Vancouver is one of the places where you can find magnificent hiking trails. Growing up in the mountains somewhere in the Philippines, I never learned to appreciate hiking mountainous terrains and trails. Unmoved by the beauty of nature in front of me, I hated the fact that I had to walk up these mountains every single day to go to school, rain or shine. However, as I age, I have slowly learned to unconsciously appreciate the outdoor sceneries that I started looking forward to summer season because this means more hiking adventures. Hiking Wedgemount Lake yesterday brought back memories of the past when I was huffing and puffing my way up the steep hills. The cloud of dust I was inhaling along the way made my lungs want to give up at one point, and thank the nature god I didn’t. The dust brought back the ghost of the constant asthma attacks I had when I was younger, and I was grateful I managed to last the hike without passing out.
I decided to write about this particular hike because I consider it as one of the toughest and brutal hikes I have done this summer. I was swearing and castigating myself for deciding to hike this trail while I was hanging on to a rock for my dear life. It was not helping either that the pain in my knees decided to attack like it was nobody’s business. However, knowing that this is a seven-hour hike, I am proud to say that we did it in 5.5 hours with few water breaks. Yes honey, we are that fit! (LOL)
Wedgemount Lake is a 14 km hike (roundtrip) with an elevation gain of 1160 meters. It’s a part of the Garibaldi Provincial Park located in Whistler and about two-hour drive from Vancouver. The hike to get to the viewing point is gruelling, but once you get to the top, the magnificent view is worth it. Unlike Garibaldi Lake, there are no trees in Wedgemount Lake but stunning rocky mountains sprinkled with some left-over snow from the winter season. Also, you can take a dip in the refreshing, milky, turquoise water to wash off the dust you accumulated from your way up, or you can watch chipmunks and birds as they try to run or fly away from you.
The trail is a combination of steep, jagged rocks and dusty hills. One wrong step and you can easily slip and hit your head on these jagged rocks. There is also a chance that these falling rocks can knock the person behind you if you’re not careful. My advice is to take one step at a time, crawl if you have to, and never look down if you have fear of heights. The moment you decide to cast a glance below, your knees will start to buckle from fear, and that is not good. This is not a joke!
You also need to bring lots of fluids to hydrate yourself. Your risk of dehydration is high because you will be sweating buckets. Some parts of the trail do not have trees to provide a temporary shade, so sunscreen is a must to protect yourself from skin cancer and sunburn. Your skin is the last thing you need to worry about because you will be preoccupied groaning and moaning when you walk the next day. This will last for about a week if you are the type of person who does not exercise on a regular basis. The scorching heat coupled with the slippery, ridiculous steep and unpaved pathways can make you lose your mind and start spouting profanities. Try to encourage yourself and ignore the nagging voice of wanting to go back down to the parking lot once you start hiking your way up. The view on top is worth it, and you will feel glorious afterwards for pushing your limits and conquering one of the most difficult hikes of your life.