First stop: Yoho, a Cree name for awe and wonder. Ayup! It's lesser known than Banff and Jasper, but is a premier hiking destination. It's home to the second highest waterfall in Canada, Takakkaw Falls at some 1250 feet. Takakkaw is another Cree word; it means something like "That's pretty spectacular." And again, Ayup!
The nearest parking lot from the TransCanada highway is close to the falls. But once you get away from that short walk, the crowds thin out. We hiked a total of about five miles into the Yoho Valley along the river (and, of course, back out). The easy to moderate trail pretty much follows the river, and there are plenty of cascades and falls and vistas.
At one of the falls, I walked out onto a rock ledge to take a selfie (see below) and the rest of the crew thought I went on ahead. They left me alone by the river thinking they were trying to catch up to me. I thought they'd turned around to head back to the car and the falls, so I hiked the five miles out by myself. They abandoned me on my birthday!! However, the walk back, alone, in the awesome beauty of the park and the Rockies was a spiritual experience. Transcendent. One of the greatest hikes of my life. There's something about being in nature, away from all human-made sounds except your own footfalls and your breathing. Peaceful. Inspirational. Exhilarating.
Also, this was not the only time I got separated from the family while hiking on this vacation. Hmmmm. But more about that later. (click pics below to embiggen slideshow)
|Approaching Takakkaw Falls, glacial melt water pouring into the Yoho Valley.|
|Takakkaw Falls from the base.|
|The glacial river descends into Yoho Valley.|
|Trailhead into Yoho Valley. Note the mixture of clouds and smoke from distant forest fires.|
|One last longing look back at the magnificence of the falls in the distance as we head off into the Yoho Valley.|
|The river widens, the color of my shirt (see below).|
|Hiking in the West is different.|
|Taking a selfie as the family abandons me!|
|Cascades and falls.|
|At the end of the day, dinner in Banff, Alberta, a lovely resort town.|
|Banff sunset, colored by smoke from distant fires.|