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