Thursday, 27 November 2008

Hiking Trails - Takakkaw Loop - Day 2

Trail is considered intermediate/difficult
Closest Town: Field, BC

This hike takes place in Yoho National Park in British Columbia in western Canada. Today is the second day of a hike that began last week at the Takakkaw Falls.

This hike covers the trail to the Whaleback and on to the Twin Falls campground to stay overnight. The distance to be covered is 11.5km.

[1-Morning sun on peak above Little Yoho Valley Campground]

The Little Yoho is a hanging valley immediately behind President Mountain, above 2000m.

[2-Bright sunshine in morning in the Little Yoho Valley]

[3-Waterfall in Little Yoho Valley near campground in morning light]

[4-Looking up Little Yoho Valley from the Stanley Mitchell Hut]

The Stanley Mitchell Hut is operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. Members can enjoy their stay with sleeping space for 26 in summer (22 in winter), well equipped with a woodstove, propane system for cooking and lighting. The Little Yoho Valley has long had a reputation as an excellent alpine climbing area as well as a magnificent skiing area. The Canadian military used the area during the summer of 1943 as a training site for mountaineering techniques.

[5- Stanley Mitchell Hut kitchen]

The hut has undergone a few renovations, but is relatively the same as it was in 1940. It is presently in excellent condition; a comfortable facility set in beautiful meadow and mountain terrain, and a fine memorial to one of the Club's founders. The Stanley Mitchell hut was designated a Federal Heritage Building in 1997.

[6- Stanley Mitchell hut living room]

Water can be obtained from the spring-fed stream behind the Stanley Mitchell Hut. It is recommended this water be boiled before drinking.

The first 2.5 kms east from Little Yoho is a comfortable hike through a thick forest. Keep a lookout for bears.

The hiker will approach a three-way junction. For the Whaleback Trail take the left turn. From here the trail becomes very steep with switchbacks over loose rock, roots and other obstacles while climbing over Whaleback Mountain.

[7-Whaleback trail]

[8- Whaleback Trail with summit in sight]

The end is close, as there is a glimpse of the trail summit. The Whaleback Trail goes as high as 2300 metres (7,545 ft), the mountain summit is at 2,633m (8,638ft).

[9-Whaleback Trail summit]

The reward on reaching the top is the scenic highlight of the Yoho Valley which is 2 kilometres away. At the top you will enjoy panoramic views of the valley including the Daly Glacier, Yoho Peak, Mt. Daly, Yoho Glacier.

On the other side The Vice-Presdient and The President Mountain (peak on right) can be seen with Emerald Glacier.

[10-The Vice-President and The President, 3,132m (10,246 ft) behind Emerald Glacier]

Another available view is of Mount Des Poilus, named in honour of the million and a half privates in the French army who were killed in the First World War, and the Des Poilus Glacier.

[11-View of south ridge of Des Poilus]

[12-Top of Twin Falls]

This seasonal bridge lies over the river that topples over into the "Twin Falls."

[13-Another view from the bridge looking out over the Yoho Valley]

Farther along the hiker will cross Twin Falls creek above the falls courtesy of a seasonal bridge that is only available in summer. There the hiker can stand at the top of the falls to look across the Yoho Valley.

[14-Whaleback Trail on edge of unprotected cliff 100 metres above the Twin Falls Chalet]

The trail parallels the edge of a cliff where there is a good location to have a lunch break after the strenuous exertion of climbing the Whaleback.

For the descent there are about 4km of steep switchbacks through the forest which will take the hiker to the valley bottom. It is important to be careful going down.

[15-Twin Falls]

[16-Twin Falls lower and streamlet]

[17- Twin Falls Chalet]

To reach the Twin Falls campground, the hiker will pass the Twin Falls Chalet, originally a teahouse built in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to accommodate travelers in the Canadian Rockies. Yoho National Park now owns the Twin Falls Chalet, operating it as a backcountry lodge open july to September (Labour Day). There is another 60m on a steep descent before you reach Twin Falls campground.

The Twin Falls campground has 8 camping sites with a privy and food storage pole.

If you have time, there is a short hike (2.3km) with an elevation gain of 250m from the campground to the edge of Yoho Glacier.

