Recently I discovered the pristine wilderness of Canada’s western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. The Canadian Rockies straddle a vast area and showcase the power of nature. In every direction, there are mountain tops of sculptured rock and rivers of slate-colored water flowing through woods that carpet the surrounding hillsides. Forests are filled with Douglas Firs, butterscotch-scented Ponderosa Pines, the yellow and orange autumn colors of maple trees and aspens, and tall cedar trees that completely shade the forest floor. Glacier-fed rivers and lakes are as blue as the cloudless sky. Some waterways feature class V rapids and narrow canyons almost unable to contain the swirling waters rushing by.

Throughout our journey, there were many wildlife sightings. Mountain goats, elk, and bighorn sheep were spotted along the hillsides. In the wetlands, beavers had built dams. Countless eagles were soaring over and perched on poles and tree limbs and appeared to be looking at us as we whizzed by. The streams were filled with ripples of pink salmon and the most excitement was over a rare sighting of two grizzly bears together. 

My travel companions and I journeyed through this wilderness aboard a Rocky Mountaineer glass-dome rail car. We were pampered with comfortable heated seats, panoramic views, first-class dining and beverage, and insightful commentary, from the time we left the rail station in Vancouver to our disembarkation in Banff, a small resort town nestled like an Alpine village in the Canadian Rockies. While in Banff and just outside the center of town, the Bow River falls flow by the iconic and castle-like Banff Springs Hotel. Nearby are the Banff Hot Springs, and the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for top-of-the-world views.  

This is a part of the world not to be missed. And exploring it in such style aboard Rocky Mountaineer as the train travels through vast areas of rugged beauty is a unique experience everyone should enjoy.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.