My Writings. My Thoughts.
Spring is finally here! For those of us who are devotees of ice and snow we are getting our last few trips and turns in before our environment literally melts away before our eyes. At this time of year we are leaving behind one cherished adventure playground for another. Forced into the present we realize the importance of making the most of every moment and with mixed feelings we await the transformation that is already underway.
Summer is right around the corner and the rivers will be filling quickly turning those such as the nearby Kicking Horse into a raging torrent drawing white water enthusiasts from around the globe. Our currently desolate forbidding high mountain passes, peaks and valleys will turn incredibly into colorful arenas full of diversity and home to an array of flora and fauna.
The famed Grizzly and Black Bear populations are already awakening from their slumber and making their presence known and we remember the respect we must give these great creatures. Please try to travel in small groups whenever possible, keep your pets on a leash and carry bear spray as a last resort and for your own safety.
For more on the photographer who generously donated the photograph above please visit: http://carsnunn.wix.com/carsnunnphotography & https://www.facebook.com/CarsonNunnPhotography
As the 2012 season comes to a close, all of us here at Cathedral Mountain Lodge would like to say thank you for a fun and successful summer! Our beautiful Kicking Horse River is no longer rushing with the energy of the melting glaciers, and the trees are turning a pretty golden yellow – all sure signs that fall is now in full force and winter is just around the corner.
Fond memories were surely made among the staff, and we hope that if you stayed with us this season, the memories you made here will remind you of the splendor of the Rocky Mountains for years to come.
Feel free to share with us your stories and photos from this summer on our Facebook page.
Have a great winter everybody and we hope to see you again next summer!
There are so many great trails to hike and explore in Yoho National Park, but I have found one that is a hidden gem – Hoodoo Creek. This trail is short but very steep, so you are wondering if the end is worth it while you slowly make your way up through the forest. But I promise you it is worth it. The trail is not busy at all and it winds up the side of one of the many mountains in the area that have had their forests burned to control the damage being done by the pine beetle. This beetle has been killing trees in the area for a long time, and when enough trees are dead, Parks Canada lights controlled fires to burn the dead trees in an attempt to control the spread of the beetles to nearby healthy trees.
The trail starts from the road that leads into the old Hoodoo Campground (turn left when heading west on Highway 1). This campground is severely overgrown and looks as though it is no longer maintained, although a lot of RVs still park here. The trail begins on the other side of Hoodoo Creek, where you will see a sign warning of its steep, dry, exposed nature. Follow this trail up about 2km until you get to a fork that offers you a choice to a lower or upper viewpoint. If you are tired, I would recommend just visiting the upper viewpoint. But if you are up for it, go see both. The lower viewpoint takes you down to the creekside where you look up to the many towers of sand capped with large rocks – called hoodoos. They are spectacular to witness. The creek is also very pretty. If you go around 7pm you will catch the setting sun reflecting off the water and lighting the hoodoos with a brilliant orange hue.
The upper viewpoint gives you a slightly better view of the hoodoos as you can see more of them and are closer. The trail is very dry and sometimes can be slippery, so be careful not to slip and fall into the crevasse.
When you are heading back down the trail, you can look out and see where the Kicking Horse River flows over Wapta Falls just a few kilometers west along the highway.
If you are in the area and need a new trail to hike or just want one that isn’t full of other hikers, visit Hoodoo Creek and enjoy the wonders of the power water has in shaping the land. Happy hiking!
Here at Cathedral Mountain Lodge, we are always in the company of animals such as ground squirrels, magpies, ravens, mountain goats, and more recently, a black bear and an elk.
Billy, as we have affectionately named him, is a black bear that has been visiting us for almost two weeks. He stays down near the river and the first row of cabins to eat the buffalo berries that grow there. He doesn’t seem bothered by us, although we still caution guests against getting too close. We don’t want Billy to become too friendly, or Parks Canada will have to relocate him. We know it is very exciting to see a wild bear so close in person and we are happy that our guests have all been very considerate of the bear’s space, taking photos from their cabin porches and our patio.
