Mountaintop view of the town
  • Mountaintop view of the town

With only forty minutes of planning, two friends and I decided to visit a friend who was working on an archaeological dig in Hope, British Columbia. Eager for a road trip, we cleared two weeks of our schedules and went. The plan was to zip up there to visit our friend, check out the sites, and then meander back.

Hope was where we spent the most time. After spending the last day and a half of our trip up to Canada exclaiming over the greenery and debating the connotation of words pertaining to water, Hope was no disappointment. Our campground was on the Fraser River, no more than twenty minutes from Mt. Hope and Lake in the Woods. The town itself was small and about an hour east of Vancouver via the Canada-1. It had your basics – a couple of grocery stores, a post office, a few cafes, several restaurants and bars.

We spent our first free afternoon at the Othello Tunnels just outside of town. A series of tunnels through a mountain and spanning the river, they were formerly part of a railroad line. The tunnels were dark, but not too long. And between the tunnels you could see the river below. The water rushed by, sunlight streamed through, and the view looking down the sheer rock faces was impressive.

A sign along the trail indicated the rail line used to schedule passenger trains at night so that ticket holders couldn't see the precipitous terrain. But from one’s own feet, the view was lovely and the trip well worth it. To top it off, a bit of Rambo was filmed there.

The best part of the Hope experience was hiking Mt. Hope. For a gal used to the sand and scrub brush of the Anza-Borrego Desert and Cuyamaca Mountains, the hike through the forest was a welcome change of scene. Trees, ferns, mosses and lichens all made their home on the mountain. The switchbacks dipped up and down as we made our climb, and – though two-thirds of our party was admittedly out of shape – the climb was still moderately easy.

From the top, you could see all of Hope laid out at the base of the mountain: the highway and river formed two borders to the small town, and stretching out from the town were more mountains covered in green. By a bench at the end of the trail, a local business had placed a notebook and pen. Inside, hikers scribbled reasons for making the hike and listed hometowns. It was neat to see all the different types of people who had hiked Mt. Hope.

On the whole, it was a fun, outdoorsy trip. If anyone finds themselves in Vancouver and in need of some day hikes, check out Hope – the scenery was great and the hike’s fun. For those looking for more to do in the area, the town boasts a visitors center with friendly staff and plenty of free maps.

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