Whistler Peak and Harmony Lake
Didn't get to Singing Pass
My hiking books list the Musical Bumps
(out to singing
pass and then Russet lake) as one of the best hikes available - 24km to
the lake and back, but beautiful views all around. I
thought I would give it a go. I checked the web page - the lifts
open at 10am and close at 5pm so I got up at 6:30 and was out the door
at 7, in the village by 9 (light traffic, really) and on the third
gondola up (they really mean 10am). Turns out the last Gondola
down is actually 5:30pm and on Saturdays (in good weather) it's 8:30pm.
been a while since I've been in the moonscape up
there, but it really does seem devoid of life. Whistler has
scared large areas making roads, lifts and water storage ponds so the
beauty really is in the details. I was quite surprised to find
how much snow was still on the ground - walking past snow banks higher
than me and seeing the surrounding hills covered in large patches of
snow didn't jive with my understanding of this being warmer than
average summer. I checked my map and I was making good time - 4
km an hour so I might actually make 24 km in 7 hours.
then I ran out of trail (or road at this
point). I wasn't exactly paying attention and it didn't help that
the "trail" on the map was actually a service road and I needed to
branch to a real foot path. Perhaps making the choice harder was
that that foot path was under a snow bank and wasn't at all
visible. The fog didn't help either - if you did decide to walk
out onto the snow pack, you could see at least 20 feet until you ran
out of visibility. Oh well. Since my hike wasn't going to
be full length, I decided to stick around and take some photos of
plants that live this high up (Whistler Peak is 2181 meters).
Plants this high up are low to the ground and often live tucked into
I started walking back the lift station to try the other branch to
singing pass. Along the way I noticed a trail up to Exhilaration
Peak and sat on the rock to watch the clouds roll by.
I noticed two
groups of hikers down on the
glacier. Earlier in the day I picked up a brochure for a Glacier
- I'm pretty sure this was the tour in progress.
The Glacier at Whistler is pretty much a dirty patch of snow - hardly
the deeply crevassed and caved glaciers that I find so romantic.
back down, one of the tourists on the road
pointed out a critter on the side of the road and asked if I knew what
it was. It was a Hoary Marmot and quite tame - some tourists got
to within 2 meters of it. The Marmot appeared to be eating the
dirt/clay at the side of the road, but it's possible it was eating
salt. No whistling (it was silent) but a nice animal to see.
Back to the station, I took the other branch to Singing pass - the
lower route past Harmony lake. Harmony lake was quite nice to
see, but the weather wasn't exactly top notch.
Only to find myself thwarted again.
the start of July, even in a warm year isn't the correct time to hike
out to Singing pass/Russet Lake. I was disappointed, but there
was lots of flora to see from he trails around Harmony Lake.
While the overcast day leads to rather bland scenic shots, it's great
for flower photography. I've added some new features to my web
site for storing biological taxonomy data (See Western
) so I was keen to take photos of plants I both had seen
before and were new.
Happy with an afternoon of hiking I returned to the station. The
tourists at Whistler come in all shapes - me in my hiking boots and
tripod certainly wasn't normal among the loafer wearing street
clothing you see up there. While it's great to see so many people
interested in seeing the alpine environment, it's a shame they aren't
adequately prepared for a short walk to see what it's really all about.
Tags: flower(14), alpine(13), sign(3), hiking(3), BC fauna(2), vista(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Hiking > Whistler Peak and Harmony Lake
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:58:08 Edit
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