The Barrier lava dam as viewed from 1300 metres. Click
on the photos for a detailed view.
Not deterred, however, we began or ascent up the mountain, passing fellow hikers (or in my case, being passed) - some hiking in, others hiking out. We made our way past the six-K mark, and then to The Barrier. For my fellow geography buffs, The Barrier needs no explanation. Still, it is such a remarkable remnant of the changing earth that it deserves attention. The Barrier is a lava dam that retains Garibaldi Lake. According to my good friend Wikipedia (and my knowledge collected last year from a Geography field trip), its thickness is 300 metres and is 2 kilometres wide. The volcano responsible for the flow is Mount Price, and more specifically, Clinker Peak (a west vent of Mount Price). At the time of eruption (9,000 years ago) a glacier existed in the Cheakamus River valley and the lava flow halted against it to form the barrier.
The area below The Barrier is extremely dangerous, so much so that the village of Garibaldi (below it) was relocated. It's possible that The Barrier could collapse following an earthquake or another event. Seeing it in its entirety was tremendous.
|Finally at Garibaldi Lake, where we stopped to view the lake |
trout and indulge in our finally arriving.
The following morning, after spending a cold, rainy night on the ground, surrounded by snow and wrapped in our sleeping bags like caterpillars in their cocoons, we were up and began our next hike. Garibaldi Park offers endless hiking opportunities and deciding which ridge to climb or mountain to conquer is more difficult that the venture itself (figuratively speaking). Thanks to Ben's topographic map, we decided on Mount Price for its yet unexplored territory (Jamison had already climbed the Black Tusk).
We did a bit of bushwhacking before finding the not-so-beaten trail in some crowded and rocky forest on the south-west portion of the lake near Battleship Islands. At first not even sure we were going anywhere (for our lack of knowledge about the trailhead), we quickly began hiking, not quite sure of where we were headed, excluding the moment when Ben pointed out, "We're going up there!" Marked only by flagging tape and a few faded footprints in the snow, we hiked towards Mount Price.
|Mount Price and its vent, Clinker Peak (left and right); Jess and|
Ben with a view of Garibaldi Lake in the background, and an old lava flow.
Further up the ridge along the 4 kilometre ascent we encountered a colossal amount of snow. This past winter blanketed Garibaldi Park with so much white stuff the potential for colourful wild flowers was burried deep beneath. Instead, we gathered ourselves walking sticks and remained on top of the snow as we continued on our exploration.
As we reached the bottom of Clinker Peak, I noticed red streaks in the snow. Jamison informed me that what looked to be red spray paint was actually red algae, or watermelon snow. The algae, which is green algae with a "secondary red carotenoid pigment" thrives in freezing water and is common during summertime at alpine elevations.
|Hiking in the snow towards Clinker Peak; Jamison, Jess and|
Ben making their way upwards, and myself taking in the view.
|Nearing the top of Clinker Peak, and Ben with the beginning of an incredible landscape.|
|Jamison and I heading into the concave dip before climbing |
to Mount Price; Ben with the most incredible view.
Minutes later, after digging through and picking up large chunks of Pumice, we made it to the top of Mount Price. A flat, rounded summit, Mount Price was by far the best choice for a hike. A 360 degree view from the peak (at 2052 metres) showed Garibaldi Lake, Panorama Ridge, lava flows and the glacier kingdom of Garibaldi Park.
|No words. Just splendor.|
Two hours later we were back at camp, packed up, and making our way down the dreaded switchbacks back to the truck. By nightfall we were still on the trail and, for some time, I sang to myself in the dark before Ben convinced me to strap on my headlamp. At 9 p.m., nearing the parking lot, my feet began to throb. Every step closer on the path sent agonizing pain through my body. After having hiked for nearly 15 hours in less than two days, my sprightliness for exploring dispersed. My back pained. My legs cramped. My feet swelled. My heart delighted.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost.