A Travellerspoint blog

Elfin lake

finally 2007 snow is here :o)

sunny -1 °C

The 2006 winter season in Vancouver was for sure the best skiing season in the last 10 years. So after a temperature dropped down to -4 Celsius on the top of the Coast mountains peaks, we have decided to go and check out how does it looks like with a snow fall up there... And we have chosen very nice hike to do so, the Elfin lake hike trail.
To get to the Elfin lake you drive from Vancouver to Squamish, turn right off Hwy 99 onto Mamquam Road and follow the paved road past the Squamish Golf and Country Club and then take the logging road just past the Mashiter Creek bridge. It is 16 km from the highway to a parking lot which is located at the 914 metre level.
Before you get there, do not forget to take 3$ in cash to pay your parking ticket :o). The length is 11 km and suggested time is 3 to 5 hours one way and elevation change is about 600 metres, so its very easy hike for a family day trip.
There was no snow at the parking lot when we got there, and it stayed like that for about 2 km of the trail. But the frosty morning and chili air was telling us that snow is in the air e_2JP5606.jpg After we gained about 200 meters in elevation we started to hike in the frozen snow trail and the creek on our left side was barely running water and the ice appeared to be stronger and thicker with every mile passed e_2JP5594.jpg After we passed the first ranger shelter, we turned to the right to the bikers trail, because the summer hiking trail was already closed for snow. And here we could see that first back country skiers had already been here testing beautiful white slopes above the trail. We were passing many people who decided to enjoy a sunny day as us, and because snow was packed and frozen we did not need to use the snowshoes at all. The advantage of this hike is that once you pass the range shelter you can enjoy very nice landscape views and the best one waits for you at the end of the trail at the Elfin lake e_2JP5671.jpg So yes, the winter season has arrived and I wish we had our skis with us, then we would not need to hike back in our footsteps and we could just fly downhill end feel the sunny spells with the wind in our faces... but we can still do it next time :o) thou

leopard and tigrica e_2JP5677.jpg

Posted by leopard 14:59 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Lions peaks

Sea to sky views :o)

semi-overcast 16 °C

The Lions.
Two twin peaks well known in Vancouver and even the kids will show you the direction to them... When its a sunny day and the visibility is good you can spot them right away from the places like Canada place, or Stanley park in downtown.
They are the symbol of Vancouver, so when you are here it might be a good idea to have a closer look at them.
To get to them is not hard, especially if you enjoy hiking in a steep terrain. There are 2 popular trails there and we have used the longer one. The shorter one starts at Lions bay, which is only a few minutes drive from West Vancouver, but because you hike in the steep forest with almost no views we took the trail from Cypress Ski hill parking lot.
The trail is about 20 Km long, the altitude difference between the parking lot and the peaks is around 500m but do not get confused, because during the hike you have to go across 3 ridges and go up and down to the valleys underneath so are loosing the gained altitude 3x so be ready for a good work out not only on the way there but also on the way back to the car :-(
Oh, and if you really want to enjoy the hike and very nice views, do not rush and give yourself at least 9 hours for a return journey.
As soon as you pass skiing runs and get into the forest, steep slopes with very slippery roots sections will occupy your mind so watch out so you do not fall or slip of the trail. It goes up steadily and after an hour or so, you come to the first lookout right above the Bowen island, surrounded with yachts and ferries going from Vancouver to the Vancouver island e_2JP4789.jpg
Then comes the first ridge, and you have to walk down to a valley so you loose about 250m of elevation. After that comes very steep part in a forest where the trail is not maintained so we were lucky that there was no rain there otherwise it would took us quite a bit of energy to get on the top of the second ridge but the combination of the sun and the clouds above the islands gave us impression like we were flying and not hiking above the Howe sound :o) e_2JP4834.jpg
Once you get up here, you can really enjoy the views and if the clouds stay away, after another ridge crossing you can finally have a look at the Lions. e_2JP4966.jpg
We have started our trek too late at around 10.30 AM so we did not have a luxury of time but we were still able to get just under the West Lion where I got this image of Eastern peak e_2JP4901.jpg just after the clouds disappeared from its west side. Like every in the mountains range, the weather can change very quickly, so if you want to get back from the top during the day, give yourself some spare time for resting on the way down, because this trail is hard on the knees, and it gets very dark in these forests in the night so a headlamp is a good thing to carry in the backpack.
Again, the timing was fine for us, so after we had a golden hour above the Howe sound e_2JP4972.jpg we rushed down to the parking lot and because it was clear late evening with a full moon in the sky, we managed to stretch ours muscles at the parked cars just after 8 PM... what a cool hiking day again


