July 30 – August 1 , 2013 - Revelstoke, BC
We watched our last paraglider land while we were leaving the campground this morning. We drove through Glacier National Park and Revelstoke National Park and got a pleasant surprise on the road. While we were driving up Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, a truck and 5th wheel passed us with the passenger waving. It was our friends Barry and Lynn on their way home from their daughter’s place in Calgary. We stopped at the summit of Rogers Pass and visited with them for a few minutes. It is quite a coincidence that we were traveling on the same day. They live in Agassiz, BC which is east of Vancouver and we are going to visit them after we leave Revelstoke.
We are staying at Canada West RV Park just outside the town of Revelstoke. This is not as nice a campground as we had at Golden and it is noisy as we are between Hwy 1 and the railroad tracks, but at least there are not very many mosquitoes. Mariah likes it because they have a swimming pool. We changed times zones so we are now on Pacific Time. Unfortunately, the dog’s stomachs are still on Mountain Time and wanted fed at 4 pm instead of 5 - it will take them a day or two to adjust.
Wednesday morning we went to the Visitor Center in Revelstoke to get information about Glacier and Revelstoke National Parks and the Revelstoke area. We walked around downtown and did a little shopping but Mariah was not feeling well so we went back to the campground so she could lie down. After lunch she stayed at the campground while we went to the BC Interior Forestry Museum and the Revelstoke Railroad Museum.
The forestry museum had displays about the logging industry in BC. They had a huge chain saw collection.
Outside there was a replica of a fire lookout and a lot of logging equipment - the logs on this trailer were huge.
We next went to the Revelstoke Railway Museum – a very nice museum with lots of displays about the history of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in the Columbia Mountains. A large collection of artifacts, historical photographs, artwork, and full size rolling stock are displayed. The main attraction was engine #5468, a Mikado P-2k class locomotive with a wheel classification of 2-8-2. This oil burning engine was built in 1948 and ran passengers and freight to Kamloops, and sometimes worked as a pusher engine. Diesel engines came to this area in 1953 and #5468 was retired in 1954.
In the mezzanine the Revelstoke Model Railroad Society is building an HO scale model train layout depicting railway operations in the Revelstoke area. Outside there was a number of pieces of rolling stock, including a caboose, road repair car, Jordan Spreader and this wedge plow. Rex really enjoyed this well planned museum.
Thursday we drove to Glacier National Park and stopped at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre. We went through the museum which told the history of the area especially the railroad history. Rogers Pass is in the heart of Glacier National Park – well named as there are more than 100 glaciers within the park. Between 1886 and 1916 the Canadian Pacific Railroad operated a passenger service over Rogers Pass. In 1916, the scenic but hazardous route over the pass was abandoned in favor of an eight kilometer tunnel beneath the pass. Visits to the park dropped dramatically and only a handful of adventuresome climbers saw Rogers Pass each summer until the Trans Canada Highway was completed in 1962.
The Rogers Pass area is very prone to avalanches and this is one of the guns that were used for avalanche control along the highway. Rogers Pass is at an elevation of 1,330 m – 4,364 ft and the views in all directions were beautiful.
These looping trestles allowed the rail line to climb the pass at a gentler grade. Loop Brook was first bridged at two points in 1885. The original wooden trestles were replaced by steel spans resting on stone pillars in 1908. Eight years later the CPR abandoned this part of the line and the stone pillars of Loop Brook Valley were left as monuments.
The trail climbed steeply up to the old rail bed which, fortunately was fairly level. The trail went past a collapsed snow shed that protected the trains from avalanches before it wound its way back down to our starting point.
We enjoyed this short trail and marveled at how a railroad was built in such rugged, steep terrain.
On down the pass we stopped at the Hemlock Grove Trail. We ate our picnic lunch in the picnic area and then headed out on the short loop trail through the old growth forest. The trail was entirely on a boardwalk – made it very easy to walk.
After our enjoyable walk we left Glacier National Park and 16 km down the road we entered Revelstoke National Park. We stopped at Giant Cedars Trail and took the pleasant short hike through the Cedar Grove – again on a boardwalk.
Some of the oldest trees in the Columbia Mountains are in this old growth forest. The largest trees are the Western Red Cedar and the Western Hemlock. This trail was much greener and lusher than the Hemlock Grove Trail.
We next stopped at the Skunk Cabbage Trail – an interpretative boardwalk through a wetland. We crossed a small creek at the start of the trail.
This trail along the wetlands was very green and had a large variety of plants. The trail’s namesake, Skunk Cabbage, was very abundant. The signs said that bears especially like the blossoms in the spring.
We enjoyed our short hikes and all the beautiful scenery in Glacier and Revelstoke National Parks.