As the Rocky Mountaineer heads north into British Columbia, you see prime logging territory — plenty of towering trees that can provide logs to spare, and vast rivers ready to deliver them to the sawmills downstream. The whole country seems geared for a successful timber industry, and that remains true even today. As you look out the window at the landscape rolling by, it’s not unusual to see log delivery rafts floating downstream, ready to be collected.
Once you move away from the American border, though, the rivers become less placid and civilized and more . . . desperate. We go from placid logging rivers to whitewater, such as the brutal Hell’s Gate run, shown below. No wonder it earned that name.
And then . . . everything changes, in a weird and unexpected way. More on that tomorrow morning.
The first part of the Rocky Mountaineer trip hugs the U.S-Canadian border. It’s beautiful countryside, and although we’re in British Columbia we’re looking at mountains in the United States.
Imagine having a close-up view of heavily snow-capped Mount Baker in your backyard! It would make it difficult to concentrate on your chores.
We’re in Vancouver, getting ready to board the Rocky Mountaineer train on the Canadian rail system. It runs over the Canadian Rockies to Banff and points west.
The Rocky Mountaineer does things with a nice touch of class. We were greeting by a guy playing Beatles music on a baby grand when we entered the terminal, got complimentary coffee and juice, and were piped aboard the train by a bagpiper in full Scottish regalia. Now we’ve been given a “sunrise toast” with orange juice and bubbly to start our journey.
We’re in the top floor of a two-story train with more window glass than you can possibly imagine — the better to gawk as the landscape rolls by. The scenery is supposed to be spectacular, and we’re eager for our trip to begin.