Elk Flowers

I can tell which are my favourite wildflowers by the number of photos I take! And they all seem to be lilies: chocolate lilies, Queen’s Cup (aka bead lilies), and glacier lilies with a guest appearance from a budding Columbia lily. Great to see these early flowers; the rest should be following on strong in a couple of weeks.

Not much I need to say here, so I’ll just say what each photo shows:

  1. Chocolate lilies – we saw about as many as I’ve ever seen in one place on today’s hike, though quite a few were past their peak
  2. Chocolate lily flower close-up
  3. Queen’s Cup – a nice trio of leaves on this one
  4. A pair of Queen’s Cup flowers nestled together
  5. Glacier lilies!!!!!!
  6. I could take pictures of these all day; alas I had barely 2 minutes to grab what I could before we had to turn back
  7. Columbia lily in (double) bud – we saw many of these, all still in bud; in a week or two the meadows will be full of them, nodding in the breeze

It’s kinda funny looking at my Instagram feed at the moment. It doesn’t seem that long since I was lamenting the lack of colour in my feed; now it seems like it’s nothing by flowers! 🙂

A week of glacier lilies

A departure from the usual posting style. Since I saw so many glacier lilies at the weekend, I figured it would be best to combine all those photographs into a single, all-encompassing glacier lily entry. Let the floral overload begin!

We spent the weekend in Manning Park, and found – to my delight – that the glacier lilies were out in force. Here’s one of many in bud we saw last Sunday near Blackwall Peak, beautifully decorated with raindrops. I was surprised to see them blooming even by the roadside on the way up to Blackwall Peak, and we were further surprised by two yearling bear cubs darting across the road ahead of us!

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It's that time of year again! The glacier lilies are out in force in Manning Park and should be good for another couple of weeks. Here's one of many in bud we saw yesterday near Blackwall Peak, beautifully decorated with raindrops (as was our tent!). After all the hard work we put in on Saturday to find some (which paid off handsomely I should add), I was surprised to see them blooming at the roadside on the way up to Blackwall Peak. Then we were surprised again by two yearling bear cubs darting across the road ahead of us 🐻 🐻 🙂 Hike reports are on LiveTrails. What a weekend! #glacierlily #erythroniumgrandiflorum #ManningPark #manningparkresort #ecmanningprovincialpark #bcparks #paintbrushnaturetrail #explorebc #wildflowers #beautifulbc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #ifttt #hikebc #bchiking

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On Saturday we hiked the Skyline I loop, a 21-km hike with 900+ m of elevation gain. We’d been happily enjoying the wealth of blooms along the trail, but then we entered the last big meadow before turning back towards the car. This might be the most spectacular glacier lily meadow I’ve seen so far! Wow!

A trail runs through it – the path through the vast meadow in the previous photo is barely a boot wide, the glacier lilies and spring beauty doing their best to recolonize it. I looked back at photos I took of this section of the trail in August 2007 and there is no sign of glacier lilies anywhere.

And yet more glacier lilies along the Skyline I trail. There was still a bit of snow in places along the ridge but it’ll soon be gone. I find it amazing how so many can grow and yet all signs of their existence disappear once the main summer bloom gets underway. I’m convinced that most hikers never even see a glacier lily over the summer.

Finally, it’s Flashback-Friday, and I thought I’d finish this week of glacier lily photos with the flower that started it all – my very first glacier lily photo from way back in 2006!

That last shot has a lot to answer for…

Valley sunrise

Sunrise over the Cheam Range as we headed for the Rockies.

I love roadtrips, and especially love making an early start, getting on the road before sunrise. We were on our way to the Rockies to do some hiking in Yoho before meeting my parents in Canmore for a week’s holiday. I’ve long wanted to see the sun rise over Mt Cheam and its fellow peaks, and timed our departure from Vancouver just right to catch the sun as it rose over the jagged tips of the Cheam Range. We pulled off the highway next to a field of growing corn just long enough for me to take the picture. It’s not quite the photo I had in mind, but it was clearly good enough as I haven’t felt the need to repeat it in the 5 years since! Maybe one day…

Flowers and mountains

Flowers and mountains – the summer hiking season is here 🙂

Who can resist the bright colour of Indian paintbrush against green foliage, blue sky, and white mountains? Another photo from my Wanderung hike up to Elk Mountain last Tuesday.

Look what I found!

Look what I found! 🙂 My first glacier lily of the year, near the summit of Thurston Peak. One of about 50 flower types we saw yesterday – the summer bloom is well underway! A glorious day of hiking finished off with great pie at Chilliwack airport.

What more can I say, really? The patch of glacier lilies I knew that grew on Elk itself was long past flowering, though the chocolate lilies were pretty much at their peak. Our goal was to reach the summit of Thurston (on my 5th visit here), but at the back of my mind was the chance that we might see some of my favourite flowers where the snow was lingering. About 50 m short of the peak (such as it is…) I saw my first glacier lily of 2016. Yay! I let the others go on while I picked my way through the spring beauty to get my obligatory lily shots. Of course, when I joined them at the summit I saw even more 🙂 And, just like those on Zoa Peak that I saw last year, they were tiny! Some of the flowers were barely the size of my thumb.

And then to top it all off, we got pie at the airport. Oh, and the views from Elk were quite nice too! A pretty good day in my books 🙂

Pierce Lake

Lower Pierce Lake with Mt Cheam and friends on the horizon, taken from the summit of Mt MacFarlane. Beautiful place, but sadly too-often visited by campers who either don’t know or don’t care about Leave No Trace. Campfires and litter are the worst problems (sometimes together) even up here above the treeline.

We camped by this lake, and were very grateful to whomever had tidied up before us, which included dealing with multiple old campfires that had been set right in the middle of the best camping spots. I mean, really – who does that? Still, we had a fantastic trip and this view made it all worthwhile. We also saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs!

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Lower Pierce Lake with Mt Cheam and friends on the horizon, taken from the summit of Mt MacFarlane. Beautiful place, but sadly too-often visited by campers who either don't know or don't care about #LeaveNoTrace. Campfires and litter are the worst problems (sometimes together) even up here above the treeline. We camped by this lake, and were very grateful to whomever had tidied up before us, which included dealing with multiple old campfires that had been set right in the middle of the best camping spots. I mean, really – who does that? Still, we had a fantastic trip and this view made it all worthwhile. We also saw a mother bear and her 2 cubs! #LeaveNoTraceTuesday #PierceLake #LowerPierceLake #CheamRange #mountmacfarlane #chilliwack #chilliwackrivervalley #explorebc #beautifulbritishcolumbia #mountainlife #backpacking #hiking #scrambling #lnt

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This trip was probably the toughest overnighter I’ve ever done, as we hauled our full backpacks 7 km and over 1000 m in elevation to the lake on a hot September day. We set off for the summit the next morning, climbing another 800 m to the top of Mt MacFarlane. While getting to the lake was a slog, the hike up to the peak was a joy as we picked our way through meadows and scrambled the ridge to the top. And what a view awaited us! A sea of jagged peaks all around, including the striking Border Peaks and Mt Slesse. Such an incredible sight. Next time we’ll camp at the upper lake – provided we can backpack a little lighter!