Trans-Canada Rail Trek

Day 4 - October 10, 2007 – Wednesday – Kamloops, BC to Banff, Alberta

It was so dark in Kamloops when we woke up at 5:40 am! By 6:30 we had met our fellow travelers at the lobby and we were on our way to the train station.

The logistics of picking everyone up from the hundreds of hotels and getting everyone on the right train car on time was incredible! We arrived at the tracks at 7:00 and found our way to the very last train car.

The train left the station at 7:15 and we said goodbye to the town of Kamloops. Every one at the station waved to us; they were so happy to have the trains running again! We left town with a toast of orange juice and champagne. Our friends from the bus trip yesterday, Thaddée and Michelle were joined by Robin and Tim in taking care of our whole train car and the 72 passengers on board.

We were lucky to be in the Gold Leaf Service provided by the Rocky Mountaineer and included in our Vantage package. Our whole group, 46 of us, was all in the same upper level vaulted observation car. We had wide reclining comfortable seats and plenty of leg room.

We were given the safety procedures of the train and we were very pleased to know that the whole train is smoke free, even outside in the vestibule at the rear of the train.

We marveled at the Hoodoos, the eroded glacial formations carved when the last ice age warmed. Tim explained that we were at the end of the Sockeye Salmon run and we could see eagles and some people see an occasional bear waiting for the salmon to make a mistake. He also told us that of the 5000 eggs a female lays, only two make it to adult hood and come back for the spawning season.

Under the domed car was our dining room and at 8:00 we were invited down to have breakfast. We were able to order from a varied menu of specialty delights.

The aspen in this area were just beautiful and at their peak of the color season. This part of British Columbia has been plagued with an infestation of the pine bark beetles and literally millions of Ponderosa Pine trees have been devastated and these areas are ripe for forest fires.

Our journey continued eastward to the mighty Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. We saw a spectacular range of scenery as we traveled across ranchlands, along rocky lakeshores, over high mountain passes and through the remarkable tunnels that form part of the rich rail history of the Canadian Rockies.

Along with the natural beauty one of the highlights included Craigellachie where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven. We also climbed over Rogers Pass, passed though the Kicking Horse Canyon, and went through the Spiral Tunnels. These are a remarkable feat of railroad engineering!

Most of these small towns are dependent on the tourist industry and are hunting and fishing paradises! We passed a huge Birds Unlimited Habitat and saw many species of birds including eagles, osprey, Canada Geese, and many species of duck!

We were able to follow our progress on a map provided for us. As we climbed higher and higher into the mountains we were able to see the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

At the town of Revelstoke we entered into the Rocky Mountain Region. We had to stop and take on a new crew from the Canadian Pacific Rail Company. We started with a crew from the Canadian National but because they share tracks, specific crews have jurisdiction in certain regions.

Just when we thought we would never eat again, we were called to the first sitting of lunch at 1:00. We had a wonderful meal and then promised ourselves it would be the last of the day! The Rocky Mountaineer has certainly fed us well!

We passed through the Rocky Mountain Trench with the older Purcell Mountain Range on the west and the younger Rocky Mountains on the east. We are still following the Columbia River as it flows through the canyons. About 2 hours from Banff and about 4100 feet of altitude, we started to hit a heavy mist and sleet. We could see the snow in the rugged peaks above us.

I continued to divide my time between the vestibule outside at the back of the train to take pictures and the dome car to get warm. Surprisingly, we saw very few animals at this elevation. Only a lone elk was drinking at the banks of the river and a black bear was also sited by a few of our travelers.

We crossed the Continental Divide at 5,332 feet above sea level at about 5:00 pm. A few minutes later we crossed into the province of Alberta and changed our watches back to Mountain Time.

It was dusk when we arrived at the train station in Banff and bid farewell to the crew of the Rocky Mountaineer. We were greeted by a driver, Jose who gave us a brief orientation tour of the small town of Banff and then took us to The Rimrock Resort Hotel about 1/3 of the way up the mountain.

We checked into our room at 7:30, did a little laundry, finished the journal and sorted the photos of our wonderful day’s journey into the Canadian Rockies!

Rimrock Resort Hotel (B & L)


O trem é um show e a comida então, só de lembrar, engordo.

Sylvia (tia Isa)   October 24, 2007 - 6:52pm

This sounds like a fabulous trip! The 5:40am part is a little off-putting, but that's just me... Keep those posts coming!

Charles Pugh   October 11, 2007 - 4:40pm
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Trip Map

Trip Map

Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer

Last Spike Site

Last Spike Site

Rocky Mountaineer at the Canadian Rockies

Rocky Mountaineer at the Canadian Ro...

Gold Leaf Service

Gold Leaf Service

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