Excitement and laughter fill the air
AS Philip sights the first wild bears.
Two cubs; one black, one brown,
Scurry up a tree branch lying on the ground.
With Mama Bear, bringing up the rear
The carriage erupts with applause; full of good cheer.
This was an exciting special moment when nature impacted on our fellow passengers. The feel good factor lasted quite a while as the train now travelled through Frazer Valley; farming plains where ginseng, blue berries and all varieties of vegetables are grown. The Frazer River brings down silt, full of minerals, which makes for fertile soil so the Canadians reclaimed the land adjoining the river for farming.
Scott steps to the fore with interesting facts, which help us to appreciate this flatter landscape.
First fact: Along the Thompson River Canada produces ginseng. It exports all of its produce to China, as it is of the highest quality, as the Chinese uses copious amounts of it. Then Canada imports Chinese ginseng for their consumption. It seems a weird way of doing business but according to Scott, extremely profitable.
Fact two: He continues with details of the blueberry harvest which yields 65.000 tonnes each year. It is one of Canada’s biggest exports to countries in Europe.
This area is not as spectacular as previous landscape but it is still pretty with sunbeams radiating a warm golden glow across the vast acreage. We can see in the distance Mount Baker, which is in the USA. It is a snow covered mountain very popular with snow boarders and skiers. Scott tells us that he and Becky often travel there to ski in winter.
The Frazer River reveals a sight that I’ve been waiting for. With so many trees already passed we finally see log rafts floating slowly down the river. Many of them are tied up awaiting collection to be loaded onto the huge goods trains for dispersal all over the country. Just a pity I didn’t get to see a lumberjack!
Fact three: We are told that by keeping the wood in the water it helps to prevent bugs destroying it (they eat it). It is easier to transport large quantities to the collecting points and also the dampness reduces the risk of fire damage.
As it is snack time and the passengers are having a rest from looking out of the window, Scott and Becky continue to keep the facts coming.
Fact Four: Fort Langley is an old town, which had to be moved so that it and the River Frazer, which runs by, was on the Canada side of the 49th parallel and not in the USA.
Fact Five: No corporations or food franchises such MacDonald’s, Subway, KFC etc., are allowed in the town; only local shops and cafes run by local residents.
As we start to enter the outskirts of Vancouver, the only problem that I have encountered on this part of the trip, is the air conditioning. It was so cold by the window that I had to be given a blanket to wrap around me, which was in fact quite surreal as the temperature outside, was in the 80’s!
We had the poetry competition and I’m disappointed to say that I chickened out of reading out mine. Oh well I’m making up for it now by including them in my blogs.
Vancouver arrived and we were greeted by the Rocky Mountaineer staff who lined the tracks as we rolled in. A delightful and interesting experience all round and one that I would recommend to anyone thinking of visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains.