Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Western Canada Vacation: Day 5: On the train

It is now 8:45 pm Pacific Time.  We left Jasper a few hours ago and are due to arrive in Vancouver tomorrow morning around 9:00 am.

During our first full day in Jasper we ventured out to Maligne Canyon for some hiking and then on further to Maligne Lake. We spent about 2 hours exploring the trails around Maligne Canyon. The canyon itself is amazing reaching over 50 meters deep in points due to years and years of erosion and glacier melting. It really is amazing to see what nature can do when left on its own. Maligne Lake is the largest glacial lake in the Rockies. It is another beautiful spot and has a really good hiking trail that Shannon and I went on. The trail follows the shore of the lake for a while and then loops back around through some wonderful forests.  Even though this trail is a mere few kilometers from the busy end of the lake we found ourselves completely alone duriing portions of the hike which added to the experience.

After several days of non-stop activity this fairly low activity day still managed to wear us out by 6:00 pm. Once we arrived back in Jasper we had a quick meal at the Jasper Brewing Company, found some ice cream for Shannon and then went back to our B&B to call it a night.

A good nights sleep was well needed since we had to get up early on Monday in order to squeeze in one more hike before catching the train to Vancouver. As it turned out the train was running late which gave us more time for exploration.  Our destination today was the summit of Whistler's mountain a few kilometers south of Jasper. We took a tramway almost to the top and the hiked the remaining 2km to the summit and beyond. Being over 2400 meters above sea level meant that we were above the treeline in the alpine tundra and it also meant the air was much thinner.  While breathing was alittle harder we still managed to complete the mostly uphill climb but were rewarded with magnificent views of the valley.

We got back down to Jasper just in time to pick up some food for our train journey before boarding the train about 2 hours behind schedule.

Once getting on the train Shannon and I head straight for the dome car and stayed there until it got dark. The views were amazing with the highlight being able to see and get some pictures of Mount Robson. Now that it is dark we are back at our seats about to attempt to get a few hours of sleep.

Depending on when the train decides to arrive in Vancouver tomorrow our big adventure is going to be getting ousevles from the train station to the ferry and then over to Nanaimo where we pick up another car for the next portion of our trip.

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