Canadian Rockies: Yoho Valley Trail

On Wednesday morning we still hadn’t heard any good news from our house-sitter, but once again, I figured someone had found Riesling and would bring her into a local vet’s office or the shelter. She is chipped and I had already contacted the rescue we got her from in case the information was old.

So, we stuck with our original plan and after a filling egg, ham and cheese panini each for breakfast at the hotel, we packed up the car and headed north toward Field. Our first stop at the Spiral Tunnel lookout was a bit of a bust as haze really prevented a good view of the train tracks. A better stop was the Meeting of the Waters lookout for some views of the rapids.

Meeting of the Waters

The Takakkaw Falls area in YoHo NP was very busy, and you can see (and hear) the falls easily from the parking lot. We got our photographs and then lost the crowds on the 10km RT hike to Laughing Falls, passing Angel’s Staircase Falls (barely flowing) and Point Lace Falls on the way.

Takakkaw Falls  Takakkaw Falls

YoHo Valley Trail

Point Lace Falls  Laughing Falls

At this point we both admitted that we were worried sick over Riesling and weren’t wholly enjoying ourselves. So, once we got back to the parking lot and there was still no news, we headed to our B&B in Field and booked tickets home for the next day, cutting our trip short by two days. We also put the word out on Facebook and called our parents to let them know the bad news.

Knowing that we were going home to take up the search ourselves put us in a slightly better mood (we still held out hope that she would be found before we got home). Thankfully, the B&B owners were understanding and didn’t hold us to the two night minimum.

We had the best dinner of the trip that night at Truffle Pig.  I had spinach fettuccine with red-wine soaked figs, arugula, goat cheese and pancetta paired with a glass of pink bubbly. Eric had a local apple cider and pork picatta with black pepper spatzle, green beans and olive tapenade. Both the service and setting were lovely. Highly recommended.

spinach fetticini with red-wine soaked figs, arugula, goat cheese and pancetta @ Truffle Pig  pork picatta with black pepper spatzle, green beans and olive tapenade @ Truffle Pig

Canadian Rockies: Moraine Lake, Consolation Lakes, Marble Canyon + Paint Pots

Going to bed early the night before allowed us to wake up before dawn on Monday to get to the Moraine Lake area at sunrise… along with a hundred other people! Our planning paid off though because we scored one of the last few parking spots at 7am.

We scaled the giant rockpile and hung out to watch the sunrise.

early morning selfie @ Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake @ sunrise

Moraine Lake

After an hour and a half, we tore ourselves away from this gorgeous view to start the hike to Consolation Lakes.
There were many people at Lake Moraine but only a small fraction on this trail, so nice!

After an easy 40 minute hike, we got the first views of Consolation Lake…

Consolation Lake

Mount Babel

Mount Fay & Consolation Lake


To reach the shore you must scramble across a large boulder field – the views were worth it. The scene changed a lot after sun crested the ridge so I am glad we got there when we did.

On the way back, Eric took a quick detour to Taylor Lake. It was quiet and very scenic.

Taylor Lake

Back in the crowds around Moraine Lake, the water was even bluer now that the sun was in full effect. We found a comfy spot on the rock pile and people watched / rested our feet for another hour.

a canoe on Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake had truly stunning views and was well worth getting up early to see, a definite highlight of the trip.

Feeling like we made the most of our parking spot, we left for Marble Canyon in Kootenay NP. The short trail follows the sides of the narrow canyon with lots of crossings and pale blue rushing water. The trail terminates in front of a nice two-tiered waterfall.

Marble Canyon  Marble Canyon

The nearby Paint Pots were interesting as an add-on hike since we were in the area. It’s about a 25 minute RT with mostly muddy pits until the end where there were three green ponds with ochre rims. The trail was pretty exposed and hot in mid-afternoon but you need the sun to give the paint pots a worthwhile color.

Paint Pots

Paint Pots

After a quick shower back at the hotel, we walked to Sage Bistro across the street and ate upstairs in the Wine Lounge. I had a lovely Portuguese red (after the waitress talked me out of my original Canadian choice) and Eric went local-ish with the Blasted Church gewurztraminer. We split a creamy blue cheese plate ($8) and I had mussels with a tasty broth ($15) for my main while Eric choose the boar bacon mac & cheese ($16). It was plenty of food for us, everything was tasty. We weren’t even charged for extra bread, plus our waitress was super nice. Recommended.

Hot tub to end the night then some much deserved sleep after our early start!

Marlborough: Picton and Queen Charlotte Drive

Awoke to a morning shower, so we were in no hurry and waited out the rain. Eventually, we headed north out of town to Picton and after scaling the viewpoint near Bob’s Bay we drove north along the Waikawa Road as far as Whatamango Bay. The views were wonderful.


Grove Arm



We made our way back into town and stopped at Picton Village Bakkerij for seeded ciabatta rolls and an almond/dark cherry pastry.

From Picton we started our drive along Queen Charlotte Drive. There were several pull-outs and even some places to have a snack on a park bench between Governors Bay and Barks Bay.

selfie/lunch break  overlooking Grove Arm

Ngakuta Bay

Shortly afterwards, we saw our first real road damage from the earthquake two weeks before.

earthquake damage to Queen Charlotte Drive

At Linkwater, we took Kenepuru Road northeast for views of the Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound. We made it as far as Portage before we turned around. Unfortunately much of the view is blocked by large bushes and the pull-outs are few. We did get some nice shots of the farm fields and a flowering passionflower vine.

Kenepuru Rd views  Kenepuru Rd bloom

Back on Queen Charlotte Drive I spotted a pottery gallery sign and pulled off to explore. Valerie (of Valerie’s Gallery) was very nice and we picked up a few of her designs, all the while chatting about travel and politics. We even added a push-pin to her visitor map. :)

Our next stop was Cullen Point Lookout which offered nice views of Havelock and Mahau Sound.

Mahakipawa Arm

Mahakipawa Arm

Havelock in black & white

From Havelock we took the highway back our room in Blenheim to enjoy a Moa Tripel in our room. For dinner we walked to the Scotch Bar. I ordered two appetizer portions of the pork and coriander dumplings with a chilli salsa and a (massive) plate of grilled asparagus with whipped cranky goat cheese. Eric opted for the ox cheek pappardelle with parmigiano reggiano, very filling and tasty. They had several wines available by the half-glass, glass and bottle.  I ordered the Fromm La Strada Pinot Noir and Eric had a Two Rivers L’ile de Beauté Rosé, both were very drinkable and it made me want to visit Fromm the next day.

In search of New Zealand-themed gifts, we walked over the the Warehouse but, unfortunately, it was mostly cheap crap.