Two Heritage couples, the Smiths and the Meieres, took a vacation through the Canadian Rockies recently. They started at Calgary, Alberta and ended in Vancouver, British Columbia. The trip featured stops at several scenic and famous resorts and then a train ride, with an observation car, from Jasper to Vancouver. Interestingly, another Heritage couple, the Fees, at exactly the same time made the reverse trip from Vancouver to Calgary, also featuring a train ride with an observation car. This is a pictoral story of the trip made by the Smiths and Meieres.

Day 1: Depart Calgary
Cross the prairie into Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies and arrive at your grand hotel, built more than a century ago to resemble a Scottish baronial castle. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner with your travel companions.
Lodging: The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park

Day 2: Bow River float trip and Banff at leisure
Enjoy a float trip down the scenic Bow River. Take ride aboard the Banff gondola and check out the museums in the town of Banff.
Lodging: The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park

Day 3: Yoho National Park and Lake Louise
Travel through Kicking Horse Pass into Yoho National Park. See Spiral Tunnels, a century-old railway engineering feat, and Natural Bridge, a rock formation over the Kicking Horse River. Drive along the Bow River Valley and Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks en route to your chateau-style hotel on the edge of Lake Louise overlooking Victoria Glacier.
Dinner: Fabulous Fairmont Fairview Dining Room
Lodging: The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Banff National Park

Day 4: Icefields Parkway & glacier ride
Drive the Icefields Parkway featuring jaw-dropping views of mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, and snowfields around every turn. Watch for bears, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. View Athabasca Glacier flowing from the Columbia Icefield, and take a memorable ride across the glacier’s surface on an Ice Explorer, a specially designed vehicle. Arrive in Jasper National Park.
Lodging: The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper National Park

Day 5: A day in Jasper
On your open day in Jasper National Park, rent a canoe on Lake Beauvert, relax and later visit the historic town of Jasper.
Dinner: Fairmont Dining Room
Lodging: The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Jasper National Park

Day 6: Through the Rockies in Canada via rail
Visit the Maligne Canyon. Board The Canadian featuring vintage 1950s rail cars that have been restored. Admire the views as you cross some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in Canada via rail aboard a private domed observation car reserved exclusively for Tauck guests. Towering peaks and glaciers highlight the route. Cross the Continental Divide into the province of British Columbia.
Lodging: Aboard The Canadian, VIA Rail Canada

Day 7: Explore Vancouver
Arrive in Vancouver, and tour landmark attractions such as Chinatown, Queen Elizabeth Park, historic Gastown, and Stanley Park. During your open afternoon, perhaps take in some of the city’s museums or galleries.
Lodging: The Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

Day 8: Ferry and floatplane
Watch for orcas, seals, porpoises, sea lions, and bald eagles on a ferry cruise through the Gulf Islands to Victoria. Visit Butchart Gardens covering 55 acres with colorful floral displays. Established in 1904, it’s a National Historic Site of Canada. Then return to Vancouver on a floatplane with spectacular views over the Gulf Islands. Enjoy the evening farewell reception and dinner.
Lodging: The Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

These pictures (and this page) take us through the first 3 days of the trip.
Room View Gondola
This is the view from the our hotel rooms at Banff. We rode the gondola up the mountain seen in the left picture.
Rafting Rafting Rafting
Brave souls all. We rafted down the Bow River which flows at 6.5 knots at 42 F.
The day before, two men in a canoe went over the waterfall (left picture). They were only the second people to go over and live.
Dwight Forrest
This is neat! On the left, is a shot of Dwight taking a picture of Forrest. On the right is a shot of Forrest taking a picture of Dwight.
Thanks to Dwight P from Minnesota for sending the picture on the right!
We stopped at the "Spiral Tunnels" and were lucky enough to see a train go through. When the Canadian Pacific Railroad was first built, this was the site of the most difficult descent, a 4.4% grade. That was twice the normal maximum of 2.2% and caused much trouble and many runaways. The solution was to build two tunnels, each one a half mile long. Each simply went into a mountain and came out again but they were built at a 2.2% grade. This resulted in a "Figure 8" pattern which reduced the grade to an acceptable 2.2% grade overall and eliminated a serious problem.

We stopped at a vantage point where we could see the approach, entrance and exit for one of the mountains. This led to an interesting sight were we saw three sections of the train at one time; one section going to our left and two sections going to our right!
Spiral Tunnels
Sunrise All
On the way to Lake Louise, we stopped at two beautiful lakes, Moraine (left) and Emerald.
Sunrise All
Pat took pictures of the sunrise at Lake Louise. Carrie & Al at the edge of Lake Louise; our hotel just behind.
FairView FairView
We ate at the Fabulous Fairmont Fairview Restaurant; one of the most expensive restaurants the Meieres have ever experienced (compliments of Tauck). Warned by a description of the trip described on the web by a couple before us, we made reservations long in advance. There were only two tables in the restaurant from our large Tauck Tour.

Thanks to Carrie and Al, Pat and Forrest for the pictures.

Page 2

Join us for the next few days Ice Fields, Glaciers and the Train.

Page 3

Return to the Heritage Happenings home page.     Please e-mail your webmaster if you have suggestions.