Trans-Canada Rail Trek

Day 3 - October 9, 2007 – Tuesday – Hell’s Gate & Kamloops

Our alarm went off at 5 AM and our luggage had to be out at 5:30. We met our group in the lobby at 6:15 to go to the train station and saw Rosalie checking the luggage.

We waited around and wondered why we were having a delay and then a representative from the Rocky Mountaineer (RM) greeted us with the news that there had been a train derailment Monday morning and the track was blocked to Kamloops.

The best laid plans were changed and all of us were put on a bus and taken two blocks to the Hyatt. There we were served a wonderful buffet breakfast and then given our instructions for the day.

As we ate, the Chief Financial Officer from the Rocky Mountaineer Corporation came to each table and apologized for the inconvenience. He also offered compensation for the missed portion of the trip.

Even though the train company was officially in charge of this operation, our tour director Rosalie was trying to keep all 45 of us together and calm, answering questions, and reassuring those who were not comfortable with these sudden changes.

Most of our group were understanding; taking it all in stride. Some were even helping the others to look at the bright side – it was certainly better to be the day after the train wreck than actually in it!

At 8 as we were all waiting in the lobby of the Hyatt, Gennie talked to another member of the train executive team who told her that over 1100 people were supposed to ride the trains to and from Kamloops.

Bus service to our destination was speedily arranged by the company – flexibility is the key to being a traveler! At 8:45 our group reboarded the bus and we were greeted by the crew of the RM; Thaddée and Michelle along with our driver George. As we made our way out of town on the Canadian Highway 1, Thaddée told us about the First Nation culture of the area.

We followed the route of the muddy Fraser River. We passed the flat agricultural valley where fruits, vegetables, as well as ornamental plants and flowers are grown. It was much warmer here because of the “pineapple express” - air currents that bring moderate weather to this valley.

As we entered the city of Hope, we reached the end of the flat valley and drove into the steep canyon lands. We passed through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coastal and Cascade Mountains.

The beautiful colors of the fall trees were contrasted with the dark green of the pines. We crossed over the Fraser where the traders and trappers caught the beaver, the national symbol of Canada.

At 11:15 we stopped at Hell’s Gate and had a box lunch at the treacherous deep gorge. We rode the tram to the other side of the steep canyon where sat outside with our picnic lunches and listened to a bagpiper.

The temperature at Hell’s Gate was 53 degrees and 71% humidity, cool but sunny and pleasant. We had to be back at the bus at 12 and we were all ready for the next leg of our journey.

We left the lush green of the coastal range and entered the desert-like environment of the interior caused by the rain shadow of the western mountains. Along the Thompson River we saw thousands of dead salmon who had not made it the 250 miles upstream to spawn. We had to stop along the road for a herd of Bighorn Sheep who were crossing the road in this dry mountainous region.

We made a brief restroom stop in the gold mining area of Cache Creek and were able to stretch our legs. We all commented on how much this terrain looks like Wyoming and western Colorado with the rolling hills of sage brush and tumbleweed.

We arrived at our Holiday Inn Express at 3:30 and settled into our room. We started the journal and looked at our pictures before deciding to take a walk to get some air and cool down.

We had seen a Costco just up the street so we walked there and then went through the store. It is always interesting to see their selections and compare to Colorado. Their winter clothing is much more extensive and then there were all those hockey items on sale – sticks, tape, goals, and many other things.

At 7:45 we went to the lobby where we met the group that was going to attend the Great Canadian Lumberjack Dinner and Show.

It was an evening of comedic relief featuring two world-class lumberjacks competing to be the best in town. We were amazed by their skills, tricks, and showmanship. Among the challenges they faced were a tree climb, an axe throwing competition, and an entertaining log rolling contest.

Holiday Inn Express (B, L, D)


Fizemos o inverso e este trecho de ônibus deve ser melhor que de trem

Sylvia (tia Isa)   October 24, 2007 - 6:42pm

I hope those other understanding passengers were able to calm you down from the change in plans!

Duane H. Feisel   October 11, 2007 - 12:18am
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Trip Map

Trip Map

Rosalie Checking Luggage

Rosalie Checking Luggage

Hell’s Gate

Hell’s Gate

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

At the bottom of Hell’s Gate

At the bottom of Hell’s Gate

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