Part 4 of 4 of the round trip hike from Takakkaw Falls to Twin Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
From Laughing Falls, I continue north on the Yoho Valley Trail. Elevation gain on this 5.0 KM (3.0 mile) segment is near 985 ft (300 m) on rugged trail. Yoho National Park is one of the most prolific fossil locations in the world. Nearby Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park contains one of the richest fossil beds in Canada. Climbing on the trail, I find one of the best examples ever seen of rock that was once an ancient sea bed. The action of waves on sand is undeniable. Most of the ascent is through forest alternating between flat trail and steep climbs. Periodically there are fabulous views of rushing water through rugged wilderness. The sound of roaring river is ever-prevalent. Weather is fickle. There is light rain, sun, cloud, corn snow, breeze and calm but all are very brief, not more than a few minutes at a time. The temperature does not shift more than a few degrees at a time. It is interesting and there is never a dull moment.
At the Twin Falls Wilderness Campground the trail presents one final climb, with several false indications of arrival as the echo of falling water bounces through the valley, occasionally loud, then waning into the distance. Eventually I arrive at Twin Falls Teahouse and Lodge. This location is a National Historic Site.
The original single-story building was constructed in 1908 by Canadian Pacific Railway as a rest stop for backpackers. In 1923, the two-story structure was added and still functions today as an overnight lodge and tea house. Reservations are required. One of the custodians comes out to chat with me. He is a young, very friendly, mountain man and we exchange animated stories. I do not ask but I am fairly certain he is related to ZZ Top.
I tour the area and work my way towards the spectacular Twin Falls. In close proximity to the falls, I enjoy a late lunch while basking on a large rock beneath the warmth of the sun, enjoying the sound and mist from the falls interrupted by an occasional light dusting of corn snow. Magic! Absolutely amazing! It does not get better than this!
I decide to take an alternate return route via another alpine lake. I cross a bridge over the river cascading through narrow rock channels and hike a kilometre (0.625 miles) down a hill past multiple streams crossing the trail in dense forest. Marpole Lake comes into view below me, on the left through the trees, and above me there are excellent vistas of the Waputik Range and the glaciers it hosts.
At the shoreline of the tiny, alpine lake there are wonderful mountain reflections on pristine, emerald water. At the end of the lake, I realize immediately I should have examined my hiking guide more carefully.
My first obstacle is a mound of snow remaining from a winter avalanche. On the other side I am faced with the daunting task of navigating my way up, through and over millions of tons of limestone rock fall. The entire cliff face above me must have collapsed hundreds of years ago. It is 1.8 KMs (1.13 miles) of uneven scrambling combined with bouldering and the occasional bit that remotely resembles a path.
Rock cairns determine direction. After more than a mile of uneven steps through rock fall on the Marpole Connector Trail, the steep and rustic 1.6 KM ( mile) trail leading down to Laughing Falls is almost a relief. I return to the Takakkaw Falls parking lot the same way I came on 4.8 KMs (3 miles) of excellent, flat, hard-packed trail. It has been a fabulous hiking experience to an incredibly beautiful place on a wide variety of terrain using a broad range of skill-sets. It has also been a long and arduous day.
Following are a few additional images from this segment of the hike, between Takakkaw Falls and Twin Falls in Yoho National Park. Enjoy!