Northward Chapter 5

The crystalline waters of Flathead Lake cover nearly 200 square miles of northwestern Montana, with depths of up to 300 feet. It’s a wonderful place to pause and visit loved ones.

Flathead Lake and family. It was a sweet visit at the lake with Rick’s aunt Alice and cousins Peter & Trish.

After good byes we re-supplied and headed north. We stopped for the night by Grave Creek and shared a meadow with some cyclists in the Kootenai National Forest, a few miles south of the Canadian border. There was time for a little fishing.

Big Smile Little Trout

We spent the next day following the Kootenay River north up Canada Highway 93 under heavy clouds, rain and fog. The mountains were big and looming, but only an occasional crag revealed itself. The skies began to clear after we settled by a small lake in a forested bench above the Columbia River and the town of Golden, British Columbia.

Cedar Lake after the skies cleared
Cedar Lake at sunrise

Yoho is a Cree expression for awe and wonder. (Not to be confused with the name of a certain US Representative from our gerrymandered 3rd District back home.) Yoho National Park borders the western sides of Banff and Jasper national parks. It holds enough spectacular scenery to compete with its more famous neighbors, with 28 peaks around 10k feet in height, and a waterfall seven times higher than Niagara.

We stayed in the Kicking Horse Valley, so named for an unfortunate event which nearly killed a British explorer in 1858. The milky Yoho River flows at high volume alongside the campground. Great for sleeping and muffling the sound of the many trains that go over Kicking Horse Pass each night.

The lakes in the region are a beautiful shade of turquoise, caused by suspended “rock flour” carried into the lakes from melting glaciers above. This glacial flour, generated by the mechanical grinding of bedrock by the glaciers, is so fine the particles don’t settle out.

First two photos: Sherbrooke Lake, a hiking destination. Last photo: Emerald Lake, a heavily-visited driving destination.
The Takakkaw Valley drive in Yoho NP

We spent two nights in Yoho before making our way toward Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. It’s a north-south highway running 145 miles along the spine of the Canadian Rockies. The area is a “hydrological apex” so meltwater here - and plenty of it - flows to the Pacific, the Atlantic, or the Arctic Oceans. It’s easy to see why the road has been labeled one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Bow Lake reflections and Crowfoot Glacier on the Icefields Parkway

The rock, water and sky of these dramatic parks all seem to compete for attention.

Maligne River canyon (first 3) and Athabascan Falls

Another front has moved in. That and the crowds make us want to move on.

Created By
alison blakeslee

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