21st – 22nd June 2013: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey

Day 1 –Vancouver to Kamloops: We boarded the Rocky Mountaineer, looking forward to experiencing their GoldLeaf Service and taking-in the awe-inspiring scenery from the custom-designed, upper level, glass-domed car.  The scenery is stunningly picturesque and the gourmet breakfast and lunch prepared from regional cuisine by award-winning chefs was delicious.  Taking photos through the glass dome was challenging, so to be sure we did have a pictorial memory we have purchased the highlights DVD.

This morning we were given the devastating news that due to the dreadful flood situation in Alberta, our destinations of Banff and Lake Louise had been affected.   By late this evening we were advised of the contingency plan which is to reroute the train to Jasper tomorrow, spend two days there, then all going well travel to Lake Louise and Banff on our way back to Vancouver – if the roads have been re-opened and the flooding subsided.  Our concern now is for the quality of the accommodation and our holiday.  Our accommodation in Jasper has had to be changed and as yet we do not know where we will be staying tomorrow night.

During today’s journey we passed through the fertile fields of the Fraser Valley and viewed the towering peaks of the Coast Mountains before entering the Fraser Canyon.

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We witnessed the thundering waters of Hell’s Gate and followed the Thompson River to historic Kamloops, gateway to the interior of British Columbia.

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Magnificent scenery in every direction, it is difficult to know where to look and the glass-domed roof allows perfect viewing of the highest snow-capped peaks, absolutely breathtaking!

Tonight we have been booked into the Thompson Motel in Kamloops (as per the original plan), which is quite ordinary after the accommodation we have experienced in Victoria and Vancouver. Just as well we have been well fed during the day; the restaurant options are quite limited.

Day 2 – Kamloops to Jasper (Plan B):  We boarded the rocky Mountaineer this morning (not having anymore information that yesterday) heading for our new destination of Jasper.  The scenery today is even more picturesque than yesterday; we travelled through Barriere, Little Fort and Clearwater in the Shuswap Highlands where the train tracks crossed over the top of and then ran alongside the North Thompson River.

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We passed the towns of Blue River, Valemont in the Columbia Mountains; through Mount Robson Park, home of the majestic Mount Robson, and then on to Yellowhead Pass into Jasper.

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On arrival in Jasper we were advised that our planned accommodation was not available and so we were being taken by bus back to Blue River where we had been booked into the Wiegele Helicopter Ski Lodge for 2 nights.  We arrived at our accommodation at 9pm to be advised that we would be in shared accommodation; we had 6 couples in our chalet, our rooms had ensuite bathrooms, shared lounge room and kitchen with a washing machine and dryer (NO in-house laundry facilities).  So trying to keep a positive attitude we all stayed up till midnight hand washing clothes.

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