12 - 18 September 2014
In Squamish I stayed with Sophie - that I had met in May on the US west coast on my way up to Seattle - and her roommate Anne-Marie. Sophie was busy working during my stay and the rest of the time hanging out with Anne-Marie and her brother visiting from Quebec. They always spoke Quebeqois despite all being good at English so most of the time I was by myself which was fine (having many practical things to do) but not what I had hoped for - we didn`t have one meal together and when I left we had as little knowledge about each other as when I arrived a week earlier.
Despite the fantastic weather I spent the first days resting except for a bike ride up to Alice Lake 13k (8 miles) north of town - I had hoped for views but it turned out to be a very popular weekend destination so I quickly biked around the small lake and returned to town. The next day I did a great 35k hike to Black Tusk - the trail head was 32k north of Squamish so I was lucky to get a ride with Anne-Marie and her brother doing a daytrip to Whistler. I quickly got into a conversation with Spencer, Sarah and Hailey and since they were great company we ended up doing the whole hike together - up through the forest, across Taylor Meadow and finally the ascend to Black Tusk. The last part was not recommended because of loose and falling rocks but everybody does it and so did we - definitely the most strenuous part of the hike. At the actual tusk we had to wait about an hour to climb up "the chimney" because a guy panicked and had difficulties getting down and after him a lot of people waiting to descend and some to ascend before us. With the gorgeous view not the worst place to wait so we spent the time relaxing and having lunch. After finally ascending it was much easier coming down especially the first part running in the loose gravel. It was late afternoon but we still wanted to go to Garabaldi Lake so we made the detour - amazing turquoise water and a decent reflection. It was getting late so we sped up the last 9k back down through the forest arriving at the parking lot just after dark. My "team" was going back to Vancouver so I was lucky to get a ride back to Squamish after a great hike on a beautiful day in company with wonderful people.
Hiking Black Tusk the sore hamstring in my left buttock (from biking as described in the previous section) bothered me already from 5k ( 3 miles) - I considered quitting and returning but since the pain was manageable and it didn't get worse I decided to continue. It (of course) got worse during the last part of the hike because I had compensated the whole way and my plan of hiking to Elfin Lake the next day evaporated. After a restday I took off to do Elfin Lake - first biking 10k (6 miles) of which the last 5k were up a terrible gravel road. Here I was lucky to get a ride the last 11k uphill with Tom who was kind to take me all the way to the trailhead despite going somewhere else saving me a lot of time and hardship. The hike to Elfin Lake was 11k (7 miles) and already after a kilometer I caught up with Frank and Simone from Germany with whom I walked the remaining part. On the way we were fortunate to encounter a bear just next to the trail - it came down from a tree into the bushes and then crosses the trail right in front of us; beautiful and unusual I get to experience bears up close hiking. Halfway we got out of the forest and got views of the mountains and from there it only got better. We reached the lakes after 2 1/2 hours of leisurely walk and here we spent some hours having lunch enjoying the views and beautiful weather. Frank and Simone was staying overnight at a shelter so I walked back alone. As it was Tuesday there had been very few people on the trail and therefore nobody to get a ride down with so I biked. I had to break the whole way not to go too fast (no more than 10 k/h - 6mph) and break the bike on this terrible, washboard road...