We woke up to a chilly morning and it took some self-discipline to crawl out of our sleeping bags. But, it was a beautiful morning and we wanted to get our work down early so we could head out on a hike. So, we went about our usual morning routine and then got to work, and you couldn’t beat our office view of the peaceful river just outside our window.
Once we had work squared away, we drove back into Yoho National Park. It was a steep winding road we had driven down to get to our camp spot, and we were both feeling nervous about how well our Wander Wagon would do pulling us back up. While driving, we kept thinking the REALLY big hill was just around the corner, but it never came. When we realized we had made it all the way up the hill and our van had not had the slightest struggle, we had to do a little celebratory van dance. I guess that’s the perk of having a 7.5L 8 cylinder engine, and it sure was nice to have a perk since good gas mileage was certainly not one. Our van was a gas and oil chugging machine but she could climb anything.
The hike we had picked out for the afternoon was Wapta Falls. It was a shorter hike and we didn’t think it would take us much more than a couple hours, and the falls at the end were supposed to be gorgeous. As soon as we started on the trail the rain began to drizzle, but we’re from the Pacific Northwest and it felt great to be out in the rain. So we continued onward, the trail getting increasingly muddy and slippery. Little Paris quickly became a muddy, wet mess but he was a trooper and kept hiking along.
The trail took us into the forest and as we had just started up the moderate incline when we heard a very unnerving sound that sounded like a roar. Was it a bear?! Corbin and I froze on the trail and listened closely to see if we could hear it again. We hadn’t seen any signs of bears on the trail so far, but we knew Yoho and Banff were home to many of them. Neither of us have ever encountered a bear in the wild, and though armed with our trusty can of expired bear spray we both would rather keep it that way. We had two choices, either we let the fear of running into a bear stop us from seeing the falls and we turn around, or we take our chances and keep going.
Though listening intently, we didn’t hear the roar again. The only noise we heard was from a group of people heading down the trail, and we decided this was a well-traveled trail and we were more than likely fine. Plus, we couldn’t let our fears get in the way of us experiencing this beautiful hike and national park.
We were so glad we had decided to keep going, because when we reached the top the views from above Wapta Falls were incredible. It is the largest falls of the Kicking Horse river being almost 100ft high and stretching almost 500ft across. We took in the sights from above the falls, and then we continued to hike down to the base. Beneath the falls we found a fallen log with some tree cover, so we relaxed and ate a snack while gazing mesmerized at the falls.
The rain really started to pour then and Paris was starting to shiver, so we hiked our way back up and then down the trail until we were all back at the van completely drenched. Peeling off our wet clothes and giving Paris a quick rinse off in the shower, we settled back into our cozy home. It was a great adventure and a very rewarding hike, but it was just a warmup for our plans we had for the next day.
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