I thought I had thoroughly Pocahontas-ed myself out for one day.
I was wrong.
After mine and Michele's hike that morning, it turned out that there was even more of the beautiful outdoors to explore - at Maligne Canyon.
We started out almost at river-level, crossing the bridge (above) whilst the sky threatened rain. It was far too cold for July and my legs were already tired from our three hour ramble earlier on. Nobody was particularly in the mood for a hike but we wrapped up warm and made the best of our surroundings... by taking selfies
And as we walked, we were pleasantly surprised by some sunlight breaking through the clouds.
The path steadily inclined, taking us further and further away from the rushing blue water below. As we climbed, the landscape slowly morphed into the canyon we had been promised. It looked like something that had been carved by Disneyland designers, reminding me of Frontierland and its old wild west feel.
Every now and then, there would be some strange and interesting feature along the riverside; a waterfall emerging from a cave, streams of water tumbling down the rock, a sudden twist in the river that had carved shapes in the rock above it for centuries.
After a rather steep climb, we were far away from the crashing water and standing over a sharp drop into the gorge.
We could see where the course of the water had hurried down through the canyon, carving out great smooth curves in the rock in harmony with its rushing turns. Other parts showed where swirling pools of water and silt had sculpted great big vases of potholes in the canyon wall.
As we began to near the top of the hike, the rain broke so we took refuge in the gift shop where the man who (I presume) owned the place let me take the postcards I was trying to buy for free! Apparently I have a lovely smile... not sure about that one but if I can use it as currency more often then that would be great!
The rain had thoroughly cooled us off and got us all in the mood for the next point on the itinerary - the hot springs! On the way we saw a bald eagle soaring above us as well as these fellas chilling by the side of the road..
We pulled off the main road and began winding up a mountain until we finally reached the springs. There was a queue stretching outside and as we waited, the smell of rotten eggs began to overwhelm us. But luckily the pools themselves don't actually smell (or at least we were used to it by then!)
We all paid a couple of dollars extra to hire the excellent 1920s-style swimming costumes, which was a lot of fun and prompted a couple of group photos..
There was a warm pool, a hot pool and two freezing cold plunge pools which we forced ourselves to hop between, even if just to make the warmth of the hot pools all the sweeter. It was so much fun and definitely worth making the detour.
And then, to finish off the perfect day, we went for our first meal out as a group. I cannot tell you how excellent it felt to sit inside and have hot, fresh food brought to us from a proper kitchen and not have to wash up after!
An indecent amount of poutine was consumed that evening. I had mine on the side of a miso-glazed salmon burger in pretzel bread - yum! - as well as copious amounts of wine, beer and PB&J vodka!
And then to finish the evening off, the restaurant threw in maple flavoured ski shots on the house!
I had no idea what a ski shot was until that evening but I quickly found out...
And I can't say I handled it very elegantly either!
Shortly after this picture was taken, I managed to snort the shot back out of my nose where it splashed out of the glass again and into my eye. Nice.