…in fact, I heart Canada so much that I’ve been up there four times this summer. The border guards might start getting suspicious soon, but I’m just going for the views, I promise! Oh, and to smuggle discounted Olympic marmots of course.
Anyhoo, this time we were invited to join Scott and Josie on a backpacking trip for their anniversary (they must think our incessant whistling and fake British accents are terribly romantic). In order to break up the drive, we stopped at Josie’s parents’ on the way and played with their new puppy (OMG) and swam in their pool. Well-rested and finally in vacation mode, we crossed the border and drove up to Garibaldi Provincial Park.
We carried our packs 5.5 miles into the backcountry campground (a strange concept, but the cooking shelters were appreciated once the mosquitoes came out), set up camp, ate, talked, relaxed, slept, and woke up to surprisingly clear skies. W00t!
‘Twas time to make our way up to Panorama Ridge. The trail started off with steep switchbacks, just like the day before, but they were over sooner than we expected…and from then on it was all meadows, flowers and freaking gorgeous views all around. I could actually hear Josie singing a certain song from The Sound of Music as she skipped along ahead of me.
There was an ominous-looking layer of clouds covering the peaks in the distance, so we hauled arse to get to the summit before it got socked in. And man alive, was it worth it. The clouds made for difficult photo conditions for a layperson like myself, but that just means I have an excuse to go back on a clear day – this is definitely one of my top five hikes of all time. The view of Garibaldi Lake from the ridge is stunning; the color is so intense it looks Photoshopped in real life (this seems to be an ongoing theme in my Canadian hikes).
We chilled (literally – it was so cold we put on puffy jackets and gloves) on the summit for a while before heading back down. Hiking back was like being on Mount Si, we must have met at least 50 people on the trail…which is understandable since this area is pretty much heaven on earth.
A little while after we came back to the campground, the weather decided to live up to the forecast and it started raining (but with the rain came rainbows, huzzah). We retreated to our respective snooze pods and waited to hike out until the morning, the promise of lunch at Black’s in Whistler motivating our every step. Best weekend of the year so far!