Saturday, April 14, 2007

Crazy Easter Weekend!

Diamond T - see Diamond T for Trail Particulars.
Johnston's Canyon Interpretive Trail - Trail Particulars - Trailhead is off Highway 1A (accessed from turn off from the Trans-Canada, just a few kilometers West of the Westernmost Banff exit. Look for the Johnston's Canyon parking lot. Lower Falls is less than 1 km from trailhead, Upper Falls is about 2.5 km from trailhead. An unmaintained trail from the Upper Falls continues to the Inkpots (about 3 km)

The week before the long weekend sucked. And that's all I'm going to say about that. I needed this hike, I needed my mountain therapy this weekend, and on Easter Sunday I got plenty of it.

N. and I started out on a quick (very quick) Diamond T hike. Neither of us had worked out much this week, so we were feeling slow and tired. Excellent time to visit the Cardio Hills!

The snow had finally stopped by this point. It had actually been snowing so much that when we set out on Diamond T, there were fresh cross-country skiing tracks. Ok, despite the fog and snow of previous week's hikes, there hadn't been enough actually collecting on the ground for cross-country skiing... but now enough had fallen in the foothills that the skiers were out again. I'm happy and all for the skiers, but it's April already!

Back at Bragg Creek, I said good bye to N., and headed out to Banff. Friends from Winnipeg (L&D) were in town for the long weekend and we'd arranged to meet for Mexican food in Banff (yes, Winnipeg to Banff is a long way to travel for good Mexican food, but I concur with my friends -- it was worth it).

Besides, I'm a sucker for the drive to Banff National Park. There's something about driving into the Rockies that will never get old. I've lived here all my life and the longer I'm here, the more I love the mountains. I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have this amazing part of the world on my doorstep. I pulled over in Canmore to take this incredibly generic photo.

It was actually warmer in Banff than the Calgary on Sunday. Even though I got my usual early 8 am start with N., by the time we'd hiked and I'd driven the rest of the way to Banff, so had most of Southern Alberta. Holy crap! All my usual secret parking places were gone. I wound up driving to the Cave and Basin parking lot and taking the foot path into town. It's only about a 15 minute walk and on a day like Sunday where it's a beautiful 15 C outside -- how can you not?

I got some great shots on this pleasant walk into town. This is one of my favorites. This was almost as soon as I got into the trees by the Cave and Basin. You wouldn't even know you were within a 2 minute drive of the complete nuthouse that was Banff that weekend.

The snow was melting so quickly there were several "lagoons" within the trees. The path itself was ok, but if you wandered off the path away from the road by more than 10 feet or so, you ran the risk of stepping into swampland, or encountering a pseudo-creek. I thought the shadowy lagoons looked the most interesting.

Post-Mexican food L&D decided to head to Johnston's Canyon. Knowing I had a 15 minute walk ahead I took my time, looking for photos. As picturesque as Banff is though, I've seen it all before. Once I got to my car, I figured I'd head out to Johnston's Canyon, see if I could catch them. I got there just as they'd finished the hike to the Lower Falls and had decided to start the trek home. I thought I'd quickly hike out to the Lower Falls myself, compare it to the ice hike D. and I did a month ago here.

The sun was fading fast, but needless to say, some of the differences are striking:

Notice how much cleaner the water was in March. The further I went into the canyon, the less the difference between the shots. The last shot is the Lower Falls -- hard to believe there's still water flowing under all that.

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