28 – 30 June 2010
Westward Across the Prairie to Edmonton
After leaving Winnipeg at mid-day on Monday, we passed blazing yellow fields of canola plants, with bright purple flax plants mixed in. We were now in the prairie and the remainder of the afternoon was spent moving through a series of towns dotted with grain elevators and onion-shaped churches, signifying the Eastern European immigration in this area.
Soon after the train crossed into Saskatchewan, an extended stop in Melville, gave us an opportunity to take a quick walk along the train. After dinner, some final prairie views in the extended daylight provided some further picture taking possibilities. As we were going to sleep, the city lights of Saskatoon were seen in the distance, as the train stopped at a station several miles from the city.
Canadian Rockies and Arrival in Vancouver
A beautiful sunrise greeted us on Tuesday morning, just east of Edmonton, Alberta. Similar to Saskatoon, the Edmonton train station is located several miles outside of the city, so we were able to just walk around the train during the hour we were there. Soon after we left Edmonton, the prairie faded away and we began to see more lakes and rivers as we anticipated the first views of the Rocky Mountains.
Finally we were able to see the first signs of the mountains in the distance, which caused great excitement throughout the train. More mountains came into view as the train moved along the foothills, along with beautiful lakes and streams. At about 1pm we arrived in Jasper, Alberta, which is located in the national park of the same name. Many people on the train break their journey here and stay in this area for a few days. The 90 minute stop gave us time to walk along the town streets and do some shopping.
Back on the train, we passed the continental divide, marking the border of Alberta and British Columbia. Soon after we saw a bear outside the train window! As we continued to move west during the afternoon, we passed the “Monarch of the Canadian Rockies”, Mount Robson, which at 12,972 feet (3,954 meters) is the highest peak in the Rockies. We continued to see beautiful mountain vistas and breathtaking lakes and rivers, including the 300 foot (91 meter) high Pyramid Falls, complete with a rainbow. A final extended early evening stop in Blue River, BC gave us a few minutes to stretch our legs before going to the dining car for our last dinner as the sky moved towards dusk.
On Wednesday morning we woke up a couple of hours outside of Vancouver which gave us enough time for breakfast in the dining car and final packing before arriving at the train station a little before 9am, which was about one hour ahead of schedule. After leaving our bags at the station, we spent the day seeing downtown Vancouver. After visiting Stanley Park, the Vancouver aquarium and the downtown waterfront, we went back to pick up our bags at the train station and then took the light rail to the airport and our evening flight home.
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