Well - back to Johnson Canyon and this time we made it to the Ink Pots.
The weather today was much nicer, though we were prepared for snow as it was snowing fairly heavy in Calgary but out in Banff it was sunny and beautiful.
The most important item we brought, micro-spikes. This is an absolute must in the winter months on this hike. Difficult to call it a hike - up to the falls it’s a very easy walk (on spikes at least). I can see that the vast majority of this walk is paved - didn't realize this the other day.
Because we were prepared this time we continued up to the Ink Pots. There are some amazing opportunities for photo’s all along this area. The hike in to the Ink Pots was super easy with some hills. Definitely a hike for any level.
We will definitely be back here in the summer months to see the Ink Pots on a really nice bright summer day. By the time we got up there, clouds came in and hindered our view somewhat.
We had the opportunity to use 3 different kinds of traction devices for shoes. This works well for a product review for someone looking to buy micro-spikes or some kind of traction for ice.
Yaktrax Walk - I think these are more popular than most brands as it seems when looking for traction devices everyone looks confused until you say Yaktrax. Price point - $30CAD @ Camper's Village. Out of the three different sets - this was the one the hiker slipped most on - in fact fell on a bad step. I don't think a fall would have happened on the "spike" style of traction. Group image - left shoe - Note how the front does not go right over the toe - just the front. I was concerned they would slip off - they didn't - but just seems like a weak design there. You can spend more on the "pro" version that does have a more aggressive toe strap but $20 more? I don't think so. I think these are best suited for the business person who happens to walk outside in his/her dress shoes. In a pinch - they certainly helped on the hike - but I would not recommend for an 'ice walk'.
Kahtoola Nano-spikes - of the three I would say these are the winner. Price point - $50 at Camper's Village. They come with a handy bag for easy stow, have a 6 spike on front, 4 on the back and is very solid construction. Middle set in the group - you can see they go well over the toe area and has flex points. This walker had absolute minimal slip and felt very confident even on sheer ice with steep inclines. The only complaint were how loud they were when was on the gravel or pavement. Highly recommended for hiking and would definitely buy again.
dueNorth Traction Aids - I'd put these in second place. Price point $15.00 @ Costco. Super easy like the others to install on your boot/shoe, has 4 front spikes and 2 rear. Minimal slippage however there were a few close ones. Like the Yaktrax, I was not impressed with the toe strap area - was quite concerned it would slip (far right in group). Didn't thankfully. Note the missing spike on the toe area. One use and lost a spike. I understand now why they gave 2 extras in the package - they anticipated this. I do not think they should pop out that easy, the hike was 16km round trip - items should not fail that fast. They are definitely better than Yaktrax for traction - not as good as the Kahtoola's. But for $15? Can't go wrong there.
Bottom line - if this is a one time deal, get the dueNorth. They are cheap and do the trick. If you plan on using throughout the season, spend the extra money on the Kahtoola. Definitely a superior product over the other two.