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Rocky Mountaineer Travel Season Launches July 5
This post was sponsored by Rocky Mountaineer
Disclaimer: At the time of writing (actually, the morning after I finished the first draft) I learned about forest fires in BC that could disrupt travel and/or affect air quality. Let’s all wish for rain.
Standing on the outdoor viewing platform of the Rocky Mountaineer train as we glided through Alberta, I let the Canadian Rockies infuse me with their tantalizing mountain scents: balsam fir, alpine grasses and air cooled by glaciers and snow-cragged peaks.
It’s a scent-triggered image that lives on in my mind. Even today, two years after that Rocky Mountaineer train journey from Vancouver to Banff, the faintest whiff of sun-warmed pine needles takes me back to my adventure on the sleek blue luxury train.
It’s not surprising. Smell is one of our most powerful senses, deeply connected to memory and sense of place. (You can thank the brain’s olfactory bulb for that, but that’s another story.)
Travel in 2021
And now, looking back on the many other trips I’ve done on Rocky Mountaineer, much of it spent with the wind batting my face with its invisible paws as I stand nose to the sky on the outdoor viewing car, I realize that one of the best ways to experience travel in the Canadian Rockies is to sniff it.
The Year of Local Travel
It’s likely Canadians will be gulping it in. All signs point to 2021 as being the year of local travel, and Canadians are fortunate to have the magnificent Rocky Mountains in their big backyard, where fragrant earthy scents are as much of a travel treasure as a grizzly bear sighting.
Rocky Mountaineer Starting Up on July 5
One way to take it all in is with Rocky Mountaineer.
Is the Rocky Mountaineer running in 2021? Yes!
After being sidelined for more than a year, when train travel – along with the entire tourist industry – screeched to a halt in 2020, Rocky Mountaineer will once again be showcasing its breathtaking views of the Rockies.
Travellers who have wondered if Rocky Mountaineer will be running in 2021 can rest assured. The season launch begins July 5, and builds up to a full travel schedule in August.
Indoor Air Matters
While I’ve always associated the dramatic beauty of the mountains with its crisp alpine scents, what I didn’t realize – and I’m not sure how many people did until the world went off kilter – was how much indoor air matters, too.
So, when Rocky Mountaineer filled me in on the measures they’re taking to help people feel safe, I found myself absurdly excited to learn about their high-end air filtration systems that remove 99.9% of airborne viruses and bacteria, and that completely renew the air inside each train car every 3.5 minutes.
Safety Protocols on Rocky Mountaineer
It’s more than filtered air. The Rocky Mountaineer team has looked into all areas of operations to see what other safety enhancements they could put in place. Some of the resulting measures include:
- Glass barriers between tables in GoldLeaf dining rooms
- Increased distancing between groups
- Train interiors thoroughly sanitized using an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer
- High-touch areas, including railings and restrooms, sanitized throughout the travel day
- Masks, in line with current Canadian protocols, required in public areas when not eating or drinking
It’s incredible to think how travel has changed over the last year. How we’ve changed. How things such as air infiltration, protective face coverings and social distancing have become part of our travel vocabulary.
Yet going forward, I think the best trips are going to be the ones that can embrace a healthier world.
Best Places for Fresh Air on a Rocky Mountaineer Itinerary
If you do decide to explore the Great Canadian West this year, here are my top breathable picks for oxygen-laden air.
Rent a bike and cycle around Stanley Park on the 9 km Seawall Trail. (Note: It’s a one way circular route, so be committed.)
Visit the misty vision that is the Capilano Suspension Bridge (at least it was misty when I was there). This lush haven with its Douglas firs and rainforest atmosphere is rich in beauty, rich in oxygen, and so much more than the bridge alone. (Although the 450-foot suspension bridge over the Capilano River is really cool, too.)
Rent a kayak and take a lazy ride on the Bow River to the Vermillion Lakes.
Stroll along the riverfront on the Bow River Trail. It’s one of the prettiest parts of Banff and much of it is paved and wheel-chair friendly.
In Lake Louise
The 4.5 km Lake Louise Lakefront Trail is terrifically scenic, though it can be crowded so you might prefer to rent a canoe at the Boathouse.
Catwalks, canyons and rushing streams … Johnston Canyon has incredible walks and views.
Only in Canada
In order to inspire Canadians to explore their own amazing landscape this summer, Rocky Mountaineer has introduced a number of promotions as well as a new partnership with Aeroplan.
Selected Summer Specials with Rocky Mountaineer
Canadian residents can save up to $1,400 per couple on vacation packages of 5 days or more.
A Fairmont partnership offers savings of up to $2,900 per couple on packages that pair the train with stays at Fairmont properties. (The Fairmont Banff Springs and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise are landmarks not to be missed.)
Alberta-BC residents who travel on Rocky Mountaineer this year will receive a voucher for future travel within 5 years.
For further information and bookings, visit RockyMountaineer.com.