Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Exploring The Kootenays

Part V

The Hoodoos

Often did we drive by the Hoodoos on our way north to Invermere this last year. I always marvel at their extraordinary formations and unique look. But not until I read an article in the Brithish Columbia Magazine this spring did it occur to me that one can actually hike the Hoodoos.
A few days after I read the article, I grabbed the boys and dogs and off we went to explore them.

The Hoodoos are just a bit south of Fairmont Hotsprings and easily accessible from the back via Westside Road.

From there a short trail leads up the very top of the Hoodoos. And up there you have a spectecular view over the Columbia Lake and the Purcell Mountains...


...and of course down the crevasses and stone sculptures of the Hoodoos themselves.

There are two explanation as to how the Hoodoos came to existence....

Geology explains the formation as deposited sediment from a glacial river at the end of the last ice age, which after a closer look sounds absolutely plausible.

As always, you can enlarge the images by clicking on them.

This sediment deposit is rather vulnerable to wind and rain. As explained in the magazine article, the rain washes the sediment down and wind blows sand up, this forms the unique appearance of the Hoodoos and explains the almost beach-like trail and area behind the top of the Hoodoos. 
Luckily the hoodoos are covered by a more weather resistant capstone layer, which is clear in the following image:

The local Ktunaxa people though have a different explanation in their creation story:
In the beginning of time when only animals lived on earth, a huge sea monster was eating many animals. The other animals decided that the monster, Yawu?nik, would have to be destroyed. As they finally succeeded in conquering Yawu?nik, his meat was given to the other animals, leaving only the inner organs and the bones.
The inner organs gave life to mankind and the scattered ribs form today's hoodoos. 

Easy to understand how this legend came to be.

At a certain time on a sunny day, in spring it is around noon, the sun bounces off the south facing cliffs and illuminates the north facing cliffs, which gives the Hoodoos an almost eerie glow.

Walking along the ridge for a kilometer or two will then reward you with a stunning view back to the Hoodoos with the Rocky Mountains as background

A magical place I sure will go back to many more times!

No comments:

Post a Comment