Eye see you…

Ever had that feeling you’re being watched…?

Hiking up to the third peak of the Chief last Saturday, we had cloudless blue skies with endless views all around. Except for Mt Garibaldi, which had two little nebulous eyes keeping watch on all us hikers below. While the light wasn’t great for the photo, I liked its whimsical nature and wasn’t surprised when, a few minutes later, I saw that the clouds had dissipated. That is, until I looked again after another short time had passed only to see two new eyes over the mountain… Spooky? Or just atmospheric physics at work? 🙂

To see a snowy frozen lake

Snow sculptures and Mt Price: throwback Thursday to 10 years ago when we snowshoed up to Garibaldi Lake and had the place to ourselves.

Re-reading my trip report from a decade ago I immediately pick up on how thrilled I was to make it to Garibaldi Lake in the winter. There’s no doubt it felt like quite the achievement, and it was our longest day of snowshoeing to date. What was most remarkable was how few people we encountered, no doubt helped by our decision to head up into Taylor Meadows rather than going straight for the lake. By the time we made it down to the lake, everyone else was on their way back down. I’ve been back once since then, on my all-time longest day of snowshoeing (11 hours) much of which was spent slogging through fresh powder. (But what a day that was – the clearest blue sky I’ve ever seen!)

I had to work quite hard to pick a good photo from this trip, though. Our camera was showing signs of its age (giving us the famous E200 lens error a few times), and there’s clearly an awful lot of muck either on the sensor or on the lens judging by all the dark patches that show up so clearly when photographing a scene that is mostly white! Alas given the weather, it was hard to capture the drama and scale of the view before us – white snow and white clouds don’t make for exciting pictures.

But I was pleased to find this one photo. I was intrigued by how bumpy the snow was, which I guessed was due to winds blowing across the lake and piling it up, and in particular by this one area where the ice of the lake was also exposed. Mt Price looked spectacular with its corniced north face and lit by soft afternoon light. It’s not a classic composition but it’s still quite a lovely scene, and – apart from the ones of us looking happy to have made it – is probably my favourite of the day.

I’ll finish by saying I can’t believe it’s 10 years since we did this. Perhaps we need to do it again this year? Hmmm…

Garibaldi Views

Garibaldi views: the Table and the north face of Mt Garibaldi from the summit of Mt Price, taken on Thanksgiving 2012

I posted this because it’s a rainy grey Saturday and I wanted to see something nice 🙂

The summer of 2012 was long and dry, and we got out on quite a few backpacking trips. The last one of the year was to Garibaldi Lake on a warm and sunny Thanksgiving weekend. It really did feel more like summer. Like many destinations, Mt Price had been on our list for a while and we were happy to get to its summit and enjoy the incredible views. I usually say that Panorama Ridge has the best views in Garibaldi, but Mt Price is a close second, albeit at the expense of a much tougher hike; it’s not one for inexperienced hikers, which means it’s lovely and quiet, and we had this view all to ourselves.

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…!

The Chief

Today’s tasty lunch spot

It’s been a year since we last hiked up the Chief near Squamish, so it’s about time we returned. This time we went to the First Peak, which we usually avoid due to the crowds, but today we didn’t feel up to pushing for the whole loop. It was a beautiful day, busy but not too bad thanks to our earlier-than-usual start. It was our friend Jen’s first time to the top and she (and her pup Frisco) loved it.

And yes, lunch was as tasty as the view 🙂

Garibaldi

Last light on Garibaldi. Pink snow and a pink sky.

This photo was taken from the pedestrian bridge over Highway 99 at the parking lot for the Stawamus Chief. When the light gets this low it’s a bit of a challenge to keep the camera steady because the bridge flexes as people walk on it. Not much, but enough to jiggle you and/or the camera. The other problem with taking this shot is you have to be very careful not to drop anything into the four lanes of speeding traffic below… Tip: either pocket your lens cap before walking onto the bridge, or get one that attaches to your camera.