My first US National Park

Well, I think it is at least, dont remember doing any in ’87, but dont quote me on that, I’m assuming the Niagara Falls area (or White Mountains, NH) isnt one at least? On that trip, me and my partner took one train journey, at that time, my first outside UK and Ireland, from Boston to New York. Nothing terribly exciting there, in all honesty. The only reason we did it was because she didnt fancy driving into New York, and I never blamed her for that.

My first long distance experience of US rail travel, was a much longer journey, between Seattle and Philadelphia, with a change of trains in Chicago. I think the longest journey by train I’d ever done before, was London to Inverness (or reverse), and thats about 11 hours, or was back then. Now apparently the electric trains can do it in about 8 or 9, but those journeys were a long while back, when trains werent as powerful. Seattle to Chicago, about 44 hours on its own!

Doing it in January, as I was about to discover, only heightened the experience. Given the train leaves Seattle early evening, what happens is that you wake up in the Rockies, and yes, you’ve guessed it, in January, lots of snow! Thing is, trains still run on time, unlike over here when you get a few grains of the stuff lol! Where I woke up, was the Glacier National Park, and what a sight it was, I had never seen so much snow in real life, I guess it was several feet deep, but had no idea from the warmth of the train. But it looked an amazing sight, what little I saw of it, with astonished eyes.

Sorry, thats all I ever saw 0f it, what you could see from the train. So I probably missed a lot of good bits. What can be said is that Montana left its mark on me. Its called Big Sky Country for a good reason after all. But no, I’m not really likely to go back, lets just call it the public transit syndrome of being a non driver, and leave it at that! Its why that though I visit the US a lot, I’ve rarely seen much countryside in all that time, I do city trips for a good reason! There is also the snag that coach trips generally depart the cities early, and if you’re in an airport hotel for budget reasons…well, you get my drift!

That was one bonus last September, I got to see more of New England than just Boston, thanks to Kate, and so appreciated it was too. I suspect I will see more this September too, and looking forward to it. Next year I plan one day to take the coach to and from Buffalo, from Rochester, because the train timetable sucks for doing it that way around lol. I know, it will just be the Interstate probably, but at least I will see some country. I’m hoping to get to see some of Kansas next September, given that hotel rates in Wichita arent so high, so might be in town, and have more chance of coach trips around there?

But lets just say that for a Brit, for whom really cold weather was in the low 20’s F, to experience -25 F was quite something! Minot, North Dakota will always remain in my memories because of that. And yes, that was the mid afternoon temperature there! What the low was that night, I dont want to know lol!

I suppose one day I’d love to visit one of the Alaskan parks, but guess as I get older, its going to get harder for it to happen, especially as I’m cutting down on travelling beyond the mid west for the foreseeable future.

But yes, I will always remember Glacier National Park, and all that snow! The video, well, I dont think this was shot in January lol!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CglkZx5rrlM

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