Up to the Panorama ridge
11.10.2007 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) ... 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 , 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
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
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)