October 11, 2009
Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC
In the last day of summer in 2009 (or I should say autumn), dad and I did the longest hike to date, over 40 km round trip in one day. Garibaldi Provincial Park is definitely the best place to visit near Vancouver. With a blue sky day, it worth to explore the southern section of this park – Diamond Head Area, located just to the NE of Squamish. Although this area is not nearly as popular as Garibaldi Lake, the trails offer absolutely equal-quality views. Our intention was to hike up Opal Cone and explore some other trails if we had time. We drove up the road to its end and that dumped us hundreds of meters above sea level shaving off a whole lot of elevation regain as for the typical coastal trips. The approach was via Elfin Lakes trail.
After 5 km mundane hike, we made to Red Heather meadows, and then the view opened up completely, with Atwell Peak (part of Mt. Garibaldi massive) and Mt. Tantalus being the most eye-catching. These are great mountaineering objectives that attracts me coming back to Vancouver someday in the future. We also encountered lingering snow patches. I believe it was my first time actually hiking on snow covered terrain, and it was exciting. In short time this trail brought us up and over the highpoint of Paul Ridge, and then we got great view of Elfin Lakes, as well as our objective – Opal Cone in the far distance. It looked awfully small compared to Mt. Garibaldi nearby…
From the two famous Elfin Lakes we got great views there of the surrounding mountains. There was a well-defined trail leading to Opal Cone. We followed it, losing quite a bit of elevation towards Ring Creek. There was some scrambling to get down to this creek. It’s easy scrambling, but for us at that time, we felt it being quite sketchy. After that bit, we followed a set of faint trails up to the Cone. We walked around the crater for almost a full loop, soaking in excellent views towards each direction, before heading down via the official trail.
The return hike felt long but at the trail junction to the saddle I started to get more ambitious. Checking my watch I realized there’s still a few hours daylight time so why not take full advantage of it…