Rocky Mountaineer, Canada: Sept 2011

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We set the alarm for 5.45am and joined the grey brigade down at Rocky Moutaineer Central for the 7.30am ” All Aboard ” call. The masses of carriages then headed off 30mins later for a 9 hr journey up the rivers to Kamloops. The sights started to get interesting after about 2 hrs and the changing scenery was constantly awe inspiring.

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The train was very well fitted out and comfortable with each car having it’s designated seating area upstairs and dining car downstairs. The food has been of a very high standard but we are not doing anything sitting down all day, so we need to be careful of our consumption.

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The amount of water flowing through Hells Gate, the narrowest part of the river was amazing and at only 35m wide it packs some punch.

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This is very rugged country and it is astounding to think how men created this amazing feat of engineering around 150 years ago.

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The scenery turned from step cliffs to forest to almost desert like scenes with some looking like moonscapes and constant landslides must cause many problems.

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When two river joined the change was amazing going from muddy to crystal clear as we headed up the Thompson river and again an ever changing landscape.

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This area is renowned for it’s river rapids sports and on a scale of 6 is classed a 5 and it looks it, plus it is freezing all year round.

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As we get closer to Kamloops the mountains get smaller and the plains start to be more frequent and more signs of civilization appear, but it is still the river that dominates.

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With 480km of the 2 day 1,000 km journey completed we arrived in Kamloops and suffered from the symptoms of train legs but it feels like we have been on a boat so very woozy as we write this.

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Tomorrow we climb further into the Rockies and some more amazing scenery, we even spotted our sister train heading in the opposite direction across the river today and should see the same tomorrow. Some of the freight trains we saw today went for few kilometers, unlike anything we have ever seen.

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The next morning we were off early and it did not take long for the scenery to change again. We were now in the lakes country and the mirror surfaces were reflecting the mountains beautifully at every turn

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The shores were lined in many places with fishing huts as this is a very popular holiday destination and surprisingly many of the lakes are warm water 23deg for 9 months of the year, it must be thermal. It is the houseboat capital of Canada with one lake housing over 300 boats.

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Past the main lakes wecame across our first serious snow topped mountain and then followed another river which was vivid blue and then onto another such lake before then following a white colored river to the next changing scenery. The water is coloured by the minerals that are washed down the river from their source and the light reflects of this in the water.

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The trees were getting denser, the slopes steeper, the mountains higher, the foliage more colorful and the rapids more rugged.

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As we got closer to Banff more and more high peaks appeared and then we reached our highest point at about 1,500m when we crossed the continental divide and were officially in the Rockies.

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We came across some cute houses at the base of some massive steep mountains, this one in Field adjacent to Cathedral Mountain, it’s the one on the left not too fat from Lake Louise.

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As we approached Banff we passed by some amazing rivers and mountains we are sure to visit in our 6 days in the region

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We have thoroughly enjoyed our two day aboard the train with the food, staff and overall experience of the highest standard.

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