Today started in a gloomy fashion, such that it has since been referred to as 'misery morning'. It's never a good feeling to lie in a tent listening to the rain falling outside, and this rain was heavy and persistent and we had had a cold night.
The bench bench and fire pit where we had so much fun last night, were sitting in puddles and everything was soaked. The damp clothes and boots from yesterday's walk were still damp in the front of the van.... A cup of tea, valiantly prepared by Bill, helped a bit, but breakfast was a sorry affair, eating granola out of a shared Billy can in the back of the van. There was quite a long hike to the wash block, the tap on the washing up sink was broken - cold water only - and there was a yqueue for the ladies showers which although they had free hot water were dirty and cramped and made me wonder if it was worth the effort of dancing around in one leg wrapped in a small travel towel in order to get slightly cleaner. My sense of humour failed me....
After preparing a packed lunch and packing away our wet stuff we drove on to Field and the Yoho National park and the Iceline trailhead. This was something of a signature circuit trail of 20.8km / elevation 710m.
Habitat: Glacial moraines in the high alpine. Watch for small mammals in subalpine rockpiles.
Description: A signature circuit climbing to a high bench with spectacular glacier views, descending to meadows in the Little Yoho Valley and returning past Laughing Falls in the Yoho Valley.
We started in the car park at Takakkaw Falls and set off wearing / carrying most of our clothes in order to be prepared for whatever weather BC had got lined up for us. The hike was absolutely magnificent. As described above, we climbed to high altitude and walked across vast or moraine fields. Even in the overcast and wet conditions it was incredibly atmospheric and spectacular, and, of course, virtually deserted.
We ate our picnic near the summit, and then started form into the meadows below. This is usually a two day walk and as we walked down we passed the Stanley Mitchell hut (wood burner and hot meals!) into the forest. Here, we separated do that Chris could run the Whaleback and Twin Falls routes whilst B and K hiked on through the trees and past the Laughing Falls in the Yoho Valley. As we walked, the weather seemed to brighten for a while and wee changed out of wet weather gear. How foolish! Over the last few miles, the heavens opened and by the time we met back at the van there was steady, heavy rain and although the waterfalls were in awesome thundering form, we were all soaked through.
Tonight's plan was to wild camp by a river in a remote part of the park. We had beans and bacon lined up for campsite supper. Despite our fantastic days hike and best efforts at PMA, none of us could drum up much enthusiasm for cooking and eating in the rain, so we stopped in Field to hunt for food. It was 9.05pm. We found the Truffle Pig bistro. Looked great but stopped serving food at 9pm. They recommended the Emerald Lake lodge. We scrambled into dry t shirts as best we could in the back of the van.
The lodge was serving until 11 and what a warm welcome! No one seemed to mind our soggy and dishevelled state! Comfy sofas by an open fire, cold beers and hot food. Bison burgers for the boys and salmon for me. Perfect!
Eventually, after salted caramel ice cream and latte coffee, we tore ourselves away and drove on.
Along the roads, down a track to the riverbank and to one of Chris's favourite office parking locations! It was deserted, of course, and we parked just a few feet away from the rushing mountain river, snuggled into our sleeping bags and slept!