Living Room of the Gods

My legs are a little sore this morning after hiking up to Garibaldi Lake yesterday. This is a 19 kilometre hike with an elevation gain of 810 meters. If solitude is what you’re craving then this is not the hike for you. There were hundreds of dayhikers and overnight backpackers. Many of them find it necessary to scream and shout when they are hiking on the trail. I even saw one young man heading up the trail in flip flops.

When you arrive at the lake you are greeted by the beautiful blue-green colour of the water and a spectacular view of the glacier, crevasses and snow on Tantalus Mountain. The lake is 5 kilometres long, 4 kilometres wide and 300 metres deep. The water level of the lake was higher than previous years. I think this is because of the cloudy and cool weather we experienced in July and much of the snow didn’t start to melt until August when we received sunnier weather and hotter temperatures. As I sat along the shore of the lake, near the Battleship Islands, a few Whiskey Jacks and chipmunks joined me for lunch, while I soaked my feet in the icy cold water. At Garibaldi Lake you can also see the Black Tusk, but this side of the mountain is less spectacular then what you see from the top of Whistler Peak or Blackcomb.

My original plan was to spend a few hours sitting in the sun and enjoying the view, but there was just too many people. As I hiked backed down I stopped to look at The Barrier which is a geological formation that formed about 12,000 years ago and creates a natural dam. In 1855 an estimated 45 million tonnes of rock broke off of The Barrier. This slab of rock would have been about 500 metres long, 300 metres high and 500 metres deep. It buried a section of Rubble Creek and as I sat there it was interesting to see the creek reemerge from the rockfall further down the slope. The rock looks very unstable and small boulders are constantly tumbling off of The Barrier face. I’m sure, at some point in time, maybe thousands of years from now, there will be another huge rockslide. I wouldn’t want to be around when that happens because it’s holding back all of the water in Garibaldi Lake.

The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and when you think about the passage of time in terms of geological events, you realize that the 100 years or so that a person will live is equivalent to the blink of an eye when compared to larger stretches of time, like the evolution of our planet.

© Jens Preshaw

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