Thursday, December 28, 2006

Winter, Oops Autumn, in Agawa Canyon

I can finally download pictures without any glitches (hopefully), so I thought I would show some of our pictures from our trip to Agawa Canyon. We went on the day long train trip to see the sights of autumn. Instead we saw winter! At first I was disappointed, thinking it was going to be a gloomy day. Sault Ste. Marie was rainy and dull. As it was we were on the last weekend of the autumn season and most of the leaves had fallen; however, as we rode further north it started to snow. The snow got heavier and deeper as went up toward the canyon and by the time we stopped there was 20-30 cm on the ground. It was amazing and breath-taking. We rode in the dome car on our first leg of our journey and I was awestruck by the beauty that surrounded me. Since we were on the last car of the train, Don opened the door. The photographers on the train were lined up to take pictures and I loved watching the track rolling along. Here are a few of the pictures I took out the back of the train:

We were quite fortunate to go to the canyon n the day we did. If we had gone during the winter we would not have been allowed to get off the train since the canyon receives up to 15 feet of snow and it would be too dangerous for hiking. As it was we were not able to go to the lookout - closed due to dangerous weather conditions. It was a mix of rain and snow once we got to the canyon so I got soaking wet when we hiked to two of the falls. The water falls had not yet frozen over so we saw something more unique - water and snow, not snow and ice. The downside - I was soaked and my glasses kept fogging over. For those who are visually impaired like me, you can appreciate the frustration and disappointment when taking pictures and trying to get the light just right and focusing when you can't see.

Don had a great time looking at the trains. Being a model railroader he loved watching the engines changes from front to back for the return trip. I took some pictures of different parts of the train hoping to some day put together a collage for his train room.

I loved taking pictures of autumn peeking through the snow. The brightness of the colours against the snow was amazing.

We met a couple from Florida who come up to Ontario, Quebec and the eastern states every fall in order to get a real feel for the season. They had this honking digital camera that had a super zoom lens and could take five or more shots for my one. By the end of the trip they had taken 1400 shots! And I thought I took a lot of pictures!! They said they would send us a CD with some of their pictures on it which meant I was able to get some good pictures taken from inside a train (the windows were water streaked).
The return trip was relaxing. We sat below (not up top in the dome car) and could stretch out since there were fewer people than on the way north (a group of the people in our car hopped another train and kept going north to Hearst, another six hours north). We walked through the train and found car after car empty! When we asked we found out that there was just 200 people on the trip and since the next day was a full train of 800 they kept the cars on the train. We had free rein - great!

I loved looking at all the cottages along the rail line. Many of the cottages had no road access so during the summer the cottagers hop the train and the train stops along the way whenever people need off. The little huts you see at farms for children waiting to catch a bus are also along the rail line for people waiting for the train. I think that would be so cool to be that isolated... One man whose front door to his cottage was probably about 20 feet from the track was sitting on his veranda with his dog and reading the newspaper. I'm not sure I would want to be that close to the tracks. Here are the last look at our trip - the way back south:

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into a special walk through a winter wonderland that Don and I took. The only thing that would have made the time better was to make it longer. We are now thinking of looking into the train trip up to Hearst, Ontario, a ten hour trip. I would also love to take the Polar Bear Express from Cochrane up to Moosenee and Moose Factory in the summer. Anyone up for it?



Barbara said...

Those pictures are awesome. The red reall stands out against the snow.

Evie Sears said...

You got some great photos. Even though you missed many of the fall colors, you got a unique look at the transition from fall to winter. Looks pretty good to me.

Agawa Canyon is amazing. Dave and I have got to get back to that area sometime. When we lived out west, we got there fairly often. Unfortunately, it's been years since we've been there.:(

Dave said...

I love the pictures....though you did not see the fullness of the leaves, the clean snow makes for a wonderful setting if you can get it just right. Kudos

Jenn said...

does the polar bear express make stops in places where you can sit by a pool and spanish men named raul and rodriguez bring you fruity drinks with umbrellas? because if it does - i'm so there

Karen said...

Breathtaking photos, Cathy! Bruce and I are going to have to do that trip one day very soon!