Backpacking in Yoho

Fair warning – this might be a very long post – and that’s quite understandable given that it has to cover 5 days and 4 nights. In Yoho!

Okay – Yoho. I travelled to and hiked in Yoho with Simon two years ago when we adventured in our RV. I would have loved to have gone back with him but Simon was working 11 (!) days in a row. It was not to be.

Peter picked me up at 7.30 am on Saturday and off we went.

We arrive at the Takkakawa Falls parking lot at about 2 p.m., after a fine lunch on the road (a packed sandwich – AKA: our last real food for five days). We heave on our packs, and head out for the 5.5 K to the Laughing Falls parking lot. The pack is heavy. The elevation gain is negligible. This is good.

We arrive before 4 p.m., find two fine tent pads and set up, me trying to remember how the damn thing works and fumbling around a bit before figuring things out.

Vicky and Phil arrive and lastly, Chris who opts to set up in a rogue spot on the meadow because an unreserved family has taken his spot. We eat out first dehydrated meal of the trip. Curry for me. It’s pretty good. At 8 I crawl into my tent and stare at the back of my eyelids for a while. It’s the only screen I have. To stay outside the tent means certain death by mosquito. I am not that dumb.

The next morning we are up early – and why not? We went to bed early. We put on our packs, considerably lighter now, and head up to the glacier. This involves going up through the forest and emerging on the alluvial plain high above it – and there, in front of us, is the rock and scree the glacier left behind. We continue on the trail. It disappears – landslide wiped it out. We negotiate over the rocks, scree and other crap – footing is dicely. We make it to the rocks and continue up and up and up until we decide, “You know – the glacier is a long way off and the going is getting more tricky sooooo – let’s stop.

Peter forges ahead to check if there is a creek crossing. We wait for him to come back. We wait. We wait longer. We have snacks. We wait.

Vicki goes up higher to check. Can she see him?


Phil goes up. Finally he sees him. He yells something about letting people know what you are doing and when you are doing it and not making others worry.

We proceed back up through the forest and then head up to the teahouse at Twin Falls. The tea house does not serve tea – or anything else for all that.

The falls, on the other hand, are amazing. We stare at them for a very long time. But Phil has pulled a muscle in his leg and stays on a bench back from the viewpoint. Vicki stays with him. They can’t see us. We come back. They have gone.

Well – they must have headed back. We go down on the Marpole Connector trail, Peter way in front. Chris and I soon lose sight of him. We hike on a trail through the biggest boulder field I have ever seen.

We leave the boulder field. There is a fork. We must go left – left goes down. The sign says, “Trail closed.”

“What the hell?”

We take it anyway and are soon climbing over tons of deadfall. Chris wisely says something about this all being BS and we head back to the fork and follow the trail up a few feet where it forks again and leads us to the correct path downhill.

Oh well.

Peter is nowhere in sight. We assume he has taken the correct trail.

Vicki and Phil must also be well on their way back.

We get back to camp. No Peter. No Phil. No Vicki.


An hour later, Chris and I come to the conclusion that Phil’s injury is serious. The three of them have helped get him back to the parking lot to seek medical help. We plot our next move. Divide up Phil and Vicki’s camp and haul it back. We are there for them. We will help. We will sacrifice everything for our friends. We are heroes!

Phil and Vicki walk back into camp. “Hey! We took the Whaleback trail back. That was the plan!” she says.


Peter comes back. “Been sleeping down by the river,” he says. “Been back for ages.”


Who knew that keeping track of 5 people would be so, shall we say, interesting.

Day 3: We are up early and on the move at about 9, Camp broken down and heading up to Little Yoho. It is about now that both Peter and I have discover that we are running out of TP. I should not have this issue. I legendarily cannot poop in the woods.

Oh yes I can.

A lot.


We head up and up and up. Whew. About two hours later we are at our new site – gorgeous. Fabulous. Beautiful. We love it.

After lunch, Phil rests. Vicky and Chris and I set out to take a stroll. In hiker talk, “Stroll” means slightly less that 600 metres elevation and no scrambling. Everything else is fair game.

We get to the creek that leads to the lake that eventually leads to the pass. Chris and Vicki nimbly hop across. I stare at it, picture myself falling in, drowning – being washed down the river to eventually ending up in the ocean eaten by sharks – or possibly piranhas.

I wave them on and take the left hand trail, which Vicki later says is likely the climbers route for the President.

I am agog with the beauty of icefields and waterfalls.

It’s a great stroll.

Peter leaves some time later and finds a lake with ice floating in it. He jumps in.

Peter is either brave or nuts.

Day 4: Vicki, Phil and Chris head off to scramble to the top of Mount Kerr. Peter and I head for the top of Whaleback Mountain. First I beg for lots more TP.

It’s a gorgeous morning. We walk through an idyllic alpine meadow. We follow cairns. We skip across creeklets. All is lovely. And then we arrive at the base of the ridge we have to climb. Where is the trail? Well – not straight up. We look to the right. Nope. We look left – the most likely route. We go up and angle left – freelancing. The side of the ridge is shale and scree. There is no solid ground. We slip. We slide. We curse. We are exahsuted. Peter suggests aiming for the base of the twin spires where he spots a small rock slide – head straight up, he says.

Sure, I say – anything but what I am currently doing. We go up – pretty sure it’s just shy of 90 degrees. We get to the ridge.


The views are mind boggling.

But where is the top? – to the right of course but how to get there? In front of us is a very pointy, shaley peak. To the top!

Up and over!

Except that we get up and Peter refuses to stand up. I see why. It’s airy up here. Heady. (to say the least.

I take a few more steps until I can peer over the edge.

It seems only a few minutes ago we told each other there was no way we were going back down the way we came up. Well then – we sure as hell aren’t going up and over.

We go back down, Peter doing a bum crab-walk, me kind of a sideways slippy thing with my body leaning slightly so it’s parallel to the ridge.


Less than halfway down Peter spots the actual trail going – yes – to the right from the bottom where we had originally opted to go left.

We go down. We angle across. We head up. And yes! It’s a trail! We arrive at the ridge. We walk the heady ridge with crazy fabulous views. We take lots of photos. We reach the summit cairn. We walk farther along the ridge and then finally back for the obligatory summit shots.

Then back down and a well-deserved lunch and rest in the alpine meadow.

Day 5:

I am up early. I borrow more TP. I am a pooping machine.

Peter and I opt to leave early on the Iceline Trail back to the parking lot. Phil, Vicki and Chris will follow at least an hour or more behind.

It rained during the night. Tent is wet and a bit mucky but all else is good and the day is fine.

Iceline! Ah yes – what a trail!

We teak our time. Take lots of photos. Meet a ton of people because hey! It’s the Iceline!

We get back to the parking lot at about 11.30 a.m. We drive to Field. We go to the restaurant. We order food. Real. Food.

We eat like we haven’t eaten in days.

Well – not real food.

The washroom has toilet paper!

We arrive home (my home) shortly after 6.30 p.m.

I shower for a very long time.

About goodyniosi

Writer, avid(!!!) hiker - living life to the fullest. Love, life, bliss - getting high on getting high (in the alpine that is)
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