Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
go to the home page of the two RV Gypsies
go to the Table of Contents for the website of the two RV Gypsies
learn the history of the two RV Gypsies
e-mail the two RV Gypsies please sign the guestbook of the two RV Gypsies
photos, text, travel of the two RV Gypsies in Alaska
photos, facts, travel of the two RV Gypsies in Canada
Countries the twogypsies have visited
Cruises the two RV Gypsies have enjoyed photos, facts, travel of the two RV Gypsies in the lower 48
learn about Brian Lee Duquette
Flashback places see other RV pages plus pages created by Karen Duquette get special information important to RVers travel videos
British Columbia flag
Hells Gate - Learn how Hells Gate got its name,
and a bit about salmon fishing in BC

On May 19, 2009, the two RV Gypsies enjoyed a spectacular drive through the scenic Fraser Canyon and its seven highway tunnels. The Fraser Canyon was full of folklore, legends, history and mystery; from the voyage of Simon Fraser to the historic Fraser River Gold Rush, the building of two railways and the linking of the coast lines of Canada via the Trans Canada Highway. There are also stories of hauntings at Hells Gate.

entry to Hell's Gate Tunnel
sign at entrance to building

Hells Gate is an abrupt narrowing of British Columbia's Fraser River, located in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge toward each other forcing the waters through a passage only 115 feet wide. It is also the name of the rural locality at the same location.

history clipart bookFor centuries the narrow passage has been a popular fishing ground for Aboriginal communities in the area. European settlers also began to congregate there in the summer months to fish. Eventually the Fraser Canyon became a route used by gold rush miners wishing to access the upper Fraser gold-bearing bars and the upper country beyond up the Fraser and the Thompson. In the 1880s the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) built a transcontinental railroad that passed along the bank at Hells Gate, and in 1911 the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) began constructing a second track. In 1914 a large rock slide triggered by CNR construction fell into the river at Hells Gate, obstructing the passage of Pacific salmon needing to swim upstream to spawn. Salmon had difficulty passing through the now swifter water, and were appearing in increased numbers downstream below the Hells Gate passage and in tributary rivers and streams that they had not inhabited before. In the winter of 1914 debris removal began, and in 1915 the river was pronounced clear.

The fishways at Hells Gate became a tourist attraction in the 1970s. Among the attractions for tourists are the Airtram, food outlets, observation decks and an educational fisheries exhibit.

sign on side of building
BELOW: A chain saw carving at the top of the station
a chain saw carving
sign about tram
The two RV Gypsies took a tram ride down to the suspension bridge and observation deck to get a look at the international fishways that flank Hell's Gate Gorge.
sign - Fraser Canyon, B.C.
Lee Duquette getting on the tram

history bookThe name Hells Gate was derived from the journal of explorer Simon Fraser, who in 1808 described this narrow passage as "a place where no human should venture, for surely these are the gates of Hell."

Long before the arrival of Simon Fraser, and as early as the end of the last ice age, Hells Gate was a First Nations congregation ground for settlement and salmon fishing. During the last deglaciation 4000 to 6000 years ago, long tongues of ice formed wedges and dams in the river's basin above the canyon, resulting in the formation of large reservoirs and new lakes, creating optimal spawning grounds for salmon. During this inter-glacial period, salmon began to populate the Fraser River and used Hells Gate passage as their route to upstream spawning grounds. Constricted by two steep sub-vertical granodiorite walls, the incredibly narrow passage and high water velocity made this part of the upstream journey extraordinarily difficult for salmon, and they would hover along the shores of the river or rest in its back-eddies. As a result, Hells Gate’s geology provided the Indigenous fishers with superb opportunities to readily catch salmon congregated at the river’s edge attempting to elude the strong currents and rough waters. Hells Gate became one of the most popular fishing stations along the Fraser River. Standing on adjacent rocks or on specially constructed wooden platforms extending from surrounding cliffs, fishermen would use long dip nets to snatch the salmon. After Simon Fraser charted the river in the early nineteenth century, it became (and Hells Gate with it) an established corridor between the Pacific Ocean and the interior of what was to become British Columbia. Yet, as Fraser first noted, safe water transportation through the 115 foot wide opening at Hells Gate has proven virtually impossible.

the small threads that hold us up
tram in the sky
2 trams passing
tram in the sky
2 trams passing
tram
British Columbia flag
British Columbia flag and the tram
Candian flag and the tram
2 trams coming down
2 trams coming down
Canadian flag and the tram
Canadian flag and the tram
Canadian flag and the tram
tram
trams
2 trams
tram in the sky
tram
close up of the tram
tram over the bridge
tram over the bridge
Views of Fraser River and the suspension bridge - taken from the tram ride down
view from top of tram
the visitor's center getting closer
visitor's center and the bridge
visitor's center and the bridge
The Fraser River Gorge at high level has 200 million gallons of water per minute rushing through - that's twice the volume of Niagara Falls!
train coming
train and the river
Millions of salmon annually navigate the treacherous waters en route to their spawning grounds.
bridge, river, train
bridge
The white sign beneath the bridge shows how high the river reached May 29, 1948
bridge with water level mark
bridge with water level mark
reaching the visitor's center
Below: Views from the bridge
Fraser River
Fraser River
Fraser River
Fraser River
Fraser River
Views taken from the tram ride down of a train going through a tunnel- there are train tracks on both sides of the river.
train and river
train and river
train going thru tunnel
train going thru tunnel
A train on the other side of the river - photographed from the visitor's area at the bottom by the bridge.
train on the other side of the river
train on the other side of the river
train on the other side of the river
train on the other side of the river
The two RV Gypsies on the suspension bridge at Hell's Gate
Lee & Karen Duquette
 Karen Duquette on the bridge
Lee taking photos
 Karen Duquette on the bridge
Lee taking photos
Karen Duquette
Lee on the bridge
Lee on the bridge
View of the river looking straight down through the grate on the bottom of the bridge, and through the side fencing.
looking down through the bottom of the bridge
looking at the river through the side fencing on the bridge
Lee Duquette braved the heavy winds to take photos - check out his hairdo.
Lee Duquette in heavy winds
Lee Duquette in heavy winds
View of the bridge from the visitor's area.
the suspension bridge
the suspension bridge
Below: Photos from the visitor's area and a bit of history and legends
info sign of river
sign - river depth today is 139 feet
Karen Duquette at Hell's Gate
sign about Hell's Gate airtram
sign - S.s. Skuzzy steamer
sign - The Fraser Canyon War
sign about Fraser Canyon
sign - level of water
lee and the British Columbia flag
lee and the British Columbia flag
In 1808 Simon Fraser and his voyagers battled their way through this rugged area in search of an alternate fur trading route to the Pacific Ocean. According to historic documents and Simon's journal, the following quote was nervously inscribed "We had to travel where no human being should ever venture for surely we have encountered the gates of hell."
statue
sign about the statue
Some fun - silly stuff, plus some great paintings
Karen in a big rocking chair
Karen in a big rocking chair
Karen getting bit by vicious fish
a totum pole
Lee and an indian
The photos below are paintings on walls-even the tram that looks like Karen is in the tram
Karen in a fake tram
painting
painting
painting
painting
painting
painting
THE FUDGE FACTORY
diet center
fudge factory
go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies in BCCapilano Suspension bridge in Vancouver