Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC
Garibaldi is the first provincial park when heading north from Vancouver, BC. Covering 1950 square kilometres of land, it provides a large variety of terrain, scenery, and camping spots suitable for any level of backcountry adventure one seeks.
My first time heading to this park went something like this:
It was 2015. My friend, Yvonne, messages me. "Want to catch sunrise on Panorama Ridge with us?"
I, never actually having hiked in the backcountry before then, ignorantly say yes.
"Okay, we're picking you up in four hours at 11:30 pm."
I take a short nap. I eat a dinner that I later realize was too heavy in fat for before a long hike (I'll spare you details). I hyperventilated for a moment on the trail, either due to my low level of exercise at the time, or my body not yet adapting to fast ascents with my thalassemia, or both. I was the slowest in the group, and I remember thinking the last ascent before the ridge was the hardest physical thing I had ever tried to push through before. The whole experience of hiking in the backcountry was so new to me then. Why the hell am I climbing up this mountain of rocks with no clear path?
But I also remember reaching that ridge, perfectly in time for the sunlight to start peeking through the horizon. And being there with great company. And the strong memory of seeing everyone walking in a line through Taylor Meadows completely pitch dark at night, besides our headlamps making spotlights into the air, and all the stars shining over us.
Since then I've made trips back to Panorama Ridge again, along with Black Tusk, Elfin Lakes, Opal Cone, and of course Garibaldi Lake. I have been much better prepared these other times. Each part of the park gives a different type of challenge, and it has been such a great playground for me. I can't wait to see what else is to be discovered there next time.