Q, the beast, is getting old. I like to hang on to the fantasy that somehow we will avoid the unavoidable. That the two of us shall take our last breaths together, seniors with a life time of memories and experiences behind us. That even though he’s slowed, he’ll never actually be gone.
A while back Q was exhibiting signs of distress. Neither of us liked the behavior we were witnessing so Curtis and I took him to emergency. I spent a bunch of money to be told things I already new. He was in pain. I wanted my vet to run tests, so I bought some pain medication to get us through the weekend.
We found out it was his liver. I then bought more medication that would do the jobs that the liver was slacking on. We also picked up some milk thistle and CBD (cannabis) oil. It’s impossible for me to say which is doing what but boy has he turned around! His energy levels have gone up, his appetite has returned and he doesn’t seem to have the same stiffness as he used to.
The weather on the weekend was forecasted to be beautiful. It had been less then a week since I was trying to make peace with putting the old beast down and here he was, ready for adventure. Now we aren’t miracle workers and we didn’t turn back time so a tame adventure it was to be.
I pitched the idea of going out to the Othello tunnels to Curtis and he agreed. The flat, short trail would be easy on Q but still visually stunning and historically interesting. There is also a lake nearby for swimming. The old guy sure loves time in the water. We packed up our swimsuits, towels and the beast and headed east.
The tunnels are located on the old rail grade of the Kettle Valley Railway near Hope B.C. In the early 1900’s a route was required to link the B.C coast and the Kootenay Region by rail. Civil engineer, Andrew McCulloch was hired for the job. It is here, in the Coquihalla gorge, that a straight line of tunnels were built, cutting through solid granite and bridging the river. The Othello tunnels, sitting in close proximity to the old Othello Station, received this name from McCulloch’s love of Shakespeare.
Unfortunately, B.C’s weather was not sympathetic to the new rail road. Mud slides and harsh winters caused the rail to be closed for days on end. It is said that the passenger trains would only run during the night, preventing riders from seeing the gorge and river and becoming frightened. After a major washout occurred in 1959 the rail was finally abandoned in 1961. In 1986 the tunnels became part of the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park’s trail system.
They are a fantastic hot day destination with the tunnels being so cool and damp inside. There is no incline so it is fitness friendly to almost anyone, including geriatric dogs. It really is great for a family outing. There are pit toilets and picnic tables so bring a lunch and enjoy the scenery! It’s a beautiful place with a fun, historic twist. If you look closely in the tunnels you can still see some blast marks and if the day isn’t too sunny you can witness people completely disappear and then materialize again, as if out of thin air. Eerie!
Q did surprisingly well and a dip in a cool lake was well deserved. Just down the road on the way back towards Hope is Kawkawa Lake. We pulled in, unleashed the beast and wandered into the water. I am practically a lizard and find myself cold most of the time, but this lake was pretty lovely! Q enjoyed himself too, swimming, searching for sticks and barking when he wasn’t getting his way. It was nice to see him behaving so much like his old self. With the day coming to a close we dried off and began the journey home.
With old age slowly robbing us of time I felt it was necessary to spend the day with the old beast. It is so easy to get carried away with life. Chores, work, events, motorcycle rides. It’s easy to take it for granted that that fury, four legged creature, who has been your most faithful companion for years, will always be there to greet you. But one day he won’t be. And a bit of your heart will be missing along with his presence. I hope this turn around lasts and we can have a few more adventures yet with Q, the beast.
How to get to the Othello Tunnels:
Approximately a 2 hour drive from Vancouver
Taking highway 1 east from Vancouver, get off the highway in Hope at exit 170, make a left and then a right onto the Old Hope Princeton Highway (east). Take a left (north) at 6th Ave and then a right (east) on Kawkawa Lake Rd. Follow that road and you will see a sign that says “Tunnels” with an arrow pointing right. Keep to the right at the fork and continue on Othello Rd. The park is on the right on Tunnels Rd in the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park.
Happy Travels! x