Lake Louise, Banff NP, Alberta and Field, Yoho NP, British Columbia – Blue-green picture postcard kitsch and spiral tunnels

Our first half-day hike this morning starts in 2000 m elevation at Moraine Lake that looks so much artificial and screamingly turquoise as if somebody poured a paint pot in it. The pines and the ten snow-covered mountains over 3000 metres around make the postcard picture perfect. We are following the trail to Consolations Lakes. This area is notorious for grizzly mums to raise their grizzly babies here. There are alarmingly many and huge strawberry plants, especially besides the path. Since bears like berries I am happy that they are still blooming, and there are no fruits yet. A lot of Least Chipmunks already learned that tourists’ backpacks might contain interesting things like food. But they are little animals and not dangerous. I prefer them. A few sweet Hoary Marmots allow us to take pictures of them as long as we keep safe distance. The short-legged ground squirrels weigh up to 11 kg and have ice-grey fur at shoulders and back, a red-coloured tail, and a white patch on the muzzle. In areas frequently visited by people, hoary marmots aren’t timid. They might stand still for a picture, or they just go about their business.

We decide to visit another national park in this chain of parks. Few kilometres behind Lake Louise sign posts are welcoming us to Yoho National Park and to British Columbia. Yoho means in the language of the Cree “reverence and amazement”. With British Columbia we put our foot in all ten provinces of Canada. Like everywhere even on Trans Canada Highway it is conspicuous that truck traffic is limited. On one hand, Canada is the world’s second largest country but with only 33 million inhabitants. What do you want to uselessly carry around? On the other hand, a lot of cargo is carried on rails. All day long you see hooting freight trains to chase away game animals. On each wagon stand two small and one big overseas container above them as long as it’s not a bulk cargo or tanker wagon. In Yoho right beside the TCH the railway winds through the spiral tunnels. The initial railway line in the very narrow valley became apparent soon as to steep since many wagons were derailed. Already in 1909 at Kicking Horse Pass two spiral tunnels were blasted into the mountain to reduce the gradient from 4.5 to 2.2 %. Because Canadian goods trains are most of the time extremely long and pull much more than 100 wagons, you can see the locomotives, mostly three or four, already leaving the tunnel while the last wagons didn’t even enter it.

In front of the village Field in Yoho Park we are riding two circles around Monarch Campground like pros, choose a pitch, register, and reserve it before we continue to Takakkaw Falls. The 254 m high waterfalls belong to Canada’s highest ones. Particularly interesting is that the falls are fed exclusively from the littler higher situated Daly Glacier. Accordingly Takakkaw Falls, what means “magnificent” in Cree language, change during the year. With beginning thaw in early summer the biggest amount of water race down the slope. In late autumn the falls become sparse. The remaining water eventually freezes in winter until the glacier collects new masses of snow for next year. Takakkaw Falls flow into Yoho River. The big amount of glacial mud it carries gives the river its milky-opaque light grey colour like liquid concrete. Later on, when the rock meal set, the dissolved minerals might dye a lake blue-green. The park management compiled two pretty paths: one to an overlook to the whole falls and another to the foot off Takakkaw Falls where you can get splendidly soaked.

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