Ooh, Garibaldi

Leading lines: the sharp ridge rising from Diamond Head to Atwell Peak, seen through a gap in the trees near the Red Heather shelter

We had a long cold spring in 2011, which meant the snow lingered well into July and August. This day in early July 2011, I solo-hiked up to Elfin Lakes on snow almost the entire way. As I neared Red Heather meadows (or rather, white snowy meadows) I looked up to catch a glimpse of Garibaldi through the trees. A moment later I came to a tiny gap with the mountain framed beautifully by the tall firs. This spot is so specific that I haven’t actually been able to find it again on subsequent visits. I was even happier with this photo when I realized that it was absolutely pin-sharp, about as sharp as I could possibly get with that camera-lens combination. It’s probably my favourite photo of Garibaldi.

It was also the quietest day of hiking to Elfin Lakes I’ve ever experienced, although I did start out quite early on the trail. The funny thing was that I deliberately picked Elfin Lakes for a solo hike as I thought it would be busy…!

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Della Falls

The lower cascades of Della Falls, taken almost exactly 10 years ago on my very first backpacking trip 🙂 After that, I was hooked!

Maria and I were invited on a 3-day backpacking trip to Della Falls by a friend of ours, to whom we are eternally grateful. Despite all the mosquitoes and the fact I ran out of steam part way through the day, those three days got us well and truly hooked on backpacking, and we just haven’t looked back since.

Grouse chick

Cute little ruffed grouse chick, the only one left in the brood by the looks of it

We were hiking up to a viewpoint above the basalt columns at Easter Bluffs when we came across a mother grouse and her lone chick. Grouse usually have a brood of half-a-dozen or more, so something clearly didn’t go right for this little bird. The basalt columns were impressive, if very hard to photograph, though our enjoyment was tempered by the incessant mosquitoes. I couldn’t wait to be done hiking that day!

Chatterbox

Chatterbox Falls at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet – prepare for a soaking if you hike the trail that runs past the falls!

I don’t know when we first heard about Princess Louisa (PL) Inlet and Chatterbox Falls but it quickly found its way onto our to-see list. We took a boat trip from Egmont on the Sunshine Coast that took in all the scenery of the Jervis Inlet before drifting into PL. This photo was taken from the boat as it was just too wet to attempt a photo from near the falls themselves. They were just roaring! We got drenched just walking past! Spectacular, though I would have loved to have spent more time so we could explore the trail that winds its way up the slope for a better view of the inlet. Next time…

Tent views

Not all Instagram tent shots are fake: we really camped here, and a good spot it was too 🙂 Please think twice before posting a tent-view shot from a place where camping is either forbidden or ill-advised – I’ve chatted to folks who really didn’t know the local camping regulations and just wanted to recreate a particular photo they’d seen on Instagram. Conversely, don’t believe every camping photo you see – do your own research and learn more about Leave No Trace 🙂

A glorious morning at our camp site next to Caltha Lake, I couldn’t resist taking this photo as the sun shone through the tent with the mountain still shrouded in clouds. While we wished we had more time to spend in this area, in practice I’m glad we left when we did as the following day was extremely wet, which would have been no fun above the treeline!

Ghost plant

A fresh bunch of ghostly Indian pipe

It took a few years before I found this plant growing in the Lower Mainland – we’d found it on hikes on Sunshine Coast, on Vancouver Island, and on the Gulf Islands, so it was a nice surprise to discover a few patches on a familiar hike. It helps that I can set the camera on the ground to take the photos as the light level is always low at ground level in the forest.

Raven

Pretending to be not interested in my trail mix

After watching the sunrise and moonset I went for a little hike up to Black Mountain. At the northern summit I was joined by a raven that sat on a rock and preened itself, all the while doing its best to look like it was ignoring the fact I was scoffing a few handfuls of trail mix…