In a previous post I introduced you to glacial flour.  The heavy glacial ice grinds rocks into dust as it moves.  Depending on the amount of this silt or flour and the mineral content the flour creates lakes of exquisite blues – and in this case a brilliant emerald.  Emerald Lake is the largest lake in Yoho National Park and it is simply breathtaking.  Depending on the height of the sun, amount of haze and other weather conditions, the water appeared to change hues as I took photos:

This is just one aspect of our hike through Yoho National Park.  A big contributor to our pure enjoyment and education was our wonderful guide who had an infectious love for this land and its history- he practically skipped as we walked along the edge of the lake.

After a fascinating and talk about the close relationship between fungus and the fir trees that surround the lake,  a fellow traveler was chosen to portray the “FunGuy” (fungi) while  the guide played the trees:

Our guide capped off an amazing day with a little “show and tell.”  First, some background.

The Rocky Mountains not only provide protection to Yoho, it also harbors some of the most important fossil finds from the Cambrian Period (540-485 million years ago).  The site is known as the Burgess Shale and it is a World Heritage site since 1981.  Shale is a fine-grained,  sedimentary rock form characterized by its tendency to split into thin layers less than one centimeter thick.

While there are many sites around the world that feature fossils from the Cambrian period, those sites mostly include hard-bodied organisms such as shellfish. Burgess Shale is unique in that it is primarily made-up of rarely preserved soft-bodied organisms from Cambrian’s marine life. These organisms lived in the sea that once covered the location of the Rocky Mountains.

These fossils are so perfectly preserved that scientists have been able to create drawings and models of these creatures that lived so long ago.  Their looks suggest they would be welcome in Tatooine’s Mos Eisley Cantina:


To close, in celebration of this fun and educational day at Emerald lake – I ordered this cocktail – it is called, of course, “Emerald Glow,” made of vodka, cucumber infused vermouth, chartreuse and lime:

Yes my nails also martched! YOHO, YOHO!!!


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