The lady that followed us to our hotel, and yes, stayed the night, greets us at breakfast. She has driven up from Los Angeles with her son who looks about 20 but is not very communicative. He has probably given up long ago as you would be lucky to get a word in edge ways. She is catching the same train in the morning and was stalking around to try and find someone to follow. “Where are you staying in Jasper, she asks with a big smile, we haven’t any accommodation booked yet”. “Oh really, I look at her quite worried, I don’t know because our daughter booked it but she had to call 30 or 40 places before she got somewhere. It’s Canada Day, long weekend and the place is booked out” “I know! She says with emphasis, the lovely man downstairs was trying for ages last night but there was nothing!” Her eyes are big and round.” “Have you used Airbnb? Gilbert asks, you might find something there”. “Oh, we don’t have any of that, she answers, pointing to our phones. We don’t really use the Internet. We have a tablet but it’s very unreliable. Oh, we will sort it out, she laughs and holds her hands skywards as if depending on the gods. We will find something and even if we have to sleep in the train station, it will work out. What time are you going down?” I tell her we’ll be there about 9.30 as train leaves at 9.45am. She tells me she’ll be there about 9, it’s better to be earlier.
Ren throws her head back and laughs when I tell her and says, “she’s kind’ve annoying, and kind’ve cool, but I hope she doesn’t attach herself to us….”
Breakfast is great at the hotel and we grab some extra fruit and a bagel each to snack on today. I stop Ren as we head out and snap her pic at just right time. “That pics for Nana, I tell her. Mum would have been very impressed with that petunia planted basket!”
We arrive at the station after a brisk walk and greet our old friends, enquiring after their evening and accommodation. A few couples our age are staying at bnb’s but they booked all their travel through a travel agent. When Gilbert tries to tell them they could have booked that by themselves they laugh and say no, they couldn’t. They prefer to use a good company and feel safer and more organised. They asked if we did it and we say actually Ren our daughter did this time but we usually do. Then they say, actually, they told the travel agent everything didn’t they. She really didn’t do anything for them. But it does make a difference. I know with Ren having organised this whole trip for us has made a big difference. Taken a lot of work out of the planning and booking. In the background the LA lady is moving amongst the groups asking about where they are staying and I see she has got two young guys phoning the place they are staying at and arranging it for her. Probably how she gets around I say to Ren. “Now she’s annoying”, Ren growls.
This part of the train journey is supposed to be the best bit, not that the first day wasn’t cool, but we are looking forward to the Canadian Rockies. I tell the other two John Denver’s song ‘Rocky Mountain high’ has been running through my mind as we peer out the window and about two hours later Gilbert says that song was about Colorado, not Canada. “Who even is John Denver?” Ren wants to know. He’s dead now I tell her.
This McBride station, where we have a pit stop.
The day starts quite bleak and misty shrouds cover everything like a blanket thrown over all the peaks and we are left with just trees and a dark mass above. I’m glad we had some good views yesterday, but the best is yet to come and we have some amazing views from our window. The colours are pretty amazing.
Ronald our conductor comes through from time to time to give us local info. “Mt Robson 3,984 meeteerrs, Tallest mountain in the Rockies” he drawls. His accent is very easy listening. Mt Robson’s head was in the clouds and is only fully visible about twelve times a year. So maaaasive it creates it’s own weather system.
Cameras were beeping like crazy all around us. That’s a digital beep as opposed to a click. Most on the train are chatty and friendly from all walks of life and we laugh about getting the best shot. It’s easy to move around and we move from our seat to the lounge car to the viewing bubble, chatting with different groups. Every now and again I can hear the LA lady asking people about their accommodation. Their transport from the train station. She tells me as we pass at one point the boys have booked her into the hostel as that seemed to be the only place available. She’s never stayed in a hostel before, but that will be an experience. She’s sure they will be fine. I agree, smiling to myself.
Moose lake, with its beautiful green waters tinged from the minerals that come off the Rocky Mountains.
We put our clock an hour ahead, from Pacific time to Mountain time as we sweep into Jasper and the scenery is everything it promised. Ren has GPS’d where we are staying and it’s 2.5 kms so we decide to walk. It will be great after the train. We jump off and head straight out of the station with just our carry on, while the others are crowded around the baggage car waiting for their 23 kilo bags. Bugger that! I can hear the LA lady asking how people are getting to their places and Gilbert laughs as we cross the road. “I notice the two young men scarpered off the train fast as”, haha, she’ll be ok. The Gods will look after her.
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