Spanning close to 2,000 square kilometres, Garibaldi Provincial Park is a hiker’s paradise. While Garibaldi Lake itself is a worthwhile destination, myriad camping spots and viewpoints draw visitors from all over the world, including Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk, Helm Creek, and Panorama Ridge.
Between May and July of 2018, I gained 7,521 metres of elevation, much of which was reached in the park on two different occasions; once with a hike up to Black Tusk and back down to Garibaldi Lake (1,393m), and the second was an overnighter through Helm Creek up to Panorama Ridge (1,520m).
Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake
Bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses and scones kicked off our 6:00 AM meeting in the parking lot at the Garibaldi Lake trailhead. I was joining new friends who I had met at Chasecamp to conquer Black Tusk, and the group was motivated to reach the Tusk within four hours. The early start meant we were ahead of not only the crowds, but the heat, and we scurried up through switch-backs and meadows until we reached snow. Pausing every so often to catch our breath and take in the incredible scenery, our group make it to the base of the chimney by 9:30AM.
After some snacks at the top, the group split, with some heading to scramble the chimney, and others choosing to head back down to the turquoise lake below.
We all braved jumping into the frigid waters before making our way back down to the parking lot.
Helm Creek/Panorama Ridge
When Claire booked her trip to Vancouver, I wanted to ensure we did something special to celebrate our time together doing something other than dancing! So, when Olivia and Alex invited us to tag along with them, Lauren and Trevor to camp at Helm Creek, I jumped at the chance to show Claire an authentic “BC wilderness” experience. Starting from Cheakamus Lake, we hiked up the steep switch-backs to Helm Creek, where we set up camp in a storm of mosquitos. After refuelling – which included a nap – we headed up to Panorama Ridge. Through meadows, past the Tusk, and all the way up to the very top of the ridge. The vibrant colours of Garibaldi Lake below were enough to take one’s breath away, and when coupled with the stark white of the glacial mountains…WOW! I smiled to myself looking down at the lake below, pointing out the swimming spot where I’d taken a dip exactly one week before.
We trekked back down in time to cook supper, and get ready for bed. We opted to eat in our tents, as the bugs were just as hungry as we were! A solid night’s sleep following a full day of hiking allowed for some journalling time in the morning before breakfast and camp tear-down. We made our way down towards Cheakamus lake for a swim and some lunch.