Garibaldi Provincial Park is located between Squamish and Whistler, almost a two hour drive outside of Vancouver. We booked a rental car for the day and left the city early that morning.
The hike up to Garibaldi Lake is tiring. The first six kilometers leads uphill on a winding, well trampled out path through the forest. We were only a kilometer in and I was already peeling off layers of clothing. After the steady climb we reached a fork in the road, and turned off towards Taylor Meadows. We heard it was beautiful but it was a little late in the season to catch the flora in full bloom.
The weather was cooler up here and the mountain tops all around us were shrouded in clouds. We continued walking over a boardwalk and through the meadows. There were fewer hikers as most had bypassed the meadows and gone directly to the lake.
Just as we were almost through the alpine meadows, a mother black bear and her cub crossed our path! I have never seen wild bears so close up before, it was exhilarating and frightening at the same time. We fumbled with our cameras briefly but couldn't get a good shot and decided to slowly make our way around the bears. Luckily, the bears couldn’t be bothered and ignored us completely. It was only until we were a safe distance away that I realized how fortunate we were to see the wild animals. Incredible!
When we finally reached Garibaldi Lake, we knew it was worth the trek up. The lake is a surreal turquoise color due to the glacial flow coming down from the mountains.
We had lunch sitting on some rocks near the waters edge, along with a bunch of other hikers. We were constantly entertained by curious chipmunks darting up to inspect our snacks.
Once we had taken in our fill of the view we decided to head back. We were both initially excited about taking the walk down although it proved to be more difficult than going up (as it usually is with hikes). Both of our legs, especially knees, were really hurting, so we slowed down to a more comfortable pace and wandered down the mountain path.
Waiting for us in the rental car was a thermos filled with warm Earl Grey tea and honey – a reinvigorating treat after a long hike! We were pretty sore for a few days after the hike, but it was a fun day trip and perhaps next summer we will build up our endurance to take on a longer hike.