From 1912 to 1914, a 12 km section of Canadian Pacific Railway was forged through the tumultuous terrain between Midway and Penticton, British Columbia. Comprising eighteen trestle bridgesi and two tunnels blasted out of rock in Myra Canyon, the stretch is now a popular tourist destination just outside of Kelowna. With bicycle rentals situated at the head of the trail, on a recent holiday, we found ourselves heading out as a foursome with the 5-year-old leading the charge!
Crossing West Fork Canyon Creek, the 220 m long tressle bridge seen herebelow soars 55 m in height overtop Little White Mountain. Just be sure to keep it on the straight and narrow! Thankfully, we were there on a Thursday in the off-season, so there wasn’t much competition for the scarce central lane, which is exactly why we took big fish out of an already horribly disjointed year of kindergarten for some seriously overdue adventure. Travelling in early June certainly has its benefits with little ones. Travelling with two sets of grandparents idem. Many hands make light work and all that. Multi-generational travel: would recommend!
The tunnels weren’t even that scary…
But the pictures of the 2003 forest fires were pretty graphic! The fertile imagination of our 5-year-old was rather consumed by the toasty narrative, particularly since the near-two-decade-old charred remains of tree stumps were so prevalent along the cycling route. Of the 12 km stretch, forming a 24 km there-and-back “loop,” we made it exactly halfway. It must be said, that’s really not bad for a little 52″ man!
Elsewhere in the area, right outside our holiday house window in fact, was a rather blue (and possibly bored) horse. His electric monk was MIA.ii The horse seemed quite polite, which would make sense given that it’s a Canadian horse and that our culture here is rather more British than we typically care to admit.iii
Anyways, it was a lovely week-and-a-half in Western Canada’s wine country. If you’re in the area, check out Myra Canyon, don’t hesitate to dine at Mission Hill and Bai Tong, and if you’re so bitten by the golf bug, you won’t regret The Okanagan Golf Club – Bear Course.
See y’all next Sunday.
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- Despite fourteen of these trestle bridges being destroyed by forest fires in 2003, they were attentively rebuilt and even improved shortly thereafter, such is their historical significance and cultural capital. ↩
- In case you missed the Dirk Gently reference, allow me to quote a bit from the late great Douglas Adams:
High on a rocky promontory sat an Electric Monk on a bored horse. From under its rough woven cowl the Monk gazed unblinkingly down into another valley, with which it was having a problem.
The day was hot, the sun stood in an empty hazy sky and beat down upon the gray rocks and the scrubby, parched grass. Nothing moved, not even the Monk. The horse’s tail moved a little, swishing slightly to try and move a little air, but that was all. Otherwise, nothing moved.
The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.
Unfortunately this Electric Monk had developed a fault, and had started to believe all kinds of things, more or less at random. It was even beginning to believe things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City. It had never heard of Salt Lake City, of course. Nor had it ever heard of a quingigillion, which was roughly the number of miles between this valley and the Great Salt Lake of Utah.
There, now you’re a bit more cultured and we can continue. ↩
- Quoth John Stuart Mill:
From causes which might be traced in the history and development of English society and government, the general habit and practice of the English mind is compromise. No idea is carried out to more than a small portion of its legitimate consequences. Neither by the generality of our speculative thinkers, nor in the practice of the nation, are the principles which are professed ever thoroughly acted upon; something always stops the application half way. This national habit has consequences of very various character, of which the following is one. It is natural to minds governed by habit (which is the character of the English more than of any other civilized people) that their tastes and inclinations become accommodated to their habitual practice; and as in England no principle is ever fully carried out, discordance between principles and practice has come to be regarded, not only as the natural, but as the desirable state. This is no an epigram, or a paradox, but a sober description of the tone of sentiment commonly found in Englishman. They never feel themselves safe unless they are living under the shadow of some convention fiction — some agreement to say one thing and mean another.