Okay, so its actually kilometers, not miles. But the title just wouldn't have sounded right if I had been mathematically and geographically correct.
I am currently sitting aboard Ontario Northland 700 (using their graciously provided wi-fi), lurching toward Cochrane, Ontario. I have never traveled such a distance by train in my life and let me tell you, for all it's draw backs, I quite like it. The weather is amazing right now. The sun is blazing and the snow is sparkling and the train whistle is blowing. There is not even one substantial cloud in the spotless blue sky! In a Canadian, at least, this means that that is probably snot-freezing-knives-down-your-throat-crystalize-your-eye-juice cold. Okay, so it isn't that cold right now, according to my phone. It is 'only' -15 here in.... Baldwin. Could be much worse.
The train tracks run through forest 90% of the time and the trees are covered in snow so heavy it makes their boughs sink under its weight. There is about a foot of snow where we are traveling through right now (which by this point is Gravenhurst, Ontario, which is -19, brrr....).
(I am writing this as the train moves, so bear with me as my attention flutters around between things I notice.) We stopped in Gravenhurst for half a second at the cutest little train station. For those from Whitby, it looks like what is now the Station Gallery, only all white. And now we are once again jostling along the tracks. It seems like we should be much further along that we actually are, considering the train left the station at 8:50 this morning and it is now 11:10(ish).
There are very few people on the train, at least compared to the number of seats. There is about one person to every row of seats, which is nice. You can put the foot rest up and the seat back (because, unlike a plane, I have discovered that the seats are far enough apart that you don't rest breaking anyone's knees to do so) and just relax.
You can tell it is an older train - blinds with stripes the colours of the medicine wheel faded almost to white, ashtrays in the arms rests, and a toilet in my car that the workers are trying like mad to get flushing. There is a dining car and periodically other passengers (who I wager also got up around 5am this morning) come walking by after picking up a coffee or a tea... mmmm or maybe a hot chocolate!
Having only got four hours of sleep last night (mainly due to repeatedly packing and purging on a seemingly endless repeat), I promptly fell asleep upon boarding the train. Looking down the aisle right now, it looks like I am not the only one, either! The girl sitting across from me (heading to Timmins) is asleep, as is the lady is a very glamorous looking black coat (which I noticed earlier has an animal print lining) and large, voluptuous collar (what did you think I was referring to?). The train is definitely conducive to sleep, that is for sure! The the rocking motion of the cars on the tracks, it is usually very soothing. Though one occasion, the rocking jars a little too much and everyone asleep opens one eye, before closing it and resuming their (non-)activity. When this happens, the back of the chairs also knock back and forth.
A little while ago there was a man, likely in his late twenties, with a long beard and long hair who walked by. I fancy he's in a band or something. But alas, the rest of his fictional band members are not on the train with him.
So, with this done and 7+ hours left on this train ride, I am signing off for now.
Take care and stay warm!
Ps. Just looked out of the window before publishing this entry and saw the cutest log cabin/farmhouse! Also I forgot to mention the lakes. The area we are in right now (Huntsville, Ontario at 11:50ish), has a lot of what are called finger lakes. These are shallow lakes scratched out by the glaciers as they receded at the end of the last ice age. Certainly makes for some lovely scenery (I may or may not post some pictures later). Bxx