The second day of our Rocky Mountaineer adventure starts off rainy. For the Kamloops folks, this is a blessing as they experienced huge wildfires last year for the entire summer. Rocky Mountaineer company knows how to treat their guests. We leave our luggage in our room, board a bus that takes us to the train and pulls up almost in front of our door to board the train so we don’t get too wet from the rain. Nice.
Once on board, we are filled with coffee, scones and breakfast as we pass through the semi-arid landscape and alongside the Kamloops Lake which is 25 miles long. We see numerous Osprey and Eagles along the water’s edge for most of the morning.
My photos sample the raindrops on the train’s windows capturing the landscape. Signs of the fires near Kamloops are visible even in the sagebrush.
The train continues past a town called Ascroft, one of the driest places in Canada with less than 10 inches of rain a year (and we get to see when they are getting rain). It is also a large copper mining area – 4 percent of the world’s copper comes from here. The Thompson River flows rapidly between hills on both side covered in grasses and sagebrush and in some areas has created beautiful gorges. From the train, one side of the train sees white-water rafters enjoying this beautiful river. (Not on our side.)
The train tracks follow the river on either side Canadian Pacific on one and Canadian National rail lines cross over near Basque to be on the same side for awhile. A nice opportunity to see another train from our train as they travel parallel to each other.
Spences Bridge – population 138 lies along the Thompson River – why? Oh, because there happens to be a bridge that crosses the river.
The train enters an area where the hills are becoming bigger and finally we see some pine trees scattered across the mountain. Not thick forests anymore because we can see remnants of burnt wood.
The Jaws of Death Gorge is an area on the Thompson River where the banks are steep and narrow, perfect for whitewater rafters. We see only one raft being put in- it looks quite treacherous as the rocks jut out of the water and are underneath unseen.
Continuing along the Thompson River into the Rainbow Canyon through many tunnels. The canyon walls look colorful due to the minerals.
The train comes across a bridge over the Thompson River and we see where the Thompson River and Fraser River meet and we begin to follow the Fraser River all the way to Vancouver.
The Canadian Pacific and Canadian National rail tracks cross each other at Cisco Crossing a bridge that goes over the Fraser River. It is the only time the rivals tracks cross each other. The Canadian Pacific bridge (our train is on) is 240 meters long, built in 1914 and the longest single span bridge.
As the train crosses. The Canadian National Railroad Bridge isn’t as long but was also built in the early 1900’s.
Further down the river is Hell’s Gate, the narrowest part of the Fraser River. There is an AirTram built by the Swiss that takes you to the opposite side of the gorge. We were able to catch a quick picture as the train continued through a tunnel and around the river bend.
We are served a snack to hold us over for lunch – cheese, dried fruit and piece of bread. Lunch today is more like a dinner especially since we are second seating at almost 3 PM. The dessert was delicious, chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream.
The Fraser river valley is filled with farms growing all kinds of crops. The train also passes by quite a few dairy cattle farms.
Our train stops right near a rock quarry waiting for another train to move forward. In the river are sections of wooden logs along the rivers edge. We are told it is a good way to store the wood and keep it from drying out. Saw mills are also scattered along this section of the river.
The view out our window now is more small towns and communities with business alongside the tracks. Still a lot of wood being processed and of course railroad ties.
The last major city along the train’s route is New Westminster. This town was incorporated in the 1860’s and is considered one of the first Canadian cities west of the Great Lakes region.
Our train reaches Vancouver and the Host Team on the train and those outside bid us farewell. What a great ride!
In Vancouver, check in to the hotel and walk down to Gastown to stretch the legs and see a little of Vancouver’s hipster area. Tomorrow we have the entire day to explore Vancouver again!