One Saturday morning, I received the strangest phone call from my best friend asking me whether to go hiking in classic UGG boots or flip-flops. The moment I heard her question, my dream of hiking Black Tusk in a day vanished despite her reassurances that UGGs are as comfortable for hiking as sneakers.
Three hours later, our group of four was standing at the foot of the mountain with backpacks full of food as if we were going on a seven-day camping trip. Instagram photos with the Black Tusk location were posted and my Instagram was flooded with excited messages from friends about our upcoming hike — there was no turning back.
Everything went well for the first 50 minutes — we outran everyone on the gradual uphill climb through the greenery and up the muddy hiking trail. That is, everything went well until I reached the four kilometre trail sign and turned back to check on the group. What I saw was not encouraging — my best friend was as pale as a ghost and my other friend admitted that at the tender age of 26, he was too old for Black Tusk.
For the next two kilometres, we slowed down our pace and, in about 30 minutes, reached the junction dividing Black Tusk trail on the left and Garibaldi Lake trail on the right. Ironically, the old couple in front of us turned left but our choice was obvious: we turned right.
The remaining three kilometres to Garibaldi Lake were fairly easy to complete with jaw dropping viewpoints of snow capped mountains, wild forests, alpine flowers, turquoise-coloured lakes and tiny waterfalls.
Approaching the lake, we were surprised by the number of tourists there, so we decided to continue our way along the path to find a quiet, isolated place to rest and enjoy the view. The majesty of Garibaldi Lake was worth the long hike. We were left with no choice other than to succumb to the warmth of the day and swim in the refreshing glacier water. When our exhaustion was washed away, we spent another hour basking in the sun and enjoying one of the last warm fall days.
We headed back to the parking lot in the afternoon — tired but satisfied with all the beauty seen and experienced. While Black Tusk remains an unfulfilled dream, Garibaldi Lake became a top contender on my list of favourite places in BC.