Big Bend Canyon

July 24, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Around 111 kilometers north of where the Icefields Parkway starts near Lake Louise there is a wide sweeping bend in the road, appropriately named "Big Bend." This is the unofficial beginning of what could be called Waterfall Alley. We didn't stop and photograph all the waterfalls in this section of road, but we explored many of them. The first of which is what I call Big Bend Canyon.

 

In the middle of the Big Bend, there is a large parking lot. There are no signs mentioning what might be here to explore, but there is a stream approaching the parking lot and a path along side it. We knew there was supposed to be a waterfall somewhere upstream, and that's all we had to go on.

 

Approach to Big Bend FallApproach to Big Bend FallBig Bend Canyon

 

We walked along the path and it turned and made its way uphill, twisting among trees and over rocks. We could tell other people had been that way as there was a somewhat clear, narrow path. After a few difficult patches, we got to a small overlook where we could see the waterfall, coming through an opening in the rock.

 

Big Bend WaterfallBig Bend WaterfallBig Bend Canyon

 

Of course, I had to keep going up the path to see if I could see where the water going over the fall was coming from. This was as far as I wanted to risk going as it started to sprinkle on us. I couldn't get a vantage point to see where the river/creek/stream came from, but I could get a good picture where it was going, and where we came from. The previous picture was taken from the little point in the center of the picture, below.

 

A little further up the trail and above the falls, looking back toward the roadA little further up the trail and above the falls, looking back toward the roadBig Bend Canyon
 
We started our way back to the car with the mist falling on our heads. We had our raincoats on, so we weren't too worried about getting too wet. Nonetheless, we went back faster than we came up. We were almost to the car when I discovered I no longer had my tracking GPS on my camera bag. I was really mad with myself. How could I have lost it? Where did I drop it? Am I going to have to go back up the trail? By that time, the mist had turned into a downpour. Rather than go back up the trail, we decided to go back to the car and get our ponchos (we try to be prepared for bad weather). This was the first (and only) time we had gotten rained on, and what bad timing it was. 
 
When we had the ponchos on, we started back down the trail. I went over to the creek around where I thought I had taken the first picture in this post. I remembered I had trouble getting my camera pack turned back around after taking the camera out of it to take the picture. I looked around, but didn't see the GPS. I walked back out to where Denise was waiting on the trail and we talked about where I thought it might be and how difficult it would be to find it up that trail. I was so upset with myself. I looked down at my feet in disgust, and there, no more than a foot away was my GPS. What a miracle!
 
Interesting Note: After I finished writing this post, I was trying to find out exactly where and when I dropped my GPS. Using the data from the GPS, I was able to see where we were on Google Earth when I dropped the GPS. Google Earth also shows pictures that other people had taken and their approximate location when they took them. I was looking at other pictures of this area when I came across the fact that this "stream" (as I call it) coming out of the canyon is not just some unknown stream. It is the beginning of the North Saskatchewan River, which is 800 miles long, runs across Alberta and Saskatchewan before joining up with the South Saskatchewan River and flowing into Manitoba and eventually into Lake Winnipeg.

 


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