Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Canada: Backpacking Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge

Panorama Ridge


6 months ago, Kaelee threw out the idea to backpack Panorama Ridge in Canada this summer and I was totally game! We started looking into it, and saw that you could buy permits 4 months in advance. So we marked our calendars in April to book permits for August. We decided to break up the hike into a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip, and now that the trip has happened, I am so glad we spread the hike out! (Here's the link to buy permits)

There are a couple of places you can camp to get to Panorama Ridge (since you are not allowed to camp on the ridge, or you can day hike it). You can camp at Taylor Meadows, Helm Creek, or Garibaldi Lake. Taylor Meadows would've been the closest campground to get to Panorama Ridge, but we decided on Garibaldi Lake because we thought it was going to be prettier (plus we can go swimming!), which added an extra 1.2 miles to our hike.

Trail Stats
Dates hiked: August 3-5, 2018
Miles hiked: 19.8 miles R/T
Elevation Gain:4986 ft
Campground we stayed at: Garibaldi Lake
Trailhead: Rubble Creek TH
Who went: Kaelee, Brian, Cody, and me
Cost: $6/night

Thursday August 2, 2018
Kaelee and Brian met up with Cody and me at the house in Lynnwood after work so we could carpool to Canada for the weekend. We hit the road around 6:00 pm, grabbed food, and were on our way to Squamish, Canada for our first night. We booked a room at the Squamish Adventure Inn & Hostel, so the following morning we could get an early start on our hike. We got to the hostel around 10 pm, checked in and called it a night. (We booked a private room since there was 4 of us, opting out of the hostel-style bunk beds this trip, and it came out to $25/person, I wrote a review on Yelp if you're interested in how our stay went.)

Friday August 3, 2018
We woke up, packed, and left the hostel around 7:15 am that morning. Our first stop was Tim Horton's for some much needed coffee and Timbits before we hit the trail. From what we read online, we were told that Rubble Creek trailhead parking gets full and to get there early. So we pulled into the lot a lil before 8 am, and found prime parking and a 1/2 empty lot! (Which made me think, why did we get there so early? The lot's not even full! But when we left Sunday, people were parked along the road for a good 1/2 mile down... I am sorry I doubted the reviews!)

So you know how there's people out there all about being ultralight? Like their packs with their tent, food, water, and sleeping system clock in at under 20 lbs? WELL THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT ME. Right before this trip I bought a luggage scale and I brought it with on this trip. My pack weighed a whopping 42 lbs.... hahaha. I don't think the fact that I had a hammock, hammock straps, a chair, or a tripod in my pack helped with my weight situation lol. So I'd like to call myself an ultra heavy packer!

Cody and I got to Garibaldi Lake in under 4 hours. (Garibaldi Lake is a popular day hike btw!) When we walked up we were surprised to find such a nice campground in the backcountry! 5.6 miles in, this campground has 50 sites, a ranger station, 4 bear huts, nice, non-stinky environmental toilets, and a handful of pit toilets scattered throughout the area! Besides the lack of running water, it felt like we were at a drive up campground!

Kaelee and Brian were ahead of us and found us a great campsite that fit both of our tents and we were able to string up two hammocks. Score! Some of the other sites were smaller, so I am glad we got there early and had choices to pick from! After setting up camp, we headed to the bear hut to make lunch.

Bear hut and the food hang

Let me tell you about these bear huts, because they were awesome! So usually when you are in the backcountry, you either need to hang your food from a tree so that bears do not eat it, or there's a small metal box for you to put your food in, or you bring your own bear canister and set it away from your campsite. Well Garibaldi provides you with a full sized building for you to store your food in! Inside of the cabin also has 2 picnic tables for you to eat and cook at, a wire to hang your food (yes you still need to hang because rodents can get into your bags if left on the floor), counter space, and a sink (no water) that you can wash dirty dishes in with lake water! It was so nice! You can use whatever bag to hang your food as well, no need for a canister. We saw people using drysacks, shopping bags, and Ursacks.

