We were still firmly snuggled down in our far too airy little tent when the bustling of campers started up well before dawn. It is a strange feeling lying there wondering who is doing what and how close; invariably our imaginings turn out to be quite off target too.
Finally, we did emerge to find the place all but evacuated… that is when we sprang into action to choose ourselves a better site. Claimed and paid for, we set up camp again. The river gurgled past close by; we felt cozy, nestled now amongst the trees.
Today is the day we set out to find Emerald Lake that comes as a ‘don’t miss’ recommendation wherever one looks.
But first, another must stop en route to the lake, the Natural Bridge created by the strong torrents of the Kicking Horse River that undercut through solid rock.
Water flows through time and wears down mountains.
In the moment of our lifetime, we see but a part of the process.
Yesterday’s waterfall is today’s bridge, becoming tomorrow’s chasm.
~ taken from info board on site.
Emerald Lake is breath-taking! We follow the path away from the crowds to enjoy the quiet tranquility of the emerald waters.
Avalanche slope – close-up
This avalanche path is a place where snow moves with incredible speed and power.
The plants here are low and flexible enough to bend with the blast of thousands of tons of hurtling snow and straighten slowly up when the snow is gone.
The open avalanche path provides food for animals varying in size from mice to moose; and these animals, in turn, are food for predators who depend on this open space for easier hunting. A keen-eyed hawk in a tree nearby has likely postponed his hunt until you pass beyond his territory.
~ taken from info board on site.
Time for that lunch. Today we eat out at The Truffle Pigs in the little town of Field which is situated within Yoho National Park.
“At Truffle Pigs we believe in fresh local and regional ingredients, and non-medicated meats. We believe the mealtime experience should be social and energetic, and that children have a place at the table. And we believe that neither cooking nor eating should be rushed, because quality food and quality time go hand in hand.”
~taken from The Truffle Pigs Bistro
It was the ‘fresh local’ and the taste combinations on the menu that sold it to me; the bistro lived up to its recommendation with flying colours and flying pigs (even though for us the exchange rate made the meal a luxury we could not repeat, sadly).
The day was not yet done…
The 13km scenic drive to the falls is a treat on its own. It comes with a couple of switchbacks, my first experience of such. I never did get the instructions for the reverse maneuver for longer vehicles, but longer vehicle or not, the bends could not be taken at the same time as another vehicle, which was a little hair-raising if you were puffing up to the turn while someone else was in the turn… unless, of course, you are a pro at stopping and starting on steep inclines.
When you say Takakkaw, you are saying it is ‘magnificent’ in Cree which is spot on for this 254m waterfall, one of the highest in Canada.
Daly Glacier, 350m from the brink, feeds the falls. The glacier, in turn, is fed by the Waputik Icefield, snow falling on the icefield becomes moving ice in the glacier, which melts to become Takakkaw Falls.
In summer, the rock face roars with the plunging mountain torrent. But in the autumn, the melt is slowed, and by winter, the racing falls narrows to a ribbon of ice awaiting summer to set it free.
~ taken from an info board on site.
Back at the camp, there was just enough daylight left to do the first bit of the very interesting 1.2km (one-way) self-guided trail following in the footsteps of the rail workers back in 1884:
A Walk in the Past
A walk up this trail is your ticket to the past. Over a century ago men struggled to build a railroad down the steep Kicking Horse Pass. Today you can follow their old tote road, touch the soot left behind by long-gone steam locomotives and discover an abandoned work engine.
Take the trail guide along and allow about 2 hours for the return trip.
Caution: The trail crosses a main line of the Canadian pacific Rail which is used many times a day, so watch out for trains!
~ taken off the info board.
Satisfied after a good day, we pile up on wood… we are ravenous!
Yoho has most certainly lived up to its name which means ‘awe’ in Cree. Perhaps I was guided by intuition to miss that extra night up in Jasper…
Tomorrow we head out across the plains of BC to reach the west coast of Canada…