Fog hung over Lake Louise as we braved the chilly morning and walked the trail along the lake, hoping to see some wildlife. Nothing, not even a bird. Back at the hotel, an excited man ran past us shouting, “Grizzly.” We learned later that he had indeed seen a grizzly and the hotel staff had ushered everyone on the walking path back to the hotel grounds. We had missed the sighting by minutes.
Early in the morning, we reboarded the Rocky Mountaineer for the ride from Quesnel to Jasper.
I planned to spend most of the day outside on the downstairs observation deck of our railcar, snapping photos, but it began to rain as we left the rail station and chugged past the lumberyards. Michael, one of our onboard crew and also a professional photographer, told me we still had a lot of climbing to do and the best shots were yet to come. He suggested that I go down to the dining car for breakfast, so I took his advice http://michaelbednar.com
The inclement weather followed us from Quesnel to Prince George as the train charted a course close to the Fraser River. The weather improved as we rolled into the quaint village of McBride, BC, and cleared as we crossed provinces—from British Columbia into Alberta. As we drew near the town of Jasper, we spotted a black bear minding his own business and not the least bit interested in the passing train, although the passengers burst into an uproar of “Bear, bear, bear.” And the cameras came out in a flash. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun. I was too slow on the draw and missed my shot, but I would get my chance later in the trip.
We disembarked in Jasper and boarded a bus to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Those passengers continuing on the train the next day were booked into the main building of the lodge. We planned to stay two nights in Jasper and had reserved a bungalow near the lake. When we checked in with reception, they advised us to stay clear of the roaming elk, as many females had young with them. In fact, we had to dodge three on the way to the room and wait while another moved away from the front door before we could unlock the bungalow. They were a pleasure to see.
We had reservations at the Moose’s Nook Northern Grill in the lodge, but it was closing as we arrived at the host’s desk. She apologized, but we really weren’t up for a big dinner, as we had certainly been well fed on the train. We sat in the Emerald Lounge, ordered a bottle of wine, and snacked on substantial appetizers as we sat near a roaring fire.
Pardon the glass glare on some of the photos taken aboard the train. Unavoidable, unfortunately.