jen yu: canada 2007 - day 4

canada 2007 - day 4

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garibaldi lake, whistler peak
july 26, 2007
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Jeremy and I took off early in the morning to hike the Garibaldi Lake trail. We left a note for my parents that we'd try to be back around noon, perhaps later. Again, this issue with time constraints on hikes irked me because you can never know when unforseen delays will occur and it just stressed the hell out of us while hiking. We wasted a little time having missed the turnoff to the trailhead thanks to Canada's inability to post a sign in both directions. But thankfully, we started the trail while the sun was behind the mountains and the air was nice and cool.

The beautifully maintained trail climbed up a steady incline of switchbacks through the dense green forests on the western slopes of the park. It was really pleasant to hike at a fast clip that ate away the kilometers and elevation in no time. We reached the 6 km point where our trail split, except our path was closed due to flooding. So we had to detour a slightly longer distance with greater elevation gain to Taylor Meadows where we missed our connection to the lake and continued on into the high country. At another junction, we realized our mistake, swore a lot (that was me) and took the connector trail down to the lake. We did come across a doe and her fawn, which were peacefully grazing a hundred feet from the trail - and that made the detour worth it.

As the trail began to descend, I could see the mesmerizing turquoise of the lake below. We reached the junction and followed the trail to the lake's outlet where we encountered a large group of backpackers leaving the lake. Much of the lakeside trail had been flooded and so we scrambled up a rocky detour which eventually dumped us into the backpacker camp. How utterly depressing. This camp was heavily used and very crowded which just ruined the whole alpine lake experience. We did not linger long and began to head back, knowing once again we'd be late getting back to the time share.

The hike out went quickly thanks to the steep, yet steady nature of the trail. After a quick lunch of sandwiches with my parents, we accompanied them to Whistler Village where my dad insisted on taking us to Whistler Peak via the Gondola. I'd just like to mention that the gondolda ride in Telluride (which is a far more stunning and enjoyable environment) is FREE. Not so in Whistler. My parents forked out a small fortune for the tickets and I inquired about the trails from the top of the mountain. All of the trails with snow on them (most of the trails) were closed. CLOSED. How ridiculous! We had specifically brought our ice axes and boots to do a few alpine traverses - it sounded lovely. But now, now I had nothing but utter disdain for Whistler.

On the way up we spied a mother black bear and her cubs foraging for food. My parents are afraid of bears and I suppose that is a good thing. Jeremy and I have had a lot of black bear encounters. Black bears are easy compared to grizzlies. Unfortunately the woman who sold us the gondola tickets didn't tell us that the upper gondola closes at 5:30, so we had very little time to explore the top of the mountain. Had it been me and Jeremy, we could have hoofed it up pretty quickly, but since Dad was with us, I felt it best to let him set the pace and to make sure he didn't have a heart attack. Mom opted out of the hike along the service road and waited for us in the shade. I guess this could be considered thrilling for some, but a ski resort is a ski resort is a ski resort. Coming from Colorado, the scenery looked familiar and not all that impressive compared to the Rockies in our own backyard. I mean, I love the mountains, but I was really feeling the hatred for Whistler.

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