Oh, Kananaskis. How I love thee… and wish you hadn’t been rainy and gloomy and sad when we visited you.
On our way from Waterton to Banff we knew we had to drive Highway 40 again, because there are few places in the world that I’m more obsessed with than Kananaskis Country. The K Trail is one of my favorite drives ever, and even though we had a bit of an adventure getting to it this year (we originally thought we’d be extra adventurous and drive even more of it, but then we discovered that where we were going to meet up with it was gravel and washboardy… so we bagged it. I’m still sad about it. I WILL RETURN TO YOU, MY LOVE) and it was rainy the whole time, I still loved it.
After a rainy, cloudy, sleepy (for the boys… much to my chagrin) drive through some of the most beautiful damn country in the WORLD, we stopped in Banff for poutine, and decided to check out this dog park we’d heard about in Banff. We put it in Google maps and drove to it, and as we pulled into the parking lot we thought we were in the wrong place. “Where is the dog park?” Then we realized… this was the dog park. Only, it wasn’t your ordinary dog park. It was Puppy Valhalla. They’ve taken a massive chunk of the forest and just put a big old bear-proof fence around it, and it is magical. Theodore went absolutely insane. Never before or since have I seen him so excited. It was awesome.
After that, we headed to our campground at Johnston Canyon, set up camp, and hit the hay. I promise it was a more eventful day than it seemed.
The next morning we woke up a little later than anticipated. I had first planned to try and go to Moraine Lake, but the road up there was already closed (ugh), so then we decided to just head to Takkakaw Falls. As before, it was stunning.
I had originally put on the itinerary that we would hike to Yoho Lake, but we ultimately just weren’t feeling it. Teddy is a puller, and to be completely honest, it just wasn’t that much fun to hike with him. He’s cute, and almost every single person we’d pass on hikes and in parking lots would comment on his pretty color or ask what kind of dog he is, but trying to hike with a dog who thinks he’s competing in the Iditarod is less fun than it sounds. So we definitely did less hiking this trip than originally planned, but that’s okay.
After that, we decided to take yet another crack at Moraine Lake, which failed (spoiler alert: we did not make it to Moraine Lake on this trip. I feel pretty bad about it, as I was really excited to go back and spend more time there, but with a crazy rambunctious puppy the shuttle buses weren’t an option, and trying to hike along the road with aforementioned sled dog wasn’t all that appealing… so it just never happened. We tried. Three times, in fact. But every single time, the road to Moraine was closed due to a full parking lot, so we were foiled), so we went to Lake Louise instead.
After Lake Louise, we met up with my friend Yvette, whom I met through a travel blogging group. She’s from New Zealand, but has been living in Canada for a bit and spent the summer working in Banff and living in a van! Super awesome. (You can read about her own adventures on her blog, Wayfaring Kiwi!) It was great to spend some time with her while hiking Johnston Canyon and listen to her cute Kiwi accent (I’m obsessed), and we foolishly didn’t take any pictures together.
This visit was a significant improvement over the last time we went to Johnston Canyon. When we were there in 2015 we arrived at the same time as three giant tour buses full of people and it was packed and crazy and way less enjoyable. This time was pretty much the polar opposite. For the most part we hiked essentially in solitude, occasionally passing people in small groups, but it was rare. That was fantastic. I really love Johnston Canyon, I think it’s a gorgeous place and the little catwalks are a neat concept. It was really lovely to visit with a markedly lower number of people.
After our little jaunt in Johnston Canyon (Jauntston Canyon? …nope. I’m sorry.) we headed to our campsite for dinner, which was lovely. We were really lucky and never had to deal with any major mosquitoes whilst there- there were a few, but nothing crazy or unbearable. I REALLY loved our campsite and its proximity to Johnston Canyon, plus being able to get off the 1 and drive on the Bow Valley Parkway was great. I wish I could just live there. There is never enough time in Banff!