National Geographic : 1966 Sep
stucco institution called Chateau Lake Louise. The sunrise here has been described as "one of the ten greatest sights in the world," so I put in a call for 4 a.m. But morning came veiled in chiffon and did not strip its last wisp for four more hours, when the sun was striking the French doors facing the lake. Not even the buses disgorging their tour loads every five minutes could diminish the near-perfection of that scene: the swaying masses of poppies, red, yellow, white, and orange; the intense blue of the lake; and its pinnacled backdrop, cleft to frame the gleam of Victoria Glacier (pages 374-5). Indeed the tourists merely accentuated the drama of Victoria, which rumbles, moves, and drops its ice in thundering explosions down into the desolate notch of Abbot Pass. Train Stalled by a Strolling Moose Adjoining this snow bowl is Yoho National Park, 507 uncluttered square miles of tim bered, tilted rock on the western side of the Divide. It is reached through Kicking Horse Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway, superbly banked around the steep mountain. East of Field, the park headquarters, I stopped to watch the CPR's transcontinental "Canadian" on its slalom course through the famous Spiral Tunnels. Like a silver snake chasing its tail, the train appeared and dis appeared, twisting along the most contorted railway line on the North American Continent. 378 From the dome car the passengers waved, and I waved back with the camaraderie born of shared emotion. The surrounding mountains had all been flayed by avalanches. Snow builds up so high here that animals often use the cleared track as a right of way. Once a strolling moose slowed the east-bound transcontinental to a crawl, until the animal slipped and stuck in a trestle. The train crew dislodged it, where upon it resumed its course, forcing the train to creep through the tunnels. Another moose on the track was so enraged by the train's whistling that he turned and charged, coming off second best. For two days I lingered in Yoho to visit O'Hara, that favorite of lake connoisseurs (pages 380-81); Emerald Lake, which mirrors Mount Burgess, the mountain on Canada's ten-dollar bills; and Takakkaw Falls, Cana da's highest waterfall, spuming down, down from Daly Glacier like a skein of twisted mus lin for 1,200 feet. Yoho merits its name: an Indian exclamation of wonder. From Yoho I backtracked to Lake Louise to head north on the Banff-Jasper Highway, paralleling the Divide for almost 200 miles.* The peaks grew higher, sharper. Glacier seemed to merge with glacier in an almost continuous icecap. Here is one of the great scenic highroads, a true avenue of giants. *Ralph Gray wrote of this road in "From Sun-clad Sea to Shining Mountains," in the April, 1964, GEOGRAPHIC.