Friday, 13 October 2006

Rocky Mountaineer

Vancouver to Calgary via Kamloops in Canada.
With a 5.30am start, the first day of the train trip on the Rockie Mountaineer train through the Rockies finished up 4 hours longer than scheduled. Unbeknown to us the train had been travelling at a greatly reduced speed for some time due to a fault on one of the Gold Leaf carriages. Eventually the train stopped where the faulty carriage could be removed from the train. This created a logistical nightmare for the crew as they had to move 70 passengers into the remaining 3 Gold Leaf carriages. Luckily the train was not full so they were able to relocate everybody. After an hour or so we were under way again at normal speed. As it was another beautiful day nobody was complaining as the scenery was spectacular as can be seen in the bottom photo where the view is reflected in the calm surface of one of the lakes west of Banff. With the train being so late the chefs aboard the Gold Leaf kitchen were given the additional task of supplying an extra meal for all the passengers both Gold & Red leaf. Normally Red Leaf meals are airline style meals pre-prepared and loaded aboard for breakfast and lunch only, with snacks for in between.
Another downside to all of this meant we were going to be late arriving in Kamloops and would miss out on the dinner and live show. However all was not lost as the Rockie Mountaineer tour company offered everybody who was affected a refund and when we arrived at our overnight accomodation we received a written apology from the company and a copy of a book about the Rockies and the train.

Day 2
Another 5.30am start because the train departed at 7am with breakfast being served onboard. Today was the day everybody was on the lookout for wild animals as we were travelling through the Rockie Mountains national park. During the course of the day we spotted a lone coyote hunting in a hay field, hundreds of red salmon in the crystal clear rivers, several elk and a couple of white tailed deer. Also seen were two mountain goats AND one solitary black bear which was no more than ten feet from the train track. We thought that we might miss out on seeing a bear due to them hibernating during winter but we struck lucky (unfortunately we came across it too quickly to take a photo).
The remainder of the trip was even more spectacular scenery.

Anyone thinking of doing this trip on the Rocky Mountaineer we highly recommend it as one of the worlds greatest train trips. A special thanks to Doug our tour steward in carriage CB04 for making it such a special event.

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