The first five miles rises steadily up the hill through a wonderland of sylvan forrests.
Our morning started off with GIANT omelets with the works...curtesy of our hostess Katherine. We were pretty stuffed by the time we managed to crawl out of the door and into the dense wet morning. Today we would have an additional guest for our hike. Dave from Vancouver will be joining us if the rain lets up. Katherine assures us that he is a man of the world and has a great sense of humor. He proves to be no less than expected, and a gentleman as well. He even sports a classic canadian mustache to boot ahaha. Dave has all the angles covered.
As there has been extensive construction along the Sea to Sky Highway, we end up enjoying our morning drive so much that we drive right by the trailhead and practically back into Squamish.
Cascading creeks crossed our path as we meadered up the switchbacks.
Turning around and back tracking a bit yields the cause of our oversight: there IS NO sign for the trailhead going south...hahahah! Perfect! So we hit the trailhead going north and after handing out the handshakes and hugs with Dave, find out that he too drove right by the trailhead himself. Like minds...like minds. Warm hearts. The rain let up by the time of our arrival, so we make for the hills (quite literally) and forge into the Garabaldi forrest. Hewey, Dewey, Lewey & Uncle Donald hahaha!
The first five miles apparently climbs the first hill nonstop. As the train pulls ahead of me with each passing switchback, i keep my head down and push ahead, trying not to stop. Kelly buzzes ahead of me, then behind, then ahead as she stops to take pictures of the lush forrest all around us.
After five miles at the top of the hill, i am mildly dizzy...i chomp on trail mix like a rabid racoon.
All i can see is my next 10 steps...im breathing hard and have broken a sweat pretty fast already. By the time everyone has pulled ahead out of sight, i start to notice more of the scenery around me. And my god is it beautiful. Creeks spouting mountain fresh water cross the path here and there and then cross it again. Its kinda fun hopping onto another log and trying not to think about falling into the rushing mini rapids hahaha. Might have been fun. Every few minutes, Dave plays Marco Polo with me. Its kinda dislecsic really, since they keep getting farther and farther away from me, but i play along and five chase with all my might. This trail is the purpose of my training for the past few months. I aimed to get my money's worth and collect from myself hahaha.
Dave is a welcome addition to our ranks. He provides a colorful atmosphere and a bright smile to chase the rain away. He really is good food for the soul.
By the time i hit the top of the hill, i am quite winded, feeling very much alive, and am dizzy as all hell. I must have not been getting enough oxygen cause my vision started to get quite clouded and my head was floating like a balloon. Its amazing the rush one can get from blood, sweat and tears hahaha. I can feel the rush blowing by my cheeks, the Flight of the Valkaries is blasting at my back and in my ears. I am Ahab!
The moment that i sit down on a log, i immediately turn into a squirrel and gorge my face in trail mix. Dave proposes that perhaps i am a little low on blood sugar. In my etheral state, i am quite inclined to agree with his assessment haha. Nuts, dried papaya, raisons, cranberries. Hell i even eat the chunks of ginger, which i would normally hate.
This "retaining wall" was formed 12,000 years ago by the volcanic eruption of Mt Price. It holds all the water from the three Garibaldi Lakes from drowning Squamish.
At that moment, all i could taste was sweet, then salty, then sweet, then salty. How good true hunger tastes. How good it feels to thirst for more.
Once we get moving again, we get out into the open a bit to check out the barrier that holds the three Garabaldi Lakes up, like a natural dam. The chasm below it is quite impressive, a small creek following the rocky valley down the hill towards the highway. Dave is very animated, painting wildly and vividly with his hands, embellishing his words with smiles. My heart lifts in the nakedness of our position on the rocky ledge. My lungs fill with passion. I remember again why i came on this trip ^^. Upwards and onwards towards the lakes.
By the time we come down from the ridge and hit the first lake, the rain has slowed to a slow and steady drizzle, lightly tapping upon the surface of the waters.
The first Garibaldi Lake...man i wanted to jump in, but i thought i had better save myself for the real lake.
And she looked beautiful, like an untouched hidden treasure amongst the trees. The lake water was a clear greenish blue. Looked so good i wanted to jump in right then and there. The urge was quite overwhelming. I decide to stay my hands, and settle for some pictures on the shores. We still have a long way to go. I like to end long days of hiking/backpacking at lakes, especially snow runoff lakes. One can just kick off one's shoes and socks and soak one's swollen feet in the stillness of the water. And it all melts away. The aches, and the pain, and the dullness of feeling. And then hypothermia sets in and your bones begin to freeze...and you are quite in heaven. I take a mental snapshot and file it under "For a Rainy Day.
Paradice on ice cold glacial runoff. (you can see the rain pelting the surface of the water)
" I will pull the moment back out when i am overwhelmed and harried.
We pass by a raging creek, and Dave stops to refill his water bottle from the rocks. I ask him if its snow runoff, and he assures me that its straight from the glacier. I have been waiting for a moment like this for over a decade. Let me tell you, that i hate the taste of water. I hate the smell of water. I hate the flavor of it. But i love fresh snow runoff. It is the reason i started to love water. It tastes like pure life. I get down on all fours and drink deeply and heavily, filling my throat and my lungs. Filling my soul. And getting a heck of a brain freeze to boot. Feels so good. I take a moment to myself, between sips, marvelling in the moment.
I take a long hard drink from the glacial runoff. It tastes like nothing else on earth. It tastes...Perfect.
