Is somebody knows Walhachin? Each time I say to somebody that I am living in Walhachin… people says “Wa…what?” Well! Briefly, Walhachin is a small village in British Columbia, Canada… near the town of Kamloops, in the Coast Mountains, with about 23 houses, one street, no store, no café (arrrgh!), no nothing.
It was founded in 1907–yes, the centennial next year–by some British guys with a lot of money who wanted to transform this land in a “garden of Eden”. They planted thousands of fruit trees and ploughed the dust to have some gardens with tomatoes, onions and other good veggies. Fine! But–there is a but, of course–this area of Canada, believe it or not, is a desert. A real desert with Hoodoos, cactus (I have beautiful photos of their flowers), rattle snakes, dry-windy and torrid summers, dry-windy and cold winters, and… no water.
They built very nice houses, a beautiful hotel with restaurant and ballroom where ladies in princess’ gowns and long gloves, and gentleman in “haut-de-forme” and penguin suits, were coming for a nice meal or a dance unless it was for an opera in the opera room. The town was prolific with Chinese laundries, restaurants, post office, train station, stores and all the goodies a great town needs.
So, of course, when the war started in 1914, all men rushed to battle the “enemy” leaving women, kids and elders…oh! and servants and canadian local employees…alone to take care of kilometers of starving trees and gardens planted in dry/sandy land.
They had installed a very ingenious wooden irrigation system–name flumes– to get the water from a lake, 20 km away and across a river, to the town irrigation system. It seems that there was no water pumps in that time (????)
But the village was doomed. Harsh storms hit the land the very next year, damaging the trees and destroying a part of the flumes. When the war finished, just few men came back from hell to find that their garden of Eden had turned into a purgatory on Earth. Discouraged, they took what was left of their belongings, their wives and kids and went back to England, leaving the little town to the locals.
And here we go, 100 years after. The village survived. Some of the beautiful houses had been moved to nearby towns and what is left is a quiet… very quiet tiny little place.
I am moving out of it before mid-February. My landlord wants to sell so, I will climb in my little mobile office–pompous name for my Winnebago Phaser– and take the road with my friend (who is also a writer) and my little ShihTzu. I will go to Victoria where my daughter will have OUR first and only baby :), and after that we will take the road and head for Florida to visit my friend’s sister. On the way, we will stop to visit some friends and do, also, a lot of articles I can publish in magazines.
I will continue to write on the blog, doing some kind of travel log…with photos so, if you want to travel with me…you’re welcome.