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The Beginning of an Epic Journey to the Canadian Rockies - Journey Through the Clouds (Day 1)

Canada (Rocky Mountains) . 2016 . Apr 19

This post is part of our Canadian Rockies Trip Report and Itinerary 2016. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here

One of the best ways to get to the Canadian Rockies is via the Rocky Mountaineer - a train ride that promises great scenery while bringing us to our destination in style and comfort.

The Rocky Mountaineer offers 4 train routes to the Canadian Rockies, 3 of which starts or ends in Vancouver, and the remaining route, from/to Seattle.

Rocky Mountaineer Routes ( Credits:
The one that we ultimately chose was ‘Journey Through the Clouds’ (the Blue Line). With a total route length of 901 kilometres, and reaching a highest elevation of more than 3,900 metres during its journey, this route would take us 2 full days on the train to complete, with an overnight stay at Kamloops, a transportation hub that sits at the confluence of two branches of the Thompson River.

The ‘Journey Through the Clouds’ would eventually bring us to the town of Jasper within the Canadian Rockies, after which our journey within the Rockies will be undertaken via bus.

The Journey Through the Clouds Begins

Everything was perfect and seamless as the Rocky Mountaineer arranged for our pick up from the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront to Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver Station where the train was already waiting for its first ride of the year into the Rocky Mountains.

And precisely because it was the first ride of the year, we had a special sending off ceremony waiting for us at the train station.

Let's get on board the Rocky Mountaineer!

There are two classes of travel on the Rocky Mountaineer - the premium Goldleaf package which comes with better seats and land accommodation, and the more affordable Silverleaf package for travellers with a tighter budget like ourselves.

These higher top carriages are for passengers on the Goldleaf package.  The seats are on the second floor which promises better views, and meals will be served on the first floor dining carriage.

For us, we were happy and excited enough with a Silverleaf package.

Here’s how spacious the Silverleaf seats are - it almost feels like a business class seat on an airline.

Even the service are similar to that of an airline.  Here’s our hostess for our 2-day journey on the train.

Waving goodbye to the Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver station.

A welcome drink to get us started on the journey.

Even the leaflets at our seats are similar to that at an airline!

Checking out the menu.  Yes, it seems that we will be well-fed during this journey.

Enjoy the Panoramic Views

I can’t describe how thankful I am for these panoramic windows which are very similar to what we experienced on the McKinley Express on our journey across interior Alaska.

If what we had at the Silverleaf was this impressive, then I can only leave it to my imagination to think of what those folks at the Goldleaf are enjoying at this moment.

Fantastic Meals Service

All meals are included on-board (just like a full-service airline!), and with that, breakfast and lunch were taken care of.  The only meal we would have to budget for was dinner, because we would have disembarked from the train by then.

Here’s a preview of the meals we had on-board the Rocky Mountaineer.

The appetizer before breakfast.

Breakfast of ‘Three Cheese Omelette’ with peppered chicken sausages, skillet potatoes and roasted tomatoes, served with coffee or tea.

Snacks of your choice served in between meals.

Lunch comprising of Sliced Tomato Salad (pretty good salad sauce), and a choice of either Grilled Salmon or Braised Short Ribs.

Chef’s dessert of a Chocolate Cake, which was really good.

What's there to see on the first day of the Journey Through the Clouds?

Goodbye Vancouver.  Hello Rocky Mountains.

As the train pulls away from the Rocky Mountaineer Vancouver Station, the cityscape changes drastically to one of open fields, rolling mountains, valleys and lakes.

The most common feature throughout the entire’s day journey was the Fraser River, the longest river in the British Columbia, Canada.   The route of the Rocky Mountaineer follows that of the river closely.

One of the most iconic features of the first day of the Journey Through the Clouds is Hell’s Gate, an abrupt narrowing of the Fraser River which resulted in waters flowing through an extremely narrow passage flanked by towering rock walls.  The place was so named because the explorer who found it expressed his disbelief that anyone should venture to such a place, because surely, this was the “gateway to hell”.

From here, the terrain got more and more desert-like, the weather was incredibly hot and the sun especially harsh.  Even vegetation could not grow and that resulted in an entirely different scenery from the morning where we left off.  Everything was drab and brown here but we were thankful for the comfort we had in the train.

Still within sight of the Fraser River…..

Also extremely thankful for those panoramic windows, for the scenery outside kept me awake despite a long journey.

When we were tired of sitting on our allocated seats, we occasionally went to the back of the carriage where we found an open windows to take some stunning photos without the reflection of the windows in the carriage.

After about 10 hours of travelling (lots of food in between), we were finally reaching Kamloops, where we will have a night of rest before re-starting on this epic journey to the Canadian Rockies again.

The Rocky Mountaineer were considerate enough to print maps of the town for us, with a list of restaurants that we could consider for dinner.  Our luggages were completely taken care of when we checked out of the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront in the morning, and would be waiting for us at our accommodation.   That means handsfree for us!

One of our best photos of Kamloops, which unfortunately had a lot of reflection from the panoramic windows.

The folks at Kamloops welcoming us to their city!

Join us next as we explore the town of Kamloops.

This post is part of our Canadian Rockies Trip Report and Itinerary 2016. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

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