October 2013 with Nellie, Daphne, Elena, Bengul, Carole N, Ron, Naomi, Nancy, Bev & Bill R.
My original plan was for a backpacking/camping trip over Thanksgiving weekend, but following a stretch of cold and wet weather I decided to play it safe and just go for a day hike. Other blogs reported Joffre Lakes free of snow, so that became our destination for what turned out to be a perfect fall day. Bev and Bill picked up Nellie and Daphne, and the rest of us carpooled in town. Not many groups can boast two drivers owning gold Toyota Matrixes (Matrices?) but Elena and I both drove ours. When we drove by Lillooet Lake, we spotted the others pulled over enjoying the view; Bev reckoned that when they saw the two gold cars together it was time for them to move on and join us.
Despite the driving distance from Vancouver, Joffre Lakes is increasingly popular as a day hike and overnight destination. It’s a relatively short hike, beginning in an old growth subalpine forest and climbing past two lakes to a third lake in a rocky basin beneath the Matier Glacier. The lower lake is an easy 400 metre walk from the highway and enjoyable by anyone, but getting to the other two is a moderately strenuous day hike.
Much of the trail used to be in poor condition, with a notorious stretch through a boulder field between the lower and middle lake. However, BC Parks has been upgrading the trail; the route through the boulder field has been filled in and other sections are being repaired with new surfaces, bridges and steps. The rerouted section between the middle and upper lakes now passes a terraced waterfall on the way up, and has a new viewpoint right at the shore on the north end of the lake.
There was some ice on the upper lake and other wet areas, frost, and some small patches of snow higher up the trail, but most of the snow was high up and well away from the trail. Several goldeneye and as many as six American Dippers were in the upper lake, and the trailhead and the middle and upper lakes had a healthy population of Grey Jays.
We planned on stopping at the Wigan Pier in Squamish on the way back, but they were shut down for the weekend. After some discussion, we decided to go to the neighbouring Essence of India. Carole, who spends a lot of time in India, would not believe that Squamish could have a good Indian restaurant, but gave her approval when they let her see their authentic tandoor oven.