So….I’ve been in Canada two months now and working full time on a software project for a company back home I was starting to get itchy feet (cabin fever), mostly from working and sleeping in the same room for a few weeks in a row that I decided to get out of doors for a few nights before the winter closes in and the hibernation begins.
The weather forecast was showing ‘big sun’ for a few days in a row so I decided to hire a car for three days from YVR Airport and get the hell out of town for two nights, heading for a place called Lake Garibaldi between Squamish and Whistler about 100km north of Downtown Vancouver. The Sea to Sky Highway leads all the way there so it’s a quick trip once you get over the Loin’s Gate Bridge and out of the city. I considered making it a cycle trip but reconsidered and chose gasoline over bananas as it was a little too late in the year and if the weather turned foul then my humour would too.
The hike from the carpark to Taylor Meadows campground is roughly 7km and climbs 900 meters, it’s tough going when you have three days worth of camping/cooking equipment, food, clothes and half a backpack of other stuff you should have left at home, on your back. It takes about 2 hours to hit the campsite which has heaps of camping platforms both wood and sand, it was a Saturday evening early October so there were a few people about but it was nowhere nearly full, past September is off season.
I set up camp on a wooden platform for some insulation against the cold ground, the park ranger stopped by to let me know that it’s bear season and bears were seen in the campsite earlier in the week, no cooking by your tent (it’s ok, and maybe even advantageous to cook by someone else’s tent though!) and all foodstuffs need to be kept in the bear caches. These stupid bears really spoil the party because you practically never see them but they still make you uneasy.
I had no bear protection like pepper spray or a flare to shove up its ass but I did have a canister of petrol for my stove, which was pressurised and ready at bedtime just incase a bear came sniffing around. In the midnight panic, myself, the tent, and the bear would probably be ablaze if I needed to use it, that is if I managed to get any on the bear, recreating an Elmer Fudd classic.
The next morning I can’t say I awoke because I don’t remember sleeping, it was kinda cold inside my two sleeping bags, inside my tent over the night, the only issue here being I didn’t throw enough whiskey at my liver before bed to make it work while I slept keeping me toasty warm, I wasn’t so ‘green’ the second night and it turned out to be a much toast-ier affair! There is no tap water at the campsite but there is a creek flowing nearby where you can get water, it’s advised to treat or boil before drinking as it is occasionally contaminated.
After breakfast I set out to hike the Panorama Ridge which overlooks Garibaldi Lake and has great views of the surrounding national park. This leg of the hike is 6.5km and climbs a further 600 metres to the peak of the ridge. It’s much easier going as I left everything but a bottle of water at the campsite. The weather was fantastic without a cloud in the sky and temperatures at the top were in the high teens Centigrade. The colour of the lake water was a brilliant turquoise, this and the views of the snow capped surrounding peaks along with the volcanic Black Tusk mountain make for a worthy hike.
The round trip loop from the carpark was 34km with a side trip the next day down to the lake shore for a walk around. The trip back to the car is so much easier as it’s downhill all the way and there are heaps of shrooms all the way.
There is one shitty aspect to this national park hike and that’s the car break-ins that occur every weekend night in the parking lot. When I got back to the car the rear drivers side window was smashed and the back seats pulled down to check if anything was in the boot. The parks service warn that this happens on their website and there were many other cars done besides mine. They know this happens and they do shag all about it, I have fantasised about being a sniper hiding in the bushes overnight waiting for these fuckheads to come along. If you park here overnight leave the glove box open and the back seats down….or boobytrap your car with TNT, it’s your choice but if you go the TNT route I want at least pictures, bonus points for videos!