Trans-Canada Rail Trek

Day 7 - October 13, 2007 – Saturday – Jasper, Alberta board The Canadian

We woke up to very cold day with a heavy frost – at first we thought it was snow!

Because we have a tiny space on the sleeper cars on our train for the next few days, we had to bring a small carry-on bag. The large luggage left for the train at 7:45 and we met our fellow travelers in the breakfast at 8 AM.

We gathered in the lobby, small bags in hand, and Mike stored them under the bus for us while we went on our morning’s adventure. Rosalie left us to make arrangements for the train and Heidi, or step-on guide joined us for the morning.

Jasper is a major railroad town with over 40 trains passing through each day. Not only are there passenger trains but also many freight trains carrying sulfur, grain, lumber, and other Canadian products.

Just outside of town we saw a herd of elk, several males along with their harem of females who were grazing in the trees. They are very comfortable in town as the elk feel safe from the wolves and cougars.

We stopped at Patricia Lake to take a few photos. The reflections on the lake were incredible on this beautiful frosty morning. All of the aspen have dropped their leaves here in the Victoria Cross Range. However the white bark of the trees will feed the elk and deer as it contains chlorophyll.

We made our way out of Jasper National Park and headed to another area of the Park called Maligne Canyon. An oil pipe line is being built along the highway and through the Park.

Unskilled labor is being paid $30/hour with $150 per diem for expenses. So all of the workers are being taken from the regular jobs in Jasper and housing costs have skyrocketed.

We saw two mule deer and several mountain goats as we crossed the Athabasca River. At Maligne Canyon several of us go off the bus with Heidi and took a 30 minute hike through the park. As we walked she pointed out many interesting aspects of the forest. It was a brisk walk – the temperature was 33 degrees and it was 67% humidity as we walked along the canyon.

In most places we could only hear the water rushing below as the limestone walls were so steep and dark we could not see the bottom, 165 feet below us. We saw a 99 foot high water fall which freezes in the winter and many people use if for ice climbing.

Heidi pointed out several fossils in the dark limestone walkways. These fossils are 350 million years old and were formed when this area was a warm shallow inland sea.

When we got back to the bus at 10:45, Heidi continued to tell us about the geological formations of the surrounding mountains. The highlight of the morning adventure was a wolf sighting. This is very rare here in Jasper National Park and Heidi and Mike were just as excited as we were to see this elusive creature in the wild.

The train was late so instead of boarding when we got to the station back in Jasper, we were given a voucher for lunch at the Old Athabasca Hotel. This hotel was the first in the city and has had many famous patrons.

We had to be back at the train station at 12:45 only to hear that the train would not arrive until 1:30. Then it would take at least another 30 minutes to service the train so we had plenty of time to look around the station.

I took photos, Gennie found a postcard and stamp (a very rare combination) and we talked to others who were waiting at this old train station to pass the time.

We did not board the train until 2:30 but we found our sleeping compartment, 217C, right away. Rosalie invited us all to the observation car for a glass of champagne to begin our journey.

We had a full train with over 200 people sharing two dining rooms and common spaces. Our compartment is 5X7 with fold down bunks that our attendant pulls down to sleep.

We had two chairs and a big picture window so we have great views of the passing landscape of this part of Canada. We also have our own sink and toilet but we will share a shower with the others in our train car.

We had dinner in the first sitting and we had a nice variety of food for our evening meal. We then went into the observation car and sat with a couple of Brits, Bob and Jean from Canterbury. What a great conversation exchanging thoughts of our lifestyle, weather, conservation, and families.

When we returned to our little room the beds were down and all ready for us. We set ourselves up and the then heard that in 20 minutes we would be in Edmonton. The announcements are given in English and then French.

I am going to try to send this out in Edmonton, but it will be a 20 minute stop. I hope this gets to everyone tonight. This is a new experience.

The Canadian (B, L, D)


Essa formaçao da pedra trabalhada pela agua é parecida com o que temos no Vale da Lua na Chapada dos Veadeiros

Sylvia (tia Isa)   October 24, 2007 - 7:24pm
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Trip Map

Trip Map



Maligne Canyon Falls

Maligne Canyon Falls

Jasper Train Station

Jasper Train Station

Luggage at Jasper

Luggage at Jasper

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