Running the Iceline

The cunning plan for the day was to go and run the Iceline Trail in Yoho National Park. The added difficulty was having to take it in turns, so we didn’t have to tie the Moosling to a tree with nothing more than a bottle of water, a toasted cheese sandwich, and a can of bear spray to defend himself.

Alex got to run first, heading off at 8.40am from the Takkakaw Falls carpark. He headed straight up onto the Iceline from there. Meanwhile, back at the river we wandered about, threw stones, and checked out the relief map of the area. The Moosling drove stones around on the roads of the map, crashing them down to the ground from the map edge: “Oh no crash! Oh no fall, oh crash!”

11.10am and Alex was back, having taken the shorter loop option; running down past Celeste Lake and back to the car in 17.5km. So then it was my turn.

It had gotten a little warmer and a little busier on the trail by then, so I was overtaking group after group as I marched up the switchbacks then ran along the ever wonderful Iceline trail. The forecast threatened afternoon showers, but so far the clouds didn’t look too threatening, and it was only getting warmer.

I dropped down onto the trail past Celeste Lake too, running past wildflowers, and considerably less people.

But then it was up the switchbacks of doom on the Whaleback Trail. They’re fairly relentless, the sun was baking, flies were hovering about me, sweat was dripping, and there wasn’t another soul on the trail.

But then, joy! The summit! The views! And a slight breeze! It was all worthwhile.

Getting down the back of the whale wasn’t very fast going either, with lots of rocky, rooty trail with overhanging branches. Remnants of the winter snowpack were lingering on Twin Falls Creek though, and the creek itself roared along in a scenically aqua fashion.

I was a little outraged to discover there was yet more uphill ahead, as I had to skirt around before I could descend to the base of Twin Falls.

Then it was back along the Marpole Lake trail – which turned out to be full of scree and talus, and also pretty slow going. A few peeping creatures though, so it wasn’t entirely without merit. From then on I was running back along familiar territory, past Laughing Falls and then along the valley bottom, a section of trail that actually was less painful than I remember it being when we had to coax along a tired toddler at the end of the day.

Finally back at the car and ready for a nice soak in the freezing cold river.

Distance: 25.2km
Elevation gain: 1391m
Time: 3.5 hours

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