Thursday, July 24, 2008

Takakkaw Falls and the journey home

Mom, Brandin and I had planned to leave around 8am on Monday, July 14th but he got an allergy attack around 6 which woke Mom and I up. Instead of attempting to sleep for another hour or so, we just packed up and left. It was probably good that we got a slightly earlier start because we stopped a lot during the trip.

To get to Canmore (our first stop) we took Highway 1A instead of the Trans Canada. It was recently paved and there was practically no traffic so it was a wonderful drive. The perfect way to start our day. We grabbed Tim Hortons in Canmore and then kept going.

We also stopped briefly at the Sprial Tunnels. I didn't take any pictures though because my camera card was almost full by that time.

A few years ago when I took a similar road trip (home - Edmonton - Regina - Calgary - home) with my friend Melissa, we took a detour to Helmcken Falls in Wells Grey Provincial Park. Helmcken Falls is the fourth highest waterfall in Canada. Bridal Veil Falls, the sixth highest is less than an hour from my house. Just before I left on this trip I googled the list of waterfalls to see what the chance of catching another high one would be. Imagine my delight when I realized that Takakkaw Falls are just off the road we'd be taking home!
We stopped in Field, BC to confirm directions and I expected them to tell me about the anticipated fees. Takakkaw Falls are in Yoho National Park and there is a day use fee. They didn't give me any information though and I didn't see anywhere on the way up that we could have stopped so we ended up seeing them for free. Unfortunately it made me nervous that we HADN'T paid so I probably didn't enjoy the trip as much as I could have because I was feeling the pressure to get back on the road. Anyways, to get to the falls we drove up the VERY interesting mountain road. Parts of it are so steep that vehicles with trailers are banned from going up all together.

They'd never make it anyways. Even I had to go very slowly in order to clear the corners properly.

The drive was worth it though.

"Yoho" is a "Cree expression of awe and wonder".

Takakkaw is pronounced "tak-e-ko". I still haven't mastered that one. Anyways, it means "It is magnificent" in Cree and that totally fits. Everytime I got a glimpse of the falls on the way up I found myself rehersing the name. Takakkaw. Takakkaw. Almost like a prayer (of course I was trying to figure out the pronunciation too :P)
The drive up to the falls only takes about 20 minutes. The walk from the parking lot to the falls isn't even that long.

Brandin was a typical boy walking OFF the path the whole way up and going down as close to the water as he could, as often as he could.

Once we got up to the base of the falls, we could really feel the spray. It was quite cool, especially at that time of the morning. Mom climbed down and filled her water bottle with fresh mountain water.

We didn't linger for too long at the falls. Just enough to get a new appreciation for the beautiful Canadian Rockies then we hit the road again. We stopped briefly in Golden for lunch and Revelstoke for ice-caps. Mom drove between there and I took a short nap. We got gas in Kamloops and dinner in Merritt and made a pit stop in Hope. Brandin was starting to get annoyed with all the stops but Mom and I just laughed. Dad hates stopping so we enjoyed pulling over whenever we wanted.

We arrived at home just after 8 pm.

The entire trip was, in a word, wonderful. Long, not long enough. Tiring, invigorating and fullfilling. Next time won't be three years away. I guarantee it.


Kaesmom said...

Oh my goodness, Heidi - what a spectacular space!!

I really must get out to western Canada. We've been to Montreal and Quebec countless times but the scenery is nothing like what you have out there!

Midnite Scrapper said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos. I can almost imagine the fresh air - LOL. I didn't appreciate the air and cleanliness when I lived in different from this part of Cali.
Your mom was so brave to go out for that water. I bet it was worth it!