Once we arrived at Prince George, we had a two-day drive south to the border and our crossing at Sumas. We pretty much followed the course of the Fraser River, named after explorer Simon Fraser, the man who fully traced the river in 1808.
South of Cache Creek, the Fraser's descent becomes steeper and it has gouged out a series of rock gorges at it passes between the Cascade Mountains on the east and the Coastal Range on the west. We decided to stop at Hell's Gate, a tourist attraction that offers an air tram ride down to a particularly narrow spot. It was the perfect time to stretch our legs.
The tram descends about 3000 feet to facilities and a suspension bridge at the bottom. Hell's Gate was actually formed when a building a railroad tunnel. A blast of dynamite caused a rock slide that changed the course of the river. According to a travel Web site, "At peak spring levels, over 200 million gallons of water surge through this 35 metre (110 ft) wide gorge. That is twice the volume of Niagara Falls!" As we watched, one of the jet boat rides came up and zoomed around the treacherous whirlpools formed by the raging water. The U.S. and Canada teamed up to build several fish ladders so salmon could continue their migration.
After Hell's Gate, it was all downhill! Soon we were in Hope, where we spent some of our last Canadian dollars on lunch. We had a very easy border crossing at Sumas and headed to Mt. Vernon to park at a friend's property. We may be stuck here a few extra days.... Jaimie Hall Bruzenak