Hiking shoes are overrated
stop telling me I need a pair!
What’s more enticing than turquoise lakes, epic mountain views and the opportunity to burn some extra calories?! No much… except maybe the perfect spa day?
Joffre Lakes has been on my to-do list for a while now, I’ve been to the lower lake but that’s just a minute stroll from the (very crowded) car park. So with a spare Sunday and no rain in the forecast, we decided to finally tick hiking Joffre lakes off the to-do list.
I might have hit snooze on my alarm one too many times and we didn’t leave Vancouver until 7 am… but that ended up being just fine. We stopped at Galliano’s for coffee on the way through Squamish, I have to say that they have seriously stepped up their coffee game over the past year.
There was still plenty of parking spots when we made it to Joffre Provincial park, this parking lot gets FULL… last time I got here around midday it was a hike just to get to the start of the hike.
Not sure exactly what to expect we set off, heading straight past the first lake. The path is beautifully groomed but quickly become a fairly steady incline. After what seemed like not too long I was regretting the previous day’s workout, my legs had already decided that I was asking too much of them. My wish for a break was soon answered, we had arrived at a beautiful waterfall, giving the perfect excuse to rest and enjoy the view.
The trail started to get a little muddier. Probably not a problem for most people… but my track record of having the most appropriate footwear was not about to be broken today. I was wearing white Keds. I should probably rephrase that to ‘used to be white’ keds.
Something beautiful to look at around every corner
We finally hit the middle lake. No time to stop now, we have our sights set on the upper lake and a good pace going. There really isn’t a dull part of this trail, beautiful views around every corner, I can hear a woodpecker or two and I’ll never tire of spotting the adorable chipmunks darting back and forth across the path.
As the trail gets muddier I take to jumping from logs to rocks and then balancing along tree roots.
Simon points out that it’s like hiking with a 5-year-old who’s playing
“the floor is lava”…
Personally, I just think it makes the hike more fun, and bonus that it keeps my shoes mostly clean ;)
I was on a roll now, so onwards I marched us.
I had spotted the glacier and I wanted to be up there.
The trail skirts around to the far side of the lake where the camping is. Things start to get really fun once you leave the trees and the perfectly manicured trail behind.
Following the ridge upwards towards the glacier we eventually hit that critical point… where you realise the destination is further than you thought but you’ve already come too far to turn around! So clearly there is no option than onwards and upwards.
Finally, the dirt, gravel and small rocks are consumed by big and small rocks piled on top of each other. This slows the pace considerably as I test each foot placement for stability. Not long and we have a stream to navigate over and patches of snow. Eventually, we hit the big rocky outcrops which lead straight to the base of the glacier.
It is breathtaking. Stand to face one way and you have a view of all three lakes, turn around and face the other way and your right at the edge of the Matier Glacier.
It was 100% worth going the extra mile…
and the saying is right, it wasn’t crowded!
We spent some time wandering around, taking photos, and then sitting to eat some snacks and enjoy the view.
In the background the glacier makes creaking sounds
I almost didn’t want to take my eyes off of it.
It wouldn’t have been one of my adventures if I didn’t try and climb something… I could see a cave, and yes, I tried to climb up to it. It was very quickly apparent that this was a terrible idea and as I turned around after just a few steps through the snow I confirmed it was a bad idea but slipping right over onto my bum. To which Simon took the opportunity to take a photo instead of helping me up.
As lovely as the light was starting to get, we took this as our cue to head down the mountain. I feel like I’m being soft saying this… but it was way further and way harder to get all the way back to the car than I expected. Still worth it.