Having finished the national park part of our trip, it was time to start the trip home. Our route happened to take us through a couple more national parks, so we made a quick stop in one of them.
If we did a longer driving day, but we wanted to break that into two shorter days, so we picked Merritt as our stopover city, since it was on the route to home and was about halfwayit also meant that we didn't have to rush out of Golden very early, and we could be flexible with stops.
There were more people milling around the kitchen and common area than the previous couple days, but we had no trouble finding a place. It took us little time after that to eat, do the last bits of packing, and get the car packed. And we were off.
Golden to Rogers Pass
We knew that there were quite a few fires in British Columbia but we didn't know how much the smoke would impact visibility. Not long after we started west on the Trans-Canada Highway, we noticed that it wasn't easy to see mountains which were very far from the road.
We didn't need to drive very far before the highway took us right through the middle of Canada's Glacier National Park, and we started to climb. There were several snow sheds, strategically placed where avalanches are common. About halfway through the park, we topped out at Rogers Pass, where we were going to stop at the visitor centre. Working our way around the construction next door, we went inside to take a quick look around.
Another reason to go in was to see if there were some short walk options. We asked the person at the desk who suggested a couple different trails, and we opted for the Meeting of the Waters trail.
Meeting of the Waters
The drive to the trailhead was quick, and we grabbed one of the few open spots. We then went to the kiosks to see if we could find a good trail description or map, since the description given to us by the ranger was pretty complex. Fortunately there was a short paragraph explaining which trails to follow, so I grabbed a quick photo of it, and we began the walk.
The first trail segment took us across a stone bridge to the remains of the old Glacier House. This hotel was built in the 1880s by the Canadian Pacific Railway because the approach to Rogers Pass was too steep to allow for dining cars. It was expanded twice in the early 20th century, becoming a very popular and prestigious destination. It became a center for alpinists to the point that the railroads hired Swiss guides to help tourists through the mountainous country.
During these years, avalanches made it very challenging to keep the trains running through Rogers Pass, so the railway finally decided to build a new tunnel under the pass. That, combined with the popularity of the Banff Springs Hotel and the Lake Louise Chalet spelled the end of the Glacier House; a lot of the furnishings were moved to the two Banff hotels.
After looking at the Glacier House ruins, we continued on a bit further until we heard the rushing of water and came to the bridge which gives you a great view of the Meeting of the Waters, where the Asulkan Brook merges with the Illecillewaet River. it was very impressive, and difficult to capture in a photo, especially since the bridge is pretty close to the point of convergence.
Going downriver a bit, we came to the stone bridge we had originally crossed, and soon after were back at the car, ready to drive on.
Rogers Pass to Merritt
Before we left the hostel in Golden, we scoped out a place where we thought it would be about time to have lunch, since we knew we wouldn't have internet connectivity on the road. We settled on a pie shop in Salmon Arm, so that's where we headed (using an offline map, so we could still get a route).
We found a parking spot about a half block away, then went inside, choosing one pie with chicken and leeks, and one with sausage, apples, and sage. Both were served with a scoop of cole slaw, and not long after we started digging in, we saw that our selections had run out.
After thoroughly enjoying our pies, we went for a slice of blueberry pie. We were quite full after we were done, but satisfied enough for the rest of the drive.
Once we pulled into Merritt, we filled up the car, then went to check into the motel. The woman at the counter did a lot of clicking, some typing, frequent “Hmm…”ing, then finally announced that it would be about 20 minutes before our room would be ready, since they needed to have it cleaned. We hung out in the lobby, then started going to our room.
Oops, still being cleaned. We wandered around a bit, checking out the pool and fitness room. Nope, not enough time; now the vacuum was starting up. We decided to have dinner at a restaurant a block away, so walked around to see if we could spot it. Not far away, but we didn't see a sidewalk along the main road, and we couldn't go around the back way since the streets didn't go through. That took some time, but going back, we saw trash and linen bags being taken out.
At last the room was ready, so we started moving our things in. It was getting close to time to eat, so we drove over to the restaurant, only to see that there was indeed a sidewalk, but positioned so we couldn't where we were standing. Ah well.
After dinner, we drove the very short distance back and were done for the day.