It’s 5:45 am, and my alarm is insistently telling me that it’s time to lift my tired muscles out of bed and get moving. There have been earlier starts than this one, but any wake-up that takes place in the dark is a tough one for me. We hurriedly shower, grab a bite to eat, pack our gear, and hop into the car for a quick hour’s drive North of Vancouver. You wouldn’t think that within an hour, you’d be through the mess of traffic Downtown, over the unpredictable Lion’s Gate Bridge, and cruising towards freedom on the Sea to Sky Highway. But this is part of the magic of Vancouver, and why people love it here so much; up, up, and you’re away into isolation, stunning beauty, and the blissful quiet of the backcountry.
Our destination this past weekend was the Elfin Lakes Hut, an easily accessible and beautiful area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. From the parking lot at the base of the trailhead, it’s about a 4-5 hour hike in (totalling approximately 11km). The first half is an uphill grind, but the second half of the hike mellows out as you plod your way along a scenic ridge that eventually leads you down to the Elfin Lakes Hut. We lucked out with bluebird skies and balmy temperatures, and the scene was completed with a glittering layer of fresh, fluffy snow.
Our arrival at the hut was followed by a scramble to find some floor space to throw our sleeping mats and bags down; because of the accessibility of this area, and the lack of avalanche danger, the hut is (from what became apparent) frequently over occupied on Saturday nights. This, however, couldn’t tamper our enthusiasm for the dazzling sunset we were treated to, as well as the unbelievable display of stars that the night sky put on. Pure beauty up there.