Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Camping trip

So this weekend we went camping. Like, real camping. Like, hike three hours uphill in the dark to get to the campsite without knowing for sure that there'll be anywhere to put up your tent when you get there.

...okay, I shouldn't try to sound like I'm Tough Outdoors Chick or anything, or my camping partner is sure to point out that (a) I carried nothing heavier than a sleeping bag all weekend and (b) I never once had to pee in the bush, there being nicely maintained outhouses all over the landscape. But still. Tent. Hills. Packing out garbage. And views. Like this one. This is what we saw at breakfast the morning after we arrived.

garibaldi lake and sphinx glacier

Garibaldi Lake is a glacial lake in Garibaldi Park (between Squamish and Whistler). Its waters look like this.

garibaldi lake water

On Saturday morning the plan was to climb Black Tusk. It's the little nubbin in the middle of this picture. It doesn't look like much from down there, does it?

black tusk from garibaldi lake

Near the top there's a sign saying (essentially) "Don't go past this point if you know what's good for you." My hiking partner went on (duh), I went for a nap. It was quite cozy, curled up in the sunlight there. Of course I missed out on the stunning views from the top, but at that point I was too sleepy to care.

you don't seriously think I'm going to stop here

...of course, even from where I was, the views were pretty impressive. We were looking down on our campsite, more or less.

lake garibaldi from black tusk

The next day we went to Panorama Ridge. About 4 pm I was completely exhausted (which I freely admitted), and also very scared (which I fiercely denied). What I find interesting about this photo is the non-dorkiness of my expression. This is something that's practically unique among photos of me. I try to smile nice for the camera, I come out looking dorky. I try to look sultry? Dorky. I try to look like a respectable upstanding citizen? Dorky. But in this photo I just look normal. Tired and normal.

exhausted but soldiering on

We were most of the way up the mountain, and we kept meeting people who told us how great it was at the top, but I just really didn't think I could make it the rest of the way up. It was shale scree. I hate scree. It disturbs and upsets me on some deep existential level. It's just so...hostile. It doesn't want to be walked on. Somehow my hiking partner calmed me down and coached me over it, and then he stomped out little steps for me on the bit of glacier we had to cross to get to the top.

my own personal wenceslas

From the top we could see...everything. This is looking down on Garibaldi Lake.

cloud shadows on lake garibaldi from gentian peak

Black Tusk also looks much more impressive from here.

black tusk from gentian peak

And then we went home.

That makes it sound a lot less effort than it really was. From the moment I first thought "That's it, I'm done" to the moment I collapsed into bed there were six hours of hiking and two and a half hours of driving (with a break for steak. mmm...steak...).

There was never that much physical exertion--mostly because of the patience and generosity of my hiking partner, who carried all of the heavy stuff and never complained that I was strolling instead of striding--but even strolling gets taxing if you do it for ten hours. But I was left with this wonderful sense of ...physical ease, I guess, the next day (once a little bit of stiffness wore off). Everything seemed like less work than it did last week--both physically, because now I'm used to climbing big things for a long time, and emotionally, because hey, I can climb mountains!


Ray in New Orleans said...

The pictures rock, girl. You're not bad with a camera when you're exhausted.

Karl Elvis said...


Got yer t shirt!

Rachel said...

Thanks, Ray. And I haven't even shared the nekkid pix! :-)

Karl, I think the clock from that shop is going to be our office clock at my new place: my boss is definitely another physics babe.

Ray in New Orleans said...

Nekkid pix?

Link, please...