Tag Archives: Waterfalls

Back to Semaphore

Semaphore Lakes Panorama SGD copy

Well, summer is most certainly here.  With the mercury rising above 30°C, things have been getting a little warm, the sun has been doing it’s best to melt everything but that didn’t stop us getting back to Semaphore Lakes (click link for my first trip up there) for our first hike of the season.  It’s a good trek to start the season with as it is a fairly mellow trail.  It’s only about one hour and a half in, a little steep in parts as the trail rises 300 odd metres in a short distance.

The Trio Walk Clearing Trek

Along the trail there is a beautiful creek, a beautiful forest and as you get closer to the top the trail opens up into a stunning clearing.  Once the 300 metres has been conquered an incredible view of the top lake and the main backdrop of the landscape, Locomotive Mountain, burst into view.

Locomotive thru Trees SGDLocomotive from trees SGD Semaphore Vs Locomotive SGD

My favourite campsite is down by the lower lake.  It still offers fantastic views of Locomotive Mountain and is near to amazing little ‘stream rapids’ and views down the valley.

The lower lake is where we camped.  It was a short scramble to this view looking down the valley.

The lower lake is where we camped. It was a short scramble to this view looking down the valley.

There was barely a cloud in the sky so the night time photography was promising.  Star trails were at a risk of seeming a bit dull due to the near  full moon… Moon at Semaphore…however I think the foreground ended up coming out pretty well.Semaphore Little Lake ST signed

I spent the rest of the night playing around with the night sky…

Semaphore Tree Star Trail SGD Lwr Lake By Night SGD Lwr Semaphore Lake night SGD Lwr Lake by night 2 SGD

Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

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2013 Instagrammed

2013 was an absolutely incredible year for me.

Continued my life in Whistler.

Traveled to Japan to ski for the first time.

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The pow was deep in Niseko!

The pow was deep in Niseko!

Started this blog.

A great start to the year saw out the winter season

A great start to the year saw out the winter season

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Biked one heck of a lot.

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Frolfed!

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Explored some fantastic alpine hikes and camps around Whistler and Pemberton.

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Checked out Quebec City.

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Chute Montmorency

Chute Montmorency

Traveled to New Zealand to ski – ended up hiking the whole time.

Sheep like Lake Wanaka too.

Sheep in NZ??

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Visited family and friends in Australia for a few weeks.

Anzac Bridge

Anzac Bridge

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

The old dirt road home!

The old dirt road home!

Ran Sydney’s famous City2Surf.

And they're off!

And they’re off!

Did some more biking and camping in Whistler.

Top of the World

Top of the World

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Semaphore Lakes

Locomotive

Locomotive

Journeyed to England and Paris to hang out with friends and family once more.

Awaited the ski season to begin which included biking right up until the resort opened and even afterwards.

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Skied.

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Played ice hockey…on a frozen lake!

Nita Lake

Nita Lake

Worked.

Got Festive.

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Instagrammed.

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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

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 ML 4

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.

JL UL MG 1

Upper Joffre Lake with a view of the Matier Glacier

JL UL 3

The upper lake looking down the valley

JL UL MG Panish

Another angle of the Matier Glacier

JL UL 4

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.

JL UL 2

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

Mont Sainte Anne

This week I left Whistler for a couple of days.  I was fortunate enough to head over to Quebec and was able to have a look at Mont Sainte Anne.  What a place.  Sadly I didn’t have to much time there.  Just two nights and one full day.  I tried to pack as much into that day as possible.  This proved to be quite hard due to my ability to get lost and end up driving around in circles.

I stayed in the newly renovated Chateau Mont Sainte Anne (ChateauMSA) which is situated right at the base of the mountain.  Apparently, it was supposed to be a fairly short drive from Quebec City and the airport although I managed to turn it into an absolute mission as I very badly negotiated the highways and their exits.  I was informed by several staff after I arrived that it should only take about 30 minutes to the city.  I think it took me over an hour.  The hotel was great.  The rooms were really comfortable and very spacious.

On Tuesday I went exploring on foot at first, then a bit of cross-country biking and eventually after dinner I hit the roads again, got lost and saw an incredible sunset and massive waterfall.

Pre-Jean Larose

While on foot and following a little path alongside a small river, I was hoping to find a waterfall called Jean Larose Waterfall that the staff at Chateau MSA had told me was spectacular.  I did indeed find a waterfall and although it was very nice I wasn’t overly impressed as it didn’t seem that incredible.

Pre JL 3 Pre JL

After taking a few photos I decided to keep following the path to find out where it ended up and all of a sudden the ground dropped away and there was a waterfall that was pretty amazing.

Chute Jean Larose

Chute Jean Larose

Chute Jean Larose

Chute Jean Larose

Chute Jean Larose

Chute Jean Larose

Then it was onto a bit of biking around a network of trails near Chateau MSA.  These trails were a lot of fun, and although I was on the bike for about two and a half hours, I wish I had had longer to explore.

After an excellent dinner at the hotel I drove towards Quebec City as I wanted to check out Montmorency Falls which drops an impressive 83 metres.  Running with my theme of the trip, I got lost on the way there and arrived on just after dusk.  It was still an incredible sight.  En route I saw one of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen.  My sunset photography skills are seriously lacking though and wasn’t able to capture the moment.

