Hiking in Canadian Rockies – Yoho NP

With coverage of 1,313 kmΒ², 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. πŸ˜€
Emerald Lake
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 πŸ˜›
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
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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ˜€
mountain goats, if you can see them (center) πŸ˜€

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24 Responses to Hiking in Canadian Rockies – Yoho NP

  1. Spaggyj says:

    Wow. You weren't kidding when you said I'd like Yoho even more. (Great word, by the way, and thanks for the explanation)! It's so beautiful, there aren't even words for it. And the fact there's a load of shale with fossils? Waaaa :eyes: ! And there are running trains going through? :faint: there's everything! πŸ˜€ Kicking Horse, I probably would name Lucky Bastard :eyes: Congrats on the new record, too. I couldn't do anything like that, I don't think. Also, cute goats. πŸ˜€

  2. Spaggyj says:

    Haha, yeah πŸ˜† Yeah, they're pretty hard to spot even with a photo, which obviously, can zoom, whereas human eyes cannot. But I see their little bodies, and they are cute. :p

  3. qlue says:

    Ah, the famous Cambrian 'explosion' w00t! :hat:

  4. gdare says:

    Lucky Bastard, I am thinking that maybe this is what they called it at the beginning then, later, they choose more… acceptable name :DGoats were so far away that I barely noticed them. San told me to focus on white dots on a side of mountain and if they move – there you are :DThanks :cheers:

  5. sanshan says:

    That's my park. I was born near there, and want my ashes strewn in the Kickinghorse river. Okay, tomorrow I need to start making my posts about our journey. πŸ˜€

  6. sanshan says:

    Yes! Our guide talked about that. Fascinating!

  7. serola says:

    Amazing sceneries and tunnels :yikes: :hat:

  8. gdare says:

    Kimmie, I spotted them by chance, wasn't even looking for goats, just enjoyed scenery :DSan, we are all waiting :DAadil, interesting, isn't it? And the fact that surface of Earth is stretching and congregating, and that, at one point whole planet was one big block of ice, and… :PSami, before, tunnels to me were only shortcuts through the mountain, never thought more about it. What a brilliant idea :up:

  9. sanshan says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    San, we are all waiting

    The weather is too nice to do it during the day! And you are on the computer making your posts at night! What's a girl to do? πŸ™„

  10. Stardancer says:

    The water in the Emerald Lake must be unbelievably clear. The color is striking.Beautiful photos. Enjoyed the tunnel stuff, too. Interesting.:up:

  11. gdare says:

    Star, actually the color comes from silt – stones that were ground by the glacier ice to a fine dust – and once in a lake, it never completely settles. Color of the silt has the wave length of blue color and this is where it comes from πŸ™‚ It is clear for about 2-3 feet.San, ok, computer is yours tonight πŸ™„

  12. spooksister says:

    I have wonderful memories of those mountains but didn't really appreciate them until we moved away.

  13. gdare says:

    Sal, I grew up in flat lands and mountains were always special to me. As you know πŸ˜€

  14. Furie says:

    I notice your altitude record is only a metre above your normal height. Must climb more, old chap.Wapta falls (and also that particular shot of Emerald Lake) look movie familiar to me, yet I can't find anything about them being shooting locations. The videos are great, by the way. There's simply nothing quite like the sound of a waterfall that close up.Again, some beautiful scenery and just when I'm about to start rewriting my waterfall scene, so thanks for the help. πŸ˜‰

  15. gdare says:

    Originally posted by Furie:

    I notice your altitude record is only a metre above your normal height.

    πŸ˜† As for Takakkaw falls, most of the time I needed to cover my camera lens because air was filled with fine little drops. If you take a careful look there is a rainbow at the center-bottom side of photo πŸ˜€

  16. Aqualion says:

    Oh, that was the discovery. A rock! How amazing…;)Seriously, very cool.

  17. derWandersmann says:

    Excellent trilobite, Dare … Next time, be sure you have some sort of pocket rule with you … it's a fine shot, but a bit of scale would be nice. I was going to say that the blue-green colour was due to rock flour … it's normal in glacial meltwater, especially close to the glacier's foot. It settles out over distance.Really handsome scenery … one imagines one is in a Wagner opera.

  18. gdare says:

    Martin, no, it will be something more interesting :DdW, this one is about one inch in length but some of them were bigger. For instance, this one is about 2 inches wide and it's only a part of the entire fossil.

  19. raniakasim says:

    I think that the climatic changes is so harsh ,thanks God it didn't cause you a flu .

  20. gdare says:

    It was hot that day. And I never got a flu during summer πŸ˜€

  21. SittingFox says:

    Yoho is one of the most beautiful parts of Canada and your photos do it good justice :up:I heard that the Burgess shale was discovered when a horse kicked a slate loose. Its rider got off to check the shoe, and spotted the fossil. There seem to have been a lot of kicking horses in that part of the Rockies :right:

  22. gdare says:

    Adele πŸ˜† Interesting story. Actually, a version of a story. Because a guide told us that it was First Nations people that discovered them first and used them to trade with white people. This is how the word came to Walcot. He failed to find it in first attempt. Then someone tipped him (or he payed for info πŸ˜› ) where exactly it is πŸ˜€

  23. SittingFox says:

    πŸ˜† There are probably as many stories as there are fossils :p

  24. gdare says:

    Exactly πŸ˜€

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