Monday, January 2, 2017

Jasper

As we were having our out of town visitor here for the month of December, we thought it would be awesome for her to have a truly snowy experience. So we booked a train trip to Jasper for a few days & had plans to do lots of snowy things. As it turns out, we did not need a trip to Jasper to experience the extreme snow!! However, it did end up being a super cool experience taking the train and seeing & exploring a new place. Here are some details of our trip!

I've never been on a train before - have you? I had no idea what to expect! Our train left Friday evening and we were to arrive in Jasper on Saturday afternoon.

The dome car where you can sit higher up and see tons of scenery through the glass top


Here are the pros of train travel in my opinion:
- TONS of leg room
- seats recline a lot and have a leg rest
- power outlets in every row so you can charge devices 
- the bathrooms are twice as big as airplane bathrooms
- you can walk around & hang out in other areas of the train anytime you want
- beautiful scenery along the way

Here are my thoughts on the cons:
- the TIME: it took ~22 hours to get from Vancouver to Jasper)
- the stops: passenger trains are low on the totem pole in the train world, so sometimes they just stop in the middle of nowhere to let cargo trains through
- the delays: we were 3 hours delayed in getting to Jasper. On the way home, our train was supposed to pick us up in Jasper at 2 pm. It didn't come until 11 pm. Plus, we were 3 hours delayed again. Not fun, plus my poor mom waited in the train station in Vancouver for over 3 hours for us! (her cell phone had died so we couldn't reach her)

I do think it was a really neat experience but I'm not sure it would do it again, unless I have all the time in the world....


I took a knitting class a few weeks ago so thought the train would be a perfect place to finish my scarf. I did about 5 rows and it is definitely not done, FYI. Not sure knitting is my favorite thing to do at all...

The train station in Jasper

Our hotel in Jasper was directly across the street from the train station which was really convenient. We thought that winter was busy time in Jasper, but we were wrong! Apparently summer is their super busy time of year. Go figure.

One day we had planned to go snow shoeing. However, the lady at the rental shop told us there wasn't enough snow to snowshoe and that we could easily just walk all the trails instead. That was nice of her to be honest with us and not just rent us the gear! We took a cab up to Pyramid Bench and did a long walk in the snow. The return trip was all on the frozen lake. Then, we learned that the walk back to town (downhill) was only about an hour, so we walked back! (it ended up taking about 2 hours, for the record) We walked just over 15 kilometers that day. I was impressed. The whole thing was so beautiful!


I love this picture of Edwin & I - it was so beautiful there - I felt like we were somewhere super exotic! (and cold)

This was on the frozen lake walking back; it got really windy and extra cold!

Stephanie made snow angels for the first time

The next day, we went ice skating on a frozen lake at the Fairmont Jasper. (beautiful hotel, by the way) This was super fun as Stephanie nor Edwin had ice skated before! I hadn't ice skated in a long time, but was able to do a few loops and help them. My ankles were so sore after taking off the skates!




Other than that, we relaxed in our hotel room and watched some movies. Our hotel also had a rooftop hot tub so Edwin & I did a soak in there one night. It was so nice!

I wish I had some really amazing food stories to tell about Jasper, but nothing stood out hugely. We ate at some local pizza places, Smittys for breakfast a few times, and Earls for dinner once. (they did have really good fish tacos on their happy hour menu for a great price!!) I must say, the Tim Hortons there was super adorable! (Stephanie also LOVED Timbits!)


We did some shopping too and picked up a few fun souveniers. Oh and we saw some wildlife! Mostly elk & deer. We were hoping for moose, but no dice.

These elk were just hanging out at the train station!
We thought it would be colder there than it was. We were prepared for -20 kind of thing, but the coldest it got to was about -10 at some points. It really wasn't much different than Vancouver in all honesty! Overall, it was a really fun trip and felt like an adventure going somewhere cold & snowy. (usually vacations are to warm places!)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you!

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