This May I had a wonderful opportunity to help my friend Sarah drive across Canada with her 2 daughters (both under 4). Sarah needed a hand moving from PEI to Red Deer Alberta and offered to pick me up on her way through New Brunswick. How could I pass up the special opportunity to help a friend and see our big and beautiful Canadian provinces. So since this was my first time seeing west of Ontario, I thought why not continue the journey past Alberta and make plans to travel solo to Vancouver.
We left the Maritimes at the end of April, during a very unseasonably chilly spring. We will soon find out that Canada in general had an unusually late start to spring, even Alberta still had hints of snow! This is my epic 20 day roadtrip across Canada, from east coast to west!
Train through the Rockies, May 13-14, 2014
There’s no better way to tour western Canada than aboard a train! I left Edmonton early morning and boarded my train. Although I had traveled by train many times in Europe, I was a little nervous to be traveling alone. Once on board, I met so many fantastic interesting people! I made my way to the lounge car which also had a fantastic upper level dome seating area. I pretty much never left my seat in the dome car…. The 360 views were stunning as we passed through the wooded landscapes, rivers and lakes as we approached the mountains. Time seemed to pass quickly, everyone in the dome car got to know one another and there was no shortage of conversation and entertainment. From cheering on the young newly wed couple, to spontaneous guitar + mandolin jamming sessions with fun singalongs, the vibe in the dome car was energizing. According to our car attendant we were the loudest car on the train. Ill take that as a compliment lol.
We had about and hour stop in the beautiful little mountain town of Jasper. Everyone spread out to pick up souvenirs and snacks for the remainder of the trip.
Once back on board many people left their seats for their dinner reservations in the dining car. I remained in the dome car enjoying the views and snacking on my dinner bought in Jasper. The train conductor and the staff were very helpful and made sure to announce points of interests such as the highest peaks, pointing out bears and elk along the tracks and to slowing down past beautiful waterfalls.
Later in the evening VIA Rail had arranged for some musical entertainment in the neighboring game car. We enjoyed the sounds of Justine Vanergrift & Dennis who sang and played their guitars well into the evening.
I had intended to sleep in the dome car overnight but the temperature seemed to drop quickly after the sun set. I returned to my reserved seats and slept quite comfortably. I woke quite early, around 4 am and made my way back to the dome car just as morning light was shining over the mountain peaks. I was later joined by a nice East Indian man who was celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife. We had a nice long chat and soon the sun shinning and we were joined by many other early-risers. It didnt take long for us to reach Vancouver, by 9:30am I was standing on the platform and enjoying the hot summer air of the west coast!