Rolling my tongue across my the roof of my mouth, across the front of my teeth. I sigh like i have not sighed in a very long time. Check. One more box crossed off the Canada list.
By the time we make it to Garabaldi Lake, the rain has stopped falling for a bit, and the fog starts to let up. We traverse the small bridge at the outlet and make our way around the perimeter of the lake. A wooden pathway has been laid to welcome guests. I feel like a returning monarch ^^. Coming down the hill to the lake was quite an ordeal though. The temperature has dropped a bit and my legs have begun to feel like Jello. I lose most controll over them and simply trudge on them to stop myself as i stumble down the trail.
At last, we arrive at Garibaldi Lake. You can see the clouds moving in as we make our way around the lake to the shelter.
When we make it to the shelter on the lakeside, the girls hit the shore to take some photos (bless them) and i head straight into the doors and onto a bench. Keeping warm has begun to be a bit of a problem hahahaah! Perhaps i "should" have bought that fleece beanie after all. My fingertips are tingling. But i have made it! Wooo!
Shortly after we begin to unfold our bounty for lunch, the dense fog rolls back in and the rain starts to fall like theres no tomorrow. The wind starts to pound away at the walls of the shelter, and it snakes and pushes its way from underneath the floor boards. We can no longer see the opposite side of the lake, and visibility has fallen. Black Tusk cannot be seen from our position.
The stillness in the air offered a feeling of peace. Being at rest...and then the torrents of rain hit us like jackhammers.
Ive only seen it in pictures taken during bright sunny days from the lake. And pictures of the lake from the top of the Tusk. Oh well. Today i am getting more than my money's worth. How lucky i am to get the "Rainy day at Lake Garabaldi" experiance on my first trip. And to think, so few will experiance this joy. Hurray for September weather. Oh well, time to food!!! hahahaha!!!
I eat today with a hunger that i have been saving up for months. I let my eyes wander, and let my mouth and my teeth do all the walking and talking. My hands become simple pistons, hammering food into my awaiting jaws, chewing and swallowing, chewing and swallowing. I cannot quench the desire fast enough. Dave gives me his Mars bar.
We are quite extravagant when it comes to eating, even in the wild. Lunch includes: stawberries, tomatos, cherries, bananas, plums, blueberries, and Asian pears. Prosciutto and Maple Ham on two types of multigrain bread.
I hadnt considered a Mars bar to be a backpacking food, but then again, why the hell not. It helped A LOT and i instantly felt better by the time i got halfway down chomping on it. I must remember to pack chocolate reserves when hitting the trail again. Usually chocolate isnt on the list of essentials cause hiking in California can be quite hot and dry. I forget that chocolate goes a long way in colder weather. On Mt Fuji, when i got up at 1:00am to continue my assent to the summit, three chocolate covered almonds carried my feet and my will through the darkness to the top. The Mars bar brings back that feeling of rejuvenation. A stranger has just made my list of miracles. I am a believer again. Hallelueh!!!
My heart sinks a bit, knowing that Black Tush and the meadow are completely out of the question now.
Flowers along the trail
Katherine does not like to hike in the rain, and im not completely sure that hitting the weather will improve my condition. How did i get so gimp so quick? hahaha! I was so looking forward to seeing the flowers on the meadow. I was so looking forward to seeing the lake from the top of Black Tusk. I was looking forward to jumping into the lake butt-assed naked. Oh well. One cannot do everything on the first pass. One cannot fulfill all curiousity on the first try. I refile Black Tusk and the meadow back into long term storage, keep the boxes unchecked on The List, and say my farewells for now to the lake, and the skies, and the trees, and yes, even to the rain. I will miss it too.
Hitting the trail back to the cars, Kelly finds some time to take some pictures of flowers as we go.
As we head back to the initial leg of our journey, the sun breaks the clouds and shoots rays of warmth back into the deep forrest.
I smile everytime i see her stop to take flowers home with her. She understands the notion that one can enjoy the beauty of nature without having to destroy it. Digital pictures will suffice. The true beauty she will keep deep in her heart. I take some of that feeling and wrap it around myself too...keeps me warm on the inside.
Wouldnt you know it, by the time that we are halfway back, the sun breaks the clouds and glorious golden rays of sunshine penetrate the dense foliage and the trees and hits the forrest floor. I take another mental picture. Dave has to get back to make an appointment, so he takes off up and down the trail in a swift jog, Katherine keeping him company. Their absence makes the trail quieter.
Hurray i did it, i did it. Wheres my cookie?!
More intimate. The warmth of the sun is a very welcome gift. The warmth settles back into my cheeks. My fingers slowly begin to tingle again. And my legs fill in the life that they lacked not an hour before. The beautiful day has just gotten more beautiful. Click, click, click. More mental pictures.
By the time we hit the trailhead, Dave is long gone. We take some "before & after" pictures. The day has just begun. I closed my eyes, and filled my lungs one last time with the pine trees, and the earth, and the creeks, and the sun. Having hiked with Katherine & Kelly before, i know that the path between point A & point B is never a straight line. Not even close. Today that path ran off into the wilderness. I lose the trail somewhere in the rain. I will be back with pitchforks and torches. I will be back with armies and arms. I will be back with sunshine and smiles. I already see myself on top of Black Tusk. I already feel myself soaking in the Garibaldi Lake. I give a Santa Cruz hug to the elements. And i climb back aboard the Mazda Katherine British Columbian Express, and listen to Marvin Gaye serenade the winds.
The adventure has only just begun...