Posted by leopard 14:58 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Garibaldi provincial park

Up to the Panorama ridge

sunny 20 °C

Do you know this hike..? I bet that most of you from Vancouver area had probably been there, but for those who were not, here comes my next blog describing this a must see nature beauty, hidden literally only few minutes drive from either Vancouver or Whistler in BC, Canada.
To get in here its not a problem at all, just turn right off Hwy 99 / called also Sea to Sky Highway / just after you cross the Rubble Creek Bridge, 37 km north of Squamish or 19 km south of Whistler onto a paved road that leads 2.5 km to the Garibaldi Lake parking lot. There is a 5$ overnight fee per car, and if you want to camp at Garibaldi lake, you have to fill in a form right here at the parking lot and pay 5$ fee per person per night. If you want to ask me if it is worth, nah, its not. Just kidding, sure it is, staying overnight up there and not rush back its more than worth it. The trail to the lake starts right at the parking lot, it has an elevation of 810 meters, and is supposed to be 9 km long. Both of us/ leopard and tigrica / were carrying Tatrans fully loaded with all camping gear for a weekend camping including tent, thermarests, sleeping bags, Primus stove and dishes and of course all the photo equipment :o). So each of us had roughly about 20Kg on the back. With this backpack the hike all the way to the lake took us less then 3 hours, but that only because I did need to take the camera out of my case. There is pretty much nothing to take pictures of during the hike, which climbs steady zig zag most of the time in the shaded forest.
But no worries, once you get up there, everything changes. The camp is situated on the west side of the lake and before you reach it you can come across this king of view, where I bet you will start to look for your camera in your backpack :o) e_2JP4463.jpg ... OK we are not going to be in that image, no worries, because when you are going to be there next summer you can find us at that time in the somewhere in the North west Indian Himalayas. But that is too far so lets get back to Garibaldi lake. As I mentioned before, the scenery up here is beautiful. We were lucky because there is only certain amount of camping spots available and luckily we got the last one, so whoever came after us, had to go to different camp closer towards Black tusk, or had to go for back country camping - which in some cases is even better, specially if the camp site is too noisy, which was not at this time :o)
If you live in this rainy area on the west coast you know that weather is tricky here even during the summer times / this year summer was ... beep beep beep / but we were blessed on this hike from the beginning. After a sunny afternoon we had a really nice golden hour and beautiful sunset over the glaciers which caught and eye of dr.pepper - the Editor in Chief who has chosen my IMAGE as a photo of the week.
This is a bear country, but unfortunately for me we did not spot any during the weekend. The only "predators" close to our campsite were Whiskey jacks, flying around our gas stove trying to flyaway with an open tuna can :o), so watch out for them, because one of them once grabbed a piece of toast right from my hand and left me there standing hungry on the top of the Crown mountain :-(
That did not happen at this campsite so we enjoyed the supper and went to sleep early because for the next day we planned to hike the Panorama ridge.
The length of the hike is about 5 km and suggested time one way is around 2 hours. There is a 630 meters elevation change but even thou its quite steep at some parts, there is always something to see there so the time is passing very quickly as you hike through the meadows to the ridge. After an hour you can finally get a decent view of the Black tusk w_2JP4379.jpg , which is the most popular spot in this area and to recognize it is very easy. It is really BLACK :o). This peak was my priority. You can get a nice image of it almost during the whole day. To get a decent shot of the Garibaldi lake its more tricky, because you shoot against the sun most of the time, and the glacier behind its too shiny, so the right exposure its crucial here. We did not catch the morning light and we could not stay till the sunset so here is an image from a lunch time on the top of Panorama ridge e_2JP4361.jpg
Going up was slow but going down..? OK, we took a shortcut on the way down which was faster and more fun as well. Instead of going around the steep ridge again, we were sliding down on our trekking shoes in the narrow valley north of the ridge, where there was still snow from the last winter. I do not recommend it, but we managed even that at some places it was quite steep and we had problem to stop and not hit the rocks reaching out from underneath the snow field. But again different foreground made to reach me for my camera because on a sunny day like that one, with no clouds at all in the sky the Black tusk was "the king of the castle" starring at us from not so far away e_2JP4418.jpg
If you are planing to do this whole hike as a one day return trip, give yourself at least 10 hours from the parking lot all the way to the Panorama ridge, but I have to warn you, to enjoy the views and the peace up there you will need more than that.
But if you are that kind of "run Forest run" person, just to run up there with a bottle in your hand and no backpack can be also rewarding.... anyway, enjoy :o)


