After trying and failing to get to Rainbow Lake earlier this summer, we decided to try again. This time we chose the rougher but shorter trail from Madeley Lake. As usual, we got a late start, Neil slept the whole way to the trail head and we started up the trail later than most people’s lunch time. The first section of the trail has been spruced up recently and has some very nice boardwalks and bridges, the upper part is a bit rougher. The hike in was short, but it felt very long to us, maybe just because we were a tired bunch.
We arrived to Hanging Lake in the evening, having seen no people, and we were all ready for a hot meal (well, warm for Neil who is still breastfeeding). By trial and error, we finally realized that putting Neil to lie down to change his diaper after he poops is bad news, since it goes up his back – better to do while he’s standing up. At 10pm we noticed ice on the inside of the tent, and we knew it was going to be a very cold night. The sky was clear, and we could see millions of stars, the Milky Way, and even some shooting stars.
The next day my original plan was for us to scramble up Rainbow Mountain, but Maya convinced me that it was not realistic, due to the length and the winter coat we noticed on all the mountains around us, a relic from the storm that left 710,000 BC Hydro customers with no electricity. Instead, we chose to scramble up Gin Peak, a worthwhile but shorter hike.
From Hanging Lake we first hiked up to the ridge, from where we caught our first view of the stunning Rainbow Lake. Then we followed the trail that leads to Mount Sproatt to a small pond where we left the trail to hike up Gin Peak, cross-country. We had seen something yellow from a distance next to the pond, and once we got closer we saw that it was a large piece of a snowmobile. A reminder of how this pristine-looking area overflows with snowmobiles in winter, despite being off limits due to being within the Whistler water supply area.
We followed the ridge up steep heather and through some dense blueberry bushes, arriving at the surprisingly small summit. Neil had slept the whole time since we had left camp, and continued sleeping while we ate our lunch on the summit. When we were done, as if on cue, he started wriggling, and woke up, ready to play. I find that our breaks these days are longer than before we had Neil, and not quite as restful, although they are more enjoyable, with Neil’s frequent smiles and laughter. On the way down we took a detour to take a closer look at Rainbow Lake. I wondered where the name came from – perhaps the first people to visit the lake saw a rainbow? We might never find out.
When we returned to camp, it was no longer empty, in fact several tents had sprung up near our tent, and a friendly dog named Winston came to visit. The next day we packed up slowly, and enjoyed the huckleberries which Maya had luckily re-sampled – we had had some lower on the trail that were terrible, but the ones around camp were excellent. The hike out seemed long again, what is it about this trail that it seems so much longer than it should be… Who knows. We stopped at Mag’s 99 in Squamish, the relatively new Mexican place that took Taco Bell’s spot, for some huge burritos that we could barely finish. By the looks of it, we are not the only ones that count it among our favourite places to eat in the area.