Monthly Archives: July 2013

Cheakamus Lake

View from just past the 2nd campsite

View from just past the 2nd campsite

As mentioned in my previous post we went out to Cheakamus Lake a couple of weeks ago.  It is a really easy hike in and offers some pretty stunning views of the fast-flowing Cheakamus River and beyond that, there is the beautiful Cheakamus Lake.

CL refelction1

About an hour into the hike the lake begins and there are several campgrounds with outhouses and bear caches.  We decided to venture a little further and head to the end of the maintained trail where the Singing Creek campground lies.  It is about seven kilometres from the start of the trail and there isn’t much challenging terrain.

Tent stream Panish

It is a beautiful spot with a running stream and gorgeous views down the lake.  We decided to camp on a little beach so that when we woke up we would be greeted with some fairly decent views.

What a view to wake up to!

What a view to wake up to!

A pretty nice campsite

A pretty nice campsite

It was an amazing afternoon to relax on the beach.  I did manage to lose a flip-flop in the stream though.  It slipped off as I was crossing and shot out into the lake.  I attempted to swim after it, the water was ridiculously cold.  There is GoPro footage of my reaction, however I might keep that to myself as it is more than a little embarrassing.  Let’s just say I had to let the flip-flop go.

Stream 1

For dinner I had attempted to dehydrate some vegetable soup and some spaghetti bolognaise.  It actually worked out really well.  It was light to carry and after re-hydrating it tasted pretty amazing.

It was a pretty impressive waxing gibbous moon and the night sky was insanely clear and there were shooting stars below.  I practiced a bit of night sky photography with most of the shots turning out terribly, however I captured a couple of decent ones including my First Star Trail.Tent night shot 2

Tent site shooting star

I woke up pretty early, before sunrise, so I figured I may as well try to take some early morning shots.  I definitely need some practice in this area, actually I need some practice everywhere.

CL Stream 3

Close up of stream


All in all it is a hike that is definitely worth doing at least once.  Mountain bikes can now be ridden on this trail so it is a very easy day trip either on bikes or foot.  As an overnight trip I think it is worth heading to the far end of the lake to the Singing Creek campground as it seems to get less traffic.  Mid-week would see a lot less fellow campers as well.

Stream landscape

A great trip that offers incredible views without the difficult gradient that many other hikes in the area involve.


First Star Trail

A couple of weeks ago I hiked out to Cheakamus Lake.  It’s trail-head is roughly 16km from Whistler Village, the last seven to eight kilometres is a dirt forest service road.  There will be more to come in an upcoming post, however as the title explains I attempted my first star trail photo that night.

It was a pretty stunning night.  We had a fantastic sunset and a waxing gibbous moon to observe.

Sunset at Cheakamus Lake

Sunset at Cheakamus Lake

Waxing Gibbous

Waxing Gibbous

I didn’t really know what I was doing with the star trail as I had just spoken to a friend briefly who had said he was going to try it.  I simply did what my friend had told me and set the camera for multiple 30 second exposures with a 5 second delay between each shot.  I ended up with about 55 images which I then merged using Photoshop.

First attmept

First attempt

I was fairly happy with the result and since that night I have read a lot more on how to improve the quality of my shot.

I am extremely excited to get back out there and have another attempt.

Phat Wednesday – Schleyer

Scleyer drop pan

The Phat Wednesday crew chose a fantastic course on July 17th.  Schleyer an all-time Whistler favourite trail, into a fairly technical final descent down lower Detroit Rock City.

Blue Biker close up

Close up yellow norco

I was able to get up on course to practice my mountain bike photography before I raced the track.  My skills in this field are very minimal.  It is amazing that every Wednesday there is a great opportunity to shoot racers of a very high caliber.  Hopefully I’ll figure it out eventually.  If anyone has any tips or advice please feel free to comment.

Schleyer 1st Drop

Schleyer 1st drop 2

Schleyer 2nd drop 2

Riders of all abilities and ages show up to compete.  Some of the kids that race are tiny yet they absolutely kill it.

Schleyer Kid 3rd drop

All of these shots were taken on a wide-angle lens.  Next week I think I’ll go back to a regular zoom lens and try a different technique.

Rock garden 3

Rock Garden Center Drop

Rock Garden 2

Rock Garden left line

Phat Wednesdays – Oriental & Schleyer- Detroit Rock City

I just have a quick post today.  A couple of videos from the last couple of Phat Wednesdays.  As you can tell by the videos it is my sheer technical skill and speed that helps keep me off the last page of the results!

Over the next day or so I’ll upload some photos I took on the Schleyer section of the 17th’s race.

Marriot Basin – Stunning

MB Pan 1

Finally – the Marriot Basin post.  It took me a little longer than expected to write, it’s been a busy week.

The Marriot Basin is possibly one of the best hikes I have done.  It is an absolutely stunning area, a relatively simple hike and very little traffic mid-week (although I’m told if you head up there Saturday/Sunday or in the winter can be quite busy).

The trail-head is just past the Joffre Lakes parking lot so it took us a little over an hour to get there from Whistler.  We had a low-clearance vehicle so we had to park at the beginning of the forest service road.  This added two kilometres to our trek.  In a 4WD it would be easy to get all the way to the trail-head.

Once onto the trail, it was relatively easy going for the most part.  There is a very steep section that lasted about 30-45 minutes and a couple of sketchy river crossings that needed a bit of care.  The ground was fairly muddy and boggy which tested out the quality of our shoes.

