Yesterday we finally achieved something that we’ve wanted to do since deciding to move to Canada. We finally hiked to Lake Garibaldi! Our hiking plan originally was to start out with small hikes and then build the difficulty up to the 18 km round trip to Lake Garibaldi. But, after we did the 2,500ft hell that was Mount Gardner a few weeks back, we thought we’d just go for it. And we’re so glad we did!
We hired a car from Enterprise again, and to our delight were given a free upgrade to a BMW X1 which was pretty good considering the whole rental for the day was only $60! We drove up the Sea-to-Sky highway towards Whistler, and turned off a back road a bit after Squamish. Our original plan was to camp at the lake, but after seeing how many cars were in the car park, sorry ‘parking lot’, we were glad we’d decided to just do a day hike instead!
We’re used to hikes starting out easy, but this one was far from that! From the word go it was tough, very steep climbs in hot, humid conditions. About 3 minutes in we passed a group that looked younger than us, out of breath and knackered, but we pushed on. Once we got over that initial shock, we just got used to it. It is a pretty tough hike, with constant climbing, but you do get used to it. For most of the hike it feels like you are constantly going back on yourself on endless switchbacks, but they finally ended around the 6 km marker. The markers along the trail really helped keep us going, especially on the way down. We had a real sense of achievement as we completed each kilometer.
When we got to the 6 km marker we stopped for our first long break. We met a group of people on their way down who told us that the remaining 3 km to the lake was much easier and flatter, with better scenery. They weren’t wrong! It was so much easier, and we passed a couple of lovely lakes. When we got to the 8 km mark, we sped up, knowing that the amazing Lake Garibaldi was round the corner!
As you turn the last corner you are suddenly greeted with the emerald coloured lake, surrounded by enormous snow capped mountains, it’s as amazing as it looks in pictures. We were speechless! We made our way round the lake to find somewhere to sit down, which was difficult, as the place was rammed. Not only with people, but flies and bees and wasps. We were really glad we weren’t camping now. I think we’ve been a bit spoiled by how nice 20 mile bay was for camping. This place is crawling with flies and bugs. But anyway, enough about that! More pictures!
We sat at the lake for about 2 hours, taking a ridiculous amount of pictures. Every picture we took was amazing, the view is just breathtaking! Nick bravely went for a swim in the lake, which he said was “the coldest I’ve ever been”. That was enough to convince me not to jump in!
Whilst doing our research on the hike, we’d read that there are these birds at the lake that are so tame that they eat out of your hand. So we took some seeds with us in the hope that we’d spot some. We’d forgotten all about it when suddenly we noticed one curious bird looking at us through the trees. We quickly got the seeds out, Nick held out his hand, and the bird jumped straight on it and pecked away at the seeds! He ate a few, then stuffed some in his mouth before flying off. Then he came back a few seconds later for some more! We spent the next 30 mins or so entertaining ourselves with this. In between the bird leaving and coming back, this little chipmunk kept coming up for some seeds too, and he ate right out of our hand. It was amazing!
Soon, we realised the bird wasn’t coming back, so we decided we should probably start heading back. We took some last few pictures of the lake and started the hard slog back to the car. We did it in just over 2 hours, and it was pretty tough, although it was all downhill. This hurt our legs more than the climb to the lake, as you are constantly tensing up to stop yourself running all the way down. I fell on my arse once (what’s new), but apart from that, it was pretty incident free, and we were so glad to finally see the car again! We drove back down the amazing Sea-to-Sky highway, which runs alongside the coast. I think this is the most scenic road I’ve ever seen!
Today we are pretty sore and tired, my legs are in agony, and our feet are ruined. But it was all worth it! It was nowhere near as tough as Mount Gardner, even though it was a longer hike. It’s a really well maintained trail, very easy to follow, and with views that make you forget all about the pain! I can’t recommend it enough. The only thing I would say it to make sure you have plenty of water. We had 4.5 litres of water between us and it was just enough. We will definitely be doing this hike a good few times this year, plus we will be taking our friends Tom and Sarah there when they visit in September. It is now our favourite place in the world, and I’m so glad we finally did it! Enjoy the pics and video!