Elfin Lakes

[caption id="attachment_1775" align="alignright" width="313" caption="We started just to the right of the white line. The first part was the road to the parking lot"]We started just to the right of the white line. The first part was the road to the parking lot[/caption] So a couple weekends ago I decided to skip the regular park lapping and headed on a little backcountry adventure. The destination was Elfin Lakes, a short multi-day trek through Garibaldi Provincial Park in Squamish. Along with myself, my pop and 3 other gentlemen made the 13km round trip over a weekend of decent weather and some dandy fresh snow. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the area, Garibaldi Park is a 195,000 hectare provincial park. With over 90km of hiking trails (which cater to not only hikers, but bikers, snowshoers and skiers to name a few), it proves to be one of the most beautiful, explorable regions in the world. Our hike began from the Diamond Head trailhead parking lot, a short drive up the hill from the Sea to Sky highway.

The hike began with a fairly mellow incline. It took us roughly an hour and a half to surpass the initial climb, ending at the Red Heather Meadows warming hut, where we had a rest and ate some lunch.

[caption id="attachment_1763" align="alignnone" width="384" caption="Hiking truly shows how much we take our chairlifts for granted"]Hiking truly shows how much we take our chairlifts for granted[/caption]

Now to be honest, I haven't really been around the block when it comes to this whole backcountry/ski touring deal, but I will tell you that it is hard! Hiking up a constant slope with 45lbs on your back does not rank in the easy/beginner category. Surely my stamina was put to the test this weekend, and as a direct result I am now informed of how out of shape I am.

[caption id="attachment_1765" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="So many hills. Gah."]So many hills. Gah.[/caption]

The hike after our lunch break was on fairly flat terrain, however mother earth thought it would be real neato to throw in some hills. This is particularly annoying due to the fact that the skins on your skis are great at going up...but not down. So in turn you were required to hike down the hill. Unbelieveable...

[caption id="attachment_1766" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Hurray for hills... not"]Hurray for hills... not[/caption]

After a considerable amount of time spent following the ups and downs of the earth, we arrived at the Elfin Lakes shelter, a small cabin built about 30 years ago to house hikers for the night.

[caption id="attachment_1767" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="The Crib"]The Crib[/caption]

Usually the cabin can be occupied by about 34  people comfortably on bunks. We had 45 inside. Another 10 camped outside.

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="At capacity, or at least I hope so"]At capacity, or at least I hope so[/caption]

As the night wound down we had a semi-substantial dinner and great mingling sesh with the other campers. I didn't really favour the dehydrated Pad Thai that was served, so I enjoyed some Toblerone. Remember kids, chocolate is always a healthy alternative and is full of vitamins and superpowers.

[caption id="attachment_1769" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Yum"]Yum[/caption]

My sleep was limited that night due to some of the loudest snoring I've ever encountered. I woke up with my earbuds still blaring in my ears; my attempt at droning out the noise. Clearly it was unsuccessful, as I was more tired than ever, however a Redbull later and some more chocolate, we were ready to go.

These are the only true turns I put in on this trip. Usually campers have the option of hiking towards the peak of Diamondhead Mountain, a small trek up from the cabin, and skiing down there. Our group was a little less motivated, so 2 of us took the initiative to hit a smaller slope adjacent to the cabin. It was over in about 5 turns. Nonetheless, it was much, much better than hiking.

[caption id="attachment_1770" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="And then I remembered I had to hike back up"]And then I remembered I had to hike back up[/caption]

Following my short downhill experience, we proceeded to hike out, making good time and encountering beautiful sunny skies.

[caption id="attachment_1771" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Not too bad for a weekend of forecasted snow and clouds"]Not too bad for a weekend of forecasted snow and clouds[/caption]

By the time we reached the car, I was happy to take off my boots and enjoy some more chocolate. Overall the trip was a great experience. It really gave me some perspective on how easy we usually have it, taking a lift up. Not only that, but I learned I am really into chocolate. Good thing?

[caption id="attachment_1772" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Happy and glad, despite blisters galore"]Happy and glad, despite blisters galore[/caption]

The next attempt I would like to consider is a similar trek through Singing Pass. Until then I am off to get in shape... pfftt.

[caption id="attachment_1773" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Payce"]Payce[/caption]