In early August, I was lucky enough to be invited for a quick one-day round trip ride of the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler. Being a train/transit fan, I couldn’t resist and take up the offer.
The ride started so early that the company actually put us up at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel the night before. This way, it was guaranteed that all of the group would arrive on time for the shuttle bus to take us to the North Vancouver Rocky Mountaineer Station.
We got to the station a little bleary eyed and in search of tea and coffee, but discovering that we were going in the dome car of the Rocky Mountaineer instantly brightened me up sans caffeine. This dome car would definitely prove to have some of the best views on the ride.
We rolled out of the North Van station along the tracks towards West Vancouver. I had to take the standard Stanley Park/Lions Gate Bridge. Such a tourist in his own town. It was looking beautiful this sunny August morning.
The train rolled past Ambleside Park and all the West Vancouver apartment buildings. We passed by one building where they said we should look out to the left and wave hello to a lady. Sure enough. There was a lady standing at her window waving back to us. She was so cute. Apparently, she’s a regular at her window waving to the train.
Breakfast was served on the train as we started passing through the tunnels in West Vancouver. A good old sausage, bacon and egg breakfast along with berries in a yogurt blend.
As we finished off breakfast, the train started to snake its way along the rocky coast line of Howe Sound. There were wonderful views of the sound all the way up. It was hard to try and a get a clear shot of the water without any trees in the way, though.
Being a scenic train ride, there are quite a few sights along the way. If you ever wonder how you get to see all these sights as you whiz pass, not to worry. You won’t whiz pass. The train actually slows to a crawl as it passes key places. The one above is the mini waterfall of Deeks Creek. It’s a fair amount of water still coming down in early August. The dome car paid off in spades with this view.
At Britannia Beach, we cozy right up next to the Sea To Sky Highway. The major attraction in Britannia Beach would be the Britannia Beach Mining Museum. I remember years ago that this building looked run down and almost derelict. The museum has really cleaned up and the museum actually looks attractive. If I am to believe the ads, then the museum is highly rated on TripAdvisor.
Then there are places that are only viewable from the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler train ride. The Cheakamus River Canyon is one of these places. Those who travel along the highway can never see the awesome power and rush of the Cheakamus River rapids. The train follows along the canyon and climbs up past the rushing water on its way to Whistler.
As we closed in on Whistler, we passed the Black Tusk. It’s a giant black triangular rock that juts out at the mountain top. It literally looks like a giant black tusk thrust out of the mountain. Black Tusk can also easily be seen from the highway, they say. Although I’ve always been to busy driving to notice it when I’ve taken the highway.
The Rocky Moutaineer Whistler pulled into the Nita Lake area of Whistler. Our final stop was the Nita Lake Lodge attached to the Rocky Mountaineer station. If we wanted to head onto the Whistler Village, we would have had hop onto a shuttle bus for a quick ride in. However, we had actually come up to have a meeting at the lodge. Nita Lake was ideal and serene this day. I couldn’t have asked for a better day trip with summer sunshine and a luxury scenic train ride experience.
P.S. The name Rocky Mountaineer Whistler is a bit misleading. The mountain range in which we find Whistler and Vancouver are actually the Coast Mountains, not the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains straddle the BC and Alberta border which is in another time zone.