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Spectacular Western Canada: Grizzlies, Orcas and Totems

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Program #21439RJ

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12 Days | 11 Nights
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Linda from Crystal Lake, IL Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 07/12/15 - 07/25/15
Very informative and relaxing program. Our guide Patricia, was fantastic. Highlights were North Pacific Cannery and Telegraph Cove. Saw lots of whales (1 Humpback and numerous Killer Whales), seals, eagles, and bears. The salmon at the Killer Whale Restaurant was a once in lifetime experience. It was marinated and steamed on the grill. The pace of the program was perfect.

Robert from Indiana, PA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 07/12/15 - 07/25/15
Delivered what it promised. We saw: about 50 eagles, 25 orkas sightings 7 goats, 2 sheep, 6 whales,50 harbor seals, too much to remember.

Joanne from Stamford, CT Number of programs attended: 5
Date attended: 07/12/15 - 07/25/15
Had a great time on this trip. Pacing was excellent and lots of highlights. I especially liked Telegraph Cove and the whale watch. Meals were delicious and food was plentiful. Traveled with a wonderful group of people who were always on time and always pleasant. Trip involved a VERY long train trip which would have been fine except for sitting on sidings for long periods of time while waiting for other trains to pass. Both legs were over two hours delayed. Cruise from Prince Rupert to Fort Henry was long but interesting and we had a stateroom for naps and privacy. Patricia, ur tour leader, was very knowledgeable about everything we saw. She really cared about our comfort and safety as well. Weather is very changeable so warm layers and rain gear are a must. Lots of charming towns and educational experiences.

Carol from Decatur, IL Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 07/14/14 - 07/25/14
Wonderful trip with fascinating things to do and see every day. The group leader was knowledgeable, caring, a facilitator, good companion. The best ride was the BC ferry though the train was better than any Amtrak ride with the same type of cars as Rocky Mountaineer. The Tshimsian feast was an unexpected pleasure as were the knowledgeable experts including the teenagers at the Cannery and Whale Museum and the ferry naturalist who explained about 4 story tall glass sponges. We would want to revisit many of the places and take more time to learn, explore, and enjoy.

Karen from Decatur, IL Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 07/14/14 - 07/25/14
This is a great program . The leader Patricia was outstanding. She was so knowledgeable about the plants and animals we were seeing, and she was so helpful as we moved across Canada on buses, trains, and ferries. The two other naturalists (Ben and Kirsten) who were with us for a few days were also outstanding. This program is packed with so many activities. You certainly get your money's worth. The thirty people in the program were wonderful traveling companions.

Pat from Rolla, MO Number of programs attended: 14
Date attended: 07/14/14 - 07/25/14
Spectacular scenery, excellent program leader, great traveling companions and wonderful boat trips! Banff was on my husband's bucket list and this trip was all and more than we hoped for. As Ada mentioned in her review- several of the days were long days but the scenery was worth it. I would have liked one more day on Vancouver Island so we could have seen/stopped at Coombs Market as well as explored Nanaimo more. There are rock art drawings that are neat in the Nanaimo area. The trip is well worth your time but you do need to have patience. Just sit back and enjoy! We did!

Ada from New York, NY Number of programs attended: 51
Date attended: 07/14/14 - 07/25/14
Pluses: Excellent program leader and knowledgeable and highly interesting lecturers. We had a very congenial group of 30 program participants. Saw lots of wildlife including grizzly and black bears, orca and humpback whales, seals, porpoises, deer, elk, bald eagles and many other birds. Highlights of trip were the grizzly bear viewing excursion from Prince Rupert and the whale viewing excursion from Telegraph Cove.

Minuses: this program was too ambitious for its own good. Schedule was jam packed and too much was crammed into one day, making for 12 to 16 hour days. There was not much time for sleeping and very little free time. On 4 nights we checked into the hotel after 10:00 PM (in one case it was around 1:00 AM). I was very disappointed that there was no time to squeeze in the Coombs Country Market on Victoria Island, even though it was included in the program itinerary. I’ve been there previously on several other Elderhostel/Road Scholar programs and love its lunches, its ice cream, and its fresh fruit, and was so much looking forward to going there again. The two-day journey on the Skeena train, while relaxing, didn’t particularly do anything for me. There were zillions and zillions of trees (which got monotonous after a while), but not much wildlife (although I was the only person in the group who saw a moose from the train – it was hiding in the woods). Don’t expect the train to leave and arrive on time.

The activity level of this program is rated “active”, but I think it should be rated “moderately challenging”. While it was not physically strenuous (with the possible exception of the icewalk on the Athabasca Glacier), the amount of activities crammed into each day made for an exhausting trip. A heads up to those contemplating taking this program: July (particularly mid-to-late July) is a better time to see grizzlies and orcas than June.

