Sunscreen? Check. Water bottles? Check. Absurd idea to go hiking in 33 degree heat? Check!
We began the day at 7 a.m. to beat the campers and lake-goers heading to Alouette Lake, all hoping to make the day spent in the sweltering sun a bit more manageable. By 8 a.m. we had hit Golden Ears Provincial Park and were making our way up the winding road, through the towering evergreens, with streams of sunlight peeking through the branches.
Alouette Lake, just an hour and a half drive from UBC, sits in the middle of Golden Ears Park alongside many other small lakes. It makes for the perfect sunny-day destination for those looking to feel like they’re far from home without the hassle of travelling the distance.
We parked the truck and walked down to the lake where the morning fog was rising off the water and the sun was illuminating the rocky shore, making the stones glimmer. The waves were calmly rippling from a single boat in the shallow water and the rising sun had already began to take its toll on us.
After our short stay at the lake we headed back onto the road and followed signs leading us toward the ‘Lower Falls Trail’ in the hopes of hiding under the treetop canopy to avoid the impending heat wave. Less than fifteen minutes later we found the trail head and started our way down the well-defined path.
Timeworn trees loomed overhead with stringy moss hanging from their branches. In the morning sun the forest seemed to glow and breathe life into the birds. Their songs were serene and melodic; the perfect accompaniment for our morning adventure. The slight breeze on the shaded trail was more than welcomed as we made our way deeper into the forest.
The Lower Falls trail is one that those of all ages and abilities can do. It follows a streamlined path that leads you to a waterfall. However, the small pathways that lead you astray from the main trail are what really make this part of Golden Ears Park so enticing.
The first stop we made was at two boulders lining either side of the path. Climbing up was no issue and the perspective from the top was astonishing. It’s hard to believe that being just 30ft above ground can change the way you see things so drastically. Looking through the trees without an obstructed view by the large ferns which carpeted the forest floor, I was able to look on for what seemed like an eternity. The trees just kept going, row after row, and never appeared to get any smaller.
The next detour we took was down to the river’s edge. The small path was poorly defined and quite overgrown, but if you keep making your way through the trees towards the sound of running water you’ll be sure to meet the river. Standing on the edge of river, the rapids tore over the rocks and created foamy white waves. In the open space, the humidity held in by the trees was behind us and the air was crisp and refreshing.
Once back on the trail it only took us fifteen minutes to reach the waterfall. The roaring of water greeted us before the waterfall came fully into view. Although not the biggest waterfall I have ever seen, the natural architecture was breathtaking. With enormous boulders strewn at the bottom where the water hit, the mist was overwhelming. All electronics were immediately put away for preservation and our bodies became soaked with the cool drizzle.