Although Tom and I did not ride the tandem on Tuesday after our long ride last Monday, we did have one more spot to visit on the Cowichan Valley Trail: the Kinsol Trestle. We saw pictures of the trestle when doing our research on the trail and knew we wanted to see it.
Fortunately there is a Cowichan Valley Trail trailhead about a mile away from the Kinsol Trestle. We drove there, parked, and walked the distance to the trestle. It seemed most people were choosing this option because we saw lots of walkers but only one bike rider.
The Kinsol Trestle, finished in 1920, was originally built as part of a logging and mining railroad line. It is the largest wooden trestle bridge in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The trestle is 144 feet high and 617 feet long but it is the seven-degree curve that truly makes it unusual. The name comes from the short-lived but grandly named King Solomon Mine, located close to the trestle.
The railway was abandoned in 1979 and the bridge fell into disrepair. A group of determined restorationists decided to preserve the bridge. When the British Columbian legislature declined to fund the restoration, the Friends of the Trestle raised $7.4 million themselves. Today this beautiful bridge is a part of the Cowichan Valley Trail because of their dedication.
Tom and I walked over the bridge, admiring the curve from the side. I took pictures from both ends and both sides, then we hiked down to the river. After admiring the huge Douglas Fir beams, we headed back up to the top and then to the truck.
The Kinsol Trestle is a beautiful example of engineering and ingenuity. Its restoration is a testament to what people can do when they are determined to save a piece of their history. Tom and I are glad we got to see it and walk over it. Maybe next time we will be up to riding more of the trail.