From Hell Gate (to Grouse Mountain) Extract, Published 1 December 1941Where the boiling Fraser bursts its bonds and quits the narrow canyon for the spacious pastoral valley below, is Hell Gate. Personally, I always relish a trip by train through Hell Gate, and its fuming cousin, the Devil's Wash Bowl.
You really start to pick up the Canyon below Lytton, where the green Thompson river and the dirty Fraser merge their fluid destinies, and there is plenty to see as you come down the Thompson. In fact, there are many places where a daylight ride through the Thompson's arid slopes give as good a show as anything the Fraser has. Hell Gate area excepted.
At night time it is interesting to look out the window, and to see there just across the river, a gigantic illuminated snake crawling through the landscape. That, of course, is the CNR. train. It Is equally interesting, too, on the C.N., to watch that Canadian Pacific headlight, and to see an 18-car train noiselessly slide through what seems an empty medium the color of a dozen black cats.
By day, the Canadian Pacific train suggests a red worm, and the Canadian National, a black caterpillar.
Down near Hell (late, the river gets to its narrowest and most spectacular. Gates which look as if they might have been actually hinged to the shore aeons ago, half swing their ragged sides into the current. Below the water boils. One would think that It suddenly had become some water demon, supernaturally charged with a diabolical rage. angry at being held up so peremptorily on its way to the sea.
The train crawls slowly along. Once a train didn't crawl and landed in the river. Over on the C.N.R., you wonder how a train can ever get by the palisades over there at all. When you are over there, you are equally sceptical about how the C.P.R. is going to manage. But finally the gates are past, the river broadens out, you begin to see cow pastures, and the Fraser Valley, as most people hear about it. begins. For me, then the fun ends.
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Old No. 1 ran right on the dot. and engine 2701 brought us in to Vancouver almost ahead of time. I looked up my records and found that No. 2701 took me eastbound over this run. the last time I made it in January, 1935. Russell Fisher, my Vancouver host, was down to meet me. Now head of the Royal Insurance Company there, he was one of our fast ping-pong set in Montreal till he sought the salubrious softness of Vancouver. Next day, Russell asked me where I wanted to go. My geographical wants were very simple. I said: "Steveson and Grouse Mountain." He looked a little startled, then said bravely: "All right, let's start."