Friday, June 24, 2011

Johnston Canyon Hike

I went on another forced march- I mean, lovely hike- with Greg yesterday. It's called Johnston Canyon Hike in Banff National Park. This one is not for the faint of legs (like me). My thighs were actually quivering during the last hour.

Let me confess straight away that I picked this hike from our hiking bible*. I noted that it was seven miles, one mile longer than the last hike, but I figured I could handle it. I liked the description:

"Ascending the narrow canyon, you'll cross steel catwalks attached to rock walls. The chasms and cascades are fantastic. Continue beyond the falls to the Ink Pots, where cold springs bubble to the surface."

My only real concern were those catwalks. I'm afraid of heights and when placed in a situation where the fall will kill you, I start to wonder what it would be like to jump. haha! A lot of people who have a fear of heights say this. It makes no logical sense and you would never actually do it, but I guess we enjoy scaring ourselves. Greg's only concern was that the hike might be too easy. *sigh*

We started out on the trail by some rental cabins and a big ole coffee shop. Greg saw this as a bad sign (crowds) but I was already ordering some fabulous coffee drink in my head for the ride home. The image made me so happy, I fairly floated across the catwalks without fear.

You can't tell from these photos, but there were a lot of people. (I waited for a break in the line to grab a picture.) When we passed families with young children on their shoulders, people with dogs and the elderly (I think I saw a guy with a cane! Greg says it was a walking stick. Whatever.), I figured I would do OK on this trail.

We walked along a raging river. I'm not kidding- it looked really mad about something! Probably the crowds. Maybe if it could have had some privacy, it would have merrily babbled. But it flowed by fast, throwing up spray and making a heck of a racket. It made me laugh. I can't help it. When someone's angry, I giggle. Nervous habit.

We saw what they call the Lower Falls which had a very cool tunnel carved out of the rock by the pounding water. We were able to walk through it and look The Lower Falls in the face. The Lower Falls looked back and splashed us. Greg gave The Falls a dirty look in return but I kind of liked it.

We continued walking upwards and made it to the Upper Falls. That uphill climbing is hard for me, especially if a hot flash strikes in the middle of it. The temperature was about 57, but I wound up trudging along in a tank top, my jacket tied around my waist. And, of course, I always had to make an announcement: "Hot flash! Hot flash!" Greg loves that.

The upper falls were interesting because there was a catwalk that took you right down to the river and in front of them:

OK, that was fun. The catwalks weren't scary, the falls were pretty and although some of the rises were difficult, I felt OK. But the guide book said that there was more to see if we continued along the trail. I was game.

We walked a short way and found a sign pointing to the Ink Pots-the next natural wonder. "2.7 kilometers," it read. Kilometers mean nothing to me, but I can understand an arrow, so I headed in that direction. The trail sloped upwards. (damn!)

Between huffs and puffs, I asked Greg how far 2.7 kilometers is. "Oh, a little more than...a mile and a half," he answered. (A mile and a freakin' half??? Uphill? In your brain no one can hear you scream.)

But here's the thing: no way was I going to let this hike win. I didn't want to be a quitter, so I put my head down and placed one foot in front of the other. I told myself, "This is my life now." I don't know how long we walked upwards. Two, three days? Oh wait, Greg says it was about 30 minutes. Mercifully, the trail started to head back down.

"It's a long way to the Ink Spots," Greg remarked.

I corrected him, "We're not going to see the singing group. It's Ink POTS." *GASP giggle GASP* "Unless you start to hear music. Then I'm wrong."

"Oh, OK," he said.

Sometimes he just doesn't get me.

Anyway, we made it to our destination and decided it should officially be the definition of anti-climatic.

Greg took a break and I took pictures.

Then we walked back.

The End

*Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies by Kathy and Craig Copeland

Cranky Meter: 4 out of 5 Frowny Faces. Too long, too much uphill climbing.


Margaret said...

Love this post Caryl! You had me laughing out loud "He doesn't get me" and amazed in wonder at the stunning beauty.

caryl said...

Thank you! It took me forever to finish writing this. I was too tired. lol

And-seriously- the guy rarely gets my jokes. haha!

Mary Ann said...

You are tooooo funny! I loved all the gorgeous photos...even the ones of Greg at every angle! You live in a beautiful area - enjoy every minute of it. Canada doesn't know what it's in for now that you've moved in.

caryl said...

haha, Mary Ann! You're funny.

Linda said...

Great photos of a gorgeous place. You're my hero - for the hiking (Indoor Kitty is in awe) and the informative while entertaining writing.
Miss you online but am excited you are writing again.

caryl said...

Linda- you're one of the reasons I'm writing. Seriously- you've been a great cheerleader. thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures and funny commentary.
You're right about the destination being anticlimatic, especially after the falls and raging water, which were beautiful. No wonder you were tired,Greg got to nap while you recorded the adventure!(Should I be in training for our upcoming visit?) Cathy

caryl said...

nah, Cathy, we won't take any hikes like that!