Ink Pots and Downtown Banff

Sadly, it was our last full day and the Sunday Scaries were hitting me. Our hike started a little later today, and we also changed our plan for the day. We were originally going to do Cascade Amphitheater, but after reading reviews in All Trails, decided we should change it. The front desk recommended one that was moderate about at 3-4 hours. Which was perfect for our current soreness level and plan for the day. The hike was from Johnston Canyon to the Ink Pots. It was only 30 minutes away which was a nice change up from our hour or so drives the other days.

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The trail at the start was paved, which was sort of disappointing, it was also slightly crowded. However, after the second set of waterfalls, the trail became more difficult and the crowds cleared. It was a steep and steady incline the majority of the way. My pace was slow, so I stopped and ate a bag of cheesy-s which helped energize me. We hiked at a fast pace and didn’t stop often because we were trying to keep it under 4 hours to make it back in time for a scheduled massage. The hike was mostly through tall trees, but there were a few pretty views along the way.

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Finally, at the top, we saw what were the ink pools. They looked like small water pools (I would have loved to jump in one, but you can’t). But, when you look closer, you see little bubbles coming up (Oxygen) and pushing dark sediment (“ink”) through the lighter colored sand. It made these black rings which were fun to watch. I liked this hike a lot because I’d never seen anything like these “ink pots” before. We sat on a bench to eat our sandwiches (they really hit the spot) and some of the left-over candy and took in the view. I snapped a few more photos, was a victim of an epic photobomb, and then headed back down the trail. It began to rain a little, but we made it back to our car in time. It was sad to think that this was our last hike on this trip!

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Ryan and I went to have a couple’s massage. It was perfect on our sore hips and feet. That said, a couple’s massage is sort of weird and pointless, you’re literally just in the same room together so you hear the masseuse talking to them. I think maybe next time we’d just get our own. My masseuse was making loud breathing noises which turns out Ryan thought it was me the whole time…. After our massage (which was on property where we were staying) we met Rachel and Michael downtown Banff.

The consensus was that we liked downtown Canmore more than Banff. It was cuter, smaller and less people. That said, we still had a good time. We had a margarita and tacos at El Patio first. Next, I popped into a shop and bought a long sleeve shirt since I was chilly. Then, we stopped by some outdoor music and a bonfire to roast a s’more. Lastly, we sat outside (under a perfectly warm heat lamp) at a distillery and drank great cocktails while playing cards. My drink had chili vodka, orange, sea salt and coffee and I liked it a lot! Rachel and Michael split a soup which was an odd choice. Our server was from Finland, most of our servers from some place in Europe or Australia, it was fun to guess where. Rachel then would try and do their accents, you might say unsuccessfully… I was doing really well at the card game, Golf, and then had one bad hand. I’m a sore loser when it comes to cards! I managed to beat Rachel, but she was having trouble remembering the rules. Speaking of rules, I had us play a new game (spoons/bubble face), but didn’t explain the rules to Ryan so after the first round, he clearly lost. I guess knowing the rules makes a difference. Whoops! It started to thunderstorm which looked really cool over the mountains, we waited for a break and then went to the car and had a nice drive home in the rain.

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