This would be the hottest day of our Banff stay with weather in the 70’s and full sun. We thought it would be a perfect day to get out the paddle boards and put them on the water! We chose Johnson Lake as it’s the warmest lake at Banff and as such is the only lake that is comfortable for swimming.
In trying to find the parking lot for Johnson Lake we happened upon Lake Minnewanka. Oddly enough, personal motor boats are permitted in this lake. Kind of sad if you ask me. Are there so many lakes that the park is sacrificing one for human destruction? I’m not saying that people are trying to pollute but a motor engine is bound to leave some fuel behind in the water.
Paddle Boarding at Johnson Lake
Johnson Lake is where we ended up paddle boarding. Upon entering there is a boat check pullover. The rules are that any water craft that you intend to use on any lake at Banff must be cleaned and dried and least 30 days prior to put in. Justin found this information out when he asked about it at the visitor station but it was not posted anywhere we saw which means there is a slim chance many were following this rule. We followed these rules and did the boat check pullover, but again, this was on our own accord. There was no staff member flagging cars into the pull off. Strange for sure.
We totally lucked out with weather and parking for that matter. Justin dropped the girls and I off with all the boats, gear and food since the parking lot was full when we arrived. The intention was for Justin to park farther away on the street if he could find a spot and have the girls and I help truck all the gear down to the water’s edge. Well, as luck would have it, he found a spot in the parking lot just after dropping us off. Thank goodness! We are forever going back and forth to the van for various reasons on boating days.
Once on the water we realized that there was a family beach, right next to the parking lot where we had plopped our things, and a rockin’ “singles beach” (as we named it) a little farther down the water’s edge requiring more walking to get to. It felt like spring break passing the banks of the singles beach. We floated close enough to borrow their blasting tunes for a bit then explored the lake a bit more.
It was such majestic scenery with the temperate water in the lake surrounded by snowy mountain peaks on almost all sides. I, of course, did not go into the water farther than my ankles because it was quite cold, but the girls swam in it with their wetsuits and Justin reported, after falling off his paddle board, that it really wasn’t that cold.
We watched some younger people trying to do tricks on the paddle boards such as handstands or cart wheels off the end. This inspired Justin to attempt a headstand too! The girls and I were a captive audience who were cheering him on and laughing ourselves silly when he plopped. He really did pretty good considering he was balancing on a paddle board! It was a good show for all.
When we packed the boats for this trip I wasn’t sure if I would be able to take part in paddle boarding due to my shoulder (recovering from a large calcium deposit). Thankfully it was doing a lot better and as long as I kept my paddling low and gentle I was able to paddle just fine! It was a good thing too because our sweet little 6 year old got pretty chilly after staying in the water too long and then getting accidentally splashed in the face by her sister. She was able to soak up some sun to warm herself while I pulled her board along. We have a fun time taking turns pulling each other around normally anyway. It makes for a good water train ride!
It was such a wonderful relaxing day on the lake. The day of boating also reminded Justin and I how much work it is to blow up all the boats, get all the gear ready and then dry everything before packing it away again. 🙂 It’s nice to have breaks in between boating days.