Beautiful Garibaldi Lake, Worth the Hike.

Garibaldi Lake was our first taste of hiking in the Canadian Rockies. We scoped this location out since it was between Vancouver and our next stop in Whistler. We had no idea what we were getting into when we chose this hike, but I will preface this by saying that although I am an avid walker, none of us had done any amount of training and all of us live in places that are just slightly above sea level. I will also preface this by saying that we took advantage of happy hour at West Coast Wilderness Lodge and after a full bottle of wine between the three of us, Elise felt the effects of elevation and fell and twisted her ankle. Luckily, I am a physical therapist and I had her ankle wrapped and ready to go. This was bound to be an adventure.

Wrap That Ankle Jess.

Hiking Pals.

The Path to Garibaldi.

When we pulled into the parking lot, our excitement was high. We changed into our hiking boots, loaded up our day packs, hit the restrooms and headed toward the trail. We were finally getting to break in our hiking boots. Alright!

Our first taste of hiking in the Canadian Rockies!

Only 9 More KM to Go!

Love a Little Waterfall.

The signage at the entrance to the trailhead informed us that this was an 18 km hike if we went to the lake and back. In the american measurement system this is roughly 11.2 miles and I walk that almost daily in my just above sea level town of Columbus, OH. Can’t be that bad, right? What was I thinking?! We failed to also notice the signage that informed us of an 800 m (3,280 ft) elevation gain and some dreaded switchbacks to make that happen in a less strenuous way.

Walkway Across Waterfall.

Love Being in the Woods.

A Meadow at the Tops, Watch Out for Bears.

Wooden Walkway Through Meadow.

We started off our switchbacks with excitement. We had a somewhat decent pace and then started feeling the shortness of breath and tired legs and opted for a few rest breaks. Our feeling of excitement remained, but we also started wondering, what did we just sign ourselves up for? Looking back at the timestamps on my photos of the km markers, I can see that that first km took us 17 minutes, then 20 minutes to km two, then 16 minutes to km 3. That makes our 5k time roughly 53 minutes and we reached Garbaldi lake in 3:10. This makes our average pace per km 23:45. I have no idea if this is good or bad in the world of hiking, or if everyone else is like us and is just happy to enjoy nature not to make it to the final destination, but what I do know is that finally reaching this lake gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and pride. After all, we had just hiked over 8 km with 800 m (3,280 ft) of elevation gain on our first hike in Canada, without any sort of training.

Read About a “Cooler” Hike we did on a glacier here!

Another Waterfall!

Just Turn Around and You’re There.

Oh Hey Garibaldi!

We Love These Glacial Lakes.

Jess Enjoying the View.


We had packed a bunch of snacks with us, so we were sure to take some time to enjoy them while sitting along the lake. When we finally got up from our comfortable resting spots, we felt immediate muscle soreness and amped ourselves up mentally for the hike back down. If we went up the switchbacks, we were going to have to go down them and down was bound to be worse than up (thanks eccentric quad work!). I have no idea how long the hike back down took us, but our total hiking time was over 6 hours so I’m guessing it took about the same time to go down as it did to go up.

Here Comes Ash and Jess Around the Lake.

Elise Not “Tired” At All.

So Worth The Hike!!

When we finally arrived in Whistler, we could barely walk because we were so sore. We grabbed dinner and High-tailed it (to the best of our abilities) to a grocery/pharmacy store before it closed. We stocked up on aleve and tiger balm and let the magic happen. Tomorrow’s agenda included another hike, so we needed to be ready.

If You Walk Past Garibaldi There’s Another Lake.



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    November 27, 2019


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