The bottom line is that this is a very good trip, but the itinerary needs work on it.

Road Scholar's response:
Thank you for the feedback! Certainly, there are some long days but the amount of walking is not excessive and always at a moderate pace given the current activity level. In 2015 the order of the itinerary will be reversed – starting in Vancouver and ending in Banff. This allows for an additional night in Prince Rupert, following the Inside Passage cruise, as well as an additional night in Banff to allow more time for exploration of the Rocky Mountain Parks. We have long travel days on the ferry and the train; these are the only scheduled departures for these modes of transportation – and the best way to see coastal British Columbia and northern BC and cover a huge area.
Morgan from Portland, OR Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/30/14 - 07/11/14
Glacier walk was incredible. I didn't think I could make it but has excellent support. Skeena train was a disappointment, no dining car so we had to sit in our seats with a tray table--shades of plane economy class. I took this trip mainly for the train through the Rockies so was disappointed. I would strongly suggest Road Scholar get the Rocky Mountaineer. BUT overall it was terrific,'jam-packed and fun-filled'; the people were great, the guides and lecturers were excellent.

Christine from Galena, IL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/30/14 - 07/11/14
This is a new trip so they are still working out some of the details. We were on the 6/30 - 7/11 trip. It was jam packed but worth every minute. Hotel in Prince Rupert was disappointing and we would have liked to spend a day in Nanaimo but overall, wonderful!

Alban from Columbus, OH Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 06/16/14 - 06/27/14
The glacier walk was a highlight for us. We had regular walking shoes and light hiking boots. They supplied (included) stretch -on 'cramp-ons', like the 'Yak Trax' you can get for icy sidewalks; they worked great. They have free loaner hiking boots too. We walked slowly with stops for talks for about two hours on the glacier - very cool! We split up into four groups, about 8 per guide, depending on our energy level. Some of us walked farther than others.

Susan from Agoura Hills, CA Number of programs attended: 20
Date attended: 06/16/14 - 06/27/14
I have been on many trips with Road Scholar (15+) and this trip was my least favorite. It was not well organized, water was not available which has been on every other trip. Getting to the hotel after midnight and having to be up at 5:30 a.m. was not ideal. The Skeena train apparently runs late and freight trains take precedence over it. I feel they tried to cover too much in this trip and did not take into allowance possible delays in this trip.

Bettie from San Diego, CA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 06/16/14 - 06/27/14
grizzly viewing is from a boat. We got some nice pictures of a mom and her cub. Skeena train is dome cars with access to a higher dome viewing car as seats become available. No platform for pictures. Glacier walk is challenging and somewhat organized by your perception of your ability level. Some of us got higher on the glacier than others but everybody had an enriching experience. BC has an amazing ferry system. Remember this is by bus, train, boat, and ferry with considerable walking along the way.

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"Peyto lake" Uploaded By: Carol
"Peyto lake" Uploaded By: Carol

"antique rose at Stanley park " Uploaded By: Carol

"large red cedar in Stanley Park, Vancouver" Uploaded By: Carol

"emerald lake and site of Burgess shale in the background" Uploaded By: Carol

"telegraph cove whale museum" Uploaded By: Carol

"eagles" Uploaded By: Carol

"totem: prince rupert" Uploaded By: Carol

"inside passage" Uploaded By: Carol

"ferry" Uploaded By: Carol

"prince george room" Uploaded By: Carol

"skeena river" Uploaded By: Carol

"lake country" Uploaded By: Carol

"skeena train" Uploaded By: Carol

"walk onto glacier" Uploaded By: Carol

"athabaska falls" Uploaded By: Carol

"moraine lake" Uploaded By: Carol

"walk to the top of moraine lake rockpile" Uploaded By: Carol

"athabaska glacier" Uploaded By: Carol

"fireweed" Uploaded By: Carol

"eagles" Uploaded By: Carol

"banff hot springs" Uploaded By: Carol

"Totem pole in Stanley Park" Uploaded By: Pat

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"Orcas on whale watching boat trip out of Telegraph cove" Uploaded By: Pat

"Patricia, group leader, kept us informed" Uploaded By: Pat

"Museum of Northern British Columbia dance presentation" Uploaded By: Pat

"Enjoying the company during Inside Passage cruise" Uploaded By: Pat

"Totem pole at BC Ferry terminal in Prince Rupert" Uploaded By: Pat

"Grizzly Bear at Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary" Uploaded By: Pat

"Athabasca Glacier Ice walk" Uploaded By: Pat

"Maligne Canyon walk" Uploaded By: Pat

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"Moraine Lake" Uploaded By: Pat

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
28 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
17 Field trips


Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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