The squall blasted across Kicking Horse Pass at around 1:00pm. We had just entered the parking lot of Truffle Pigs Bistro and Lodge for lunch in the little village of Field, BC. Dust and debris swirled around us as we attempted to cover our bikes to protect from imminent hail. Power was knocked out throughout the village, but the bistro had back-up power. We were able to enjoy our planned lunch of mushroom soup and sourdough bread.
It rained hard; no hail; temperature dropped 15 degrees. “Richard, do you remember staking down your tent,” I asked as I slurped and enjoyed my soup. “What stakes?” he asked. “I know I didn’t stake mine,” I said. “We can only hope this squall doesn’t reach our campsite.”
We had just returned from viewing Takkakaw Falls to the village of Field, BC, on the continental divide where Highway 1 and the trans continental railroad pass through Kicking Horse Pass. This is a fascinating place: The highway goes up and over; the railroad snakes through two spiral tunnels to gradually gain elevation before it descends to the opposite side of the mountain.
Takakkaw Falls is a waterfall flowing from the Daly Glacier in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The falls drop a total of 992 feet in four distinct steps, first dropping over two narrow plunges hidden within the slot canyon at the top of the falls. The river then hurtles 853 feet over the side of the Yoho Valley wall then cascades down a narrow flume-like stairstep for an additional 94 feet. A massive roostertail shoots outwards from the cliff face by as much as 150 feet, which makes it unique.
As we rolled into Mosquito Creek Campground, I could see from a distance that our camp was a bit askew. Richard’s tent was jammed up against the picnic table. My tent was upright, but in a different location, and it was wet on one side.
“My wife and I were trying to keep our tent upright when I saw yours go flying into the river,” the twenty-something, nice Canadian told me as dismounted BOXXER. “I caught up with it before it went very far downstream. I hope your stuff inside isn’t too wet.” After I thanked him profusely for rescuing my tent I wondered what my Boy Scouts would have thought about their old Scout Master if they knew I wasn’t smart enough to stake down my tent (“Do as I say, not as I do”).
Just then it began to rain. The temperature was now 20 degrees colder than it was earlier when I was enjoying a foot soak in the river. The forecast from Banff for the Icefield Parkway predicted a low of 38 degrees. As I shook water from my light, summer sleeping bag, I was distracted by all the insects buzzing about my head. “Where the @#$% did all these mosquitoes come from!!!!”