Day 2 Yoho Lake CG to Twin Falls CG, 17.8 km, 650 m Elevation Gain, 900 m Elevation Loss, 7 hrs 15 min.
As usual I was up early I was out of the tent by 6:35 am. I was trying to be quiet to let Siobhan sleep and not disturb the other campers. I appeared to be the first one up. Getting up early allows me some quiet personal time. Early rising also frequently provides spectacular morning light shows provided by the rising sun. After checking that Frosty Paws was keeping the tent safe I headed over to the lake were a deep grey cloud cover dulled the morning. After taking some photographs I headed over the bear hang to grab the food and get the morning coffee going. As I got the stove set up the sun was still below the horizon but the light from the sun reflected off of the bottom of the clouds producing a deep orange glow on the clouds which reflected in the water. This amazing light show lasted for about 10 minutes and by the time I had my coffee it was all over.
The weather reports had promised a sunny, blue sky day. As we had breakfast and tore down the tent the clouds cleared off giving us our blue sky day. We were all packed up and ready to go at about 9:10 am. We had all day to do 18 km. A good start would allow us plenty of time to stop and pause and take in the sights instead of just plowing down the trail with our heads down pounding out the mileage.
The trail cuts around the far end of the lake from where we approached and immediately started to climb. The trail is well graded as we will spend the next 3 hrs climbing to the high point of the trail but only gain about 400 m of elevation. We get intemittent views of Takakkaw Falls through the trees as we hike. After about 40 minutes the trail hits a bit of plateau and the trees start to thin out bringing all the peaks of the park into view. We stop to take some pictures of the falls and I manage to pull off some long exposure shots of Takakkaw Falls. One day I will get some filters to make the long exposure shots easier but I thought they worked out pretty well.
We came to the junction with the Iceline trail connecting to our trail from early yesterday at 10:15. This is where the trail starts to head up again. It was 2.25 km from the campground and had taken us about an hour. Taking photographs takes time but it was why we were here. Shortly after reaching the junction we were passed by our first hiking coming up from the parking lot. We would start to meet a scattering of people traveling both ways but I would in no way describe the trail as crowded.
We started to climb again but the gradient was never very steep. The velocity graph on the Viewranger App showed that many times we hit a speed of zero, indicating that we were stopped for a short interval to take in the scenery. You could actually day hike the trail. Starting at the parking lot at Takakkaw Falls, go to the trailhead by the hostel, by pass Yoho Lake and go over the Iceline to the Little Yoho Valley, down to Laughing Falls and back to the car. I was very happy we had done the short stretch to Yoho Lake as it allowed us plenty of time to enjoy where we were.
A few more day hikers passed us then a large group of older people came by the other way hiking from Little Yoho CG. We had a nice discussion with the fellow at the back of the group. Despite being older they were pretty hardcore. He talked about traveling over the glaciers of the Waputik Icefield (of which the Daly Glacier is a part). Glacier travel is a bit out of my league. After a fun short chat we said goodbye so that he could catch up with his group and we continued on our way up to the high point of the trail.
We had some fun and stopped at a small lake to take artsy photos.
We reached the junction with the trail to Lake Celeste at 11:55 am. The trail to the lake ends up joining the main trail along the Little Yoho River. Other than shortening the trip and saving some time I do not know why someone would want to drop off the Iceline early. Fifteen minutes after passing the junction to Lake Celeste we took a quick detour up a small hill to the Iceline Summit. The view over Yoho NP was sublime.
We rejoined the main trail it was 3.8 km down 170 m to the Little Yoho River and the Stanley Mitchell Hut were we would have lunch. We past by some more hikers heading the other way up the Iceline. We dropped off the rock of the high trail 30 minutes after leaving the Iceline Summit.
As we walked along the base of the rockface we were looking for whistling marmots but none were to be found. A group of not very experienced day hikers had asked how far to the Iceline Summit and I had enthusiastically said about half an hour to an hour. It had been more like an hour and a half for us and we had been going downhill. I figured the worse I did was give them a bit of false hope that the Iceline Summit was just around the next bend. Siobhan nicley chided me for being off in my advice.
We soon arrived at the Little Yoho River. We made our way across the not very robust bridge and a couple of minutes later arrived at the Stanley Mitchell Hut where we were planning on having lunch. It was 1:30 pm we had traveled 10.6 km leaving us with just over 7 km to go to reach Twin Falls CG. We enjoyed a decadent trail lunch of pitas, red pepper, cheddar cheese and potato chips. I took advantage of our extended stop to pull out the fly and set it out in the sun to dry.
Lunch was a solid 40 minutes long. We relaxed and soak in the sun and the views. Much of the rest of the day would be inside the forest with only the occasional view of the alpine. We saw one couple come by heading to the Iceline. They made no attempt at converstation but we made up for that with a relatively long chat with three runners heading to the Iceline. Siobhan and one of the guys shared some intel about their Garmin watches is all that I know remember. Once we were back on our way the runners came by and we gave them directions to Twin Falls. Do not know why they decided against the Iceline. With a bit of luck we should have seen them returning from Twin Falls as they headed back to their cars but we never did see them again.
Our hike down to Laughing Falls was fairly uneventful. We past a few groups heading up the trail. One of the groups seemed to say that they were staying at the Stanley Mitchell Hut. I was surprised that the hut would be available for rent during Covid. After an hour of hiking we rejoined the trail that I had previously hiked with Volcano. As we descended down to Laughing Falls Siobhan got annoyed at the evidence of trail cutting as people short-cutted the switchbacks. Siobhan did a little bit of trail maintenance to discourage others from going off trail and causing excess erosion.
It took a 1 hr and 25 minutes to arrive at Laughing Falls from lunch. We then spent 10 minutes looking at and taking photos of the falls.
It is about 2.5 km to Twin Falls CG from Laughing Falls. It took us 35 minutest to make our way to Laughing Falls arriving at 4:30 pm. We had covered 17.75 km in a comfortable 7 hrs 10 minutes giving us plenty of time on the trail and plenty of time to set up camp and enjoy the campground.
After walking through camp looking at the available sites we chose the first one that we had seen. We took our time setting up camp and had the tent set up by 5:30 pm. Water for dinner was soon on the boil. We had more sausages that we could add to our store bought freeze dried meals.
After dinner we had a lovely chat with the ladies that had arrived late last night at Yoho Lake CG. They had quite a day. Instead of going to Laughing Falls they took the Connector route up the Twin Falls past Marpole Lake. On arriving at Twin Falls they found the bridge to be closed. It would have been a long hike back down the connector to Laughing Falls and then up to Twin Falls CG. So they looked at the bridge carefully noticing that there appeared to be some new boards across the bridge. With nothing seemingly amiss with the bridge they decided to risk and dark across. Obviously nothing catastrophic had happened and they arrived safely in about 30 minutes at Twin Falls CG. We had met another couple who had backtracked and it had taken them a good couple of hours to arrive at Twin Falls CG. Despite Covid and the precautions we had to take we had a long, lovely and safe discussion with the ladies after dinner. Siobhan had cycled 50 km the day before so she headed to the tent to finish watching a movie I had recommended “Wild Rose” a newly released version of a Star is Born. I took the opportunity in the fading light to take long exposure photos of the river.
I packed up the camera at about 8:30 pm. Siobhan finished the movie just before 9 pm. We had said our good nights by 9:30 pm.