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Badlands and Beyond, part 13 – British Columbia, Yoho

“Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing”. –Richard Rohr

We had to go back. Tak Falls was the most incredible waterfall I had ever experienced and the hiking trail that led back into the mountains and glaciers called to us… beckoning through the cool, glacial breeze that carried fresh, invigorating scents of pine and aspen. This is what our hearts had longed for; to walk deeper into the little-explored back country of the Canadian Rockies where the grizzly bear, elk, and mountain goats roamed wild and free!

Yoho River

June 26, 2018 – Phil and I drove from our campsite in Alberta to the British Columbia side where we had been the previous day. Tak Falls parking lot was almost at capacity but we found a spot for our van to squeeze into. Our plan was to hike along the Tak Falls trail where there were several more waterfalls to see. Twin Falls would be our final destination where a log cabin stood and was used as a “tea house” in the past, currently in use as a shelter for hikers. Angel’s Staircase and Laughing Falls were two other waterfalls we experienced along the trail.

Two hikers with large, multi-day back packs met us on the trail and we stopped to ask them where they had camped and if they had seen any bears along the way. They had seen a mother black bear with cubs but the bears took off as soon as they’d caught wind of them. The couple had camped multiple nights in the back country and one of the campsites they had over-nighted in was at the Laughing Falls site. It was only about 2.5 miles from the Tak Falls parking lot. We thanked them for the info and wished them safe travels, then journeyed on to the campsite.

Laughing Falls Back Country Campsite

We were very impressed with the way the Canadians had set it up. There was a sleeping area for tents and each site was leveled and had benches for sitting. About 75 yards away was the eating area with picnic tables, a pole for hanging “smellables” out of reach of those clever bears, and a privy was nearby. The gorgeous, Laughing Falls, were on one side of the campsites and the Yoho river was on the other side. The melodious sounds of falling water surrounded us, lulling us to stay… We fell in love with the beauty of the area and knew we were going to need to spend a night here, in the remote ruggedness of this pristine, Canadian wilderness.

Yoho River
Laughing Falls

We hiked a total of 7.5 hours that day and made it to the furthest destination, Twin Falls.

Twin Falls
Phil blending in…

Near the spectacular falls is an old log cabin tea house that now serves as a shelter for hikers and government forest workers. During our hike we would smell smoke and see little wisps of smoke rising through the treetops. We would have been alarmed, but fellow hikers who had passed us on the way explained that there were forest service workers burning small piles of brush for the purpose of controlling forest fires. The smoke was a bit annoying at times but the dark clouds overhead gave us a reprieve with some rain, hail, and then snow to quell the fires.

Glacier among the Canadian Rockies

On the hike back to Tak Falls parking lot, we picked a trail that unbeknownst to us, was littered with tree fall and made the hike back extremely difficult. Phil took some pics of a brave little Marmot who was loving the cover the downed trees provided.

Marmot

After making it back to our van and with plenty of time to spare, we drove to the town of Field, where the Ranger Station was, and booked a night in the back country. Tonight was our last night at Johnston Canyon Campground and tomorrow we would prove to ourselves that we could brave the grizzly bears and spend the night in their world!

Tak Falls area
Black bear we saw on the drive back to our campground.

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