Posted by leopard 16:17 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Mt. Robson provincial park

Berg lake trail

overcast 15 °C

There was an idea about hiking to Mt. Assiniboinne this summer, but because I got 'lucky' at work, and injured my back and shoulder :-( bye bye was sea kayaking, kitesurfing, or long hiking... but only for few months. Now when I got better, I could not resist the idea of going to the Rockies just one more time before the fall comes with the yellow leaves and chili wind. So here we went, me Leopard and my love Tigrica, just two of us / which was just perfect :o)/.
We decided to stay at Mt. Robson - the highest peak in BC /3994m/ and wanted to hike there for 4 days... Just wanted. The weather was beautiful on the way from Vancouver, but when we got to the park, the only thing what we could see in late evening outside was a heavy rain... and it rained in the morning, all day and the forecast was pretty much the same for the rest of the week... So what to do.? We did not want to miss this view:e_2JP4145.jpg I am sleepy, time to go to bed, tomorrow is a day too so I let you know more then. Bye so far.
Next day. OK where have I stopped.? AH here:e_2JP4104.jpg As I said, the Berg glacier view was worth to try it, so instead of going for few days hike we decided to go for 1 day hike. So we loaded our Tatran backpacks just for one quick hike, which was mostly photo equipment and some food with 2L of water. The BC info center has informed us that to get to the Berg lake takes something between 8-10 hours with that kind of backpacks we had, and for 23 km hike one way with 800 m elevation, we thought they might be right, so we planned to hike as fast as we could so we could be back at the car park before the midnight.
The hike on its own was very easy with just few steep slopes after the White falls, but we have to admit it was draining our energy slowly but steady. The surprise for us came when we reached the Berg lake camp in 5 hours, and because the rainy clouds stayed west from the Mt.Robson, we had a decent view of this majestic mountain e_2JP3978.jpg So after I was happy with the images I have taken, and we finished the lunch, we started de descent back to the car. We passed thee_2JP4003.jpg Robson river, where we met park rangers walking up to the Berg lake. The time has come and our legs were getting more and more tired especially when we got back to the steep parts before the Valley of the thousand fall e_2JP4021.jpg. We had still at least 10 km in front of us, but because sun was shining most of the day and we luckily did not get any rain, which at Mt. Robson is a small miracle we managed to get to the first lake - Kinney lake e_2JP3986.jpg just around 4 PM. Long story short, last 7 km were the worst and we felt exhausted and dehydrated, but we finally got to the parking lot, with huge blisters on Tigrica's both legs, but this marathon hike was worth it :o) . Hm, you should see the paramedic's face when we came to ask if that size of blister are fine without any medications.. The first one did not know what to say so we left laughing but after a week it healed so now it's time for another sprinter hike... have a good one

p.s. map of the Berg trail: berg_lake.jpg

Posted by leopard 01:04 Archived in Canada Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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