Sunday, September 2, 2012

Elfin Lakes

Elise and I just returned from an overnight trip to Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Provincial Park. We stayed in the BC Parks shelter that was about an 11-km hike in from the parking lot, mostly uphill. Elise did great, and we enjoyed two full days together in the mountains close to Squamish.

Gearing up in the parking lot. My pack is almost as big as Elise! Thankfully, I didn't have to carry a tent or stove, as our accommodation was in the shelter which had propane hot plates.

The fist half of the hike followed a road up through old-growth forest. We saw bear poop (fresh) and some interesting fungus. Here, Elise pulls back the bushes for a better look.

Midway up, we stopped for a break at the Red Heather hut and, much to Elise's delight, we found Whiskey Jacks that were willing to eat of our hands.............and packs, and bags, and pockets, and anything else that had some kind of food available.

On the way up, she actually made sense of the trail signs and often choose the right direction based on her interpretation of what the sign said.

Yes, we found snow. And Elise couldn't wait to get some and throw it at me!

Arriving at the lakes. We were tired and happy to be at our destination.

The BC Parks shelter where we spent the night. The lower floor consisted of a kitchen area and dining tables, and the upstairs contained the bunks.

Elise "testing" her bunk. She was very eager to sleep in the upper bunk, but the night was a little tumultuous as she had insomnia. There were other people sleeping in adjacent bunks so I was absolutely desperate to keep her quiet - Elise has a hard time turning down her "volume". In the end, I resorted to biting a sleeping pill in half and giving a piece to Elise. She quickly went into a long, drug-induced slumber that gave us both some much needed rest!

Waking up! We were both a little shell shocked from the noisy night. You've got to love group accommodation.

We hiked down to the campsite below the shelter to have a look. Mt. Garibaldi in the background. Somebody had energy to burn.

The wildflowers were blooming all around. Arnica (yellow) and Lupine (purple).

The very poisonous Indian hellebore, I believe.

For fun, we set up our emergency shelter so Elise could see how it went together. It's pretty basic, just a waterproof tarp with some string, but the correct location is important in creating a decent area of protection.

Lying in the red heather spotting shapes in the clouds.

Eating dinner in the glorious evening light on the deck of the shelter. A German couple took this picture.

The sunset was beautiful, almost worth the hike alone. Because Squamish is in a deep valley we rarely get to see the sun properly set over the mountains. This was special.

Profile of the Tantalus Mountains at last light.

Elise in the meadows behind the lake with the setting sun lighting up her face.

Elise got many compliments on her hiking and we were both pleasantly tired when done. We made plans for another outing next year. She seemed very happy and definitely interested in going back. It was a special experience for me, one I'm sure I'll always remember.

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