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My week-long summer trip last year started in Kananaskis on Saturday, the 16 of July.
We stayed at Ribbon Creek hostel, and on the advice of the manager made it to the Galatea parking lot by 9:00. Nice weather and a cool morning for a hike. The trail is about 7.5 km long and includes about 650 meters elevation gain to the top lakes. The trail leads downhill to a bridge, then turns left and starts a steady gradual climb upwards.
Mostly forest trails beside a creek, but lots of nice views as you get near the campground at Lillian Lake.
That was a revelation! Apparently the campground is a favourite of the party crowd, and the people who were camped there seemed to be mostly lululemon bimbettes and their red-necked boyfriends.
Fortunately, the final ascent from the campground to the Galatea Lakes is a 1 km grind up a boulder field, which screened out a few people. When we got to the top, there were only about three or four other hikers up there. We stopped for a peaceful lunch, then went on for a quick peak at the second lake. By the time we left, the number of people at the lakes had risen to about 20 or 30!
The amazing thing about the descent was the people we ran into. Most were woefully underequipped. While it wasn't a very hard hike, wearing sneakers and carrying only a water bottle just didn't seem to be enough for a four or five hour hike. And it seemed like every second group had brought their dogs along. The couple with a set of five chihuahuas were the crowning touch - to a small dog like that, even a moderate trail must look awful steep.
On the subject of preparation, the manager of the hostel also works for the fire department, and when we got back, he asked if we were all okay. Apparently he'd got a call about a rescue at Galatea for one person of a group of six who'd fallen and had to be helicoptered out. He'd thought it might have been us.