Posted by: Silver | April 15, 2011

Rock Creek to Grand Forks

Distance: 52 km
Ascent: 623 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 39 minutes

It’s another steady climb out of Rock Creek towards the Eholt summit 20km outside Grand Forks, but with an elevation change of ‘only’ 400m or so (similar to The Hump outside Port Alberni), it really felt quite gentle after the Coquihalla and Anarchist mountains (both with elevation gains of around 1000m). Given that Eholt is 200m or so lower than Anarchist, I was quite surprised to find that the lake up there was still frozen, but I am rapidly gaining a much better grasp of just how different and localized the weather patterns can be around here: one side of a valley may be thickly wooded and wet, while the other side – within easy walking distance – may be semi-arid grassland; turn a corner into the shade of a mountain and your spring-time walk may become completely snowbound. The climate complexities created by mountains isn’t something I ever really thought about that much in Cambridge…

In Grand Forks itself, many residents can still trace their history back to the Doukhobors, members of a pacifist religious sect who fled to Canada to escape persecution in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Conversations with people elsewhere in British Columbia seemed to indicate that the town still has a reputation for being rather closed and conservative, and when it took rather more effort than usual to find someone willing to accommodate me there, I began to fear that the reputation might be justified and my effervescent enthusiasm for SOS Children’s Villages might not be welcomed. However, upon my arrival, I met with nothing less than the wonderful outpouring of warmth and friendliness that I have encountered everywhere on my journey so far. A teacher leading her class on an outing to the town’s art gallery overheard me explaining my journey to the lady in the tourist information centre downstairs and immediately created time for me to share my mission with her students; the local Rotary Club admitted to being thoroughly won over by my passionate presentation to them; and, as always, Ranger attracted admiring glances everywhere he went. In the case of one rather good-looking young man, I was just sad that it appeared to be only Ranger he was admiring… 😦

Ranger with the hills on the dry side of the Kettle Valley

Grand Forks still has a lot of very nice 'century houses' around the town centre

Apparently, no-one knows why the torch on the war memorial in Grand Forks was engraved upside-down....

The view from my hosts' house: it may have taken a little effort to find them, but it was well worth it - for so many reasons

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