The rapids from the airtram. Photo by Gregory Melle, (flickr)
Hell’s Gate is a narrowing in the Fraser River, in British Columbia. The Fraser is a very large river, and by the time it reaches Hell’s Gate, a few hundred kilometers from its mouth, there is a lot of water flowing through the river, 200 million gallons per minute at high water. With all of this water flowing through the river, the Fraser Canyon narrows so that the river is only 110 feet, (35 meters), wide, creating an incredible whitewater attraction that is nearly impassable by water.
It was first discovered by Simon Fraser who wrote in his journal “surely this is the gate of hell” hence the name Hell’s Gate. Today you can ride an airtram out over Hell’s Gate and see the power of the water for yourself.
When looking for information about Spuzzum, I ran across this photo of the sign for the Scuzzy Creek Forest Service Road in British Columbia.
Photo by Robert Park
Scuzzy Creek is a creek in British Columbia that joins the Fraser River just upstream of Hell’s Gate. From some extensive Googling, and from its general location, it appears that Scuzzy Creek was panned for gold during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.
I have found two very different versions of the origins of the name Scuzzy Creek. This web page says that Scuzzy, (or the word it may come from, Scaucy – also the name of the Indian Reserve right beside Scuzzy Creek), means jump or jumping, so Scuzzy Creek is probably named after its waterfalls. However, it may also be that Scuzzy Creek was named after the sternwheeler Skuzzy, the first steamwheeler to successfully navigate through Hells Gate.