Today was one of those days to feel proud to live in Canada. This was the perfect excuse to do my annual winter hike to Joffre Lakes. A short but strenous hike to see three beautiful lakes
This place was established as a recreation area in 1988 and became a Class A park in 1996.
In five years of visiting this place, so far this is year with the most snowfall.
The first lake is only 500 meters away from the parking lot. You don't even need snowshoes to reach this viewpoint from where you can see the glacier-laden peaks
But leaving the first lake is a different history, you better put your snowshoes on and be properly equipped for winter travel. After leaving the first lake, you have a steady ascent through the forest.
You need to cross some avalanche areas, the slopes are gentle and the avalanche risk is minimal. In summer time, this part is quite difficult to walk because of the boulders, but in winter, you can cross it in a matter of minutes.
Then you go again inside the forest and start maybe the most difficult part of the hike. Because of the steep sloopes, some areas are quite tricky to cross.
Finally I made it to the second lake. This lake has a fascinating emerald green colour during the summer. On the background you can see Matier Glacier. During my quick break I was talking with a couple of people coming from Pemberton, they were very happy. They were visiting Whistler but were smart to stay in Pemberton where you can get accommodations starting at just over one-third the price of one in Whistler.
Back to my trip, from the second lake to the third lake is only 20 minutes, in winter I like to travel parallel to the creek coming from the third lake. As the other lakes, this lake was created by glacial activity where lake basins are sculpted and filled with melted ice/snow.
Below the sun there is another small glacier called Stonecrop Glacier. Right from that glacier there is another one called Tszil Glacier. Many people follow a not very clear path to reach the borders of Tszil Glacier.
You can park on Upper Joffre Lake, there are maybe 24 walk-in, backcountry campsites. Still, it is not recommended to do winter camping at the Upper Lake campground due to high avalanche danger.
I decided to have closer views of the glacier, I am not an experienced mountaineer, so do not think I may even try to venture onto glaciers or snow fields. I have enough fun going downhill over the gentle slopes close to the glacier.
I have a lot of fun playing with the birds. I heard mule deer, black deer, black bears and mountain goats live in and around the park but I have never seen one. I don't blame them, this place is extemely popular during hiking season.
I was able to do the 6 kms hike in 2 hours 15 minutes, coming back took me 1 hour 20 minutes. I had a wonderful time, the views of the jagged peaks, icefields and the noise from the cold rushing streams are still alive on my mind.