OTTAWA TO KAMLOOPS DAY FOUR

Dawn rises on the rolling prairie, bringing high white mists. We arrive in Edmonton around 7 a.m. and they do a quick coach cleanup and train check. I’m one of the few who don’t get off the train. I wash up and change.

Two Brothers Totem, Jasper

Two Brothers Totem, Jasper

By early afternoon, we’re in the Rockies, fast approaching Jasper. The wide mocha-colored Athabasca swings into view as we shuttle through our first tunnel and on into Jasper National Park.

The rain starts before we arrive in Jasper, but stops before we pull into the heritage railway station, leaving the air fresh and cool. I grab a mocha at the Bear’s Paw and catch up on my work, sending a final copy of a story to my editor in Ottawa, so she will have it on her desk first thing Monday.

We pull out of the station at 3:30, an hour past schedule. Around 4, we cross the North American Continental Divide, scuttle through the Yellowhead Pass, and find ourselves in Mount Robson Park on the Alberta-B.C. border.

Tonight — my last evening on the train — I dine in the dining car. I order the duck in a rich rosemary gravy with scalloped potatoes and zucchini cooked to perfection. Salad to start, with a vinaigrette, chocolate caramel layer cake with mint tea for desert. All that — with wonderful presentation — for only $20!

The evening is cool. We’re in the heart of British Columbia now and I see a little black bear cub foraging near the tracks against the backdrop of wilderness, rough-flowing and quiet streams and deep valleys folded in mist.

We arrive in Kamloops a little early. Raven, who usually goes to bed quite early, has stayed up until 11 p.m. to say goodbye. I’m on the lonely station platform waiting for a taxi and Raven is pressing her face against the window scrawling something on the windowpane with her finger. It’s probably “See you on the next train.”

Pyramid Falls

Pyramid Falls

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