This has been an amazing summer. It started kind of slow with a very wet June, but July and August were pure sun. We’ve been lucky enough that this sunny weather continued on into September. On the first official day of fall, Gili and I headed for a three day trip to Tenquille Lake, as a finale of this wonderful summer. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be visiting our families in Israel, and by the time we’ll be back it’s probably going to be full-on fall.
The drive was quite long, past Pemberton and then on to the Birkenhead Lake road. As we were driving the logging road we noticed smoke coming from a nearby valley. We managed to drive most of the way, but decided (smartly) to park before the first creek crossing. Then as we were just getting ready to leave, a Subaru Forester showed up. We didn’t expect to be able to catch a ride, as this was a Friday, but we got lucky. This couple with two rifles and one dog was just driving up there for fun. The Forester was doing quite well, but it was the classic scenario of the woman telling the man that she doesn’t think they should continue farther and the man just driving through, banging the rear end of the car on some rocks and whatnot. Eventually they dropped us off just a few meters before the trail head. Sweet.
But we had to make our first stop even before we reached the trail head. The reason for that was huckleberries. The biggest, juiciest, sweetest and purplest huckleberries I’ve seen in my life. And I thought that two weeks ago in Manning we already encountered the best berries ever. So we stopped for a while, picking and eating. The approach to the hut and Tenquille Lake was really short, and we were there in just over an hour and about 200 meters elevation gain…
By the lake there was a group of four people and two dogs who were quite surprised to see us. They had come up the Hurley side and didn’t even know about the trail we had used. They were just day hikers so after they left we had the whole place to ourselves. We cannot say the same for the next two days… We had lunch by the lake, and then jumped in for a swim. It was cold, but not as cold as some other lakes we recently swam in in the Rockies. It was really warm in the sun, so getting out of the water was very pleasant. There was also a yellow sit-on-top kayak there, so Gili took it for a paddle around the lake, while I enjoyed my wonderful book in the sunshine.
Then the sun disappeared behind the mountains, and we went to check out the new hut, built in 2011. It’s big, looks comfortable and even has light fixtures. People must have put a lot of effort into it. We didn’t intend to stay in the hut, so we went to pitch our tent and cook dinner by the lake.
On Saturday we headed to Tenquille Mountain. The route was pretty much straight up, and we gained elevation quickly. Then there was some nice ridge walking until we finally reached the summit plateau. This mountain didn’t seem to have one designated summit so we just moved from one corner to another, checking out the glacier below us and the great views. The only problem was that because of the smoke the visibility was quite hazy. Still the views were amazing, and it was warm.
After lunch we traversed to Goat Mountain., which involved a bit more scrambling. It was lots of fun, and this time there was one obvious summit. The descent from Goat wasn’t that great though. It involved a long section in a steep and rocky gully, the only neat part about it was when we walked underneath a snow bridge, which had lost a piece from the top.
I was very happy to be back at the lake, and we discovered that we no longer had the place to ourselves. The hut had filled up with people and there were also a few tents near the hut. Luckily our camping spot was a bit farther away, so it didn’t really bother us. Dinner was well appreciated that day, and crawling into the sleeping bag was a delight.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. The haze from the day before seemed to have faded away, so the visibility was better. After breakfast we headed to the other side of the lake and scrambled up Mount McLeod. There were great views towards the Pemberton Valley and the Hurley. We kept on seeing that ugly and loose gully we descended from Goat, and it looked even worse from a distance.
Once back at camp we had lunch, packed up and jumped into the lake for one last swim. The descent back to the trail head was pretty quick. We had some berries while coming down, but not as many as we hoped, as there were people who were just leaving and offered to give us a ride to our car. At least we didn’t have to walk the whole logging road, so it was worth it. We found a few bushes near our car, but they weren’t as good as the ones higher up. The nice people in the car gave us a Strongbow (alcoholic cider), as they always finish a hike with a drink. Since Gili was driving I had to drink most of it. When we neared Pemberton I asked Gili to stop at a gas station so I could pee. There we randomly met a group of VOCers who were just coming back from a work hike on the trail to the Harrison Hut.
On the drive back we picked up a hitchhiker, dropped him off in Whistler and then picked up two more immediately after dropping him off. A few minutes later we picked up another one. We met Adriana and Piotr’s cars at the excellent Indian restaurant in Squamish (Essence of India). We filled a table for seven and enjoyed an excellent meal in good company.