Monday, September 19, 2011

Takkakaw Falls - Yoho Valley - 9.19.2011

Phew! Finally caught up on blog updates. This is my trip from yesterday :)
The last few days I've been feeling down. No need to go into the reason why, but I've been down. There's usually only one cure for that, when it comes to me, and that is to get the hell out of town and into the mountains....let's see if it worked.
It was a nice morning when I loaded up the FotomanMobile. A bit on the cool side, but still, nice. I had made the decision that I would do a little bit of a hike out at Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park. I've never hiked down the Yoho Valley Trail so I figured I'd make the day about waterfalls, and go for a bit of a hike.
Heading through Banff, I could see the dark clouds forming over the mountain tops. Low cloud cover and parts of the highway were damp. I had forgotten any kind of jacket, but did remember to bring a sweater - which is a good thing. Heading down the steep grade into Field, B.C., it started raining. I don't mind rain, especially in the mountains and on a hike, as I find it intesifies the smells and even some sounds.
It had been a couple of years since I had been out to Takkakaw Falls, and arriving at the parking lot, it's majestic look, and amazing sound of the water rushing over the top, confirmed that it definitely is a jewel to visit and photograph.
Taking the quick walk from the parking lot towards the very short trail that goes to the falls, I realized that everyone I had walked by, said "good morning" and most asked "how are you today?". Although still feeling a bit down, I couldn't help but say "I'm great thanks! How are you?" How can you not be great in a place like this?? This trip really did start to help my head space, right from the start.
I set up the tripod and took a shot from one of the "normal" spots that most people take a photo of these falls from, then packed up the tripod, and started the walk down the trail. Most people (young and old) were from Europe. I talked to one nice couple that were from Germany, and they were hiking the same direction I was, although they overtook me because I stopped to take a lot of photos :)
Not far up the trail, is the Takkakaw Warden Office. I'll have a photo of this up soon, as I was able to get a shot of this rustic looking log cabin, with the falls to the right of the photo. Man, that'd be an awesome place to "work"!! Just passed that, since it was drizzling a bit with rain, yet the sun was peeking out now and then, was a rainbow over the Yoho Valley. Unfortunately, it didn't show up on the photo. Not sure if it's because I had my circular polarizer filter on or not, but next time, if it's overcast like it was, I'll leave that off.
I couldn't help notice, even on the drive up the road to the falls parking lot, that the water level was quite low compared to most times I've visited. Although, this is the latest in the year I've been out here, so understandable considering runoff season has finished. Just past the Takkakaw Campground, is a thin, wooden, footbridge that spans a wide water way. At this time though, it's pretty dry. a few streams of water run down it, fed by a small waterfall on the left. These mountains are just waiting for the snow. I'll have to do this walk earlier next year, when runoff is happening. I'm sure the amount of water down some of these areas will be amazing!
Past this section, the pine trees line the trail and make for an amazing smell all the way. Coming to a "T" intersection, I turned right to have a look at Angel's Staircase Falls. This was at 2.21km from the falls and unfortunately, no water was running down these falls at this time. Turning back, I went the short walk .25km to Point Lace Falls. This had water...I could hear it before I got there. It's quite a tall waterfall, nothing tall like Takkakaw, but probably a good 200 feet. Although there wasn't a huge amount of water flowing over the top, it was good because I'm sure my lens would have gotten spray on it if I came up in the runoff season. That was a nice waterfall.
At this time, I was considering continuing on for another 1.5km to Yoho Gorge Falls, but I didn't want to get home too late so I turned back towards the parking lot.
On the way back I met a couple of really nice (and really pretty) young ladies from Eastern Europe (just from their accent...I never did ask where they were from). At this time the sun was coming out and it was warming up a bit, even though it was still a bit windy and still drizzling, at the same time.
At the parking lot I loaded my equipment back into the FotomanMobile, and headed off to Emerald Lake. I don't know what it is, but every time I'm in Field, I have to come to Emerald Lake. It's called that for obvious reasons and if you have a look at my photos of it on my flickr photostream, you'll see why. The color of the water is amazing, and one hot summer day I'll rent a canoe and go out on the water with my camera for some "different perspective" shots. They always have some really nice colors of plants hanging off the small bridge that goes from the parking lot, over the water to the resort/lodge, and I always like to include these in my photos of the lake too. Again, due to the weather being a little overcast, and a bit cooler than when I've been up here previously, there was a small amount of people. In the summer time, it's hard to even make it onto the bridge at times with the amount of people there.
Time was pushing on, and if I was to go the way home I wanted to, I'd need to get going, so I started on my way back towards Calgary. Taking the turnoff at Highway 40, I headed south towards Kananaskis. I'd heard warnings (and seen signs) that bear were still quite active in the Kananaskis area, so I was hoping to get a glimpse of a bear for the first time, this year. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen.
Heading up the highwood pass, the fall colors started to really pop. I can't wait for another month until the colors really start to come out. I love the mountains in the fall. The colors from the leaves are amazing and really add to a photograph. I didn't even see a deer or a Rocky Mountain Sheep along the 40/Highwood pass. Got to Longview and headed north then East towards High River just for something a bit different. After that I headed to Hwy 2 and headed into downtown. Arriving at home I felt a bit different from when I started off. Felt in a slightly better frame of mind about things, than I have, lately. Back to 100%, definitely not, but better? Yes, definitely.
So, 697.9km, and a 10 hour day later, I got some fantastic results. Next weekend, I'm taking my best mate Tim out to Takkakaw falls as he's never been there before. I'd like to get out there for about 9am, as there is a historic chalet at "Twin Falls" which is 7.9km away from the parking lot. Built in the early 1900's it used to be a stop over for CP Rail workers that hiked out that way. There is a lot of Railway history in Field B.C., and also the Burgess Shale which contains fossils from a long, long, long, long, time ago. :)
Next weekend should be a fantastic weekend. Heading out with Tim on Saturday, and my friend Samantha on the Sunday.
Until next time,

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