This was a particularly memorable trip out west to the Rockies. It was my first solo trip and was really a spur-of-the-moment choice. I had just completed my undergraduate degree and scheduled some time off before I started working. In the previous month, I already went on another trip with some friends to California, but I still had some time left. So I thought, why not, time for one more trip.
I researched and booked everything about two weeks beforehand. I also decided that I would go hiking in the national parks in the area, something that I didn't have much experience with. With this plan, I bought a trail guide for the parks, picked some trails that I wanted to try and went gear shopping (and how I got acquainted with MEC). In addition, since I guess I really did have a lot time on my hands, I also chose to take the scenic route there, by train. And not just any train ticket, I bought myself first-class tickets for the train with the justification that it was a multi-day train ride from Toronto to Jasper. Lots of impulsive decisions made (all good ones in hindsight).
The photos starting below chronicle some of the highlights from my trip. It's hard to really capture just how memorable this trip was though. The feeling of stepping off the train in Jasper. The views and sights I reached after hours of hiking. The freedom (and anxiety) of traveling alone (caveat: the most dangerous things were probably myself and maybe the bears).
By the time this trip was over, I was ready to come back to the trio of national parks again. Beyond that, I had found great new interests - in hiking, the mountains, photography - that would be influences on all of my future trips.
The trip started slowly, as I prepared to be on a train for approximately 2.5 days. This would be first time on such a long-distance train trip, so that in itself was an adventure. A slow-paced adventure it was though, with plenty of time to just watch Canada pass by.
After two days on the train and the pampering of first class, I settled in for one last night on the train. It was time to prepare myself for the next part of my trip. I collected my stuff and tried to sleep despite the anticipation for what tomorrow would bring.