FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017
Sunday, 22 September, 2013 11:14

4 Days, 4 Modes Of Transport – Ferry, Train, Tramcar & Car

And On To Meet The Prince ….
We arrived in Prince Rupert at 6:00 am after a very comfortable journey on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry service.  Our cabin was complete with shower and toilet and bunks with Liz taking the top bunk as she is the youngest!  After a short taxi ride to our hotel we checked in, unpacked, had some breakfast and were ready for a day exploring Prince Rupert.  Prince Rupert has some nice buildings and an interesting wharf area with a number of shops and restaurants including Dolly’s that is known for its delicious seafood, but unless you travel further afield 1 day is more than enough in Prince Rupert.

Arriving into Prince Rupert at 6:00 AM

Arriving into Prince Rupert at 6:00 AM

Sunken Gardens behind court house in Prince Rupert.

Sunken Gardens behind court house in Prince Rupert.

B&B on the wharf at Cow Bay in Prince Rupert.

B&B on the wharf at Cow Bay in Prince Rupert.

Time To Do A Bit Of Training ….
Up at 6:00 am the next morning for our 8:00 am departure on the Skeena train, a 2 day 1165 km journey from Prince Rupert to Jasper.  First class is a luxury domed carriage with comfortable recliner seating and a full meal service complete with wine and other beverages.  We were extremely lucky that in first class there were only 12 people in our carriage that could hold 72 people so we were able to freely move around to look at the views, take pictures and talk to the other passengers.

Our carriage on the Skeena train.

Our carriage on the Skeena train.

The general store at one of the small towns en-route.  Population 11.  We stopped here to drop off the mail

The general store at Willow River. Population 11. We stopped here to drop off the mail

Continually Changing Scenery ….
The first stage of the journey from Prince Rupert to Prince George follows the Skeena River for nearly 100 km and the scenery varies from river views to snow capped mountains, glaciers and gorges along with a few small towns and villages with an occasional stop being made to drop off the occasional passenger or a mail drop. You finally reach a plateau and there is a change in scenery to farms , sawmills, small villages and magnificent lakes.  This leg of the journey covers nearly 765 km and takes over 12 hours so you can see it is by no means a high speed train but very relaxing and a visual feast.

One of the massive sawmills on the route.

One of the massive sawmills on the route.

Our Conductor Is A Comedian ….
Our conductor on the trip, Geoff, was a real character and whenever there was a quiet moment he would come and tell a joke, tell an amusing story, or explain about what we would see on each leg of the journey.  We learnt all about cattle and now know there are 5 basic types.  If the cattle were standing up in the paddock they are “regular beef”, if they are sitting on the ground then they are “ground beef”, if they are leaning on the fence then they are “lean beef”, if they try to jump the fence and get impaled on a stake, you guessed it, then they are “beef steak” and finally if they get hit by the train then they are “minced meat”.   The jokes just kept coming and at one stage Liz was crying from laughing so much.

Our entertaining conductor, Geoff, admiring the scenery.

Our entertaining conductor, Geoff, admiring the scenery.

We Meet Another Prince ….
After an overnight stop in Prince George we were off on the second stage of our train journey to Jasper. This leg of 400 km took us through the Caribou Mountains following the Fraser River and then into the Rocky Mountains to our final destination, Jasper.  The rail line from Prince Rupert to Jasper is only a single track with frequent sidings and a number of times we had to either pull into a siding or passed a goods train at one of the sidings.  The goods trains are massive, one we counted had 160 carriages, many of them stacked 2 high with 40 foot containers.

Passing one of the massive goods trains heading to Prince Rupert.

Passing one of the massive goods trains heading to Prince Rupert.

Mt Robson on an almost clear day.

Mt Robson on an almost clear day.

And On Into Jasper ….

The climb up into Jasper was a real highlight on a day of good weather so we had a great view of Mount Robson and Moose Lake.   The jokes from our conductor Geoff kept coming claiming that Moose Lake is where the moose do their scuba diving training and “what do you call a reindeer who cant see…no idea”.  We reached our highest elevation of 3700 ft at Yellowhead Lake which is a continental divide meaning that part of the lake flows east and part flows west.  The lake is fed by snow and glaciers melting and rain.

 

We Explore Jasper ….
A buffet dinner was served an hour out of Jasper complete with wine and desert with a backdrop of the magnificent snow and ice covered Rocky Mountains.  Another highlight to add to the growing list.  We checked into our hotel in Jasper and went exploring the town.  It has some beautiful buildings and the town planning is obviously tightly controlled to provide a real alpine feel.  It is the first real tourist town we have struck since we started our holiday nearly 4 weeks ago and as a result it is full of gift shops and restaurants as well as a wide range of International tourists.  We are now almost in the summer off season and it was still busy.

Township of Jasper.

Township of Jasper.

Gift shops galore in Jasper.

Gift shops galore in Jasper.

The magnificent backdrop to the town of Jasper, the Rocky Mountains.

The magnificent backdrop to the town of Jasper, the Rocky Mountains.

From A Train To A Tramway ….
After a good nights sleep, breakfast and an early morning walk around Jasper when all the tourist coaches were leaving for the day, we picked up our rental car for the next seven days, obtained our 2 day Canada parks pass and headed off to the Jasper Tramway cable car.   This cable tramway rises from an elevation of 1300 meters up to 2280 meters.  You can then take the hiking trails to the summit for a 360 degree view of the Rocky Mountains.  We were extremely lucky to take this ride on a clear day to see magnificent views of Mount Robson, Jasper and the surrounding mountains.  Mount Robson is only visible on average, 3 days per month, the rest of the time hidden by cloud.  After an hour on the mountain we returned to our car to set off on the next leg of our holiday.

Looking down on Jasper from the tramcar station.

Looking down on Jasper from the tramcar station.

Liz at the summit of the Jasper Tramcar cable car.

Liz at the summit of the Jasper Tramcar cable car.

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