Rail Trip to Mt. Robson

July 27 , 2008

This is the kind of train we were to catch in Jasper for the 50 mile ride through the mountains. It was called the "Skeena" and was a shorter version of the long passenger train that daily came through Jasper on the way to Vancouver. The Skeena took a branch and went north to ... but this train cooperated with the local tour companies to drop passengers at the Harvey junction. This picture was taken on our first day in Jasper when I went across the street from our hotel to admire the trains.

We returned to Jasper from our trip to Lake Patricia and went to the railway station. At about 12:30 Trish of Sundog Tours showed up with our tickets. It was now pouring rain, but at least we would be sheltered for the tour. We got onto the comfortable train and headed out westward. The train was fast and smooth, but we couldn't see a great deal of the mountains because of the rain and cloud cover. We did see the Fraser River, sometimes far below the train as we approached the continental divide. We rode for about 50 miles to Harvey, just past Mt. Robson. We couldn't see Mt. Robson because of the cloud cover.

When the attendant announced the stop at Harvey, we anticipated at least a village. But the train just stopped at a cross road and opened the door to let us step out. There was no sign of a building. It was still pouring rain, but Trish was there with the tour bus so we walked right to it. She quipped "No, there is not a town at Harvey, and I don't think there ever was. It's just the name of the crossing." Actually there was one old building we saw back in the woods as we drove away.

The train pulled away in the pouring rain and we took off in the bus. A short distance away was an intersection with some houses at a place called Tete Juane , which means roughly "blond head" or "yellow head". Trish told us some of the story of the first settlement here, started by an aboriginal man with blond hair who ran a fur trading post as I recall. Now the highway, a lake and a mountain are called Yellowhead for this man.

The nice picture of Mt. Robson on the side of the bus was the closest thing to seeing the mountain we were going to get today. We were assured that it was standing tall behind the fog and cloud you see below.

Considering the weather conditions, we canceled the hike to the falls and dropped by Mt. Robson visitor center for about 30 minutes before just heading back toward Jasper. We were at a prime location for seeing Mt. Robson, but it was totally obscured by cloud.

We had the consolation of having seen Mt. Robson from a distance on our trip up Whistlers Mountain. It is the sharp white peak in the center of the picture.

There were beautiful marsh areas of luxurious green along the road back.

Part of the water for the marsh was held back by this extraordinary beaver dam. Our guide made a comment that the pipeline builders had taken care not to leave gaps that could not be bridged by the beavers.

On the way back to Jasper we saw a large black bear eating berries beside the road, but other than a relaxing journey, all other parts of the tour were pretty well squelched by the weather.

This bear, although a bit soggy, seemed to just being relaxed and enjoying things. We tried to do the same. We could hardly complain about one day of rain after the beautiful weather we had had.

To Mt. Edith Cavell

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