Updated February 13, 2016 with links to completed articles.
Here’s a little secret: Taking photos of cool places is a lot more fun than sitting in front of a computer for umpteen hours to edit them. Back in October 2014, I traveled from Toronto, Ontario to Vancouver, British Columbia on Via Rail Canada’s Canadian, with a stop in the Canadian Rockies. The scenery was almost too overwhelming – around every bend on the railroad or highway, there was another view more spectacular than the last. As a result, I ended up taking, oh 2,752 photographs (2,475 color, 277 infrared, in case you were wondering).
The trip is fodder for a good
half dozen 15 future posts…once I finally get caught up on editing. Here’s a collection of some of the photos I’ve gotten edited so far:
The journey on the Canadian takes a little over three days to cross the continent. The train departs Toronto westbound late in the evening.
Most of the next day is spent passing through the Canadian Shield.
The biggest treat in the shield was tamarack, a deciduous conifer (!) which turns bright yellow in the fall.
The second full day on the train, we arrived in Winnipeg, where riders can get off to stretch their legs downtown while the train is serviced and the crew changes.
Winnipeg’s downtown is very walkable, with a nice park at the confluence of two rivers known as the Forks.
The third full day, the train arrived in Jasper. The town is in the middle of a national park by the same name. I got my first look at big horn sheep on a trail just outside of town.
The Icefields Parkway is a scenic 140 mile (230km) long road linking Jasper with Lake Louise, near Banff. In my mind, it rivals the Going-to-the-Sun Road for the subjective title of Most Scenic Road in North America.
Bow Summit, not far off the Icefields Parkway, provided a spectacular view of Peyto Lake. Its spectacular blue water is due to “glacial flour”, suspended rock particles pulverized by glaciers on nearby mountains feeding the lake.
At the south end of the Icefields Parkway, you can pick up the Bow Valley Parkway, which has pretty good scenery too.
One of the best sights along the Bow Valley Parkway is Castle Mountain.
The resort town of Banff, best known for its skiing, is surrounded by beautiful mountains year round.
Lake Louise in Banff National Park offers ample hiking opportunities, but in October many trails were already closed by snowfall. I hiked the last one open. I was too stubborn to give up when the trail was covered with snow and ice. I ended up descending by sliding most of the way on my butt. Thanks to a post on the blog Tandem Trekking about climbing Mt. Adams, I now know that in mountaineering circles this is known by the far more dignified term “glissade”!
It was a really amazing experience watching the sun rise at Lake Louise. It wasn’t so much the colors as seeing the morning light slowly catch more and more of the surrounding mountains.
We boarded the next westbound Canadian after returning to Jasper. Highlights of the rest of the journey, traveling mostly through British Columbia, included a spectacular rainbow and an up-close look at Pyramid Creek Falls from the comfort of the dining car.