After a spa, cheese, and cocktail filled day at Lake Louise, we ventured slightly northwest to Yoho National Park and Emerald Lake, another glorious glacial lake at a much lower elevation. While Lake Louise was still trying to break through the ice, Emerald Lake was fully melted and ready to show off.
The aptly named Emerald Lake was color perfection, a perfectly light and bright green with just a hint of blueish undertone, and with the way the water reflected in the sunlight, it looked as though someone accidentally spilt buckets worth of gems at the base of forest covered mountains.
This lake is built for walking, and hiking its perimeter is really the best way to see it. It was a very fairytale filled experience, as a well-groomed path, complete with little wooden bridges when necessary, carried us over streams and through the woods.
About a third of the way into the walk, you’ll come across a perfectly sit-able rock, taunting you with jaw-dropping views and a peaceful break.
And about halfway in, you’ll be rewarded with a large opening in the trees where the crystal clear river passed by on its way to the Lake.
There’s no such thing as a bad view from this area. Just be sure to welcome the water in, and wish it your best as it continues its journey on towards the Lake.
While we were hiking, the Lake began to fill with amateur canoeists, testing out their paddling skills. Our interest, just like this artistic little boat’s, were a little more landlocked.
When we were driving to Emerald Lake, we passed a little pull-off that peaked our attention and seemed worthy of a quick stop. Highlighted by a little no nonsense sign that simply said “Natural Bridge,” what we found were some of the most incredible sights in nature.
The “Natural Bridge” is a geologic formation over the Kicking Horse River. Coming from one direction, gem tone rapids zigzag over rocks, disappearing into an incredibly powerful whirlpool.
Seeing this phenomenon is certainly a visual experience, but hearing it elevates the power and beauty of nature to a whole new level. Mother Nature was very clearly telling us she is not to be messed with!
No longer content to pass over the rocks, over time, the water has broken its way through, forming gaps in the rocks while preserving an almost level pathway from one side of the river to the other.
Managing to squeeze its way through the openings, the perfectly greenish-blue water is free to continue downstream.
After a not nearly long enough time, we begrudgingly got back into the car. There was one more lake on our list that was a must see.
Nestled in the Valley of Ten Peaks is Moraine Lake. The smallest and shallowest of the lakes we visited, Lake Moraine is distinctive because of its mountain surroundings.
Between time limitations and my (phone’s) camera, I wasn’t able to get a great picture of the peaks. There’s a hike that takes you up above Moraine Lake, and I imagine the views from that vantage point are much better than those from the ground. Although I’m not sure its possible to get all ten peaks in one photo, I think I can at least get to eight.
I lucked out that when I approached my mom with the slightly unusual suggestion of spending a spring weekend in the mountains – complete with its unpredictable weather – she jumped on board. I truly believe being in nature is good for the soul (there are also scientific studies that confirm this). And after five days exploring in Canada, my soul felt very full.