Emerald Lake Kayak Paddle, Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies

Needless to say, we woke up to the sound of an alarm clock, this time just a little later, it was 5:45am. We tossed and turned and eventually rolled out of bed at 6:45, nobody wanted to get up. We fixed some coffee and hit the road, this time for Yoho National Park and Emerald Lake.  The drive was spectacular to say the least. We reached the parking lot shortly before 8am to find it already almost full, it would fill up over the next 20 minutes while we ate our breakfast of hard boiled eggs, pepperoni and yogurt. After breakfast we talked to a park employee who showed us the way to a small beach down a short paved path where we could launch our boats. After portaging all of the provisions to the lake shore we quickly rigged the boats. 

Emerald Lakes water is exactly as it sounds. Stunning peaks of the President Range stretch to the heavens adorned with hanging glaciers and green meadows descending to the lake shore. In the distance we could hear the quiet roar of a waterfall carrying glacial ice water from the highest peaks to the lake. One by one red canoes launched just down the shoreline from the small park owned gift shop and before we knew it the tiny vessels were strung out along the lakes surface like beads on a necklace. Fortunately for us we were paddling our own boats and saving around 300 dollars by doing so. We shoved off along the lake surface paddling counterclockwise to keep the best view in front of us for most of the paddle. We avoided the crowds by keeping to the lake shore as most of the hoards paddled straight out into the lake, they were on a 70 dollar an hour time crunch, we on the other hand, had all the time in the world. The lake was smooth as glass with the only break in the surface coming from our kayak paddles as they entered the sea-foam green waters of Emerald Lake. Magnificent views of Mount Burgess, Mount Field and Wapta Mountain dominated the skyline southeast of the lake basin forcing our eyes to the sky. 

Jameson enjoyed our new kayak, a tandem 17 foot Old Town Dirigo that gave him an opportunity to take a break when needed, making the trip more enjoyable for him and myself. No longer did I have to tow one of the children while listening to them belly ache about being tired. My wife Robin paddled along side me in a red 14 foot solo Old Town Dirigo kayak with my daughter Kylie sitting in front of her, it’s a lot of work for Kylie to paddle her own craft so being a passenger allowed us to cover more miles. After covering half of the lake we found a small beach to take a break from the paddle and let the kids skip rocks. Looking back across the lake we could see that smoke from the British Columbia wildfires was starting to make its way back up the valley. After our break we continued our circumnavigation of the lake and found the inlet stream coming in at the far end of the lake, and above it, the roar of the falls, it was a splendid mountain display. We attempted to paddle up the creek at the inlet of the lake but the current and shallow gravel bars made the ascent impossible. Back on the main lake we paddled beneath towering peaks of the President Range in the direction of the take out. We paddled by hikers along the way utilizing the trail that loops around the lake, I felt fortunate to be on the lake as we never had an obstructed view the entire time. Eventually we reached the put in and the hoards of people that greeted us as our boats slid into the sandy beach. Emerald Lake was by far the most amazing lake I have ever paddled and one I would paddle again in a heartbeat, we covered about 2.5 miles in our trip around the lake shore. For more of my pictures from the paddle, click the link. Emerald Lake Kayak Paddle Pictures

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