Anyways, after lunch, since the day was grey and cold, the 4 of us fell asleep for over 2 hours lol. After our 2 hour power nap, we walked around the lake for a lil bit and went back to the bear hut to make dinner. We called it a pretty early night since no fires are allowed, it was cold, and we had nothing to do. I think we went to bed at like 9 pm lol.

Miles hiked: 5.6 miles

Gear thrown everywhere, this is real life haha. Home sweet home though!
 Why so moody PNW?
Sun or no sun, that water was always so blue!
Too cold the first day to go swimming. I even had a puffy on underneath my red jacket!
Our 1st night at Garibaldi

Saturday August 4, 2018
Even though we went to bed so early, none of us got up early. I think we slept in until almost 8, moped around, made breakfast, then we got ready to day hike to Panorama Ridge. The signs read 7 km from the lake, which is 4.3 miles one way. We left camp close to 10 am and headed out for the day. The trail has a ton of signs and is easy to navigate. There were quite a bit of people on trail. The trail all the way to the top was beautiful! Going through Taylor Meadows, there was a ton of lupine and Indian Paintbrush in full bloom, the sun was out, some clouds in the sky, it was the perfect day! We made it to the top in under 3 hours, and stopped and ate lunch up there. We took a ton of photos of course, the view was breathtaking! I didn't want to leave! We started heading back down eventually and got back to our campsite around 4 pm. Kaelee and Brian were ahead of us again, and I went to go check to see what they were doing, and of course they were napping lol. Cody and I made noodles and chilled a lil before I went to bug Kaelee if she wanted to go for a swim. She said yes, so we changed into our swimsuits and headed to the lake with our sleeping pads!

 The 1st glimpse of the lake
 Taylor Meadows
Lupine: one of my favorite wildflowers in the mountains!
 View of Black Tusk 
You can see some fire damage here
That final push up reminded me hiking of Mt St Helens
Is this real life?
Enjoying the views


The view facing the opposite of the lake wasn't bad either!
Cody crossing a bridge

Sleeping pads are known to be good flotation devices... unless you use the one I use, and it just sinks when you sit on it. The Thermarest Z Lite Sleep Pad does not keep you afloat. All good, I can float on my own lol. We jumped in a couple of times from the dock and called it quits after the sun disappeared behind the trees. We headed back to camp, changed, and headed to the bear hut to make dinner.

I kept an eye on the night sky since it was actually clear, and told Kaelee I wanted to shoot night photos later and she said she was game. So we set our alarms for 11 pm, set up our cameras for night photography, and crawled into our sleeping bags for an hour before we crawled back out to head to the lake.

I got a handful of star shots and wanted to stay out there a little longer, but a group of backpackers had rolled in around 11:30 pm and were ruining our night shots with their headlamps. We also got annoyed since they had music playing. So we packed up shop within 45 min of setting up, and called it a night. There were 2 other hikers that came by, and turns out they were photographing the sunset on the ridge and were just getting back. Kudos to them for trekking in the dark for sunset shots!

Miles hiked: 8.6 miles

 Really thought my sleeping pad was gonna float lol
Cheers to friends who jump into alpine likes together! 
Ready or not!
Sunset time
 That's Mars glowing on the right
Milky Way 

Sunday August 5, 2018
We slept in until 8 am again, went and made breakfast, slowly packed up camp, and headed back for the trailhead a lil after 10 am. The hike down took about 2.5 hours for Cody and me. There was a lot of people on trail that day! It was a nice day for a hike though. Once back at the car, we loaded up the truck with our packs and headed out. We had a few stops on our agenda before we headed back to Seattle that day. We went back to Tim Horton's, walked around some shops, and stopped at the Richmond Night Market.

One last group photo before we hiked out!
 The best backcountry toilets I have ever experienced!
That blue blue

We crossed the US/Canada border around sunset time and the wait wasn't long.

Overall, this was the most relaxing backpacking trip I think I have ever had! It was great! I already want to go back to British Columbia, it was so beautiful up there.

Miles Hiked: 5.6 miles

Until next time Canada!


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