Kootenay National Park Things to Do

  • The Continental Divide
    The Continental Divide
    by Jim_Eliason
  • The Continental Divide
    The Continental Divide
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Views from Kootenay valley viewpoint
    Views from Kootenay valley viewpoint
    by balhannah

Most Recent Things to Do in Kootenay National Park

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    Seventh Stop: information center at Radium

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    cool relief map of Kootenay

    The information center in the village of Radium is not ostentatious, but it has this great 3-D topographical map of Kootenay. I'm something of a map fiend, so I spent a happy fifteen minutes pouring over this relief map.

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    Sixth Stop: Sinclair Canyon

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    Sinclair Canyon and waterfall

    Sinclair Canyon basically defines the southwestern entrance to Kootenay. It must be a dramatic sight for those who are first experiencing the Canadian Rockies and entering from the west. The road is cut between an impossibly narrow canyon. Certainly an engineering feat for the era in which it was first built (1910s). But why build a road through such a narrow canyon opening with all the difficulties that such a route poses? Because the Radium Hot Springs, the areas first real attraction, lies just beyond Sinclair Canyon.

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    Paint Pots (5): mining relics

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    detritus of a forsaken mining operation

    When Kootenay became a National Park in 1920--the superintendent shut down the ochre mining as being incompatable with the National Park mission. Apparently, the ochre miners just left their mining tools behind, because here the mining detritus sits in all its rusted glory. Judging by the tools--it appears that ochre mining was back-breaking work.

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    Paint Pots (4): the real scoop

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    ochre mud holes

    From Becky's travel journal: "Paint Pots, ok. Basically a flat walk to ochre-colored muddy area. Crossed a bouncy suspension bridge to get there."

    She's right, of course. Just big yellow mud puddles. For a kick, try scooping some up and painting yourself ochre. I did, but just on my socks.

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    Paint Pots (3): sacred spot

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    magical properties?

    The indigenous people, the Ktunaxa, believed that this place was sacred and favored by certain spirits. The ochre was believed to be blessed with properties of protection and thus were favored by folks contemplating a battle. The Ktunaxa were ahead of the Canadians in using the ochre for commercial purposes. Apparently, they were able to trade the ochre to other tribes at a good price.

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    Fourth Stop: On the Trail of the Paint Pots

    by zrim Updated Jul 13, 2003

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    Crossing the Vermilion River

    To get to the Paint Pots the Vermilion River must be crossed which provides an excellant opportunity to scan the horizon and take in the breathtaking scenery. A rushing river, pine forseted hillsides and glacier pocked mountains on the distance. Very nice.

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    Paint Pots (2): ochre

    by zrim Written Jul 13, 2003

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    ochre

    Iron-rich springs unload their minerals in shallow pools in this place and stain the earth a deep yellow. A color known as ochre. People have been visiting this spot for centuries and cultivating the ochre for use as dyes. Hundreds of years ago it was Native Americans who scooped out the ochre for body paint and other uses. Later Canadians actively mined the spot and sent wagonloads of ochre to cities for use as a commercial dye. Around the 1920s the mining operation ceased with the creation of Kootenay National Park.

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    Marble Canyon (8): into the jaws of the abyss

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Gulp!

    I'd just as soon stare down a grizzly bear as peer over the edge of a precipice--especially if said precipice is 140 feet above a rock strewn cavern with a thundering waterfall booming down the impossibly high chute. Basically, I stuck my new expensive camera over the edge, closed my eyes and clicked the button to take the shot. The entire time I had the feeling that either I would go plummeting into the falls or I would lose my grip on the camera and $1000 would go plummeting down the falls. We both came through unscathed and lived to phtograph another day.

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    Marble Canyon (7): boulder came tumbling this way

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Becky makes friends with a boulder

    Every once in a while, when hiking in the mountains, you will come across a stray boulder or two. They obviously were chucked off the mountainside some time ago. It is interesting to check the tree lines back up the mountainside to see if it was a relatively fresh chuck. If there is a line of trees smaller in height relative to the surrounding forest, you can be reasonably sure that the boulder came tumbling down recently (at least according to geologic times). One can only imagine the sound and fury that would be caused by a several ton boulder such as this rolling thousands of feet, decimating everything in its path until finding it's final resting spot.

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    Marble Canyon (2): the color of water

    by zrim Updated Jul 12, 2003

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    Marble Canyon Basin

    Just incredible! This is how the water actually looked as it reached the bottom of Marble Canyon. I have never seen such a deep slate blue color in a stream. A perfect place to sit down for a picnic lunch and stare at the rich colors of Tokumm Creek.

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    Marble Canyon (6): ice flow

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Ice in July

    I have no idea what this remaining ice flow was thinking. All it's friends had sense enough to melt into the creek by mid-summer. But this last tenacious ice flow was hanging on, betting that it can survive in its dark, dank recess until the chill weather of winter once again comes round.

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    Marble Canyon (5): mosses and lichen

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Moss grows on a rolling canyon

    Anywhere life can gain a toehold it will thrive. We saw time and time again the tenacity of life in the most extreme of conditions at various spots in the Canadian Rockies. If the sheer cliffsides are only suitable for moss--then moss it will be.

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    Marble Canyon (4): a natural bridge

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Natural Bridge at Marble Canyon

    The power of water has carved not only the sheer canyon walls, but also a natural bridge. How many milenia of thundering water is required to carve a hundred foot hole through solid rock?

    Note: some dimwits have actually scrambled out onto this bridge (we didn't see any at this place, but did see idiots do the same at Yoho Park). Some of the same fools have fallen to their death. I think sticking to the trails is the most prudent course.

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    Marble Canyon (3): the mouth of the canyon

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Mouth of Marble Canyon

    This vantage point is unquestionable beautiful and it gives a sneak preview of the sights to come, but really the creek and canyon still look fairly innocuous this far downstream. Round the bend and things start getting interesting.

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    Third Stop: Marble Canyon (a tragic story)

    by zrim Written Jul 12, 2003

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    Tokumm Creek

    It was a bit melancholy visiting the beautiful creek and falls of Marble Canyon. The day before we arrived in western Canada, a local family apparently went out into the mountains that they loved for a family excursion. At Marble Canyon a freak windstorm hit while the family was at the top of the canyon. Two young sisters age 5 and 8 were killed instantly when a tree toppled onto them. Their paramedica father tried to do what he could, but the injuries were too severe. Life can be very unfair. In a park where all sorts of people take crazy chances with wild animals and stray off of trails and survive--two little girls who were simply at the wrong spot at the wrong time lost their lives. I felt sort of bad enjoying the beautiful canyon just days after the tragedy, but I read in the local paper that memorials for the girls were to be used for a bench in the canyon to commemorate their lives. We cannot let tragedy stop us from enjoying nature, but we can remember to enjoy each day to it's fullest.

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Kootenay National Park Things to Do

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