Thursday, July 22, 2010

Garibaldi and Black Tusk Hike

Panorama from Black Tusk

Over the weekend, I ditched my running flats and bikes in favour of my old worn-out sneakers and headed out with a few friends for a scenic hike in the backcountry. We went to the Squamish area to camp overnight, and then next day, we did the beautiful and unique hike to the Black Tusk at Garibaldi Provincial Park.
the cast: Me, Vince, Claire, Matt 

I’ve done a handful of hikes on the North Shore and some other not-so-advance ones. So to do a hike in the middle of backcountry BC is completely new territory. This past weekend trip was the perfect escape opportunity from the heat and from the norms of city life. Also it was a chance for this outdoorsy F/T triathlete to experience the wilderness of beautiful BC and just enjoy the scenery for a change.

Yep, so you’ve guessed it, this nature-business-adventure trip is just up my back alley. How to become one step closer to discovering global domination, STEP No. 15: Rejuvenate your sense of wonder.

Until I figure out the recipe for elixir of life, I think it would be safe to say these are the next best ways of rejuvenating my senses.

• Part 1 Go Camping!
• Part 2 Summit a Mountain!
• Part 3 Plunge like a Polar Bear!

Part 1 Go Camping!

Panorama of Campsite

I am no purist, so real camping to me does not necessary involves a moose waking me up in the morning. My curiosity was like a little kid, there was a lot to learn about going to a campsite. I do have tenting experience though. I’ve tented inside a backyard neighbour’s house as a kid, (also loosely known as a sleepover I’m being informed). I’ve also tented at Andrew dad’s backyard for the Victoria Half Iron, which was a lot of fun!

After a few tries of searching for available campgrounds, we managed to eventually luck out and crash a campground. The only catch was that there was a private event going on. We were told it was a family event and they could be a little noisy until 3am. Getting a little late, we welcomed the potential noise pollution thinking it would be just friendly folk music.

Matt building the headquarters

Claire's headquarters looked more like the tent for Cirque du Soleil

Little did we know, they were pumping sweet beats...all night long until 6:30am. “Burn in the forest”, it was called, which followed 10 principles of Burning Man, (for those who don’t know is a popular event held in the Nevada desert). I struggled to get a decent sleep in for the night, not because of the sweet beats which no doubt scared the poor moose away, but mainly because this was my first time sleeping on a thin foam mattress. I felt like a rotisserie turkey, turning every 10 minutes because my bum was sore from the rocky ground. Lesson learned – invest in a decent mattress!

Although we only crashed the night, my first real camping experience was a nice way to share camaraderie between friends, enjoy the bright stars, and listen to friendly beat music of course.

Part 2 Summit a Mountain!

Who knew there was still snow in mid July? I least expected it. It was one of the many very humbling surprises. We ended up hiking close to 30km (27km on Garmin) with about 1600m in elevation gain.

Vince, well being Vince

At about 11km into the hike towards Black Tusk, we followed the visible footprints eventually leading us to a challenging detour. By the time Matt, our experienced trustworthy leader, figured out the orange ribbons route markers were actually further down towards our far right, we had already done a lot of work getting to our elevation.
Take a sneak peak behind, absolutely stunning!

We also saw a grandma cruising down our paths, so we figured it couldn’t be as bad. She inspired us to continue on, not knowing much more about the steepness of the route.

It was very rewarding by the time we reach the summit. I couldn’t resist but feel the thoughts of global domination running in my mind.

2120m above sea level later
Shoe surfing!

Luckily we ran into some fellow hikers and we followed their descent on a much friendlier route on the intended path. It was humbling to know we didn’t have to go back down on the route we came up. I was relieved!

Part 3 Plunge like a Polar Bear!

Just when you thought seeing snow was a breath of fresh air, dipping into the glacier lake water at Garibaldi Lake was the ultimate highlight of the trip. I was delighted with the dip. If time had permitted, I would have certainly gone back in a few more times. Sooo soothing.
I've been in warmer waters.

Overall, I thought this hiking trip by far exceeded my expectations. It was a very humbling experience - the gratification of camping outdoors, reaching a summit, dipping into glacier waters, and sharing camaraderie between friends.


  1. Hey there,

    I was just wondering how cold it got at night. Thanks for sharing. JACK

  2. Hi Jack,

    We camped at lower elevation, so got to be about 10ish degrees Celsius at night. It wasn't bad.