both worlds. However, its now “For Sale” . I asked why…and he said that his wife had a bad accident, and living up there is not easy for seniors, and that all their kids and grandkids lived in Langley…so time to go back “home”.
Finally…on my way home….
The snow was falling….and I felt I was leaving just in time. I knew I was taking a chance this late into October…as the locals say you can usually snowmobile by Hallowe-en. You get this feel that fall is over and winter is establishing itself quickly.
I stopped in one town, and the locals were already getting concerned…the snow caught them a bit of guard. Many of them travel long distances daily..ie 50 miles this way….30 miles that way…and beleive me the road conditions can change very quickly in these areas. Luckily I was heading back to Vancouver and leaving this weather behind….most of the roads where dry.
Nothing too eventful the rest of the way….except perhaps:
—–While in the Canyon….there was a steep hill beside me and all of a sudden this “big black shape” starts running down to my left …..then I realized it was a bear….and I had to think quick…was it going to stop?…or keep running across the road where I might hit it dead on?. I assumed the bear would run across, which it did..and just applied the right pressure on the brakes , but not slam them on. Luckily the bear crossed, didn’t stop…and I didn’t lose control and we both “parted company” without any damage to either of us.
Its one of those situation that if I had been a second or even less sooner I couldn’t have avoided a collision, (unless the bear was smart enough to realize he had a good chance at that very moment. Funny thing is, on our last trip….another bear crossed the highway in front of the vehicle ahead of us….rarely if ever do we even see a bear on these trips.
—–Missed a good picture: Timing is everything…..looking over the Fraser River ….there was this neat scene….several natural contrasts. There was this steep mountain area. and the top 1/3 was dusted with snow. The bottom 2/3 had evergreens mixed with the patches autumn colours of the deciduous trees. In amongst this was a twisted creek that had had a major amount of water flow/ flash flood that had eroded the mountain in twisting way, but left good evidence of the power of nature. Ya had to be there .
——Also…..past HOPE BC…there is an area where wood debris from the Fraser River is diverted and collected and piled on shore. When I drove by on my way up, they had created several HUGE piles of wood. I am talking 2-3 stories high. Upon my drive back., I saw huge clouds of smoke. I realized that they had set this debris piles on fire. As I drove past, I saw that they were burning 3 of these huge piles…and they were now in the charcoal gray phase with orange glowing amongst these large log embers…it looked like a surreal campfire for a Giant, …..it must look beautiful at night.
Other than that, a good, safe and satisfying trip.
PS Oh yeah…one more VERY serendipitous thing to note from this trip……Upcoming Post !!!.