Thursday, 21 May 2015

Day 7 - Revelstoke to Golden

7 days already ???

Today we drove from Revelstoke to Golden which took us over Rogers Pass....holy moley.

Although the primary reason we're here is to see trains, one cannot help but be distracted by the scenery...and there's plenty of it.

Since the planned drive is only 2 hours, we kicked off by taking an exploratory cruise around Revelstoke, which lasted about 5 minutes - the first train came through, or more accurately, departed Revelstoke. Revelstoke is another crew change point so all trains stop briefly while they change crews. I then dropped the guys off at the Museum where they spent about 1 hr and 45 minutes looking through while I sat outside filming trains. I got 2 coalies and a stack train, so that wasn't too bad.

The guys watching an approaching train at Rdevelstoke.
We then headed east towards Rogers pass, stopping occasionally to look at the scenery and read information boards etc. I had my eye on a snow shed that I wouldn't mind filming and as we knew we had a train coming up behind us, we stopped there and waited for it. Just as I got set up, the Rocky Mountaineer emerged - so that's now three times we've seen this train. Since I got my shot, the next stop was the East Portal of Mount MacDonald tunnel, where we waited and wait for our freight to turn up. It finally did, and since it was east, it didn't go through this tunnel but took the alternative route through Glacier and the Connought tunnel. It didn't matter, the background scenery was pretty good.

Tail end Charlie heading towards Glacier with the Mt MacDonald portal on the left. The scenery is bigger than the trains.

We took a quick glimpse at Glacier where it soon became obvious that the only way to see a train going into the tunnel was to cross the tracks and trespass - not a good idea when it's right beside a CP depot. So the drive over Rogers Pass continued, across lots of bridges, through lots of snow and avalanche tunnels, all the while looking at the scenery and the trees - lots of trees.

The next stop was at the small hamlet of Donald where I took a dirt track (Donald Cemetery Rd) to a bridge - it wasn't visible through the trees but drove past a stationary coalie waiting for the freight that we'd been leap frogging since Revelstoke.

Did I mention the scenery ??

One of the many peaks in the Selkirks taken in Rogers Pass.

Next stop - Golden. We checked in to the Days Inn then went for a cruise around some potential spots. I showed the guys the main coal train depot where the coal trains are serviced, where I "accidentally" drove through the yard then across it - it was a paved road and someone had ripped the No Trespassing sign down!!) then we went to KC Junction where the yard tracks meet the main line tracks. Using the scanner I tracked the progression of an approaching train and it turned up right on time.

A grain train with tail end Charlie heading west through Golden.

My "Canadian Trackside Guide" has proved to be invaluable.

Back to the scenery thing, Golden is in a small valley along the banks of the Columbia River - the same river that flows all the way down to Oregon and Washington and out to the Pacific. At the moment it's muddy yuck and there's lots of logs washing down it. Golden also lies between the Rocky Mountains to the east, and the Columbia Mountain Range to the west, with the Selkirk Mountains being the visible mountains. My hotel room looks across to the  Selkirks and the sun is setting behind them now as I write. Stunning. There's still a bit of snow on the peaks, but the locals are all saying how it's been a very mild Spring, hence the dirty rivers and lack of snow on the ground. Rogers Pass is a change in time zones and we're now another hour ahead (put our clocks forward). Despite my vigilance and the obvious heat of the day, I got a bit more sun on the chrome dome and I now have white marks from wearing sandals all day. Expecting more high temps through the week, up to 30 in some places - and it's not summer yet !

Nowhere to buy lunch, but Lawrie had left over pizza (I mean lettuce, carrots and fresh fruit) which he shared, and I had some chippies in the car. Dinner was some arty farty bistro where prices were high, portions were OK and they thought they were clever by trying to serve me artichokes and other fancy stuff that tastes vial - yeah right - I had a chicken breast and some fries (cooked in duck fat of course !!). By being fussy I saved a bit of money. We've now learned that 7 Eleven sells sandwich packs - thank goodness.

Tomorrow it's the long drive to Banff - this'll be interesting - don't be surprised if I don't post an update tomorrow.

Later - EJ

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