I'm Driving Between Kelowna and Vancouver..so come along!
Summer or winter, the Coquihalla (COKE-a-hal-a) Highway has great
views and is the main highway link between Kelowna in the
Okanagan Valley and Vancouver B.C.
It is very steep at both ends and although it is a modern highway, most
truckers avoid traveling on it due to the extra gasoline expense that
the steep inclines create. On a clear day it's a fabulous car drive,
about 3 1/2 - 4 hrs. to Vancouver from Kelowna.
Out of the Okanagan valley and up and over the mountains
Looking west just past the summit on the Coquihalla Connector between Kelowna and Merritt B.C., this is what the highway looks like 'on top of the world' or at least on top of the mountains on this section of the Coq. (coke)
Those bare patches and poorly treed areas are
Places where the snow naturally swooshes down the mountains in the winter. To control the snow build up and protect travelers, there are gun turrets along the highway at strategic intervals, round cement platforms on which guns can be mounted and shots aimed at the snow packs to bring on avalanches before they commence by themselves. This is near the toll booth area.
This is a snow shed.
Turn on your lights! This 'tunnel' with it's open side, is designed
a great swoosh of snow. Built in a natural avalanche path it's constructed
to carry the snow over the highway into a ravine below. Notice the bear
designs on the front of the tunnel.
up your window, here comes Winter!
A sunny winter day!
The driving is almost easy on the compact and sanded snow on a good Winter day.
Winter surprises are a real fear, sudden snow storms, blowing snow and fog,
often make winter driving hazardous and slow. Smart drivers have
lots of gas, carry winter clothing, a candle (for warmth) and sleeping bag
in the car ' just in case' (chances are that you will never need those extras).
At high elevations it can sometimes get to be -30 deg. C in cold winter weather.
This snowy peak is near the toll booth, which is closer to the Vancouver
end of the Hwy. Bare rock in the summer, slathered with snow in the
winter, it's an eye catcher!
The Weather is getting worse.
Only one lane is open each way today. The highway conditions
are advising compact, slushy and slippery sections, but we are driving
towards a storm.
It's a huge job maintaining this highway during the winter.
is a 'snow plow', a big truck able to plow and spread sand
on the road at the same time.
What a difference a season makes!
A heavy snow fall in progress and the drivers can hardly see the
everything is white, the snow is piling up very quickly. This is the same
snow shed that is in the photo towards the top of the page. The day
after this photo was taken, the highway was closed for almost 24 hours.
This rarely happens and the highway is well maintained.
Still snowing, but lightly now. Almost to the 'Vancouver end' of the
Hope, B.C. is just a few 'klicks' (kilometers) ahead.
This part of the highway has been carved through rock.
I HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED THE TRIP!
(Trivia - there is a $10.00 fee for a passenger car or recreational
travel on this highway, but it is so much shorter and double laned
that most people are willing to pay the price!)