To Hell’s Gate in a handbasket: British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon and Hell’s Gate Airtram
// June 11th, 2012 // Places
That’s just how I roll.
Simon Fraser, however, didn’t have much choice in the matter. In 1808, the explorer encountered towering rock walls and churning rapids in this narrow gorge along what is now the Fraser River, in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia.
“We had to travel where no human being should venture,” he wrote. “For surely we had encountered the gates of hell.”
He’d been sent by his employers to map out a trade route to the Pacific Ocean. He and his crew endured many hardships on their 36-day, 520 mile journey, not the least of which was the navigation of the area now known as Hell’s Gate.
Today, you can easily traverse Fraser Canyon on the scenic Trans-Canada Highway — as I did, by motorcycle last year — and stop just north of Spuzzum (is that a great name for a town, or what?) for a ride on the Hell’s Gate Airtram. The tram takes you into the valley — a 500 foot descent, measured vertically — between the Cascade and Pacific Coastal Mountain Ranges.
At the bottom, you can walk out on a steel suspension bridge over the river’s narrowest, and deepest point.
There’s also a gift shop, gold panning attraction, exhibits on river salmon, and a café.
“Pretty good view, eh?” another visitor asks rhetorically.
Indeed it is, a reminder that one man’s hell can be another’s heaven.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Hell’s Gate Airtram
43111 Trans-Canada Highway
Boston Bar, BC Canada VOK 1CO
British Columbia tourism: http://www.hellobc.com/