Saturday, 19 April 2014

Joffre Lakes Trail

~ nota bene : one of the three beautiful Joffre Lakes is depicted in my blog background ~
This day hike takes about 4 hours return and takes you up into the alpine of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.
I did this hike last summer with a couple of friends from Whistler. It's a bit of a drive to get there (especially if you're leaving from Vancouver like I was) but the 3 lakes are stunning!  
The trail head is off of the Duffey Lake Road, past Pemberton, on the way to Lillooet.
As soon as you enter and walk a few minutes you get a view of the first lake.
It's really worth it to hike to the third though and you can stop and have a swim in the second if you're brave enough...however these are glacier fed lakes so the water is LITERALLY breathtaking.
This hike had some steep sections and it's a bit of a workout but my friend who came with me was extremely hungover and made it so I'm sure you can too.
There are camping areas around the third lake so if you're willing to carry all of your gear up to the top you are rewarded with million-dollar-view camping spot.
Also, the day we went there were mad bugs so I'd recommend some bug spray!
Middle Joffre Lake

quick dip

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Keyhole Hot Springs

Meager Creek used to be the well known Hot Springs out past Pemberton.
Unfortunately there was a landslide a few years back that destroyed the road so they are no longer accessible.  However, if you drive a few kilometres further you will find a trail to the lesser known Keyhole Hot Springs.

It was a very rainy day but my sister and our friend Maria had heard rumours of these Hot Springs and were determined to find them. Another friend, Sean, met us in Pemberton and the 4 of us squished in my car and headed North.
It took us a few tries but eventually we found the logging road that led to the Hot Springs and followed it for about 40km.
Finally we made it to the "parking lot" and quickly unloaded the car and followed the markers toward the camping area.
The hike got VERY steep VERY fast.
Luckily we were wearing backpacks but all of us bailed down the sketchy trail at least once. Maybe it would've been easier if we weren't holding a beer in one hand but we had priorities...
By the time we had found a camping spot and set up our tent it was dark but the the 4 of us decided to go to the Hot Springs anyways.
It was another 20-30 minute steep, slippery trek but we found them.
The rain subsided and we had quite a few celebratory beers in the natural Hot Springs before heading back to our tent.
Getting back proved to be even more difficult then finding the Hot Springs and we got lost in the dark more then once but we managed to make it back and started a fire to warm up.
Sean had told some friends to come to the Hot Springs earlier but he hadn't talked to them for hours and there was no service where we were so we figured they'd given up.
However, at around midnight we heard some voices in the woods and then some guys calling "Sean!".
We couldn't believe it, they had actually found us.
It was hard enough hiking down that trail and finding our spot in the day but somehow they'd managed to do it in the pitch black.
On top of that, they'd brought a huge cooler full of beer and even a Military sized tent with them (which they ended up ditching halfway down because it was too hard for them to carry).
We all continued drinking around the fire in the rain and eventually the 7 of us piled into the 4-man tent and passed out.
The next day we went for a second soak in the Hot Springs and then basically climbed the whole way back to our cars and headed home.
This definitely wasn't one of the easiest overnight trips I've been on, but it was one of the most memorable.
If you're willing to work for it, Keyhole Hot Springs is a great place to get away.
Maria making the journey back from the Hotsprings

Keyhole Hotsprings and the Lillooet River

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Long Way Home - Singing Pass

Last weekend my Dad invited me up to Whistler for the day. 
We got some fresh laps on Peak but by mid-day everything was tracked so we decided to hike up Flute.
To get to Flute you head right off of Symphony Chairlift and then hike for about 30-45 minutes.
It's definitely worth the effort because once you're at the top you can go down any untouched face and then it's only a short way back to Symphony Chairlift.

This particular day however, my dads friend suggested we go right, down into Singing Pass, instead of going left down Flute like usual.
I was unaware of the journey necessary to make it back to the village once you get into Singing Pass so I went along with them.
The ride down was great, 30cm of fresh snow all to ourselves. 
Once we got to the bottom we began following a cross-country-esque single-track trail.
If you're on skis (like my dad and his friends were) this trail is not to difficult. I however, was on a snowboard so had to push myself with one foot strapped in along this narrow path.
At first it was okay because we were in a beautiful, secluded area surrounded by mossy snow covered trees and I figured the hardest part would be over soon.
It wasn't.
Over an hour had passed and I was still pushing along this single track, legs burning, cursing my dad with every step.

Eventually (11km later) we made it back to Whistler Village and headed straight to the GLC for burgers and beer.

As we were taking off our equipment two skiers showed up and said "Oh man were you the snowboarder who came back from singing pass? We saw the footprints and couldn't believe it ! "

Neither could I.
Trail back from Singing Pass