In 2019 I moved away from Banff and set up home in a town called Golden, 90 minutes west of Banff in British Columbia. I miss the hustle and community of Banff, the pace of life here is far more relaxed and I'm enjoying the change. It also opens up a lot more trails within easy driving distance as the town is situated just outside of three national parks: Glacier, Yoho and Kootenay National Park.
I know you're not supposed to have favourites, but Yoho is mine. The ecosystem is unique for this area with a microclimate that gives life to plants and trees not seen elsewhere in the Rockies.
But I digress. If you want to read more on Yoho then check out the last blog on Emerald Basin! This week we explored Thompson Falls, in the Blaeberry.
By moving out of Banff I have opened up the wonderful opportunity of taking visiting friends out on socially distanced hikes in my new backyard. This week two lovely ladies came out from Banff to join me on a hike up to Thompson Falls, about 20 minutes drive from Golden.
We had a leisurely start and hit the trail around 11am. We hadn't discussed footwear, and whilst I was in my trusty hiking boots they showed up in running shoes, which I thought would be totally fine. I hiked this trail with my parents around the same time last year and it wasn't that muddy. What a difference a year makes! The trail was VERY muddy; in parts the river had come right up and across the trail, and despite my best efforts as a guide wanting to adhere to trail etiquette, I wasn't going to make them wade through knee deep muddy water when evasive (drier) action could be taken!
I still don't think of myself as a fully fledged guide as I still feel like I have a LOT to learn. But there were a number of times when hiking with these two that I felt that I was able to share some knowledge, which took me by surprise. One of the biggest points of interest on this hike was the abundance of nurse logs growing in the deep woods.
I took a photo of one - shown here on the right. A nurse log or stump is the epitome of life begetting life. When a tree reaches the end of its life cycle and begins to decay, seeds from its own kind and other plants close by will germinate on the damp wood. The decay process, which takes many years, provides nutrients for these new seedlings
The view from the top is so neat; it's a serene, calm river which suddenly plummets into a raging canyon of spray and foam! The canyon walls are polished smooth from hundreds of thousands of years of pummelling from the relentless river.
It's a great, family friendly hike with a lot of variety of terrain to travel to. There are no tedious hills (just enough to feel like you've had a proper day of exercise!) and there's enough tree coverage to make it enjoyable even on a cloudy or rainy day. The only thing to consider is that the trail gets really boggy in early June, especially after a week of heavy rain! We were under-prepared, but managed just fine in running shoes.
Have you done this hike more recently? How were the trail conditions?
Let us know in the comments below! Happy hiking!