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Canadian Rockies Adventure - Day Three

Jasper Park Lodge Day One - Vancouver
P.O. Box 40 Day Two - Kamloops
Jasper, Alberta, Canada Day Three - Jasper
780-852-3301 Day Four - Jasper
Day Five - Lake Louise
Jasper Park Lodge Home Page Day Six - Banff
Day Seven - Calgary

Monday, June 26, 2000

We boarded a bus at 7:30 a.m. for the train station in Kamloops. Today (thankfully) we had the first seating for our meals aboard the train. Breakfast was the same menu as the previous day, but we noticed a marked difference in the food...breakfast was simply better in the first seating (although it was still good the previous day). The food was more flavorful and the portions were larger. Only one of the original 4 dome coaches that had left Vancouver the previous day were headed to Jasper (the others were headed to Banff National Park), so our rail car was at the end of the train. This gave us a spectacular view from our vestibule, which was the open air covered area at the rear of the car.
We had a wonderful lunch. We both had the Mediterranean salad and the pasta with pancetta. We ordered a bottle of local British Columbia Gewurztraminer. In the afternoon, we suddenly saw snow-topped peaks and heard, "Welcome to the Canadian Rockies." We saw a moose from the train. Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, was in clear view for a half hour and we took several pictures. The weather was once again beautiful and much warmer than expected, as we stood outside in the vestibule, hoping to get that perfect shot of the gorgeous mountains.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-day train trip. It was most relaxing, and the stewards aboard our rail car (we had the same team on both days) took their jobs very seriously and provided stellar service. We did need to settle our check (all alcohol except the welcoming Mimosas was extra), and we noted we were not charged for all of the wine we consumed. Gratuities are not included, and we tipped our service team generously (it was well-deserved). The head chef and his assistants were introduced and moved throughout the dome coach, offering us fresh cookies and chocolates. We were also given wooden Rocky Mountaineer pens as a keepsake. We would recommend the rail tour to anyone who wishes to take a relaxing trip through the Rockies. Of course, you can drive as well, but the driver has to concentrate on the road and could miss the spectacular scenery. Rocky Mountaineer does not have sleeping cars because they feel the scenery is special and it makes more sense to travel by daylight, and stop at night.

We arrived in Jasper, Alberta around 5:30 p.m. We had to set our watches forward an hour. It was surprisingly hot when we disembarked the train. We were told it had been raining in Jasper for 3 weeks straight prior to our arrival, and this was an exceptionally beautiful day. We grabbed our luggage and boarded our bus for Jasper Park Lodge. This was our first experience in a Canadian Pacific Hotel (we would be staying in Canadian Pacific hotels through the end of our trip).

In the late 1800s, when Canada’s National Park system was established, there were very few places for tourists to stay. Canada realized it could not export the scenery, but had to import the tourists, so several spectacular hotels were established within the confines of the National Parks. These hotels are now jointly owned by Canadian Pacific, and most are classified as 5-star hotels. (The hotel upgrade option enabled us to experience these renowned hotels.)

Jasper Park Lodge (JPL for short) was very Adirondack-like in appearance. The main lodge was a wooden structure in front of a scenic lake with a soaring roof. JPL itself consisted of many smaller cabins. We had a bit of a hike to our cabin. It was an unusually warm day, and we were surprised when we arrived at our room to discover there was no air conditioning. We immediately turned on the ceiling fan, opened up the windows and doors, and found an additional fan in the closet which we turned on. We opened the honor bar and quickly shared a cold local beer. We changed, freshened up, and set out for the main lodge.

There is a Promenade underground, beneath the main building of JPL, which houses many shops and restaurants. We ended up in an upscale but sports-oriented bar called Tent City. It looked like it had been transplanted there from the Adirondacks. It was comfortably air conditioned, and we savored some cold drinks. Keith ordered some Nachos and Lori had the Crostini. Lori had some champagne, and Keith had some Molson on tap, then tried some beer called Alexander Keith’s (who had formerly been a brother of the founder of Moosehead beer). Keith finally settled (quite happily) on real Canadian Labatt’s Blue. There were some nice pool tables, and we rented a table for over an hour. Keith eventually ordered some chicken fingers with hot wing sauce, and Lori had a very tasty burger. Refreshed and rejuvenated, we headed back to our room. It was after 10 p.m., and the sun had not even set.

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