Kamloops to Jasper.
This morning we left for the station early again as the train was leaving at 7.15am.
Today I am experiencing the Silver Leaf Service. The Silver Leaf carriages are a single storey carriage but have large panoramic windows with an additional curved glass panel as the roof curves although the centre of the roof is solid unlike on the Gold Leaf. The windows allow you to see the scenery well so don’t worry about missing out.
The seats were again spacious and comfortable. They are not electronically controlled as in Gold leaf but do have adjusters to allow you to be sat comfortably. They have plenty of leg room and the aisles in Silver Leaf are much wider giving an overall feeling of having more space to move around.
In Silver leaf you have one Chef and 2 Hosts looking after the carriage. There is no separate restaurant, so food is served to you at your seat. The kitchen is at the front of the carriage and although there is no outside vestibule in Silver you can walk around the Kitchen and there is access to a part at the front of the car which has windows which they lower so you can get some fresh air.
As you have less staff looking after you they will come around slightly less often with drinks than in Gold Leaf as they will be busy helping the Chef prepare the meals.
Top Tip: Don’t be shy and ask for 2 drinks when they come around if you feel the need.
Don’t get me wrong you will not go hungry or thirsty on this trip. If you feel the need for a top up there is a water station at the rear of the carriage near the restrooms so you can go and help yourself. The staff bring a round of drinks before Breakfast is served then another round of drinks after. Breakfast is served to you at your seat and you can choose what you want on your plate. It is either a cooked breakfast or a muesli compote if you fancy something lighter.
At lunch you are served a lovely fresh Salad starter and a choice of 2 main dishes. They try to encourage each seat of 2 to have one each of the meals on offer so they can give each duo a choice however, don’t worry if you both only like one option.
They will then bring round a desert. Ours was a lovely berry cheesecake. Yum!
You will also get the usually snack treats. One in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Top Tip: The Rocky Mountaineer Chocolates are a must.
Day Two the scenery changes. You will leave behind the Coastal Mountain ranges and Desert region and enter the Magnificent Rocky Mountains. Passing many stunning features like the Pyramid Falls.
As in Gold Leaf your Hosts will stop their work and relate stories to you, like tales of Camels in the Rockies? Yes, I did say Camels! They will tell you about all the best bits coming up and as they are in constant contact with the rest of the train you can bet that if a bear or other exciting animal is spotted the Hosts will let you know so you can get those all-important snaps.
On this leg we pass the Highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson. The Mountain stands at 12972 feet and is known to the First Nations people as Yuh-hai-has-kun, which translates as “the mountain of the spiral road”. Being so tall it has its own weather system and even when the sky around seems clear the peak is usually obscured by a plume of cloud. However, the Day I passed we were granted a full and glorious view of this majestic peak, something the Hosts assured us only happens a handful of days a year, so we felt very privileged.
We also passed the strange two-tone coloured Mount Fitzwilliam.
Again, I am not going to spoil all the wonderful things you get to see en-route to Jasper. Suffice to say make sure you bring spare batteries for the camera as you won’t want to miss a second.
As we pull into the Station you get a first glimpse of the quaint Township of Jasper. It is here we say a fond farewell to the Rocky Mountaineer as from here we will continue our journey by coach
Nestled among towering peaks, it is the main Town in Jasper National Park. Although it is the largest Town it only has a permanent population of around 4590, so is relatively small as towns go. However, with an influx of both summer and winter visitors the population does swell. You don’t have to go far to the see the wildlife either as elk graze along the grass verges around the town and it has been known for people to see bears and moose as well.
As I said the Town is not huge but with over fifty different eating places in and around town, there is a flavour for every taste and every budget. From meals on the run to sit down elegance, the choice is yours. There are a selection of quaint Tourist and craft shops and a whole host of opportunities for hiking, climbing, rafting and lots of other activities. As well as more gentle pursuits like Golf.
We were staying at the Fairmont Jasper Lodge which is a taxi ride out of the town but is set in a magnificent setting of 700 acre around the shores of pristine Lac Beauvert. The Hotel boasts Canada’s No: 1 Golf Resort Course. The rooms are all charming cedar chalets all connected by network of picturesque paths allowing guests to feel even closer to nature. You have two doors, the front and the rear which opens onto a porch area with seating so you can sit and relax and breath in the mountain air. Being Fairmont you still get the fantastic signature beds to give you that all important good night’s rest.
I love they way Fairmont Hotels leave a lovely treat for each guest as you arrive.
The Main lodge houses lots of options to eat if you don’t want to go into Jasper, although there is a shuttle bus which runs to the town if you ask at reception.
Top Tip: If you are travelling in a group you can get a variety of share platters at a great price. This is especially good if you are not that hungry after all the food on the Train.
If you do this Journey with Rocky Mountaineer you will get 2 Nights here and a chance to explore more of the Jasper National Park the following day, however as we had a lot to see we were only staying for one night.
Part Four – Jasper to Lake Louise and Banff will follow soon.