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“Don’t rush a trip to Canada, plan in time along the route to really experience the landscapes” Barry Crawford, Train Manager on Rocky Mountaineer, tells Julie Baxter his personal Alberta-themed highlights

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o matter how many times I ride the Rocky Mountaineer, I never tire of it. Every route is slightly different and you always see something new and often something unexpected. People come for The Rockies, and they never disappoint, but they discover there is so much more to see too – the Spiral Tunnels and the Continental Divide, dramatic bridges, lakes and waterfalls – there are some really unique landscapes along the way. My top recommendation to all visitors is to spend some time in the locations either end of the trip. Don’t rush off because, whether the journey ends in Banff or Jasper, there is so much to see. Visitors that explore beyond the towns get a better appreciation of Alberta. So much of the Rocky Mountaineer’s journey is iconic. The mountain peaks, yes, but also the wildlife viewing which is a big part of the experience. The things we see - be it bears, elk or the birdlife - are different every trip and spotting something along the route is as exciting for the crew as for the passengers. I started out with food and beverage experience and

it is wonderful to see how our chefs use fresh local ingredients on the train’s menu – the AAA Albertan beef, sockeye salmon and seasonal produce are all very popular and help us tell the story of the route.

Big impressions

YEARS ONBOARD: Barry has worked for RM for 20 years BEST MOMENT: Wildlife viewing along the journey FAVOURITE FOODS: AAA Albertan beef, sockeye salmon and seasonal local produce TOP TIP: Don’t rush it, build in time to explore

The Rockies always make a big impression but so too does the rugged nature of the route, and the sheer drama of the journey. Gradually passengers gain a real understanding of what a truly amazing engineering feat this railway route is. I’m not a big hiker but I recently walked in the national parks above the tree line at 7,000 feet and it’s really worthwhile. If visitors get the opportunity to spend time outside of the towns of Jasper and Banff I recommend an easy hike or any outdoor adventure. There is plenty for the serious hikers too but the many, very easy trails just give visitors the chance to truly experience the scenery they see. For those who don’t have much time, heli-hiking is a great option. The helicopter drops you into amazing, breathtaking spaces, for views that just make you hold your head in your hands, incredulous! Remember too that the journey changes as the seasons change. Spring time is great for the wildlife and for longer views as there is less foliage developed along the route, while summer is beautiful because everything is in bloom, lush and green. The fall is special because of the golden light and the changing colours of the leaves. When that light hits the rivers they just sparkle.

Get onboard Throughout 2020 Rocky Mountaineer is celebrating its 30th anniversary so it’s a great time to get onboard. There are three routes for agents to choose from: First Passage to the West (Vancouver to Lake Louise or Banff); Journey through the Clouds (Vancouver to Jasper); and Rainforest to Gold Rush (Vancouver to Jasper via Whistler and Quesnel). 

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Travel Talk Alberta.indd 35

12/30/19 12:46 PM

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