Rocky Mountaineer

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After our time in Banff and Jasper, we had our trip on the Rocky Mountaineer railway.

Thursday 16th May and Friday 17th May was our Rocky Mountaineer experience. A journey from Jasper, through the Rockies, with an overnight stop at Kamloops before ending in Vancouver.

We were not sure about paying extra for the observation coach, and decided on the basic coach, which was fine. It wasn’t crowded, so we could swap seats to be by a window, and stand on the viewing platform. The scenery was indeed spectacular, but it was difficult to concentrate on it all the time, so we were happy with basic.

We had an excellent steward to look after our coach, serving us breakfast, lunch, drinks and snacks at regular intervals. He kept us amused with details of places of interest we passed, stories and anecdotes. He gave an in depth talk on the life of salmon, and challenged us to write a poem about a salmons life, which were read next day and the best one got a badge – The Order of the Salmon! He also had on display his own collection of train memorabilia. He gave us warning of any photo opportunities coming up – the train slowed down for most!

We had an overnight stop at Kamloops. Coaches picked us up and took us to our hotel. Our driver did a detour to show us the town, and pointed out it was a grand place, worthy of a visit, not just an overnight stop! Check in was on the coach, so it was all very smooth. We had an excellent meal in an adjacent restaurant, overlooking a river. The stop was well orchestrated, with the coach returning to pick us up next morning, and straight to the train to resume our journey.

There was a variety of scenery – mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, rapids, semi dessert, canyons and arable land. Conifer trees gradually changed to deciduous trees with increasing green leaves as we travelled west and reached lower altitudes.

As well as the scenery, I saw some mountain sheep, bald eagles, ospreys, lewis? Woodpecker and red winged blackbird. The drawback of train travel is that you catch glimpses of interesting places, birds and animals, but only for a few seconds – then they are gone! The scale and variety of scenery made it a memorable journey, taking an overview rather than detail.

I don’t know how long this attraction has been in existence, but it was run in an extremely slick and professional manner, with nice personal touches, like the enthusiasm of the guide and the line-up of staff to wave as the train departed.

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