A wearying, wonderful weekend!

Spectacular, eh? This long weekend was spent slogging uphill and down, in deep snow and on dirt trails, to spend a cold, uncomfortable night in a tent on snow, dining on burnt, canned chili. And guess what? I'd kill a goat to be able to go again next weekend.

Five of us, myself, Rocco, and three good friends (see the group shot?), hiked 9km and about 800m of elevation gain into Garibaldi Lake campground on Saturday. We knew there would be some snow, thanks to the park site conditions link, but we didn't know how much. I was even concerned we wouldn't reach the campsite, but luckily most of it was packed down enough from other hikers, and the trail was very easy to follow. It was not easy to hike. Parts of the trail were extremely slanted, leaving you only inches to put your full weight on, and often the soft snow would give way beneath you and you would have to scramble to not slip down the mountainside. The picture below is just outside the maintained campground you finally reach after all your slogging.

At the campground, between 2 and 3 metres of snow still remains. The rangers or maybe other campers had shovelled out the doorways of the warming shelters so we did have somewhere dry to heat and eat our meals. No fires are allowed in the park though so even the shelters are frigid. We tented on top of the snow after tamping it down. Yeah, I complained about being cold, but actually inside the tent was pretty cosy; Rocco slept like a log after the exertion of hiking in. I felt the cold through my thermarest so tossed and turned a bit, but did manage to get some good shut-eye as well.
Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast of porridge and tea, made soup for thermoses, packed all the wet, cold gear back into our backpacks and set off down the trail. The hike out was only marginally faster than the previous day's efforts, mostly because the footing on the snow and snow/dirt combos was so treacherous. Down nearer the parking lot was a totally different climate which we took advantage of for short breaks.

Exhausted and aching as we all were after the adventure, we still managed to find the energy to stop at the Squamish Pub for a beer and some pub grub. Life can be so sweet when you get outside.

On to the next adventure! We all want to hike the same trail later in the summer when the snow has finally receded. The site is so picturesque and, apart from the 50 other campers you share the area with in the summer, still feels remote. I also picked up a book of lower BC hikes so I'm already plotting the next trip.


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