Distance: 8.5 km
Elevation gain: 680 m View map Download GPS track
The weather today was a bit questionable, but lacking the skill to sit on our asses all day Sandra and I decided to head out on a short hike instead. Our destination was Sulphur Ridge, reached by the extremely popular Sulphur Skyline trail at the Miette Hot Springs. With a mid-morning start we knew it would be crowded, but as the entire area would be novel to us we figured that would make up for it.
We found the trail to the east and a bit higher than the hikers parking lot after some initial confusion that was shared by other hikers. The trail was paved for the first few hundred meters before changing to a wide gravel track, then to a more narrow mud track typical of popular trails in the Banff area. The trail was gently to moderately graded and we made good time as we passed several groups on our way up. Closer to the top I started to notice that most of the people we were passing were 13-14 year old girls and found this a bit odd, but thought little of it…until we were just 100 m below the summit.
It turns out that the girls we’d been passing were, metaphorically, the tail debris of a Girl Guide comet that was nearing the summit. I didn’t really think this would matter much as we certainly expected company, but upon arriving at the spacious summit and moving a fair distance from it for lunch we were swarmed – and I do mean swarmed – by nearly the entire troop jockeying for the best Facebook profile picture. They were so close they were stepping on our pack straps and bumping our hiking poles! I love seeing young people getting exposed to mountain hiking and the healthy lifestyle I think it promotes, but their complete lack of manners and inconsiderateness was shocking. I get being excited, but I’ve never been so self-absorbed that I stepped on/over people! I left to take photos elsewhere while Sandra tried to finish her apple, but after a few minutes I turned to see her running with both our packs away from the herd.
After quickly snapping some photos we joined the exodus of other tourists fleeing the summit disaster and made our way quickly down the mountain, passing loads of other (thankfully considerate) people making their way up. We treated ourselves to some overpriced and unfortunately poor-tasting ice cream at the hot springs, wondered why anyone would want to cram into the cement hot springs pool like sardines and pondered its uric acid content, then made our way back to the trailer for an afternoon of reading.