Field Cemetery - Yoho National Park - Hiking BC

 

The Field Cemetery in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Field Cemetery, Yoho National Park, Field, British Columbia, Canada

 

The heavy rain has stopped by arrival time at Field in Yoho National Park, British Columbia after driving south and west from the morning hike to Bow Glacier Falls along the fabulous Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, Alberta, CanadaField is a historic railroad town site. 

The cemetery is high on the hill at the south-east corner of the town site.  Travelling west, turn left from the TransCanada Highway at Yoho Brothers Trading Post, cross the bridge over the Kicking Horse River, turn left, drive up the hill, turn right past the school, turn left at the little white church, drive straight towards the historic yellow house, jog left and park unobtrusively.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada This yellow house is the historic RCMP Headquarters (circa 1932) near the entrance to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada. The jail is still in the basement.

 

Cemetery Road begins by crossing the bridge over Stephen Creek near the restricted trail-head to the Mount Stephen Trilobite Fossil Beds.  Reservations are made for guided tours through the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation.  There is a reasonable charge for this  unique and indelibly memorable physical experience.  The well maintained gravel road from the trail head to the Field Cemetery is a 10 to 15 minute, very pleasant walk uphill on gentle grade winding along the steep hillside bordered with wildflowers and dense, diverse forest.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada The entrance over Stephen Creek via good gravel road uphill to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Stephen Creek beside the restricted trail to Mount Stephen Fossil Beds as viewed from the bridge leading to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Gentle hike uphill on curving road to Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Wildflowers along the road to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mountain scenery along the road to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada The Field Cemetery comes into view above Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada The entrance is through a gate at the far end of Field Cemetery above Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

There is a moment required to understand how to open the gate.  This little cemetery is different and seems unusually comfortable.  Customary grooming is absent.  The grounds are very natural, left for nature to choose.  The markers are diverse from modern to ancient and cryptic.  Organization is not immediately evident.  These are not criticisms but rather positive features which make the location interesting and unique.  The ratio of children seems above average on the walk to read with reverence.  Some of the markers relate to the long-established railroad history in Field.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Towards the back, markers are predominantly white crosses with name and age.  There are markers for people who passed on after the town was formed to support construction of the railway and the Spiral Tunnels through very challenging terrain in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

There are markers for unknown persons which are likely a circumstance of the transient population in Field for grueling and dangerous, short term construction work on the railroad.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

From the far corner, farthest from the entrance gate, a narrow path passes between the freshly painted white fence and a large patch of natural forest with wet ground from a small stream at a dip in the trail.  On one corner, there is a single marker standing alone.  The isolation seems odd.  The sense is an important story here would explain the remote location of this middle-aged man.  From this marker, the narrow trail leads back to the entrance gate.  After exiting, the gate is dutifully closed although it seems somewhat academic given the nature of the white fence.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada The final path back to the gate into Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Very light rain begins for walk down the road to the car beneath the umbrella is deployed.  From outside the cemetery fence, another 'unknown person' marker attracts the attention prior to the gentle downhill walk on good road through aromatic forest and beautifully scented wildflowers amplified by the late day's rainy conditions. 

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Walking down the access road to Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Mountain views on the descent from Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada The gravel road to and from Field Cemetery in Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

There is still time in the day for another short hike after stocking up on well-earned fluids at the iconic Yoho Brothers Trading Post for the ride back to Calgary.

 

Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada Field Cemetery, Field, Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

 

Today's early-day, brief visit to Herbert Lake was a quick stop and a short hike for easy and stunning photographs along the Icefields Parkway north of Lake Louise.  The Bow Glacier Falls hike is more challenging and consumes about 4 hours which is long for a 9 KM (6⅝ mile hike).  Trail conditions and variable, spectacular terrain were factors.  This visit to the Field Cemetery is a brief, interesting and relaxing interlude in the afternoon.  My decision is to hike a nearby, short and easy, Yoho National Park trail, called 'A Walk in the Past', before heading home to Calgary.  Four hikes on the same day.

Photographs for Field Cemetery were taken on June 24, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

To be honest, that segregation thought passed through my mind at the time. Chinese migrant workers were often treated disrespectfully by the labour population of the time. This unfortunate reality shows up at Lower Bankhead in Banff National Park as well as many other locations. The early part of the 20th century is rife with examples of racial segregation and prejudice. It is reassuring to realize substantial progress in human enlightenment has been achieved since Mah King Lun was placed in this beautiful, preferential and isolated resting place in 1931. The name of Mah King Lun does not show up on the burial registry. That should be corrected.

Barry, from what I've read, the isolation of Mah King Lun's grave was simply a case of racial prejudice. The other good citizens didn't want to be buried near a "Chinaman." There's a group of four other graves set apart from the main burials; they were suicides, and scorned by the Catholic church for that reason. My husband and I walked around the Field cemetery last summer, our first visit to the site despite many times in Field. It's a very atmospheric place, indeed.

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