Sun 29th ….We left you last time seeing a chap standing outside his house in Jasper, alongside a table with some ‘junk’, although he informed us that earlier it had been full to over-flowing. It was in a lovely residential area, and seemed a bit odd.
However the explanation was simple and sensible……periodically, people put out unwanted, but servicable items. Anyone can then come along and take any of them without charge, for their own use. Presumably reciprocity is expected so that everyone can get a glimpse of (and possibly obtain) others’ rubbish. Recycling made simple!
Having solved that query, we continued on our walk round this pleasant town. I got some video of one of the large freight trains running through with over 140 coaches! On the way, we had a good viewing of a large deer grazing beside the road, oblivious to the presence of humans or traffic. By this time our digestion and body-clock synchronisation was still not right and we were snacking at all sorts of strange times. Lunch was at Cafe Mondo with home-made salmon sandwiches….to be recommended!
Next morning, at a quite unreasonable hour, we left Chateau Jasper, and assembled with others at the local railway station to join the Rocky Mountaineer on a ‘Journey Through the Clouds’. This is one of a number of great trains which traverse (guess what!) the Rocky Mountains, all starting from, or returning to, Vancouver. The weather having previously been mixed, we had been concerned about whether the splendour of the mountains would be revealed in all their glory….we needn’t have worried! The sky was blue, and the mountains were inviting as we all talked excitedly about the coming journey, and pinned-on our little maple-leaf badges.
The tour on which we were involved had two standards of service, Gold Leaf, and Red Leaf. The Gold Leaf passengers had access to a glass-domed observation area, as well as cooked-on-board meals. We were very happy with the Red Leaf standard, and would be quite happy to recommend it to anyone.
We settled into our carriage which had about 50 seats with loads of leg space (airlines, please note). There were about 38 of us in this carriage, so a lot of empty seats. Seemingly this is intended so that we could move easily to the side would give us a better view. We had a lovely stewardess, who served meals and gave us a running commentary on the journey and what we should watch-out for. A load of video was taken, but the following link is probably the best way to get a general feeling for it all…
Jasper Lake was the first major stretch of water after we started off, and riding along quietly south west, along the Fraser River, we were increasingly impressed and astounded by the beauty of the scenery. We were then suddenly instructed to put our watches back one hour as we had left the Alberta time zone and entering British Columbia. Pine trees, animals, eagles, ospreys, rivers, and (obviously) spectacular mountains appeared at every bend and the video camera could be left on permanently. Sometimes we had to slow down or even stop to let another train pass so the opportunity came to get photographs.
Two spectacular natural formations then had to be seen, and so the train slowed up to ensure we got good photos. Firstly, the Pyramid Falls……
………and Mount Robson, which is the highest point in the Rockies, and is only completely seen about 10 days in the year, so we were lucky….
Because the rail-line was often alongside the edge of steep valleys, many tunnels were necessary either for access or to afford protection from falling rocks. With the necessary curvature of the track we sometimes got a good glimpse of the front of the train heading into the tunnel, and looking remarkably like a snake.
And so the miles drifted on and as the land flattened out we came to the end of the first day and approached our half-way point…Kamloops. We’re off to the hotel to get changed and go out for a meal. Good Night! See you later, and I’ll tell you about what happened!