Banff Trip Part 5: Yoho ho!

16 08 2019

“Yoho” is a Cree expression of awe and wonder, and our day in Yoho Valley did not disappoint.  On the bus ride there, we passed under several wildlife corridors, which have proven successful at allowing animals safe passage over the highways while reducing insurance claims for vehicle accidents.

check out this you tube more info on how these crossings work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tIzp7emVtQ

Our first stop was at the Yoho National Park Visitor Center, where we learned about the spiral railroad tunnels that allowed trains to traverse the treacherous Kicking Horse Pass.  There was also a display about the Burgess Shale fossil beds, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, containing some of the oldest and most complex fossils in the world.  Of course, we already knew all about this, as our guide Bryce had already given us a lecture on the bus complete with plastic fossil models!

Our Motivated hiking group then transferred to a shuttle bus which dropped us off at the trail head, across from which was Takakkaw Falls, the second highest falls in Canada. (Not to be outdone, Takakkaw means “wonderful” in Cree.)

Takakkaw Falls

Up to the Yoho Pass we went, huffing and puffing.  Wildflowers provided much needed breaks, as did views of the surrounding scenery.  By the end of the day, I would have hiked seven miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet and loss of 1689 feet.  The downhill would prove more difficult than the up!

western anemone

Coming down a gravel-covered mountainside, two of us slipped and ended on our tailsides, although nothing was hurt but pride.  We crossed an alluvial fan created by glacial meltwater from Emerald Basin flowing into Emerald Lake, putting our waterproof hiking boots to the test as we tried to find the easiest way across. 

Once on the other side, we found ourselves at Emerald Lake whose color is caused by the light reflecting for the rock flour ground by glaciers.

Emerald lake
signs warned us that this beautiful meadow was actually
an avalanche site

The bus then took us to Lake Louise, which was beautiful but crowded, and then to dinner at Lake Louise Station. 

lake louise affects everyone differently

On the way back to the hotel, I felt a sinking feeling as I realized I had only one more hike left in this beautiful part of the world.