On August 29, 2014, we flew to Seattle and spent two days before catching the train for a 10-day trip into the Canadian Rockies. We were in Seattle last year and found it to be as beautiful as we remembered. It is very easy to see why it is called the Emerald City. The weather was beautiful on the first day, but rained the second day. However, that did not stop us from again enjoying some of what that beautiful city has to offer.
Pike Place Market remains a favorite of ours, and it is so much fun to walk the waterfront, especially on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
On the third day we boarded the Rocky Mountaineer for a great adventure into unbelievably beautiful scenery. Although we did not sleep on the train, we spent our days on the upper level of a fully-glassed car. Each car had its own private dining room, chef, and serving staff occupying the lower level, serving white-tablecloth breakfast, lunch and dinner. Daily assigned seating areas were on the upper, fully-glassed deck, which was spacious and comfortable with unlimited drinks (soft and hard) and “munchies” served by friendly stewards.
Our Rocky Mountaineer adventure took us to:
Vancouver: Two days were not enough to enjoy all this city has to offer, from its spectacular North Shore, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain Skyride, Gransville Island Public Market to Stanley Park.
From Vancouver we headed through the heart of British Columbia’s interior towards Kamloops. We saw dramatic changes in scenery, from lush green fields of the Fraser Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mts., to the desert-like environment of the BC interior. Highlighted by rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon and steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River.
After a restful night in Kamloops, we headed north and east into the mighty Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. Once again we were surrounded by dramatic scenery as we followed the banks of the North Thompson River through the Monashee and Cariboo Mts., climbing ever nearer the high peaks of the Continental Divide, including Mount Robson (12,972 ft), the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Pyramid Falls, and over the Yellowhead Pass into Jasper Nat’l Park. We will end our rail ride in Jasper.
Jasper is a lovely little town, and Jasper Nat’l Park is a World Heritage Site and Canada’s largest National park. After two days of scenic sight seeing, including the many natural attractions of rugged peaks, and a few wild creatures, we head to Lake Louise via motor coach. Because there are no passenger rails between Jasper and Lake Louise, a motor coach transported us along one of the most scenic highways in the world, the Icefields Parkway. We took a ride on an Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier to learn more about its geological features.
Lake Louise!!!! Absolutely the highlight of the trip. Its beauty can only be truly appreciated in person, so these photos and verbage will not do it justice. The hotel is exquisite, and we were so lucky to have a room at the famed Fairmont Chateau that looked directly out over the lake. Not to mention the weather was superb. Because the lake is formed by melting glacial water, it has that unreal turquois blue color that is the hallmark color of all glaciers. Please try and imagine its beauty.
Time at Lake Louise was too short, but more of Alberta called us. We began our drive to Banff, visiting Yoho Nat’l Park along the way.
After one night in Banff, we began a busy day of sight seeing before heading to Calgary.
Before we arrived in Calgary, we stopped and took a helicopter tour over some of the remarkable landscapes of the Rockies.
Calgary was our departing city and the final day of our journey. The weather was very warm when we arrived so we took advantage of walking the city and visiting the landmark Calgary Tower (525 feet).
On our way back to the hotel from the tower, the wind changed and the temperature dropped about 10-15 degrees. Our last morning there was wet and cold, and the prediction was for heavy snow that evening. The next day, after we returned home, Calgary received one of its earliest snowstorms on record. Whew, made it out just in time!