Saturday, 1 August 2015

Travels to Portland: Part 2

The scenery slowly changed the further west we went. We stopped at a number of other stations, including Havre, where we were able to stretch our legs on the platform for a bit. But soon we were underway again and the plains became rugged hills and valleys and the hills and valleys became larger and larger until we were surrounded by massive mountains - the Rocky Mountains - on either side of the train!

We soon found ourselves twisting and turning along the rails as we traversed further into the Rockies. To the right, we were hugging massive mountains, and to the left there was a steep drop to a pebbly river below. Volunteer Park Rangers from the National Park Service provided insight into Glacier National Park and the history of the region while we steamed through this area. It was a very informative presentation.

By sunset - around 21h00 (9pm) - we had emerged on the west side of the Rocky Mountains and pulled into Whitefish, Montana, for another technical stop. It was good to step off the train and breathe the fresh mountain air here. Candace and I called it a night pretty soon after departing Whitefish. While we slept, we passed through Idaho and then entered Washington state. We woke up early in the morning (Wednesday, 17th June) - in Spokane, Washington - to change from our Superliner Roomette to the Coach service for the remainder of our trip to Portland. The Empire Builder splits in two at Spokane - some of the train carries on to Seattle while the rest goes down to Portland.

We passed through many towns along the Columbia River as we steamed along the north (Washington) side of the river. We were able to catch a magnificent view of Mount Hood in the distance before we pulled into Vancouver, Washington, a little later in the morning. We departed and crossed over the Columbia River - a large river that even has ocean-going vessels sailing on it - and entered Oregon and soon thereafter were approaching Union Station in Portland. After around 45 hours of train travel since leaving Chicago, we had arrived! Amazing adventures were waiting for us!

 Candace and I at Havre, Montana.
 Great Northern Railway steam locomotive on static display at Havre.
 The "Hands Across the Border" sculpture, representing Canada-US friendship.
 Wind turbines in Montana.
 The plains slowly became more rugged and hilly.
 One of the first glimpses of the Rocky Mountains!
 Winding our way upward and into the mountains.
 Theodore Roosevelt's memorial monument near Glacier National Park.
 We could see the front of our train on many occasions as we twisted and turned along the route.
 Large pine-covered mountains.
 Volunteer Park Rangers in the lounge car of the Empire Builder.
 Beautiful scenery in Glacier National Park.
 Lodge in West Glacier, Montana.
 Steaming away from the Rocky Mountains.
 On the platform at Whitefish, Montana.
 Antique Great Northern shuttle bus.
 Great Northern diesel locomotive on static display at Whitefish.
 The train station at Whitefish.
 More wind turbines on the horizon as we pass through Washington.
 Early morning sun on the hills.
 Wind turbines perched high above the cliffs.
 Majestic Mount Hood as seen from across the Columbia River.
 Vancouver, Washington.
 Crossing the Columbia River and entering Oregon. Note the ships! I was very excited to see ships again! :)
 House boats on the river.
Portland's Union Station - we'd made it! What a wonderful journey with Amtrak!

No comments: