Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mountain time... hikes near Whistler (including Garibaldi Park)

Since getting Pelagia home, we have spent most of our time in the mountains at home in Whistler, rather than time sailing on Pelagia. (Perhaps a bit of a hangover from spending so much time on Pelagia over the past two years.)

In addition to many, many walks in and around the valley (Whistler), we have done several longer hikes. 

We've posted photos from these hikes into an album on our FLIKR account:

Rainbow Lake (June 13): A 5-6 hour hike, the trail was in good condition and the weather nice. Lots of elevation gain, so a good amount of exercise. Some nice views across the valley. The lake views, however, never seem to excite us.

Looking across Whistler Valley at Rainbow Lake outlet stream

Cheakamus Lake, Garibaldi Park (June 27):  An easy, mostly flat trail, this trail goes through beautiful old-growth forest to turquoise Cheakamus Lake. The trail is popular with tourists; happily, we left early enough so that we were returning as the visitors were just arriving. A good place to get out in the mountains without too much work. (3 hours)

Mountains reflected on Cheakamus Lake

Iceberg Lake (July 1): This a relatively new (and unknown) trail that goes up 19-Mile Creek to the "backside" of Rainbow Mt. This was our first time on this trail. The upper part of 19-mile Creek was a beautiful old-growth forest hike that eventually emerges out on to a beautiful alpine meadow. A couple hundred meters higher, up a steep rocky slope lies ice-filled Iceberg Lake, with Rainbow Mt. and its snowfields towering directly above. Views from the lake were great. A truly spectacular place. But it was long: we returned to our car over 7 hours later, tired and sore.

Heading up the last (steep) slope to Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake (with bergs!); Rainbow Mt. behind

View across to valley to Wedge Mt (centre) and ski runs on Blackcomb Mt

Blackcomb Mountain to Decker Tarn (July 14): With dramatic clouds overhead, we took the Whistler Gondola up Whistler Mt, then the Peak-to-Peak Gondola over to Blackcomb Mountain (at no additional cost to us as we are season pass holders in the Winter). We then hiked across 7th Heaven, up to the Decker Loop high point, down to Decker Tarn (which is in Garibaldi Park), and then back to Blackcomb's Solar Coaster chairlift to head down. A moderate hike of 3.5 hours, there were great views, wildflowers, a few marmots, and not too crowded.

At high point of Decker Loop on Blackcomb Mt (Overlord Glacier and Fissile Peak in background)
Blackcomb marmot

Backpack Whistler Mountain peak to Singing Pass (via Musical Bumps) and Russet Lake, then down to Whistler via Singing Pass trail (2nights/3 days; July 16-18): We loaded up our backpacks for a multi-night trip to Russet Lake (Garibaldi Park). Oh those packs sure seemed heavy.... Caught the gondola then chairlift to the top of Whistler, then proceeded towards Singing Pass via several trails, climbing Flute and Oboe "peaks" (the musical bumps). Despite the weeks-long lack of rain, the alpine meadows at Singing Pass were green and beautiful.  A hour later (and 240-metre climb) we arrived at Russet Lake, surrounded by peaks and glaciers. We were the only campers (on a Thursday eve). Really tired and sore.  Next day, we did a short dayhike, first down towards the Overlord Glacier, then up above on the ridge above Russet Lake. Views were spectacular. We returned to take a nap in our tent. Then the people began to arrive, including 14 from a commercial camp/tour group from the USA. As we hiked down Saturday down the long but gentle Singing Pass trail, we estimated some 22 tents would be camping at the lake. Way too crowded. We walked off the trail, through Whistler village, to our home with waiting cold beers. Very sore and tired, but pleased with ourselves. (4.25 hours Whistler peak to Russet Lake; 2 hours dayhiking; 4.75 hours Russet Lake to Whistler Village)

View of High Note/Musical Bumps route (photo from Blackcomb Mt)

On the way to Singing Pass, Cheakamus Lake viewed from Whistler's High Note trail

Himmelsbach Hut at Russet Lake (our tent in front of it)

Looking down from ridge above Russet Lake, Overlord Glacier and Fissile Peak behind

Again, check out the photo album on our FLIKR account:

This coming week, we are planning on spending a week in the Gulf Islands on Pelagia.