I was finally visiting Yoho National park. With it being so close to Alberta and often depicted by instagram famous photographers, I was going to go there and have the best day ever, which meant nice pictures. On a side note, I recently tried to evaluate why I liked taking pictures so much. I am a very lazy social media person, so these pictures often don’t make their way to my social media profiles, and I am by no means a professional, I don’t even have a camera. What I arrived at was, taking pictures is just one of the ways I enjoy a new place. So if you are like me, and you have thousands of pictures on your phone, you are in good company.
Ok. Back to Yoho national park. So I wake up in Banff, and the skies are not looking too friendly. There are dark clouds hovering above us, we bolster ourselves and hit the road. Not quite 10 minutes into the 45 mins drive to Yoho National Park, it starts to rain heavily. We make a quick stop at the visitor center and grab a map of rain friendly trails and we take off to the nearest one.
Now this is a photographers dream. You don’t even have to hike or stress to get there. The guy who discovered this lake Tom Wilson named it Emerald lake because of its vivid green colour. This lake is the largest in the Yoho national Park and theres a lot you can do there including canoe rides ($70 for a 1 hour rental), hikes and trails, snowshoeing during winter, swimming, cross country skiing etc. The hike around the lake, clocking in at about an hour, is one of the least strenuous but most rewarding in the park. An incredible breadth of geological features can be viewed from the lake, including the world-famous Burgess Shale fossil beds, the Michael glacier, and an avalanche slope carpeted by meadows where moose often graze.
The lake is super accessible but usually not as busy as Lake Louise, the only accommodations there at the time of this writing was the Emerald lake lodge and there was also the Cilantro restaurant, right at the lake but it was closed during out visit.
I particularly like that it was still drizzling when we were exploring this lake, it gave it a really nice surreal feeling.
Just about 10 minuets by car (3km) from Emerald lake you will get to Natural Bridge which is an impressive natural rock formation that spans the flow of the Kicking Horse River. The river disappears and re-appears just beneath the rock formations through a canyon making it sort of like a waterfall to be joined by the Amiskwi River.
We were lucky that the weather had cleared up and the sun was making its appearance just as we got to natural bridge. There was a short walking path to a viewing deck for more views. We got to take in the beauty of the natural bridge with the scenic mountains as the backdrop and also see the beautiful green colour of the river that is typical of Albertan lakes and rivers due to minerals and other deposits injected by glaciers prevalent in the area.
Located 35 minutes from Natural Bridge, Wapta falls gave us a headache. It was so difficult to find. Located slightly off the Transcanada highway it is apparently more accessible coming from BC/Golden than from Fields, BC (which we were coming from). And I still don’t have an adequate description of how to get there easily. After getting off track for the better part of 30 minutes, we finally arrived there.
The word Wapta is from the Nakoda word meaning “river”. The Wapta falls is about a 2.3km (gain of 15m) hike on flat ground, so you are basically just doing an easy stroll to the top of the falls. It had rained earlier in the day so the trail was very muddy with large pools of water that you inevitably stepped into regardless of how long your legs are, so plan for the weather and wear appropriate shoes.
This is the 2nd highest water fall in Canada at 384m. Located about 35 mins drive from Emerald lake, the falls were easily accessible. From the parking spot, you could see the impressive falls. The trek to the base of the falls itself was very short about 1 km hike that took me about 10-15 mins.
Takakkaw means “wonderful” in Cree language. And wonderful it was. The sound and power at the base of the falls was simply exhilarating and you were slightly bathed with the fine mist from the falls. We also stopped to enjoy some photo opportunities with the famed red chairs providing a nice vantage of the falls.
My take on these bodies of water
Sculpted by the erosive forces of rushing water overtime, these rocks are a powerful reminder of how much influence water has in shaping the landscape. The water being synonymous with our life experiences, just as water has a lot of influence shaping the landscape over time, so also our persistence at what we do or what we want, will surely yield positive results. Stay determined.
Check out my previous post on how I spent the day before at Lake Louise