~ The Canadian Rockies Loop ~

The Canadian National Railway

Near the west entrance to Yoho National Park in British Columbia, one of the frequent trains of Canadian National Railways heads eastward, directly into some of the most awesome mountain scenery you will ever see.

Yes, Canada is gorgeous scenery, but this freight train is all business. Most of the cargo, products from BC forests; mines; farms and factories, is headed for the population centers of Ontario and Quebec.

Just like this powerful and purposeful train, Canadians are an enthusiastic and determined people. If you happen to overhear a conversation between Canadians, it will likely be the recounting of a recent hockey game, that fast-moving Canadian national sport. But sports is by no means their only passion. Canadians are deeply concerned about the direction of their relatively young nation. They endure such handicaps as their bilingual highway signs and taxes on just about everything. And despite rumblings that reveal discontent with national policies, Canadians, just like this train, are determined to climb the "mountains" ...and enjoy them too.

When we enter Canada at Osoyoos, British Columbia, things are not suddenly different. Yes, highway signs now include French, and distances are in kilometers, but the Okanagan River flows across the border with no difficulty and fruit trees abound just as they do below the border in Washington state. Even highway 97 has the same number.

The Fruited Okanagan Valley at Osoyoos

Wells Gray Provincial Park is our first destination. It's a vast wilderness area 140 kilometers north of the city of Kamloops and is the watershed for the Clearwater River. Hobson, Azure, Clearwater, and Myrtle Lakes within the park are major contributors to the Clearwater River.

The Clearwater River, below Clearwater Lake

A 35 kilometer gravel road to Clearwater Lake is the only significant road within Wells Gray Provincial Park.
  Mary and Nova at Clearwater Lake.


Alice lake
  The Ray Farm

September 5, 1999
Dear Kennan and Micah,

A long time ago, just before I was born, John Ray and his wife, Alice, came here to live where Wells Gray Provincial Park is now. It was just a wilderness but an Indian tribe claimed it.

Indians never had the disease of measles before white people came.  And unfortunately when they caught it, it was very often fatal.

John Ray knew about the problem and helped these Indians recover from measles. He knew, among other things, that recovery was more likely if those suffering were kept in darkened rooms.

The Indians were so grateful that they allowed John and Alice to establish a farm in their territory. Here they raised their children and remained until the 1940's when they died.

Yesterday, Grandma and I hiked around the farm and Alice Lake. There are many wild berries here such as thimble berries. Black bears just love it here. We could tell they had been here by what they left.

At one fork in the trail we noticed the bushes moving wildly. Something large was in them. Thankfully, Nova didn't notice. I saw only a part of it. We immediately stopped and then took the other path.


Sent as e-mail via amateur radio.

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