Which Way Challenge: The “Big Hill” (BC Hwy 20)

The British Columbia Department of Highways said, “It’s impossible.” The citizens of Bella Coola and Anaheim Lake said, “Oh ya? Just watch!”

The top of the hill and the bottom of the hill were no problem. It was the bit in between. The cliff. The “straight down.” The “Big Hill.”

For two years, the citizens laboured. They dug by hand, pried out rocks with jackhammers (the rock was so hard it dulled the bits in no time flat), tossed said rocks over the edge (and listened to them ricochet down the cliff), and bulldozed wherever possible (one slipped off the trail but, fortunately, was able to be winched back up). By dint of hard work, determination and a sense of “up yours, government!”, they transformed that former goat trail into a vehicle trail.

In September, 1953, two bulldozers – one from above and one from below – touched blades mid-way down the “Big Hill.” The “highway” was complete. It had cost $1300 per mile (1953 dollars) to build, plus uncounted hours of volunteer labour. The Minister of Highways attended the official opening and paid off the debt of $8700.

The highway is still considered one of North America’s dangerous highways. It’s narrow and winding; some sections are single-lane only; and there are no guard-rails protecting drivers from a “sharp drop off pavement” to the valley below. Thanks (?) to two serious and steep switchbacks (and a few lesser ones) and a 15% grade, the “Big Hill” drops 5000 feet in seven miles. It gets the heart pounding.

Just before the second switchback on the Big Hill, time for a breather. And yes, after we negotiate the switchback, we’ll be on the road you see in the middle of the photograph.
Thanks to “Alive and Trekking” for this challenge.

#WhichWayChallenge #AliveAndTrekking #The BigHill #BCHwy20 #DangerousRoads #MargaretGHanna

Which Way Challenge: Moki Dugway

Just a little northwest of Bluff, Utah; just on the north side of the Valley of the Gods, we found one of our favourite roads.

The Moki Dugway is not for the faint of heart, those afraid of heights, or those for whom “sharp drop off pavement” causes coniptions of anxiety. It is only three miles long, but in those three miles it descends 1100 feet from the top of Cedar Mesa to the Valley of the Gods below. Don’t even think about taking your RV or dually on this road.

It was built in 1958 to haul ore from the Happy Jack Mine on Cedar Mesa to the mill in Halchita, near Mexican Hat, in the valley below. At least one ore truck didn’t make it.

If you love tight switchbacks, corners you can’t see around, steep descents, and a road that seems to disappear either into the upcoming rock face or over the upcoming edge, it is your cup of tea. It certainly is ours.

Thanks to “Alive and Trekking” for this challenge.

#WhichWayChallenge #MokiDugway #DrivingAdventure #BluffUtah #ValleyOfTheGods #TravelAdventure #MargaretGHanna