A weekend Camping trip
The BC Coast mountains can be every bit as
as the Banff Jasper area and without the busloads of tourists or the 10
Sometimes you do have to work at to see it though. Joffre Lakes
are on the Top 5 of local attractions and surprisingly, this is my
first time visiting.
Helen had the good idea of going for a camping
trip on the August long
weekend. The August Long weekend is like mid life crisis for
outdoor people in Vancouver - it's a long, often beautiful weekend but
everything is super crowded - do you brave the crowds where ever you go
or do you stay in town and wish you were in outside? Helen's even
better idea was to leave a day early (Friday) and come back a day early
(Sunday) so we would have time to recover. Brilliant.
The trail to the first lake is as good a trail
without being paved. The park had a program I've never seen
before - there was a pile of gravel and a number of buckets to form a
"bucket brigade" to bring gravel down the trail. It doesn't take
much gravel to make an impossibly heavy bucket, but amazingly people
did bring gravel down the trail. I carried my own bucket to the
end and was sad to see the end of the gravel.
After the gravel thins away you see the true
busy wet coast hiking - the trail is rooty in some places and there are
periods of climbing over boulder fields. The four kilometers to
the second lake are long but view is spectacular. For many people
this is two hours and the turn around point for their day.
The next kilometer up is some of the most
the trip. As you come up to the third lake level, you see the
trees thin out and the slopes become bare. by the time you make
it to the lake, you are treated to a 360° view and a well deserved
This is my first time backpack camping in
years. I needed to
go to MEC to update my backpack (I actually got at a competitor) and I
needed a smaller, lighter sleeping bag. Helen was traveling on
lots of new gear as well - a new Thermarest as well as the sleeping bag
from our camping earlier in the
. Food is often one of the places you can cut weight
cheaply - dehydrated is lighter but it may not taste as good. For
this trip, I brought more fresh (water still in the food) food than
dried and it turns out you don't eat as much as you would think.
Camp is high up - pretty much alpine.
ground is stones but where there is water or perhaps a bit of soil
exposed there is generally plants and in many cases those plants are
Plants were fun, but there were also a few
species of birds up
here. The common Golden Eye (duck) was on the lake for a
few days and he spent most of his days diving under the water.
The Dark Eyed Junco lived pretty much at the beach eating flies.
One morning a few Whiskey Jacks came to visit but they didn't stand
long. Other than that, not much.
On Saturday we did a bit of a day walk.
Our first walk was up to
the top of the lake (under the glaciers) to get a look around.
At the stream side there were fields of
Where it was particularly wet, you could find Monkey Flowers.
After that hike, we decided to try a longer day
hike up toward the
Tszil Glacier. This hike looked to be about 8km long and started
quite well - a little bit of rock hopping, but otherwise nice trails
through alpine. As we got higher (into the "moon" zone) the trail
got dicier. The trail became the ridge of a moraine - steep falls
on both sides and a pretty thin trail.
As the trail got higher and thinner we decided
this was getting
stupid. We decided to turn around and go back to camp.
When we got back to camp, we found it
was full. Being Saturday night on a long weekend, many more
people had come up and every flat spot had been taken. The
party next to us (less than 20 feet away) had beer so I was a little
worried but it turns out they only had one beer each - I guess the walk
up was worth something.
dinner (we had instant noodles - it was fun!) and we decided to
stay up to watch the sunset and the stars.
The hike down the next day took more than two hours
and we saw a fair number of people coming up in sandals with a beach
towel but no water. I really wonder what people are
thinking when they visit a place like this. That said, we had a
great weekend - thanks BC parks!
Tags: flower(7), hiking(4), panorama(4), lake(4), mountain(4), camping(3)
People: Helen(7), John(3)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Camping > Joffre Lakes
Wow! I enjoyed your photos. Some friends and I are going up this weekend, July 2010 (my first time), and I can't wait. The more photos I see, the more I want to leave NOW! :D I always struggle with the extra weight of my camera gear and often opt to just bring my point and shoot. I figure since I am carrying everything else up, might as well add the extra few pounds. Thanks again for sharing your photos!
Last Modified Saturday, January 21st, 2023 at 23:43:50 Edit
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