Our destination was the town of Kamloops. From our hotel we were whisked off to the Rocky Mountain rail station where everyone gathered in the main hall prior to boarding the train. Piano music was playing on arrival and a bagpiper finished off the pre-boarding formalities, along with a welcome address from Rocky Mountain’s CEO.
We were soon boarding and on our way. Sunny weather accompanied us throughout the journey. The change in the scenery backdrop along the way was impressive. We left Vancouver, and travelled through rich deciduous and coniferous vegetation, as we weaved our way through the rocky landscape. We followed Fraser river for much of the way. Gradually the scenery took on a more arid nature. Barren mountainsides had a beauty of their own, coloured with mineral and sulphur deposits. Stunted and sparser tree growth became more frequent as the journey progressed.
There were a lot of good photo opportunities to capture the scenery as well as some of the wildlife. Several bald eagles and osprey were spotted along the way as well big horn sheep. We also passed several freight trains which seemed to go on for miles carrying their goods.
The food and service on the Rocky Mountaineer is first class and we already know that when we return to the UK we will be carrying a lot of excess baggage around our waistlines! I’ll definitely have to do a lot of cycling to redress that.
Tomorrow we travel on to Banff and we have been warned that the scenery will get even more spectacular!
Today included a trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you have seen the suspension bridge in the Temple of Doom then you have some idea of today’s trip. From the moment you stepped on the bridge it swayed from side to side. Luckily no one severed any of the cables saving me from emulating an Indiana Jones type escape.
The bridge has been in existence since 1889 but thankfully has been updated and modified over the years. The 450 foot span allows some great views of this North American rainforest.
I also took some interesting shots of totem (story) poles which have been created and placed here by First Nation artists over the last 90 years.
Also included today was a trip to Grouse Mountain which overlooks the city of Vancouver. We were able to see a couple of “rescued” grizzly bears as well as some good views of Vancouver.
And finally the obligatory selfie …
A good day, although our tour guide seemed to be on a personal crusade to save the world. He was from one of indigenous tribes in this area. He talked non-stop about conservation but unfortunately it was information overload for a bus of mixed tourists.
It would have been all very interesting as a formal lecture and I personally learned a lot about salmon issues in the area as well as the development of conservation in British Columbia. But it went over most people’s heads. Bite sized chunks of key information, with pauses in between, would of been good! His heart, however, was in the right place.
Tomorrow we start our holiday proper. It will be the first day of our rail journey on the Rocky Mountaineer. We head north east towards Kamloops – our first stop. It looks like the weather will be fine so hopefully we will get some good views along the way.
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to visit Canada and particularly the Rocky Mountains. I never got around to organising a trip it but I finally made the effort this year. And what a trip it should be!
I’m taking my wife, Susan, along with me (naturally) and we will travelling on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer through the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountaineer, is a Canadian tour company, they offer various rail trips aboard their luxury coaches through Western Canada. The trip starts and ends in Vancouver.
We spend a total of five days on the train stopping off at various locations and will have the opportunity of visiting natural sights in those areas. Our stop-off points will be Kamloops, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper. Quesnel and Whistler.
Some of the sights we will visit en route include Bow Falls, Lake Minnewanka, Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Falls, Yoho, Banff and Jasper National Parks. Aside from those there will be the breathtaking scenery to take in as we wind our way through the Rocky Mountains.
The whole trip will last a fortnight and we also get to spend a few days in Vancouver, exploring all that city has to offer. To say we are looking forward to it is an understatement and it certainly is one to tick off our bucket list!
We start our journey in May and if you want to follow us on our Journey through the Rockies, I will posting a day-by-day blog update, together with photos. Whilst, I’ll endeavour to post updates en route, some of the postings will probably be when we return to the UK.