July, August, and September is prime feeding time for all bears as they begin to consume massive amounts of food to build up body fat for the winter months when they enter a state of “estivation”. Estivation is a slowed metabolic state that is not true hibernation as once thought, since bears are known to awaken temporarily during warm spells. As buffalo berries are their prime food source during the summer (eating up to 250, 000 berries per day), people are cautioned to be bear aware when in areas with high concentrations of these berries, and make lots of noise when hiking on the trails during the summer.
A big beautiful female elk was right outside our main lodge a few mornings ago. Guests had the pleasure of eating breakfast and looking out the window at her grazing on the wildflowers. She was the size of a small horse and looked as though she was pregnant. Later on in the afternoon, she wandered around the property, stopping outside a few cabins along the way, much to the delight of the guests in those cabins!
Elk are also called wapiti, meaning “white rump”, and they are the most abundant grazers in the Rocky Mountains. In summer, elk eat mostly leaves and wildflowers, while grass is their main staple in the winter. Late August is mating season, during which time the elk become very aggressive and make high-pitched noises to attract their partners.
And, last but not least, we have the Columbian ground squirrel, one of the most frequently seen mammals in the Rockies. These little guys will scurry across the path right in front of you, then stand on their hind legs and squeak a warning that you are too close to their home. These squirrels eat all the time: berries, roots, leaves, insects, seeds, and flowers, spending their summer gathering food for the eight months they spend in hibernation during the winter. They are all over our property – our landscaping rocks are like a giant city of castles for these squirrels.
Now that you’ve read about our extended family here in the Rockies, come on out and meet them for yourself! See you soon!
It is now peak season here in the Rocky Mountains and there are many activities to enjoy and sights (and animals) to see! Takakkaw Falls, the second highest waterfall in Canada, is flowing at full capacity over Mount Niles and all the beautiful mountain wildflowers are in full bloom, taking advantage of the short growing season.
With the steady warm weather, the snowpack is finally melting, making many higher-altitude trails now accessible, including Twin Falls, Iceline, Whaleback, and Burgess Pass to name a few in the local area. If you do hike up to the historic Twin Falls, be sure to time your hike to include a stop at the teahouse where Fran serves tea and snacks between 12 and 3pm daily. She lives at the little chalet all summer and always has stories to share!
All the melting snow has made our Kicking Horse River high and fast – perfect for whitewater rafting just 30 minutes from our lodge. I have gone rafting three times so far this summer, and my latest trip (last week) was by far the most fun I’ve had rafting! The river was fast, the rapids were thrilling, and everyone had a fantastic time - I would highly recommend it if you like a little excitement!
Apart from hiking and rafting, there are so many other activities to enjoy: horseback riding along a mountain trail is always popular, canoeing, fishing, biking, golf, helicopter tours, and ziplining are all great things to do within an hour drive from Cathedral Mountain Lodge.
I must say, if you are fairly new to hiking and mountain climbing, the thrill you get from climbing your first peak is an absolutely grand and, I must admit, humbling experience. Two nights ago, a couple of our staff and I set out to climb the trail to Paget Peak. We left around 6:30 pm, wanting to be up there for the beginning of the sunset, while still making it back before complete darkness. Two other hikers passed us on our way up, saying they just saw a Grizzly bear and her cub and that we should turn around, but we had bear spray and weren’t going to where they came from and honestly, we wanted to hike to the peak, so we kept going. We never saw the bear, although we did see its footprints. After an hour, we reached the Paget fire lookout, the oldest remaining fire lookout in the Rockies. From there we kept climbing up the side of the mountain until we reached the very top. It was cold and windy, but so amazing! Having a 360-degree view of the Yoho Valley and surrounding peaks was incredible:
Whatever adventure you choose while you are here in Canada’s Mountain National Parks will surely bring a smile to your face and probably a few “Wow”s from your mouth. Just make sure you bring a camera, because you never know when you will see wildlife! I came across this deer while I was biking along a trail near Emerald Lake:
Thanks for reading and happy exploring!
Here at Cathedral Mountain Lodge, the ground squirrels are busy, the snow high in the mountains is melting, and our staff are settling into a routine. We are welcoming many visitors to our mountain hideaway and the season is beginning to take shape. The mild June weather has provided great opportunities for hiking and the spring rain has made river rafting very exciting! In fact, last week there was a huge rainstorm that brought more rain than this area has seen in forty years! The normally pristine turquoise Kicking Horse River was high and flowing fast with the murky brown mountain runoff:
With the melting of the snow comes the opening of many roads and trail systems in the area as the risk of avalanche finally subsides. The famous Takakkaw Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada, is now accessible by car, offering guests a great chance to see and explore this breathtaking glacier-fed waterfall just 13 km from our doorstep.
