that time we went hiking: Grassi Lakes & Johnston Canyon

So, remember when I was in Alberta in June? And I was really pumped for hiking? And then after we hiked I kept saying “I am so happy I didn’t die on a mountain”? And you thought “haha, she’s such a cute over-reactor, like usual”.

Thing is. the struggle was real. Ok, ok, I knew (like way back in the depths of my brain) I wasn’t actually going to die, but was seriously wondering how fast your heart could beat before having a heart attack.

canmore1 goat

Oh wait wait wait – before the almost had a heart attack, we got a little lost. Not lost…on the wrong path? For the first time in history the GPS lady insisted we drive 27km around a lake instead of doing a U-turn 250m past the cutoff. Eventually we figured it out, but found this first. Oh Canmore, you’re such a gem. Also…High on a hill was a lonely goatherd. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo. Yah, thank you Maria von Trapp, I could not stop humming Lonely Goatherd for the rest of the day.

Back to the mountain…you know when people speak of seeing an oasis in the desert just about when they’re going to pass out from dehydration? Well, I saw a deer. Except it was real. My most patient (which is so strange because in most things, kid is.not.patient) sister pushed me but let me take breaks to catch my breath every so often (aka: all the time); hands on knees, while I tried to take deep breaths, I looked over the ledge and there was a deer (one should always try to embrace beauty while attempting to regain normal heart rhythm. If you’re gonna have a heart attack on a mountain you might as well take in all the beauty in the world first…..then rethink your regular exercise abilities and wonder why 1500m inclines aren’t a staple at the gym). We walked and watched. I swear the deer knew I needed a distraction. Slow and steady. I freaking love deer now; my spirit animal!

And then…


grassilakes2 grassilakes3


The best part about hiking Grassi Lakes was not knowing what the prize was. Once everything evens out – seriously it’s all uphill for 2km, there’s the most gorgeous mossy baby lake, a teeny waterfall (that’s what they call it, really it’s some water falling over 2 feet of rocks), views over the valley, another mossy baby lake, pine trees, and the freshest air.

Once the heart attack scare was over I definitely joked that I was a lot closer to heaven, so, that was a plus.

lbgrassilakes2 abgrassilakes2

(hugging the beauty and jazz hands for nature)

And then it’s 2km back down the mountain. I suspect this is what giving birth is like (ish. it’s the best metaphor I can come up with) – you push yourself until you feel like you just can’t anymore, then are presented with the most beautiful sight (or a slimey baby) and by the time you get back to the car, the pain has evaporated, you survived, feel stronger, and are so ready to do it again.

Except for baby making doesn’t happen 35 minutes later (I hope??). We, of course, had another 5km ahead of us. Stop 2: Johnston Canyon.


We did the lower and upper falls at Johnston Canyon. The whole thing (including the ink pots) is considered easy. Albertans are a bunch of dirty liars. The lower falls are indeed easy to get to; the upper falls more difficult. Not Grassi Lakes heart attack difficult (obviously stop 3 wasn’t scaling an actual mountain), but not easy as it’s rated.

Tip: do not go to Johnston Canyon when you think it may be busy. The walkways and bridges are narrow and it is very frustrating the be stuck behind painfully slow walkers, obnoxious picture takers, and children swinging sticks (yah, cause that actually happened. I was about 2mm away from pointy stick in my eye thanks to a seriously jerky kid).

It was rained twice. Which was actually pleasant and made me feel a little hardcore.

And then sister bought me ice cream. She’s the best. Also, selfie with bears. Best best!

Photo 2014-06-27, 2 26 42 PM

After that we strolled around the Delta Kananaskis and made an impromptu stop at Barrier Lake because it looked pretty.


So. Yah. Can I go back now?




4 thoughts on “that time we went hiking: Grassi Lakes & Johnston Canyon

  1. Pingback: friday, i’m in love | allison

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