On my overnight birthday trip to Banff, the crew and myself were much too hungover to actually participate in anything strenuous. Plus, herding a gaggle of 20-something men around is more difficult than pushing a rhino through a keyhole. By the time we showed up in town, it was late afternoon and our hopes of hiking Lake Louise to the teahouse were dashed.
My buddy Luke suggested Johnston Canyon, a place I had never heard of. Itâ€™s marked â€œeasyâ€ on the trail guide, and has a gentle boardwalk along most of Johnston Creek. The distance to the end of the trail at the Ink Pots (which we didnâ€™t make) is 5.8 kilometres. The Creek itself originates north of Castle Mountain, in a glacial valley, and eventually empties out into the Bow River.
The soft limestone of the Canyon has allowed for some pretty cool formations over the years: steep canyon walls, waterfalls, tunnels, pools, and caves. The Ink Pots are six blue-green pools, fed by springs. In the winter you can go ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls.
You also get a pretty sweet view of the Matterhorn. This isn’t the Matterhorn. I just call every pointy mountain “The Matterhorn.”
There were a lot ofâ€¦interesting characters on the trail. Parents with screaming babies. Senior citizens out for a stroll. Hordes of teenagers posing with the peace sign.
(Ooh, aah…caves and waterfalls.)
There were some questionable behavioural displays as well. So I thought if these people ever follow up on their adventures and stumble across my blog, theyâ€™ll be educated in their idiocy.
To the young girl who stood on the bridge at the Lower Falls, posing for photos for TEN MINUTES while the rest of us crowded at the end waiting to cross: weâ€™re not the least bit sorry for eventually forcing our way. I also do not apologize for pointedly lingering on the frame of your shots.
Solution: Selfie. YOUâ€™RE WELCOME.
(And so we took our own photos, in front of the cave.)
To the two Brits who stomped through a muddy puddle as they passed my friend Jess and I, effectively splashing dirty water all over us: Screw you guys.
Solution: stop being an asshole.
To the elderly man wearing a neon purple windbreaker dawdling along the trail at a snailâ€™s pace and never once moving aside for other trekkers: You do disservice to your age group.
Solution: STAY TO THE LEFT. Basic social etiquette.
(Don’t get all bent out of shape, tree.)
But in the end it was a solid hangover hike for a group of 20-something hooligans recovering from the Stampede.