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Published: September 10th 2008
Emerald Lake - Yoho
A very deep green with scenic mountains in the background. The Burgess shale is around to the right (out of the picture)
Although we are staying in Banff NP we took a day trip to Yoho NP which is on the other side of the continental divide. The main attractions are the spiral rail tunnels, Takakkawa Falls, and Emerald Lake. The spiral tunnels are a bypass of the old railway grade that was ultra steep and very unsafe. With the spiral tunnels the trains actually go through two spiral tunnels in the mountain. You can actually see the engine exiting the tunnel while the rest of the cars are still entering the other hole (right below it!). No trains were nearby when we were at the viewpoint though.
We then headed over to Tukakkawa falls which is the 3rd highest falls in the canadian rockies (800+ feet tall). The hike to the falls was only 1/2 mile which was good because it rained on us since we left our raincoats in the car. This only meant ~10 minutes in the 40 degree rain before we got back to the car. Although it's 45 degrees it feels more like 35 with the dampness in the air.
After the falls we headed toward Emerald Lake. On the way there was a natural bridge
The falls come from a glacier high up on the mountain.
that we stopped by... it was pretty neat. Water flows under the bridge in normal conditions but it can flow over the top during peak flows. We got to the lake and it was fairly cloudy. From the lake we were able to see the Burgess Shale fields which contain some of the oldest fossils on Earth. We could not go up there without a registered guide (and time for a 20km hike). The lake was a pretty shade of green but it supposedly really pops during other times of the year. We decided to hike to nearby Hamilton falls (1/2 mile) which was a fairly constant climb. It was more difficult then expected (felt like a 50 degree slope) - Greg says it was more like 20 degrees of slope near the falls. Interestingly the falls was dammed up at the bottom with concrete and the flow came out of a pipe (not very natural). After I slipped on some rocks we were ready to get back to the camp and rest (and also plan a day off soon!). Greg made a fire while I sat and read, then napped, and woke up in time for some bright sunshine.
Yoho Natural bridge
Interesting how the bridge twists over the river.
Glorious! Greg cooked spaghetti for dinner and we had chocolate milk for dessert (needed the calcium). We bought a few supplies in town at a rediculously expensive grocery store so we'll need to stop at a cheaper store soon.
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