We’ve done this before, haven’t we? Well we did it in the snow back in April, and we backpacked in to Taylor Meadows last year. This time, our friend Catherine was taking a group of co-workers up there, a gang of astronomers who were visiting UBC for a conference. We tagged along as informal guides :-)
It was a beautiful clear day as we met in the parking lot at Rubble Creek. A total of a dozen of us headed up the trail at about 9.30am, making steady progress. Near the top we almost ran into a deer, but she bounded off the trail and made her way down through the bushes. Couldn’t resist a photo anyway, despite it not turning out very well. We met one of Maria’s Faculty Women hikers, Jean, along the way and chatted a bit to catch up. Towards Taylor Meadows we went, the familiar scent of sun-warmed spruce and fir filling the air. It was great the see the area again, especially after our snowy adventure in April!
Our first sight of Black Tusk drew the usual Oohs and Aaahs, and of course we couldn’t resist taking its picture once more. We pushed on up to Outhouse Junction, expecting a good flower show since they were late this year, but only here and there by the creeks were there any. Lupines mostly, some Sitka Valerian and a few White Bog Orchid. Surprisingly, Paintbrush was few and far between. We later learned from Jean that had we continued on to the Black Tusk meadows we would have had a much better show. Only once we reached Outhouse Junction did we turn around and admire the Tantalus Range! Somehow we’d forgotten to even look over our shoulders once… Great views of the jagged peaks and the Rumbling Glacier.
Turning right we headed down to the lake, passing through the meadows and beginning the descent of the steep, switch-backed slope. Mushrooms and fungi of all sorts and sizes were growing all over the place. We could have taken a hundred photos of fungi alone that day – we were very restrained :-) We tried to identify where we had come down through the trees in the snow, but as ever it was hard to do. At one point I thought I recognized our route, though I guess the only way to be sure is to go up and do it again in the snow! Actually our April route was much better than trying to find the summer trail as the slope here was much steeper than the one we chose. We’ll have to remember that.
At last we got a glimpse of the lake through the trees, brilliant turquoise patches against the dark green foliage. We reached the lake and our photo-taking began in earnest. The lake was mirror calm and we slowly picked our way over the bridge (yes, over it this time) and around the lake shore before settling at the picnic benches by one of the shelters for lunch. Panorama Ridge was beckoning to us, the glaciers and peaks across the lake looking their best for the visitors. For some of the group, it was their first visit to Vancouver. It won’t be their last!
After lunch we paddled in the lake to cool off our feet. Freezing cold, but very welcome. Most of the others were on a tight schedule and had to set off back to the car almost immediately, but we hung around for a bit longer to soak in the view and of course, take more photos. Reluctantly we dragged ourselves away and began our return trip. This time, as usual, we passed by Lesser Garibaldi Lake, Barrier Lake and the Barrier, taking more photos of each. Then it was back into the trees and the never-ending switchbacks back down to the car. But it didn’t take that long (except for the last 2.5 km as usual). Back at the car for a respectable time of afternoon, we headed for Squamish and huge servings of gelato at Carina Gelato.
Even being stuck in traffic on the Sea-to-Sky highway couldn’t dampen our mood, especially with the warm afternoon sun. We were all so relaxed… It’s a really enjoyable hike.
Distance: 19 km
Elevation gain: 950 m
Photos on Flickr