Chute M

Chute Montmorency

Chute M2 Chute M3 Chute M4

Mont Sainte Anne is an incredible place.  I definitely want to head back and spend a bit more time exploring the area.  It was the first time I had been to the eastern side of Canada, hopefully it won’t be the last.

A couple of falls never hurt anyone!

A lot of the high alpine hikes still have a decent amount of snow on the trails which means we have been restricted to the lower elevations when looking for things to do. That is not the end of the world however. Yesterday afternoon/evening we drove slightly south of Whistler to check out a couple of well-known waterfalls. It is absolutely ridiculous that I’ve been in Whistler for five and a half years and have never seen either Alexander Falls or Brandywine Falls.

Alexander Falls

Alexander Falls

The two are extremely easy to access. Alexander Falls is a short drive off highway 99 towards the Callaghan Valley and the Whistler Olympic Park. Brandywine Falls and Park is slightly south of Alexander Falls on the opposite side of the highway.

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls

It had been a fairly slow day for me as I had participated in (and come last in) the Phat Wednesday races in the Whistler Bike Park. There will be more to come about these races in another post. After the races there is usually time to drink several beers on the GLC patio. The point is, Thursday started very slowly indeed.

Daisy Lake

Daisy Lake

Once finally moving and fed I managed to gather a small crew and convince them to come south with me to see the falls. We started with Alexander Falls. You can drive right up to the site of the falls and they are pretty impressive. It was a beautiful afternoon with a lot of sunshine. This actually posed a little problem as I want to slow the shutter speed right down to try and capture the movement of the stream however at that time of day it was just letting in a little too much light. Apparently the best time of day to photograph waterfalls and landscapes is around sunrise and sunset. That will take some determination that’s for sure. A few of the pictures turned out nicely though,

Alexander Falls - backup Alexander Falls 1 Alexander falls 2When we had exhausted ourselves standing around watching Alexander Falls, it was time to head to Brandywine. A short drive south and into the carpark, we prepared for the epic 500 metre hike to the falls. Brandywine Falls are completely different to Alexander Falls (I know that they’re both water traveling with gravity, I mean in the sights they offer). Brandywine Falls seem as though the Earth just sunk suddenly mid-river and the water was then forced to plunge to the pool a long way down.

Brandywine falls 5 Brandywine Falls 4 Brandywine falls 3 Brandywine Falls 2About 150 metres further along the trail there is an awesome view of the river flowing into Daisy Lake. That was worth the effort as well.

Daisy Lake

Daisy Lake

I can’t believe it has taken me over five years to see these fantastic sights however that’s all in the past now and I am glad I finally made it.

Brandywine Falls

Brandywine Falls

Long Weekend (for me)

Days off in Whistler are always incredible.  It doesn’t matter if you stumble out of bed, hit up a couple of cheeky disc golf holes, then sneak in one, two or several pitchers on a sunny patio.  Or if you embark on an epic mission to hike to the summit of one of the many peaks in the area.  There is an abundance of activities to keep oneself occupied.

I have just finished my weekend which confusingly falls midweek and I was pretty stoked to have had a long one.  Tuesday was a day well spent in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.  After several hot and dusty laps it was time to sneak in a beer on the patio at Citta’s.  Citta’s patio is one of my favourites in town.  Central, sunny, usually busy and plenty of opportunity to watch the village and all its activity.

Lower Whistler Downhill

Lower Whistler Downhill

Tuesday night was perfect for a bbq and the day really set the tone for the next two.

Wednesday started a little slow, there may have been some late night beers at Brandy’s-at-the-Keg.  Once up and running we headed to a nice, mellow hike called Nairn Falls.  It’s about a 15 to 20 minute drive north of Whistler or five minutes south of Pemberton.  The hike to the falls is really simple, flat and easy.  It is roughly three kilometres round trip and takes you alongside the fast flowing ‘Green River’ until you reach the falls which are fairly impressive.

Nairn Falls

Nairn Falls

Just a little bit of water

Just a little bit of water

After we had got our falling water fix, it was time to get our food fix in Pemberton at the much recommended Mile One Eating House.  What a treat!  While searching the menu I came across their BLT that included pork belly and grilled apples and that was it for me.  SOLD!  A truly amazing burger.  The views from the patio were pretty amazing as well.  We looked straight across at Mt Currie which is a spectacular mountain.

Thursday, my final day off, was just as incredible.  A day in the bike park rarely disappoints.  Several laps were ridden of varying levels with various people.  A few close calls and a few heart-racing moments to keep the adrenaline pumping.  Perfect!

Joyride

Joyride

Joyride

Joyride

Downhill biking all afternoon followed by cross-country biking in the evening in the form of a ‘toonie ride’.  Toonie rides are a local favourite.  A race that has a different course each week with a different local sponsor.  After the race, people gather for a beer and a meal all for a simple toonie ($2 coin).  This week was a bike park special.  Grueling climb up, flat out down, reload up, flat out down.  I couldn’t think of a better way to see off the weekend.

Now just four more days and I can do it all again.