Beyond Hope in Rambo Country

At the Canadian Society of Questers’ Conference in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia at the beginning of May, Conference organiser Merlin Beltain told a tale over breakfast one day about a strong energy vortex that, as far as I could gather, was somewhere in the vicinity (bear in mind that my geographic knowledge of BC was rudimentary at best at this point). It seemed to be centred on a river valley where some old disused railway tunnels were carved through the mountain and, said Merlin, the tunnels contained a ‘time portal’.

Needless to say, this was a fascinating topic of conversation for dowsers, yet I didn’t give it much more thought as it seemed unlikely that I would get to see these tunnels. But a group of five dowsers from Calgary started wondering if they could manage to pay a visit to the tunnels on their trip home after the conference.

On the Monday following conference, I ran a full-day labyrinth workshop on the waterfront at Harrison, marking out a 7-circuit Classical labyrinth using Robert Ferré’s rope-and-string method. The participants in the workshop, as fate would have it, were the very same five Calgarians (another two people who had planned on attending it cancelled at the last minute).

Demonstrating ‘Gardner’s Double Appleton’ on the beach at Harrison.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon working with the labyrinth, exploring its use as a problem-solving tool by overlaying the chakras on the seven paths, and we also worked it as a tool for personal insight by mapping the seven planets of traditional astrology onto the paths. Having thus exercised their left brains, I then worked on their right brains by introducing them to ‘Gardner’s Double Appleton’, where the incoming ‘seeker’ was guided with eyes shut into the very centre labyrinth – a very moving experience for everyone as it turned out. Some passing tourists were quickly dragged into the fun as we were doing this, although I don’t think they quite knew what they were letting themselves in for!

During the afternoon, a plan was conceived that Merlin would lead us all to visit the tunnels and the time vortex the next day. I was going with her to drive up to Vernon, where I was to be based for the next week, and the Calgarians had a ten-hour plus drive to get home, so it meant a very early start in the morning.

Othello tunnels
The Othello tunnels

Departing Harrison with only a cup of hotel room coffee to sustain us, we drove for some miles before stopping at a roadside diner in a little town called Hope, best known for its use as a location in the first Rambo movie. Here, after a hearty breakfast, we proceeded up to a walking path that used to be the Kettle Valley railroad, to a stretch of old trackbed known as the Othello tunnels (the engineer, Andrew McCulloch, used to enjoy reciting Shakespeare to his construction workers around the campfire of an evening, apparently). This was a strong vortex area according to Merlin, and certainly the energies felt extremely powerful as we walked up the trail and into the first tunnel. My head was buzzing as we went through the tunnel, and my trusty aurameter was flopping around in increasingly frantic circles as we progressed through ever-more powerful layers of the vortex.

Once through the first tunnel, we found ourselves in a narrow gorge with a raging torrent of a river below us on our left, and tall cliff faces all around. During construction of the tunnels, workers had been lowered down the sheer cliffs on ropes to hack away at the rock and plant their dynamite to create the tunnels. Merlin wanted to take each of us individually forward to experience what she described as a time portal, but she gave us no other information about it. Whilst she got the others, one at a time, to walk slowly towards the second tunnel with their dowsing rods, I tuned into the water below and gradually became aware of three ‘stone people’ watching over this gorge. In Britain I would probably have called them trolls, but here they felt more like ancestral guardians, watching over the land and the river. So I gave them greetings and asked for their blessing on what we were doing, which I felt was forthcoming, and sang to them quietly while the others in the group, completed their experience and bade us goodbye as they left for the long drive back to Calgary.

River 'guardian' head
River ‘guardian’ head

Walking forward slowly with my aurameter poised and my eyes shut, and bearing in mind Merlin’s suggestion of looking for an ‘anomaly’, I suddenly felt that I had stepped down about a foot into a small pit. Here I felt a vortex of energies around me, and waves of energy seemed to be rising from the ground and passing up my body. Then I felt a vibration in my feet as though the ground was rumbling, closely followed by the sound of a train whistle and the feeling of a train rushing past right beside me! After that, I could hear what sounded like pickaxes on rock working in rhythm. It was the most extraordinary thing.

When I came back to myself, Merlin told me that she had experienced the same thing on her first visit to this spot, except that the sensation of a train approaching was so strong that she physically pushed her companion out of the way. All the other people in our group that morning had felt the same thing.

All in all, the Othello tunnels are quite a remarkable spot!

Grahame Gardner
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