One of the things I love in particular about train travel is the chance to meet other travelers. On planes, the close proximity makes most people clam up in fear they will get a seat mate who is overbearing and over talkative. In cars, it is just you and your traveling kin. But in trains, with room to move around but also nowhere to go fast, people are much more open. On this trip I met a young man about to hike the continental divide trail, effectively completing the triple crown of hikes as he has already done the pacific crest and Appalachian trails. My seat mate was another woman off to spend three days camping in East Glacier National Park. While sitting in the observation lounge I met a couple who were on the final leg of a journey around the us via Amtrak starting and returning in Pennsylvania. We talked education, religion, travel, and history. A perfect conversation from my point of view!
The highlight of this particular trip though was listening to the volunteers from the Rails to Trails program. These highly trained volunteers speak about the views you see from the lounge car. I learned all kinds of history and geology about Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indians.
I have taken this particular train trip one other time, about five years ago or so, but it was in December and thus there was very little daylight. This time, however, the views were spectacular.
Mt. Hood and Hood River, wind surfer extravaganza:
Sunset over Eastern Washington:
Blackfeet Nation at the foot of the Rocky Mountains:
And my favorite, the Montana prairie, aka Home.