My second long day hike was to the Lake O’Hara district in Yoho National Park. I hiked there just with a one day break after my first 26 miler long distance day hike on the Berg Lake Trail (see my previous post) in early September 2020. I heard about the beauty of the area when I first travelled in the Canadian Rockies in 2007.
It is not too easy to get there. Before covid there were shuttle buses which drove you up to the lakes, but you had to book the shuttle months ahead or you could try your luck and appear on the morning of your planned trip and hope that someone didn’t show up for the shuttle. The other option is always available and that is to hike the 11km road which leads to the lake. In 2020 the shuttles were cancelled because of covid, so my only option was to hike in and out.
I took a similar approach as in my previous hike, go fast and light, eat and drink lots. The only difference was that my big toes on both feet started to hurt because it seems my shoes were a bit small or narrow or both. I had around 3kg of equipment, food and liquid on me. I had one snickers style double Titan bar, three protein bars, eight oat cookies, potato chips and half liter of Gatorade + my water filter for creeks or springs. Again I ate every 40 minutes or so and again this worked for me.
The hike up to Lake O’Hara is not special but after you get there the landscapes are wonderful. From there I hiked the 8 km West Opabin Trail to Opabin Lake (part of the Opabin Plateau loop) which takes you also to this amazing view of Lake O’Hara and Lake Mary at Opabin Prospect (the opening photo). There are lots of other hikes in the area, I met hikers along the way which circled the Lake O’Hara Alpine Circuit and they were amazed by the sights, but unfortunately I did not have time for more.
I hiked around 31km that day in 9.5 hours, with 410m elevation gain to Lake O’Hara + 370m elevation gain to Opabin Lake. At the end of the day I was a bit tired but what was worse is that my toes hurt, they were swollen and walking was really painful.
After some rest the next day I hiked 20km more including to Parker Ridge, which is also a wonderful hike with views of Saskatchewan Glacier. After hiking more than 100km that week I ended up with my toenails inflamed and after a few weeks eventually loosing them, new ones growing in their place. While the weight of the shoes counts a lot, wide and a bit larger shoes are also important for long hikes, because your feet enlarge while hiking.