Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Lakes, Tunnels and Bluffs

While caching in the Okanagon, we kept coming across the Kettle Valley Railway or what is left of it, which is not much. At one time this railway ran from the Kettle Valley to Hope. It became famous for the obstacles it had to overcome before it was in place. Numerous tressles were built and ever so many tunnels were bored.

We have been in the tunnels near Hope, and we walked on a tressle near Okanagon Falls a few days ago. It was basically just a bridge, but maybe some of you are familiar with the spectacular tressles this area was famous for. Unfortunately, a number of those, all wooden, structures have been destroyed by fires so that few remain.

Little, if anything, remains of the rails. They have been taken out and today the railway beds have been turned into trails, much to the delight of those that like to bike, hike and/or cache.

What is true for the KVR is to a degree also the case with the Dewdney Trail. Dewdney was the engineer in charge of building a wagon road from Rock Creek to Hope to enable miners to ship their wares, often gold or other prescious metals, by wagon train through Canada instead of having to go down into the States. The road was to be 4 feet wide and had to find the easiest way through the hills and the mountains. We walked a bit of that trail near Manning Park and near Princeton. My, it is hardly wide enough for a trail, never mind a team of oxen pulling a cart...and never mind the men who had to pick-axe it out of the sides of mountain and hill. One wonders how many lives were lost while that went on.

The hills in this area are of a peculiar nature. I know little of rock formations or types of rock, but it is obvious that at one time volcanoes were active in this region. One can see the slabs of lava piled on top of each other as well as the different materials in that lava. Today I drove out to one such dormant volcano in the Marron Valley near Penticton. I was unable to get very close as it is on private land, but I was able to take a good picture. If I had not known it is a volcano I would probably have missed it. But thanks to caching our attention was drawn to it and we are happy with this bit of local knowledge.

Similar to this volcano is the McIntire Bluff, also an Earthcache. I will not go into specifics about it but if you want to know more about it you can do a google on it and it will tell you more than you want to know.

Another interesting Earthcache we were drawn to was Mahoney Lake, also way out there in them thar hills. When you drive along Highway 97, the major north-south artery through this area, you have no idea what lives and happens beyond the hills that you can see. When you follow some of the roads into them, you find for instance beautiful vineyards way up there, ranches, irrigated fields, and a whole lot of nature.

Mahoney Lake is unique in the world probably. Again, I will not go into great detail, partly because I do not understand it all. The lake's major feature is probably the 20 cm thick layer of purple sulphur bacteria that stays in place because the lake only partly circulates...whatever that means exactly.

We did not see much of the sulphur because it is at a depth of about 7 or 8 m. usually. But because the water is lower than usual, we could see a purple ring at the shore in places. It looks more brown than purple in the picture, but believe me, it is purple...even I could see that.

We love discovering interesting places like I have talked about in this blog. It makes one stand in awe of our God who created it all. I have more questions than answers in a lot of cases, but that does not take away that I am moved by what I am allowed to see and witness.

1 comment:

Dawnelle said...

Hey goinggone!
Just enjoyed reading your past posts... so fun to read about so many places that I've been too as well. I especially loved reading about your experience driving up the mountain road in Manning! Too funny! You would definitely not like driving with us! Tony has no fear - I just close my eyes!
I just updated my blog and posted your 2000th photo that I took that day. Hope that's OK.
Looking forward to reading about your new adventures. Hope you're well.