This past weekend I had the amazing chance to hike (what is now) my favourite hike in the Garibaldi region. Wedgemount Lake – geographically speaking – is situated in between Whistler and Pemberton. About a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver, on a nice sunny day (like we had) made for a enjoyable drive along the sea to sky.
Over the past few years, Garibaldi has grown on me more and more. I got my first taste seeing Elfin Lakes, then it was Cheakamus and many others after. Hiking to Wedgemount Lake reminded me of my past trek to Joffre Lakes; so beautiful and serene.
The trail to Wedgemount Lake stretches a short 7km, but beholds a massive elevation gain (approx. 1200m). A week before this trip I was trying to psych myself up (especially my legs). I knew this hike would be a good challenge without the 20 pound pack. Carrying that pack made for all of the fun (ha!).
The trail starts you off at a gradual incline (surprised?). It continues on like that for a good hour and a bit and continues to steepen. With the pack I was focusing on leaning as forward as I could in parts. The one fear I had was toppling down the mountain backwards. I’m happy to say that didn’t happen or this blog post would have never made it up! I’m not saying there weren’t times where my life flashed before my eyes and the obligatory “gack!” or other foul-mouthed words would come out – sorry ma and pa!
When you’re about 2 hours in you’ll reach this big opening that looks like a massive rock slide. Snap a few pics of the mound and continue on by following the orange markers. You’re about to arrive at the second to last steep part. This time it will only last for about 30 minutes – s’ok, you’re doing great! Stop here to refuel yourself with a snack and guzzle of water. I recharged a few times with my homemade protein bar you can check out the recipe here!
The trail eventually even’s out for a bit. Around you is a moss wonderland. It feels like you’re meandering through a mystical forest in a fairytale. A calm stream trickles near and between moss-covered rocks. It’s so tranquil and peaceful – a nice break to re-charge for what’s to come.
The rock face. It looks horrible when you first notice it, but really it’s over before you know it. This is the last difficult stretch before you reach the lake. You’ve got this. At this point my legs were way past the “al dente” spaghetti stage – they were mush. When I stood still they shook uncontrollably. Thank god we were almost there. The sun was shinning and getting pretty warm. The frigid lake was calling.
We scored an amazing platform to pitch tent that overlooked the entire lake. Before we knew it, the fireball was out and we were in the lake. There are no words to describe how cold this water was. All I can say is that it was the COLDEST water I’ve even been in. For a while there I had to focus on my breathing as I waded in the sulphur, mineral enriched glacial water. That’s true hydrotherapy folks.
After an adventurous/interesting climb back up to the tent, we both decided a siesta would be the most appropriate thing to do after half a good amount of whiskey and a long day’s hike.
Our initial plan was to hike to Wedgemount glacier, but chilling out seemed to overrule the decision. We did though make it to a good view point for sunset. With the impeccable blue skies all day – this sunset would be something amazing…and was it ever.
To top off the night, we pulled out our mats and sleeping bags from the tent and star gazed. I hadn’t seen this many stars in the sky since I was in Fiji back in 2012. I’m pretty sure I saw the milky way – it was incredible. Seeing the sky like this made for a perfect end to an amazing day. Tomorrow we’d head back down, but not before a little expedition to the glacier!
Waking up at 6 was well worth it. Catching the sunrise kiss Mt. Wedgemount and Mt. Cook was a sight to see. After some good ol’oatmeal, we headed out to the glacier. It was pretty tricky to climb on it without the use of crampons (next time!) but we made it a couple metres up. It’s a sight to see – especially the ice caves (which we couldn’t reach because of the water reservoir).
Making our way back to the tent, we took it down and got that part out of the way. After a few headstand attempts and much needed stretching, we packed up our bags and said goodbye to Wedgemount.
I was kinda anxious about the hike down. All I could think about was my poor knees and the chance of falling face first. During the steep parts I kept replaying Terror Squad’s “Lean Back” in my head – and it worked! I only fell on my bum once! Thank god more the walk pole Marnel let me borrow. It saved my life more than once. We really trucked it down and make it back to the car in 2 hours. My legs were spaghetti (as usual) and were shaky for a while after.
On the way back to Vancouver we made a pit stop at Alice lake for a plunge in the (much warmer lake). It’s beginning to turn into a post Garibaldi ritual.
Wedgemount has definitely topped my hikes in Garibaldi. Only being 7km long, it feels like your 100km away from civilization. That’s probably my favourite part about it. I will be back, Wedgemount. That’s for sure!
Check out the little video I put together that captures some of this trips greatest moments! Click here to view!
Keep exploring, stay adventurous.
Have you ever climbed to Wedgemount Lake? Suggest any other hike just as amazing as this one? Let me know!
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