Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Different New Year's Eve

View of Downtown VanCity
It's New Year's Eve and D and me have had a blast watching Team Canada beat the US at hockey tonight. 

Here in Canada, the New Year is received a little different.  The country closely follows the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship right from Christmas Day all the way until the first days of the New Year.   This one is particularly sweet since it is taking place in Alberta, Canada and Team Canada is doing great.

The Championship is a great opportunity for young players to showcase their talent and that is one of the reasons why fans follow it so closely.  D and I are wondering which team has Canadian player Mark Stone; that kid is doing such a great job.  He's been putting the puck in the net like no one else there!

Ten teams make it to the Championship.  The usual big opponents for Team Canada are the USA, Russia, and Sweden.  This competition started in 1974 and Russia won the gold medal on that one.  If I am not mistaken Russia and Canada are tied in the number of gold medals.  They both have won the Championship 15 times and this year the final, it seems, is most likely going to be Canada vs Russia.  But let's not get too ahead of ourselves just yet.

Well, I have to go kiss this awesome year goodbye and receive 2012 with a big smile! Happy New Year to you all and GO CANADA GO!!!

For more about today's game click here.

With my nieces during our Christmas Party this year.  ~Notice my Canucks jersey~ It's always Hockey time around here :-D

Friday, 30 December 2011

The Othello tunnels - A park you shouldn't miss in BC

Enjoying the view to the Coquihalla Canyon near Hope, BC
They say some of the best things in life are free.  This is certainly the case with the Othello Tunnels Rail Trail.  The trail is part of the Coquihalla National Provincial Park and it is located just outside Hope, BC.  Hope, for those of you not familiar with it, is called Hollywood North since many movies have been filmed here.  When you are in the Hope area and look at the rugged beauty around you, you see why action scenes in movies like the 80s Rambo where filmed here. 

On my first visit to the tunnels my husband tricked me into believing we had to crawl though some caves filled with bats to get to the other side of the park.  I was ready for it, camera in hand and all.  I felt a little disappointed when I found out it was not the case but once I passed the first tunnel and saw the scenery that surrounded us my disappointment vanished.

The Coquihalla rapid waters roaring below me
The Othello Tunnels were part of the former Kettle Valley Railway that passed through Southern BC.  So they are big enough to fit a big, steaming train.  The Kettle Valley is said to be one of the most expensive  railways to have ever been built in the world.  Its construction took from 1911 to 1918 and it is said many workers, many of them of Asian origin, died in the blasts that cut through the canyon rock.  This part of the Kettle Railway was declared out of service in 1959.  The trail-tracks have been removed and now visitors can enjoy the 2 kilometers-hike that goes through the 5 tunnels (called the Quintette Tunnels).  The tunnels are dark so it is a good idea to bring a flashlight but you will be OK without one because the tunnels are not all that long.  The best part of the trail is the bridges; pause and enjoy the views of the Coquihalla river canyon that they offer.   If you look close you could even see some fish jumping around in the roaring river waters.

There are picnics tables near the parking lot are and next to the river and also pit toilets.  Keep in mind the trail is closed during Winter time,  from November to March, due to the increase chance of rock slides so plan your visit accordingly.  Check out people's opinions of the park on TripAdvisor here.

This video offers more views of the scenery surrounding the Othello Tunnels.