Contrary to popular belief, I have yet to encounter the Rocky Mountains. Having passed the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges, today I entered the Columbia mountains (specifically the Selkirk range).
Leaving Vernon this morning I passed through the remainder of the Okanagan Valley and the Cascade mountains, thankfully there were no summits today. As I approached Sicamous, yesterday’s intended destination, I started noticing a colour change in the lakes from a dark blue / green to a more vibrant blue, a sign that real glacial lakes weren’t far away.
Turning from Sicamous toward Revelstoke led me in to a deep valley, with the CP rail corridor and the Trans-Canada swapping sides quite often. Here the mountains were much more dramatic than at any point before. The peaks were still capped in snow, and the cliffs came right against the road. This made for some closer-than-desired passes by vehicle traffic, but everyone seemed courteous in the tightest sections.
The middle of this section is Craigellachie, which you may recall from grade 7 history or the Heritage Minutes commercials. This is where, in 1885, Donald Smith drove the last spike into the Canadian Pacific Railway, finally connecting British Columbia to the rest of the country.
Late in the day I began the final descent into Revelstoke, a nice drop after a day of modest ups and downs. Near the town I passed a fully-loaded CP coal train, something that I didn’t think existed in a province where all the electricity comes from hydro.
Tomorrow I will dispense with the Columbia Mountains, aiming to arrive in Golden. Finally on Thursday I will tackle the Rockies, and be done with the mountains for a few weeks.
Today’s distance: 152.3 km
Cumulative distance: 687.3 km
Today’s climb: 1,059 m