On track for a memorable trip

//On track for a memorable trip

IMG_0044.jpgThe second day of my journey on the Rocky Mountaineer through the Canadian Rockies began by passing a pretty black and white church (above) used as a location in Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven, and ended just after the coaches passed the Vancouver Film Studios known as Hollywood North.
There were plenty of sights in between which, if they weren’t so remote, would be a film-maker’s dream.
Hell’s Gate, the narrowest part of the Fraser River, where up to 200 million gallons of water pour through a narrow canyon every minute, was a serious challenge to the men building the rail line.
Canadian Pacific got here first in 1882 and as was the case throughout the valley, when Canadian National arrived 30 years later they had to build their tracks on the opposite river bank.
At Cisco Crossings, the CP line switches from one bank to the other – so CN had to follow suit, providing today’s travellers with a doubly spectacular sight as their trains cross not only the river, but each other’s tracks.
Whitewater rafters relish the challenge of the Jaws of Death Gorge, and the rail company has to tackle Avalanche Alley, building concrete sheds over the track to avoid it being blocked by rockslides.
Towards the end of the day, the Fraser Canyon broadened into the Fraser Valley, where cattle roam and farmers grow corn, cranberries, blueberries and ginseng.
Between yet more food served by amiable coach attendant Tim, there was time to reflect on the week’s tour of the Canadian Rockies.
The scenery, from towering mountains to sapphire lakes, and the wildlife, from lumbering bears to cute little ground squirrels, has all been spectacularly unforgettable.
IMG_9855.jpgIMG_9936.jpgAnd we have seen almost more than it is possible to absorb in just five days. Is there anywhere else in the world where we could have been driven onto a glacier by Ice Explorer bus (above), and then taken a raft ride down a river – accompanied by a pink-tailed poodle with her own lifejacket (right) – within the space of a couple of hours?
Tour director Larissa did a great job organising everything for the group of 35 on our bus – from spotting wildlife to distributing hotel room keys and advising on the best places for dinner.
She had a tight schedule to keep to on the coach, so some of the stops en route were rather rushed; on the other hand, her offer of a warming slug of malt whisky or a tot of Bailey’s on the glacier was inspired – and envied by dozens of others sharing our moment on the ice.
The week as a whole has involved a lot of sitting – for nine hours on the flight from London to Calgary, for the three days on the coach and the two days on the train. Not to mention the sitting and queuing required to get through US immigration at the Canada Place cruise terminal in Vancouver.
Time now to get some exercise on board Diamond Princess, and I was pleased to discover that it is possible to make a complete circuit of the Promenade Deck, unlike the similarly-designed Azura, on which P&O have placed some extra balcony cabins which close off the forward section.
There were power walkers and joggers out this morning, completing a mile with every two-and-a-half circuits. I was taking it a little more gently, but I’ll be speeding up before the week is out.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:23+00:00 15 August 2010|Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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