MB river x pies

MB Boulder xing

After hiking for about 90 minutes we stumbled out into a clearing and we were greeted by a beautiful meadow with a great view up the valley.  I could easily have camped here and been stoked with the scenery but the lake was our ultimate goal so on we trekked.

MB Meadow GS 1

MB Meadow FaLL

Once at the lake were circumnavigated it in a clockwise direction, steered away from it to have a look at the Wendy Thompson Hut.

Wendy T Hut Group

This hut would be an awesome spot in the winter and I think I will definitely try to get back there.  While the rest of my crew had lunch near the hut, I went for a bit of a scramble to see if I could spot the best campsite near the lake.

MB Lake view 1

MB Lake shot

Lake shot 2

We headed to a clearing next to the river that flows out of the lower end of the lake.  It was the perfect site.  Flat, close to water, ridiculously good vistas and a good spot for a campfire (make sure you always check the fire restrictions before you head out there).

MB Sunny Peak

It was a warm sunny evening so naturally I thought it was a brilliant idea to wade across the river instead of walking the long way round.  Hmmmm, maybe it wasn’t my brightest moment.  It was COLD!  I was breathless instantly and the water wasn’t even above my waist.  The upside of this freezing water was that it chilled our beers very quickly.

MB river x pies

It only took my friend,MB Marmot who was in charge of the fire, about an hour to start it.  While he was doing that, I decided that, rather than be helpful, I should explore the area.

MB falls 1

MB Falls 2

MB Falls 3

MB River Valley view

MB Valley MTN View

Once he finally got it going, we settled in to eat, drink, talk nonsense and star gaze (the sky was cloudless and stunning) for the evening.

Fire Pan

The next day we attempted a scramble up one of the closer slopes.  Due to an injury and the extreme gradient 75% of the group called it quits and headed back to camp.  Being the stubborn fool I am I charged up the hill until I had a view that satisfied me.  It would have been awesome to summit the peak.  Not to worry, it just gives me a good reason to head back.

Mb Valley V1

Wednesday July 10th

Joffre Lakes was indeed an incredible hike. Less than 12 hours after finishing that hike I had embarked on another amazing trek. In between the two hikes however, I had managed to squeeze in a few hours of biking.

Here is a snippet of what was happening up there.



Joffre Lakes

Upper Joffre Lake

Upper Joffre Lake

Well, what an action packed few days for my weekend this time round.  I managed to squeeze a lot into three days so it will take a couple of posts to re-tell.

I’ll start with our day trip to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

A view from the trail

A view from the trail

Joffre Lakes is an awesome trio of glacier lakes about 30km north of Pemberton (it took about an hour to drive from Whistler).  The road is in good condition all the way, however it does get steep and windy in a couple of spots.

The first and lowest of the three lakes

The first and lowest of the three lakes

From the car park it takes a very short time, maybe five minutes to get to the first and lower lake.  A stunning lake offering views of the glacier in the alpine that the third and highest lake lies just beneath.  The trek from the first lake onwards is pretty mellow.  The national parks crew have been upgrading the trail and for 20 minutes or so after the first lake it’s a very smooth path.

The crew have been hard at work

The crew have been hard at work

Eventually the climb gets quite a bit steep and as you ascend you are along side a river that is racing down the slope.  I felt the need to stop and take several photos of this creek.  It was pretty light so it was hard to get the ideal streaming effect.

JL River 2

JL river 1

At one of my photo stops I had a very special moment.  I was trying to get creative and take some tricky angles which meant climbing out on a log over the creek.  I placed my day pack on the river bank, left it there to get my photo and watched in dismay as the event unfolded .  My pack fell perfectly into a rock pool face up and open.  By the time I got back to my bag it had filled up nicely with water.  Pretty much everything in there was soaked, including my baguette and most devastatingly my camera lens which is now sitting next to me in a bag of rice hopefully drying out.  After that stop it was a grumpy climb to the next lake where my mood instantly brightened with the view.

JL Middle Pan

Another stunning lake, offering a cloudy green colour.  The sun kept ducking behind clouds so the lake was constantly changing shades of colour which was a cool effect to see.


JL Middle 2

JL Middle 3

JL Middle L 1

After this lake we made our way to the final lake, along the way we passed some friends from Whistler.  They had spent the night at the third lake, one of whom had a lost a bet and as a result had to swim in the lake.  Apparently it was extremely cold and not the best bet to have lost.

Along the way to the third lake, the trail takes a new path past an incredible waterfall.  The water crashes down from the upper to middle lake and it is impressive to think of the volume that charges down this section.

JL upper fall

The third and upper lake is simply stunning.  Situated right below Matier Glacier, it offers dramatic views of said glacier and beautiful views over the lake and down the valley.  A truly tremendous hike that only took us two and a bit hours with many stops for photos and special, idiotic moments.


Upper Joffre Lake with a view of the Matier Glacier


The upper lake looking down the valley

JL UL MG Panish

Another angle of the Matier Glacier


The hike down was quick and fun.  We passed several more friends on the way down.  This hike is definitely one of the most popular in the area as it is relatively simple and possible to do in a few hours or as an over night trip.


Stay tuned for the post on the final two days of my weekend.  I was lucky enough to get to a truly incredibly spot!

Sneak Preview

Sneak Preview