With coverage of 1,313 km², Yoho is the smallest of four contiguous national parks (with Jasper, Kootenay and Banff). Established in 1886. it got its name after Cree word for awe and wonder. But then again, we were told that most of the names they gave to natural beauties were expressions like Wow!, Magnificent!, etc. 😀
We were having reservations for place in Kicking Horse River Camp and that was a reason we didn't spend more time in Glacier NP. Btw, Kicking Horse River got its name when, during discovering the pass through mountains for CPR, one group took a rest near Wapta falls. One member of that group got kicked by a horse and his companions, thinking that he must be dead, started to dig a grave. Luckily for a guy, he opened his eyes just before they put him in a hole; the river immediately got its name after that event 😛
Also, we got a good news – no closed trails and no hiking in groups. Bears were not seen in the area since spring, but certain level of precautions was supposed.
Where to start from? There were so many places we visited and so many more we didn't have time for. Maybe I should start from Emerald lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the area? Or Sherbrooke Lake, less famous but as beautiful. Or Wapta and Takakkaw falls – the links are to videos I made and uploaded on You Tube.
Takakkaw falls are another interesting example of how the places were named. In all brochures you will find that name comes from Cree language meaning 'Magnificent' – which it really is. With 254m it belongs to one of the biggest falls in Canada. However, another source told us word 'takakkaw' means 'something cold and fast' – which also makes a complete sense, knowing that water comes from Daly glacier, a part of Waputik Icefield.
But the main reason we came to Yoho is hiking to famous Burgess Shale. I won't even try to explain scientific part of it – I am not geologist nor biologist, so everything would have to come from Wikipedia and would go beyond the limits of this post and eventually choke the reader :ko: – it will be enough to repeat what they told us: 500 million years ago it was just a beginning 🙂 Discovery of fossils of marine animals in 1909. by Charles Walcott, changed the history of science. The organisms that lived in very dawn of appearance of any life on Earth. The fact that they lived in the ocean and their fossils were found on more than 2300 meters above level of present oceans, connected several areas of science and proved some theories, one of them made by famous Serbian scientist and mathematician Milutin Milankovic.
one of the fossils in Burgess Shale
It was one of the longest hikes we had in a long time. About 22km (13 miles) both ways and altitude gain of almost 1000m, it was not as strenuous as we expected; but on 2000+ meters above sea level you can expect everything. Weather might be scorching hot or it may snow, so we needed to carry different kinds of clothing in our backpacks. And water. They recommend 2 liters per person but our guide to Burgess Shale told us he usually drinks 3 liters on a hot day. And he was right: half of the trail goes over the exposed side of Wapta mountain. Dehydration comes suddenly; at one moment you are ok then in less than 5 minutes mouth is dry and only water gives relief. But it was worth the effort :happy:
a view toward Emerald Lake – Mt Carnarvon 3040m – The President 3139m – Emerald glacier from Burgess Shale
It was my altitude record at the moment – 2330m above sea level (two days later we went even higher). Before that my record was around 2100m in Olympus mountain in Greece.
Another interesting place could be seen only from the highway but represent one of the engineering miracles in history of CPR – the Spiral tunnels.
graphical illustration of Spiral tunnels
Constructed in 1909. under the supervision of John Edward Schwitzer, the senior engineer of CPR’s western lines, Spiral tunnels were ingenious solution for trains to overcome a steep 4.5% grade over the Kicking Horse pass. Tunnels are still in use 🙂
lower Spiral tunnels
Rain prevented us from hiking on probably the most beautiful hike in the area – The Iceline Trail, but it remained in our list of things to do in future. I know we will be back in Yoho and that trail will be among first to hike to 😀
mountain goats, if you can see them (center) 😀
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