[18-Near edge of Yoho Glacier]

Reservations must be made three months in advance to stay overnight in the backcountry campgrounds. A wilderness pass must also be purchased ($9.90 overnight or $69.35 seasonally) to stay overnight in Yoho National Park. These may be purchased through ParksCanada.

Research:;; ParksCanada; wikipedia.
Photo Credits: [1]-inottawa CC=flickr, [2][3][4]-brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, [5][6][10]-wikipedia, [7][8][14][15]-damclean CC=nc-sa-flickr, [9][12]-pinkcanoe CC=nc-nd-flickr, [11][16]-mikewarren CC=nc-sa-flickr, [13][17]-jason rust CC=nc-nd-flickr, [18]-jondon CC=nc-nd-flickr.


Gary's third pottery blog said...

when you are up at the top there, with the bridge? you kind of wonder what happens when the creek goes off the edge and HUZZAH! Twin Falls!

RuneE said...

Impressive indeed - both the trail and the description of it. I'm afraid that I wouldn't be quite up to tackling that one - though I would very much have enjoyed visiting some of the places with my camera.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, although for me this hike remains virtual, I have greatly appreciated by your explanations and descriptions very interesting and beautiful pictures.
thank you.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've always wanted to hang out in a chalet. Never have, but staying in one in those kinds of gorgeous natural conditions would be paradise.

Barbara Martin said...

Gary, your sense of humour amazes me.

RuneE, I have to avoid steep climbing grades due to bad knees, but perhaps with posting these hikes others might be inspired to visit these hiking areas.

Barbara Martin said...

François, thank you for your kind comments.

Charles, for the Twin Falls Chalet you would be required to hike in unless the helicopter that brings supplies to the lodge carries passengers.

laughingwolf said...

always love the natural beauty you present, thx barbara....

Lana Gramlich said...

How awesome, that hut & it's surroundings! I could see staying out there forever, myself...

Cloudia said...

Mountain Huts are magical places!
Gary Snyder and the Dharma Bums would feel right at home in your fantastic pictures. To sleep in a place like that is to wake rejuvenated.
Thanks for this virtual hike, and for reminding me to get away from the keyboard! Aloha, Barbara-

Barbara Martin said...

Tony, your welcome. Refreshing, isn't it.

Lana, then I would expect you are good with being snowbound until the spring thaw.

Cloudia, when working at a computer most of the day it is very important to get outside, if only for a short walk. It provides a reward of rest for your brain and spirit. Often I take a short walk down to Lake Ontario to watch the water lap at the shore and sometimes, if the weather is warm and sunny, to see the sailboats out. This is very peaceful and relaxing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara - thanks for your recent visit and comment. I really enjoy these hikes of yours- the scenery is spectacular. I thought the photo half-way through featuring the little dog, was delightful in that it made me acknowledge these faithful little mates do twice the legwork and have four legs to tire instead of just two.Guess they get double the value with the sights AND the scents.Dog heaven.I also enjoyed your previous post. I was in my element as a child when we learnt about the lives and discoveries of Lief Ericson and Christopher Columbus, I was truly spellbound.Your post added to the intrigue and fascination.Thanks.

debra said...

Have you hiked there,Barbara? It's such a beautiful place.

Barbara Martin said...

Pam, dogs are not allowed in all areas of the national parks in the Canadian Rockies as their natural aggressive behaviour can attract unnecessary attention from bears.

Its nice to see my historical posts are making an impact. Part of the information for the posts are fodder for my manuscripts-in- progress.

Barbara Martin said...

Debra, I've been to Laughing Falls, Paint Lace Falls and the Angel's Staircase which will be covered in next week's post.

Several of my friends hike in the mountains in the summer; one skis with his group in the mountains. From their reports I'm given enough material to write these interesting, get-away for awhile virtual hikes.

Currently, my hiking days are limited due to bad knees and hip. I can manage low grades, but the steep switchbacks mentioned in this post are simply out of the question.

Barrie said...

Incredible. All of it. Thanks you, Barbara

Barbara Martin said...

Barrie, thank you for your kind comment. Now you have a new place for a vacation when your children are older.