Yoho, the easternmost national park in British Columbia, is a name that anyone can like, while one of its landmark sites, Takakkaw Falls, is at first a puzzling name and hard to remember. "Takakkaw" is a Cree word loosely translated, "it is magnificent". The cataract is fed by the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield. The base of the Falls, though, is a relatively short drive off the TransCanada Highway, not far from Field BC, with a few hairpin turns. Access annually, I am told, is brief, usually between June and September. But I and fellow traveller Mercer found ourselves strolling up the access path on a beautiful sunny afternoon in mid-October. Rainbows danced in and out of focus up to the cliff rim (at 1246 feet) feeding the turquoise white-lace cascade that plunges 830 feet in freefall and quenches the narrow valley below.
As mentioned in the last blog, during the Palliser Expedition (1858) into the Yoho region expedition member James Hector was kicked in the chest while trying to recover a runaway horse. The other expedition members thought he was dead and so began to dig his grave. Luckily, about 2 hours after the hole was dug one of Hector's eyes blinked. The grave was abandoned, he recovered, and the party proceeded to make the first recorded passage of the Big Hill leading to the Bow Valley from the present day location of Field. Expedition members named the nearby river The Kicking Horse.
This place strikes me as a sacred place; a location that somehow connects the earth to something greater. I have found no reference to the falls that would suggest the natives of the First Nations revered these waters as uniquely conferring powers that are superhuman. But the leap of the waters into the void certainly invites speculation and admiration. It greatest ferocity is displayed of course in summer, as the winter glacial melt above then is most intense. However, even as the winter of 2016-17 begins its new advance, these eternal waters leave a memorable signature on the eastern edge of the mountains of British Columbia.