July 23, 2022, Yoho Lake CG to Little Yoho CG, 13.7 km, 665 m elevation gain, 348 m elevation loss, 6 hrs 55 minutes.
I always wake up early and camping is no exception. I was up and out of the tent by 6:15 am. Margaux of course joined me eager to escape the tent. After taking a couple of morning photos I went off to the bear hang to retrieve our food and prepare breakfast. As always first on the agenda was to make coffee and feed Margaux or was it feed Margaux then make coffee?
The campground was incredibly quiet first thing in the morning. While we were having breakfast I saw no one moving around camp. At 7:30 am we headed out for a little trip over Yoho Pass to see if we could catch a glimpse of Emerald Lake. Back in 2012 we had planned a two day trip from Emerald Lake up to Yoho Lake CG then return via the highline. As a result of a late start for what we thought would be a relatively short hike we were unable to cross the alluvial fan at the end of Emerald Lake due to high water flow. I wrote about our misadventure in my write up for our excellent 2013 trip to Hermit Meadows. We were so new to hiking back in 2012 we did not know that there was a road up to Takakkaw Falls which would have allowed us a different access route to go camping at Yoho Lake. We just drove home. Now that we were at Yoho Lake we wanted to check out Yoho Pass and see the view over the other side. We left all of our gear at the campground with the tent set up and headed off to explore Yoho Pass at 7:45 am. We did reach the clearing at the east end of the pass but were unable to see Emerald Lake due to a high ridge blocking our view. Since it would have taken a few extra kilometres to catch a view of Emerald Lake we decided to head back to camp and start our hike up the Iceline. We arrived back at camp at 8:30 am. Our little excursion added about 3 km to our day.
We were packed up and ready to leave the campground at 9:00 am. Almost immediately the trail heads uphill. No warm up on this hike as the trail gains 135 m in just over 1 km. The grade is pretty good on the trail but we did have to negotiate some deadfall. As the trail started to level out we passed through several patches of snow. This made Margaux very happy.
As the trail flattens out and the vegetation thins out we were presented with our fist high elevation views of Takakkaw Falls. It is such a unique perspective to view the falls from above. The grandeur of the falls seems to be multiplied.
Shortly after resuming our hike after gazing at Takakkaw Falls we had our first wildlife encounter. A marmot ran across the trail just metres in front of Margaux. I could not really blame her but Margaux lunged hard for the marmot. I have the loop of Margaux’s leash around my wrist so that even if I let go I will not drop the leash. Margaux lunged so hard I was impressed that she did not sprain or even break my wrist. All was good in the end. The marmot got away, Margaux defended us and my wrist was sore but ok.
After reaching the junction with the Iceline Trail the trail really kicks up for about 1 km gaining a quick 170 m.
It is not secret that Margaux has her challenges with water crossings. I knew heading into the trip that there would be number of minor stream crossings. As we started our descent off the high point we came across a water crossing which I figured would be a good but safe challenge for Margaux. The crossing was quite long and there was no way to avoid getting our feet wet but the water was not flowing very fast. I gave Laura the camera to take some photos of the crossing. I decided to put the photos together in a little video which does capture both Margaux’s trepidation with water crossings but also her can do/will do spirit.
The last part of the hike crossed over a small bridge spanning the Little Yoho River that brought us to the Stanley Mitchell Hut. The trail forked and we followed the left fork back west back up the valley to arrive at Little Yoho Campground. There were some campsites occupied but we had plenty of selection. We attempted to choose a spot that was somewhat secluded to give Margaux as much privacy as possible. It was 2:30 pm when we dropped our packs. Including our little exploration of Yoho Pass we had hiked 14 km in just under 7 hours.
After taking some time to relax we wandered around and checked out the campground. Margaux found a new friend to play with a doodle from Edmonton. Since we were in a National Park I could not let Margaux run around a play loose so I had to hold onto her leash while she wrestled with the doodle. The owner of the doodle did not seem bothered by the dogs playing so I was happy that Margaux got the opportunity to have some doggie socializing time. At about 3 pm we finally got around to putting up the tent. I also took the opportunity to begin soaking our meal for the evening dried spinach penne.
After setting up the tent we headed over to the river to take some time to sit and just take in the views. This is where having a backcountry camp chair really shone. Laura was very happy. Me I did not have a chair so I just sat on the rocks.
At 5 pm we headed over to the eating area to feed Margaux and heat up our dinner. Margaux can be quite pushy and as I poured her kibble into her bowl on the table she decided that was a good enough place for her to eat and proceeded to devour her food.
To minimize the dishes we use at dinner we eat out of the same pot. After cleaning up after dinner we went for a little walk to stretch the legs and to check out the Stanley Mitchell Hut. There were some people milling around the hut but Margaux was too busy sniffing all the amazing scents to be interested in mere humans. On the way back to the tent I stopped by the stream to fetch the wine we had cooling in the water. It was now time for wine and chocolate.
As the evening cooled off we headed back to the tent to get ready for bed. Margaux did give a slight grrr to the lone camper in the next site but other than that she was a star in camp all day. At just before 9 pm we rolled into the tent. Margaux quickly curled up and proceeded to sleep through the night.
Good night from Little Yoho Campground.