A few week’s back a biting cold Arctic wind made it’s way south when we had plans to go to Whistler. Even though it was frigid, we headed up to Whistler anyways for a weekend in the mountains to celebrate a friends 30th birthday and to hang out with our significant others’ co-workers for a work retreat in a chalet. Not the worst place to bond with co-workers!
The Saturday we woke up and were planning on meeting our friends for a hike up to Joffre Lakes 30 minutes outside of Whistler in Pemberton. When we woke up it was -21 Celcius! We packed up lunch, lots of extra layers, coffee and headed to meet our friends at their cabin. When we got out of the car at their cabin, it was sunny and felt MUCH warmer than Whistler.
With a little bit of false confidence that the day was warming up we packed up into 4 cars and headed to the trailhead where we were met with a harsh reality. It was f*&^%*ing freezing. And not just like oh I am freezing, but like -20’s Celcius freezing. But my goodness was it gorgeous! I know I said I would never snowshoe again but I can’t help myself but go outside.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so we put on some extra layers, strapped on our snowshoes and started hiking up to the first of three lakes. You come upon the first lake about 5 minutes into the hike and it offers some seriously amazing views. This lake has become pretty popular on the gram cause it’s beautiful and easy to get to. We opted for crossing the frozen lake (which we are NOT fans of), and headed to second lake.
The hike between first lake and second lake is much harder than the first section and was in the shade most of the time. I had opted for my liner gloves cause it’s easier to take photos and because I usually get hot when hiking and end up sans gloves anyways. By the time we were starting the section to hike up to second lake (about 5 minutes into the total hike) I could NOT feel my fingers. Thank goodness my friend Max had a few extra pairs of thick gloves and loaned a pair to me.
The second lake offered even better views, we stopped for maybe a minute and then decided it was just too cold we had to keep moving. On the short distance from second lake to third lake there is a really cool water fall, an awesome bridge, and spots for great shots. When you finally cross the bridge and walk through a small grove of trees, you are brought to the final lake. It was worth every hard step, frozen finger, and pushing past every lake that already had a good view.
We took some photos of the birthday girl and the AMAZING crew of humans we get to call our tribe, slammed down some pb&j as quickly as we could, might have shot gunned a beer, and then hightailed it back down because it was too cold to not be moving.
The hike out was much faster than the hike in and we had some friends who had only worn leggings and actually could not feel their legs. It was beautiful but as usually we came away with some lessons learned.
- Make sure you bring extra layers in the car when heading up to the mountains cause the trailhead can be a lot colder than the place you left from
- Bring EXTRA gloves – thank goodness my friend Max had an extra pair. The top lake was so cold and I was taking lots of photos so I took my big outer gloves off and lost complete feeling in my fingers in about 5 minutes. It was so cold we had enough time to slam half a PB&J sammie and then headed back to the cars.
- Take a thermos of hot something with you.
- Hand warmers
- Don’t stop at the first great view you see, it only gets better the harder you push
- Even if it’s cold, stop and enjoy yourself even just for a minute!