Sunshine, Johnston Canyon and hot springs. We drug ourselves away from Abraham Lake with just enough time to make it back to Banff and meet some dear friends on the mountain at Sunshine. Conditions weren't great, but it didn't matter to us as it was more about a day spent with friends than powder.
We spent the morning making turns, enjoyed a lovely lunch catching up at the lodge, venture back out for what ended up being our best runs of the day and then headed back into Banff for a few drinks and some bowling. Simply lovely!!
After our friends headed back to Calgary and the workweek we found a place to park and went into stealth mode. Inside the van we began having some difficult conversations about timelines and directions... The weather isn't really shaping up to deliver snow at any of the mountains nearby and we're keeping an eye on our overall timeline for the winter and knowing that if we wait around BC and Alberta looking for snow that we may not make it south to colorado where we are also excited to see some friends and make some turns.
We finally see a storm approaching Jackson Hole later this week and that makes the decision for us. We will turn the van south and continue on...hoping to catch some actual powder! As typical, that doesn't necessarily mean we move fast or get anywhere right away. We make decisions and take action right away (in fact, we consider that one of our finer traits), its more the speed of travel and ability to travel in a straight line that we struggle with. ;)
Case in point, we have just finished a long conversation about our destination, make a difficult decision to drive south rapidly because of a pending storm, but not more than 10minutes down the road we see a sign for "Johnston Canyon", which has been on our list for a while. "Maybe we'll just take a quick look" we say to ourselves and somehow find ourselves hiking into the canyon.
Of course, the snow covered trail is beautiful, the winding river canyon we follow pulls us deeper and deeper in, and every turn and waterfall seems better than the last. Next thing we know we've spent over 2 hours exploring and photographing this lovely place and are well behind schedule (or would be if we actually believed in schedules).
For the record though, this "hike" is well worth your time. The waterfalls are majestic and possibly even more impressive covered in ice and snow, the walkway is often a steel boardwalk cantilevering out from the canyon walls and just about every view is photoworthy, especially for a very short and very walkable hike in the woods.
We left the canyon, somewhat more focused on our destination but also thinking about a soak. The soak won out... after all, it was getting later in the day and its not like we were going to make it all the way to Jackson today. ;)
We had read about a hot springs with beautiful waterfall and couldn't help but give it a shot. We found the trail, walked down and were blown away by the beauty of this spot. Sadly, the pool itself ended up being warm at best (warm still being an overstatement) and i couldn't convince jen to hop in even for a photo.
I walked around the far side and felt the temps in the deepest part and either in trying to convince her or convince myself determined that it would be warmer. I stripped down, wandered into the deep end and quickly found out that it was in fact...no warmer at all. Hopefully i at least scored some points for my muse and model (who always gets the hard work of posing for my photos), but i didn't stick around long.
Now wet mostly freezing, I tried the pools closer to the falls/source...hoping for better results but really just ended up colder. Our time here as a result was brisk and my hike back to the car even brisker (more brisk, whatever)...
We turned off toward Lussier hot springs hoping to make it down the trial before sunset. We didn't, but we did find a nice hot soak beside the river. It was also pretty busy and the pool beneath us had a few rowdy soakers, so we didn't stay nearly as long as we would have liked...but we did get our fix and felt rejuvenated headed onward towards our goal of reaching Jackson before the pending storm.