I left home at 5am, the earliest I’ve been up in quite some time, and drove from Langley, east of Vancouver, towards Whistler where I picked up two youngsters I know from Edmonton. This was the view that greeted me as I approached the town with the exotic name, Squamish.
We were bound for Joffre Lakes, a bit further down the road, west of Pemberton on the 99. Someone was having an uninspired, dull day when they named the three lakes in the park – lower, middle and upper Joffre Lakes. The lower is minutes from the trailhead; next comes the middle one (and most Instagrammed of the three) after around 2.5km of steep climbing.
A good thing too that it is so photogenic, because I needed the breather. Often one has queues of people waiting to be photographed on the log floating in the lake. Fortunately we were there early and there weren’t many tourists around yet. The boys took off their shoes and marched right in, as deep as the log would keep them afloat.
From there we headed towards the upper lake, passing a beautiful waterfall along the way. After a quick snack on the north-west bank, we made our way down the narrow, rock-strewn, root-entrailed path to the campsite on the southern shore, Matier Glacier towering overhead. Obviously we climbed the ridge part-way up towards the glacier to get a good view across the lake. My lungs wouldn’t allow me to go all the way, although the brothers were game.
You may think the water colour was photoshopped. It wasn’t.
In total, with all the stops, it took us 2.5 hours to get to our highest point, a 400m elevation gain. Going down, I followed the much-fitter-than-I teenagers at a trot. That took 1.5 hours, as we passed a steady stream of weekend hikers, including some wearing sandals. (What were they thinking?!?) I was just pleased I didn’t bring the six-year-old with me on this one!