Another great area to explore while visiting us at Cathedral Mountain Lodge is Lake O’Hara, just a ten minute drive from us along the Trans Canada Highway. This protected area has restricted access by bus only, and reservations are required. After a long winter, we are excited to announce that the bus is now running and people can now visit this beautiful lake and its surrounding trails. If you cannot make reservations but have a full day to commit and are up for a challenge, there is no restriction on walking to Lake O’Hara via the 11 km access road.
If you are here to see wildlife, you don’t have to wander very far. In fact, just the other day I was sitting by the river and this beautiful elk decided to cross right in front of me:
There are endless opportunities to see mountain goats, bears, birds, elk, and of course, ground squirrels while you are here. Come and see for yourself!
Spring has finally sprung in the Canadian Rockies! Greatly anticipating our move back into the Lodge and Yoho National Park we can’t wait to return to the rugged snow capped peaks, wild springtime mountain rivers and receding snow pack. Our alpine vegetation is just beginning to peak through as ice and snow recede from lower valleys and the lakes are just starting to see those beautiful emerald green and light turquoise colors coming to life amidst the hard icy blue remaining from a long winter. Late season conditions still abound, but access roads are clearing and we will be onsite to provide regular updates within the next couple weeks. Looking forwarding to another beautiful summer season!
The Orange Girl blog was kind enough to feature Cathedral Mountain Lodge in a recent post. The photographer and blogger visited the lodge with her husband for a three day get away and “loved every minute of it”. Check out the post here along with some of the beautiful accompanying photographs.
It’s been a busy summer season so far and we at Cathedral Mountain Lodge, along with our sister property Moraine Lake Lodge, are excited to celebrate Food Day Canada on July 30, 2011! We are one of over 300 restaurants that will be participating all across Canada! Located in the heart of stunning Yoho National Park, Cathedral Mountain Lodge marries the rustic beauty of our surrounding scenery with the luxury of cozy cabin lodging and fine dining. Our very own Executive Chef James Holmes will be featuring local and certified organic ingredients and embracing the cuisine of the Canadian Rockies. For more information about Food Day Canada visit http://foodday.ca/
Within an hours drive you will find some of the worlds greatest golf courses including Banff Springs, the 2006 and newly announced 2011 hosts of TELUS World Skins Games where you can witness some of the world’s top golfers battle it out!
27 holes (Three 9-hole layouts)
Signature Hole: #4 on the Rundle layout
Called the Devil’s Cauldron you reach this hole after emerging from the woods onto an elevated tee. Across a glacial lake you will see the green 170 yards away surrounded by incredible mountain ranges.
Designed by the famous Canadian architect Stanley Thompson, this is an iconic golf course filled with incredible scenery and important history to the townsite of Banff. If you have the money – and the patience to deal with the many surrounding tourists – this course promises to be memorable!
The closest golf course to us at Cathedral Mountain Lodge is a hidden jewel of the Rockies – removed from most tourists. Set in the mountains this course has well maintained and perfectly laid out courses, beautiful views, and friendly staff who are more than willing to go out of their way for a perfect time.
36 holes (two 18- hole layouts)
Signature Hole: #4 on the Mt. Kidd course
Just outside of Calgary this course is a perfect pit stop before you catch your flight back home. Frequently visited by Calgarians on the weekends practicing their swing enjoy the incredible mountain views and peace of mind knowing that you’re only an hour away from the airport!
18 HolesSignature Hole: #9
Nicknamed Cleopatra this par-3 hole has beautiful views of the stunning Pyramid Mountain in the distance.
This is not within an hours drive (more like 3…) but Jasper is such a popular destination I thought I should mention it!
Also created by Stanley Thompson, the course was developed in 1925 it took 50 teams of horses and 200 men a year to clear the land for one of Canada’s top premier golf courses to be enjoyed. This course is three hours away from us but if you’re headed up anyways make this part of your sight seeing adventures.
Book your tee time with the Adventure Specialist! firstname.lastname@example.org