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Published: November 13th 2006
It’s been too long since I last posted an entry. I’ve been travelling across North America very fast, so I haven’t had the time to post.
The inside passage ferry from Alaska arrived in Prince Rupert in Canada on the 12th of October. The weather was bad, as it had been on the whole of the trip down from Alaska (See my last blog - Fire and Ice). The ferry arrived early in the morning. Once I got through customs, I found that there were no taxis or buses waiting at the port, so I had to walk a couple of miles into town. I booked into a hotel for the night and relaxed for the rest of the day.
The next day I caught the Skeena
train from Prince Rupert to Jasper. The Skeena train runs for 1,160kms between the North Pacific coast and the Rockies through remarkable landscapes of wilderness, deep blue lakes and rivers punctuated by settlements, farms and sawmills. The train journey takes 2 days. I took the schedules service with VIA rail which is cheaper than any of the tourist carriages. In fact I had to take the scheduled service
View from the Skeena train crossing a bridge
The Skeena train runs from Prince Rupert on the far NW coast to Jasper.
because the tourist high season was finished and all the tourist services had been discontinued. The views on the journey were spectacular as you can see from the photos on this blog. The train only ran during the day. In the evening of the first day it arrived in the town of Prince George
where the train stops for the night, continuing the journey the next morning.
On the first day of the trip there were a dozen passengers on the train but on the second day I was the only passenger. It was strange to have a whole train to myself.
I got into Jasper
at 5.30pm on the Saturday. The weather was beautiful. The next day it rained in the morning but it cleared up in the afternoon. This was fortunate, as I went on a wildlife tour in Jasper National Park in the afternoon.
The town of Jasper is in the middle of Jasper National Park. It is a World Heritage site and one of the largest protected areas in North America. The wildlife is beautiful and awesome. Jasper is less touristy than Banff which is a few hundred miles south.
ICEFIELDS PARKWAY, LAKE LOUISE AND BANFF
On Monday 16th I caught the bus from Jasper to Banff
. The bus passes through the Ice fields Parkway, which is another spectacular journey.
On the way the bus stopped outside a huge hotel next to the Lake. I have no idea how they got planning permission for such an intrusive building. Lake Louise is beautiful and serves as an expensive skiing resort in winter.
I only spent one night in Banff. I arrived in the town when the first snows of winter were falling. It was below freezing all day.
On the 17th I caught the bus to the city of Calgary
. I only spent one night in the city. The city centre seemed fairly trendy. I climbed the Calgary Tower for a scenic view of the city. The viewing platform in the tower is very scary, it has a glass floor.
Hanging around town I picked up a book about the First Nations of Canada. I was shocked to read that Canada’s First Nations didn’t get the vote
until March 31st 1960. I confess I didn’t know much about the treatment of Canada’s First Nations. I
knew much more about the shocking history of the treatment of the Indians in the USA.
Canadians like to think of themselves as the nice ones in comparison to the USA. But, just maybe like many nations self images, its more myth than reality.
George Sorel: Letter to Daniel Halevy 1907 from Reflections on Violence 1908
People who are living in this world of 'myths' are secure from all refutation
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I am planning a trip form Chicago to Anchorage (I think). Maybe two weeks by train and ferry. I loved your story about the train except the 2 mile walk. Maybe in June, there will be a bus. What is the absolute "musts" to see? Is it worth going to Denali? Thanks. JT