From the Rocky Mountains to Moncton, Atlantic Canada
From the Rocky Mountains to Eastern Canada, Carol had the experience of a lifetime as she traverses Canada by rail. The trip reminded her of the great old Christian hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”
A Special Vacation Starting in the Rocky Mountains
A special vacation can combine fun and making memories as part of the puzzle pieces of our lives. In 2018 my husband and I decided to embark on a once in a lifetime trip across Canada by train. It gave us glimpses of the variety of scenery across this vast land we call home. We had opportunity within a two month span of time to travel from sea to sea as spring arrived in the land, coming at different rates and times throughout April and May and into early June, depending on where we found ourselves at that time.
I looked in awe at the rocky mountain majesty and the day we rode past Mount Robson we could see almost clear to the top with only a few wispy clouds blocking the view. This happens only a few times of the year and from the train, which slowed down to allow passengers to enjoy the spectacular scene, we had a higher vantage point than from the highway. Waterfalls, freed by the sun’s warmth from the ice that stopped them all winter, tumbled down the mountain sides or trickled from lower elevations. Rocks glistened as water sprayed them clean.
The View from the Train Window
On the prairies small creeks and rivers snaked through winter dead prairie grasses and trees waited for the green dress of spring. Spring took her time warming the earth and bringing the freshness of new colour, life and growth but we saw signs the new season would arrive soon. The stereotypical view of the flat, boring prairies could not have been more wrong. Growing up here I knew this but the view from the train window showed the ravines, rivers, hills and steeper grades than most people would have thought. High trestle bridges, rivaling the rocky terrain of mountains or shield graced a few places as we traveled three provinces of prairie landscape.
The prairie brush, grass and low country gave way to the lakes, rivers, and forests of the Northern Ontario shield. Rocks and more rocks with tunnels blasted through them or cuts for the rails to proceed showed the ruggedness of the landscape. Islands of rock of various sizes dotted the numerous lakes. A single tree grew from the top of some of the tiny rock islands and I wondered how it survived. Yet it clung tenaciously to the rock as the waves pounded the sides of its rocky home.
In one place the bridge holding the rails we traveled across gave the illusion, at least from my vantage point in the observation car that we were gliding over the water with nothing beneath us.
The ice that had not quite left the lakes as we rode the train east would be gone by the time we returned. The trees would change their look and open water would glisten in the sunshine heralding a new season in this part of our country. But for now I watched the decay of winter in the thinning ice and bits of open water.
Days of Travel
Throughout the days of travel, especially in Northern Ontario where communities are far apart and cabins dot the lakeshores without a visible way of access, there was very few places to connect with Wiifi for the train had none either. It helped to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and ordinary chores of life and enjoy this vast difference in scenery playing out the windows of the train.
After the quiet of the train and the countryside, changing trains in Toronto to continue our journey to Montreal we bumped into the rush of people bustling in and through Union Station. The train was more business class and the cities ran from one into the other, the tranquility of lake country left far behind.
These trains ran on time. It was rush, rush, rush and I wondered if anyone took time to enjoy the journey rather than just as a means to reach their intended destination. I found glimpses of beauty as cities whizzed by. As we pulled into the Brampton station, I noticed a carpet of dandelions blooming under the station sign. It reminded me of a quilt of colour laid on the carpet of grass and it made me realize spring had already established a strong foothold in this area of our country.
The Ocean Train
The train running further East from Montreal is fittingly called the Ocean train and it too tends to run on time, unlike its western counterpart. We rode through the night and arrived in Moncton and the Bay of Fundy the next day. Huge tides, lighthouses, covered bridges gave us things to explore in our rented car as we marveled at the emptiness of the river in Moncton at low tide and how all the crevices filled with the incoming tide until the river was wide and the banks short in comparison.
We headed west once more but made a stop in Quebec City, a place steeped in history. Even here, many miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, the tides play a part in the depth of the river. Water birds pecked along sandy river bottoms as we explored outside the city but by the time we returned they bobbed along, the sandy bottom no longer visible.
Even now, a year later, I remember the vast differences in scenery, busyness, language and culture and that does not even cover all the vastness of Canada for we never traveled to the north or to Newfoundland which would have added more pieces to the picture of what makes up Canada.
The Wonders of God’s Creation
When I think about all the wonders of God’s creation that I saw on our train trip across Canada from Prince Rupert on the Pacific to Moncton on the Atlantic, my heart sings praise to the Creator. I have the song How Great Thou Art written by Carl Boberg running through my mind.
Oh Lord My God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds thy hand hath made. I see the stars I hear the rolling thunder Thy power thru out the universe displayed.
When thru the woods and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze.
Then sings my soul my saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great thou art. Then sings my soul my Saviour God to Thee, How great thou art How great Thou art.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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