The Frozen Kakabeka Falls


Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park on the side of the Highway 17.

I was here at Kakabeka falls not too long ago, just this past July. This is a relatively small park, located on the side of highway 17 and besides offering a camping option, it’s main draw is the falls. The falls are tall and ragged, they scar the landscape and slowly through the passage of time work their way up stream. During this time of the year with the camp ground closed and the trails disused, the main draw are the massive falls. People pull off the highway and make the short walk to view mother nature at her most primal.


This little beauty got me to Thunder Bay alive.

Even though I currently reside in Northern Ontario, getting to Kakabeka Falls is no small feat. It involved a small charter plane as seen above and a rental car, also a whole lot of prayer. This was thus far the smallest “passenger plane” I’ve ever flown on. In that little flying tin-can, they managed to fit nine people (eleven if you include the crew) plus all of our gear. The ride was rugged and temperamental, the endless expanse of emptiness played out below us, scenes from Liam Neeson’s move “The Grey” flash through one’s mind. The plane bumps around and the human sardines get ever more compacted in what at times felt like a flying coffin. As the pilot put it so elegantly, we’ve all just meat in a tube, zooming across the sky. I’m sure that he was being sarcastic and attempting to lighten the mood, but those are not comforting words for anyone who fears flying. Not that I fear flying personally, but when you’re skimming low across the sky, being bounced around by turbulence like a pinball in a machine, there are some legitimate concerns to be had. Where is Laim Neeson when you need him? Now to clear something up, I did not take a private charter just to see the falls, even though some might argue it would be worth it. I was scheduled to attend a 3 day education conference in Thunder Bay and I had a spare afternoon to go to Kakabeka Falls for a return visit. The winter scenery does not disappoint even if my recent Camera based accident certainly does.


I busted one of my main lenses slipping on the ice.

Recently I slipped and fell on my camera, breaking my 18-55mm lens. I knew that walking on the ice roads was a risky proposition and that I was certainly going to pay for it one day. I just didn’t know it would happen slipping on dry land just a few meters from my own front door. So with a 300-400$ lens busted, my workhorse of a lens at that. I’ve been stuck working with my 50mm prime, which I find takes excellent photos but doesn’t give the option of capturing as wide range of shots as I’d like. Below are a few shots from the Frozen falls, my apologies that they’re all cropped pretty tight, it’s the nature of the 50mm prime lens. If you ever get a chance to see Kakabeka Falls, it’s worth it. Anytime of the year, but winter is worth it’s own visit. More photo’s on my flickr account.


7 thoughts on “The Frozen Kakabeka Falls

  1. Sad to lose such an expensive piece of equipment, but the photos are otherwise beautiful.

    With cyclists, whenever there is a crash, the first question that is usually asked is ‘how is the bike?’. The rationale is that human bones will heal, but bikes do not. I’m starting to think that perhaps the same philosophy works with photographers 😉

    Being born and raised in Northern Ontario, the first waterfall I ever saw was Kakabeka Falls – back a million years ago when I was a teenager. Somewhere I still have grainy old photographs taken with a cheap instamatic. All these years later, I still remember most the sound of the thundering water.


  2. Tough go about your lens. Pictures are still great though. There is something that captures the imagination when it comes to waterfalls. Maybe the sound; the visual of the water cascading over the edge – still fascinates me.Had a flight eons ago in a small 4 seater plane. Most harrowing plane ride was flying to Thunder Bay from Toronto. Never seen a pilot get on the brakes, spoilers and reverse thrust so fast. Swear the runway in Thunder Bay is about 12 feet long.


  3. The falls looks magnificent. We visited Kakabeka Falls a couple of years ago in the summer but this is something completely different. Too bad about the lens. Happened to me once. Definitely upsetting but also an opportunity to get a new one:) Beautiful shots nevertheless.


  4. Pingback: Kakabeka Falls, again. | Ontario Camper

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