John Harvey Photo

Whistler Peak and Harmony Lake
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Didn't get to Singing Pass


Waiting For Lifts To Open
My hiking books list the Musical Bumps (out to singing pass and then Russet lake) as one of the best hikes available - 24km to the lake and back, but beautiful views all around.   I thought I would give it a go.  I checked the web page - the lifts open at 10am and close at 5pm so I got up at 6:30 and was out the door at 7, in the village by 9 (light traffic, really) and on the third gondola up (they really mean 10am).  Turns out the last Gondola down is actually 5:30pm and on Saturdays (in good weather) it's 8:30pm.


Walking Past Snow Bank
It's been a while since I've been in the moonscape up there, but it really does seem devoid of life.  Whistler has scared large areas making roads, lifts and water storage ponds so the beauty really is in the details.  I was quite surprised to find how much snow was still on the ground - walking past snow banks higher than me and seeing the surrounding hills covered in large patches of snow didn't jive with my understanding of this being warmer than average summer.  I checked my map and I was making good time - 4 km an hour so I might actually make 24 km in 7 hours.


Sign At Top Of Whistler Peak
And then I ran out of trail (or road at this point).  I wasn't exactly paying attention and it didn't help that the "trail" on the map was actually a service road and I needed to branch to a real foot path.  Perhaps making the choice harder was that that foot path was under a snow bank and wasn't at all visible.  The fog didn't help either - if you did decide to walk out onto the snow pack, you could see at least 20 feet until you ran out of visibility.  Oh well.  Since my hike wasn't going to be full length, I decided to stick around and take some photos of plants that live this high up (Whistler Peak is 2181 meters).

Spreading Phlox

Plants this high up are low to the ground and often live tucked into rocky crevices.

Moss CampionSitka MistmaidenYellow Mountain Heather

Moss Campion And Top Of GondolasSilky Phacelia

I started walking back the lift station to try the other branch to singing pass.  Along the way I noticed a trail up to Exhilaration Peak and sat on the rock to watch the clouds roll by.

View From Exhilaration Peak

Walking On Glacier
I noticed two groups of hikers down on the glacier.  Earlier in the day I picked up a brochure for a Glacier Walk tour - I'm pretty sure this was the tour in progress.  The Glacier at Whistler is pretty much a dirty patch of snow - hardly the deeply crevassed and caved glaciers that I find so romantic.


Marmot Three Quarters
Coming back down, one of the tourists on the road pointed out a critter on the side of the road and asked if I knew what it was.  It was a Hoary Marmot and quite tame - some tourists got to within 2 meters of it.  The Marmot appeared to be eating the dirt/clay at the side of the road, but it's possible it was eating salt.  No whistling (it was silent) but a nice animal to see.

Marmot Side
 
Back to the station, I took the other branch to Singing pass - the lower route past Harmony lake.  Harmony lake was quite nice to see, but the weather wasn't exactly top notch.
 
  Harmony Lake

Trail Closed
Only to find myself thwarted again.  Turns out the start of July, even in a warm year isn't the correct time to hike out to Singing pass/Russet Lake.  I was disappointed, but there was lots of flora to see from he trails around Harmony Lake.

Subalpine ButtercupWestern Anemone Flower

While the overcast day leads to rather bland scenic shots, it's great for flower photography.  I've added some new features to my web site for storing biological taxonomy data (See Western Anemone) so I was keen to take photos of plants I both had seen before and were new. 
 
Single Subalpine ButtercupSub Alpine DaisyWestern Anemone

PaintbrushPink Mountain HeatherSome White Flower
  Painting And Mountain

Happy with an afternoon of hiking I returned to the station.  The tourists at Whistler come in all shapes - me in my hiking boots and tripod certainly wasn't normal among the loafer wearing street clothing you see up there.  While it's great to see so many people interested in seeing the alpine environment, it's a shame they aren't adequately prepared for a short walk to see what it's really all about.




View From Exhilaration Peak
Location: Go To...
Tags: vista
Marmot Three Quarters
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Tags: alpine, BC fauna
Walking On Glacier
Tags: glacier, hiking
Moss Campion And Top Of Gondolas
Species: Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)
Tags: alpine, flower, summit, vista
Sub Alpine Daisy
Species: Erigeron peregrinus (Subalpine Fleabane, Subalpine Daisy)
Tags: alpine, flower, shallow depth of field
Paintbrush
Species: Castilleja miniata (Giant Red Indian Paintbrush)
Tags: alpine, flower
Sign At Top Of Whistler Peak
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign
Subalpine Buttercup
Species: Ranunculus eschscholtzii (Subalpine Buttercup)
Tags: alpine, flower
Walking Past Snow Bank
Person: John
Tags: hiking, snow
Spreading Phlox
Species: Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)
Tags: alpine, flower
Painting And Mountain
Location: Go To...
Tags: mountain, sign
Sitka Mistmaiden
Species: Romanzoffia sitchensis (Sitka mistmaiden)
Tags: flower
Single Subalpine Buttercup
Species: Ranunculus eschscholtzii (Subalpine Buttercup)
Tags: alpine, flower
Moss Campion
Species: Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)
Tags: alpine, flower
Harmony Lake
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine, lake
Pink Mountain Heather
Species: Phyllodoce empetriformis (Pink Mountain-Heather)
Tags: alpine, flower
Waiting For Lifts To Open
Location: Go To...
Tags: biking
Western Anemone Flower
Species: Pulsatilla occidentalis (White Pasqueflower)
Tags: flower, macro
Trail Closed
Tags: hiking, sign
Western Anemone
Species: Pulsatilla occidentalis (White Pasqueflower)
Tags: alpine, flower
Marmot Side
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Tags: BC fauna
Some White Flower
Tags: alpine, flower
Silky Phacelia
Species: Phacelia sericea (Silky Phacelia)
Tags: flower
Yellow Mountain Heather
Species: Phyllodoce glanduliflora (Yellow Mountain-Heather)
Tags: alpine, flower
Tags: flower(14), alpine(13), sign(3), hiking(3), BC fauna(2), vista(2)
People: John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Hiking > Whistler Peak and Harmony Lake

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:58:08 Edit
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