Iceberg Lake

Gorgeous Iceberg Lake at last, surprisingly difficult to photograph with a standard wide-angle lens. But the view in the opposite direction makes up for that. A big thank-you to ACC-Whistler for a wonderful trail.

As mentioned in my previous post, we hiked up to Iceberg Lake near Whistler last weekend. In its own way the lake is like a miniature version of Wedgemount Lake (or at least the meltwater tarn at the toe of the Wedge glacier), the peaks surrounding which can be seen in the opposite direction. There’s a small permanent snowfield or even remnant glacier that calves into a lake coloured teal-green by rock flour.

The trail is superb, passing through old-growth forest for much of the ascent, and hugging Nineteen Mile Creek (see link above) with its picturesque waterfalls for the upper section before exiting the trees into beautiful subalpine meadows for an awe-inspiring view of the headwall of Rainbow Mountain. The view of the Rainbow glacier is fore-shortened as you get closer to Iceberg Lake (as at upper Joffre Lake), so the best view is from the meadows.

Photographic notes. This place needs an ultra-wide angle lens, at least for views looking towards Rainbow Mountain; the standard 28-mm equivalent simply does not go wide enough to capture the scale. Here, I was glad to be able to make use of a couple of hikers for scale, otherwise there’s simply no way to make it look impressive. Also, since the headwall faces more-or-less due east, morning light is essential. This is less of an issue in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky, though the shadows might be even darker than today (I had to play with the processing to bring up the deep shadows in the original version of this image).

Still, despite photographic challenges, it is definitely a beautiful spot to visit, and deservedly popular. Plus there are two more hikes in this area for next year’s list…

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Nineteen miles

Pretty waterfall on Nineteen Mile Creek as we head up to Iceberg Lake.

Nineteen miles from where? Pemberton seems like a reasonable guess as it’s about 30 km away, which is – tada – nearly 19 miles. The eponymous creek drains a small lake which used to be part of the Rainbow glacier when it spilled over the massive eastern headwall into the valley below. All that remains is a couple of small permanent snowfields along with a pretty little lake.

At a couple of spots the creek has some lovely waterfalls, most of which are accessible and really photogenic with the photo above showing the largest single drop. As ever, a tripod would have been ideal, but this isn’t bad for a hand-held shot of 1/6 second.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon black bear munching on grass at the roadside, the third of four bears we saw on a mini road trip back in June

I love seeing bears in the wild, and despite the years of hiking and backpacking in North America (totalling close to 500 hikes), we’ve seen way more bears from the car than on foot. I can think of maybe 10 occasions that we saw a bear on the trail, and maybe only about half of those could be classified as encounters, the others being merely sightings at a distance.

The challenges of taking a good bear photo from the car include being able to shoot through an open window (without getting someone’s head or part of the door mirror in the frame), holding the camera steady enough in a car whose engine is still running (tip: don’t lean on the car!), and other passengers shifting around in the car! If you can deal with that, then you can be sure the camera will decide to focus on the grass instead of the bear… Thankfully in this case, the depth of field was just enough to keep the bear in focus too.

No ordinary bunny

Not saying it’s cold in Canada but I just saw the Easter bunny…. Well OK I admit it – this photo was actually taken one February a few years ago 🙂

Every winter we see the evidence of their existence – quartets of paw prints in the snow – but only rarely have we seen them. Our best encounter was this one while cross-country skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park back in 2009. I guess it hadn’t really worked out that it had a dark background behind it as it just sat there was as long as we wanted to take photos, presumably thinking it was well-camouflaged against the surrounding snow. I don’t think it moved a muscle until we skied off. Very cute!

Peek-a-boo Black Tusk

Peek-a-boo Black Tusk from the Crater Rim trail.

I couldn’t resist posting this photo from Saturday’s hike on the Crater Rim Trail. At one point there is a gap in the trees just big enough to get this wonderful view of Black Tusk, now lovingly decorated in its winter coat.

Forest green

Mossy green.

Mossy green #craterrimtrail #loggerslake #whistler #seatosky #explorebc #beautifulbritishcolumbia

A post shared by Andy Gibb (@_andy_gibb_) on

Today we revisited yet another place from 5 years ago, the Crater Rim Trail around Logger’s Lake in Whistler. It’s a pleasant little hike (only 5 km) with enough elevation gain to make it feel like a little workout (250 m), and a handful of interesting things to see along the way. For me, one of the most fascinating things about the hike is the geology, and one edge of the rim is composed of columnar basalts. Very cool. Further on, the trail ends up in this beautiful open, mossy green forest. I could hike in this kind of forest all day, it’s just so restful on my eyes, and so much brighter than the dense, valley-bottom forest.

Marmots

A pair of hoary marmots, aka whistlers. Except they don’t really whistle – it’s more like a high-pitched squeal or shriek. Either way, it’s really loud!

Hiking out from Russet Lake in the summer of 2015, we were about to descend into Singing Pass when we spotted a group of marmots close to the trail. We started taking photos while edging nearer (staying on the trail of course), until we got a clear view of these two. Their behaviour looked quite intimate – they went snout-to-snout a couple of times – but it wasn’t clear to me that they were actually a mating pair. I think they were just siblings, but I have to admit this (and one other photo I have of them) does look rather suggestive…