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Whistler, BC, Canada (2 of 2)

I get an early start this morning, and by a quarter to eight, I am at the parking lot of Garibaldi Lake. My backpack is the heaviest since I make sure I have plenty of water and food for the long day ahead of me. From my research on this hike, I know the first four miles are a steady incline up the mountain. Finally, I remembered to use my inhaler, which made the climb a moderate experience. Plenty of switchbacks make this hike long, and at the same time, make it double. I take my time with no need to rush. After all, it is a nice hike in the woods. After three and a half hours, I get to my lake. Why do I call it my lake? Well, from the moment I read about it and saw the pictures, it captured my imagination, and I got attached to it.

My imagination didn't fool me. I am sure by now I sound like a broken record. The English language needs more words to help me express my divine experiences. This view is worth every step it took me to get here.

I found driftwood to use as a bench and settle down. All my senses enjoy this breathtaking view; even my sandwich tastes so delicious. I pack my bathing suit in case I am brave enough to jump in the water. I can hear the scream of surprise from everyone who goes for a dip. It took me an hour and a half to get the nerve to join the club. Oh my goodness, this water is cold! It is a shock to my system, but what an amazing, refreshing feeling. Here I thought jumping into Buttle Lake a few weeks ago was cold! I jump three times before I am numb. If you want to know how cold it was, look at the small photo on the left. :)

I earn a slow day! I plan to take my time at the top of the Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. Not to be tempted to hike, I wear shorts and sandals.

The weather here is gorgeous; I could not ask for better, but today, the climate inside of me is gloomy. I am extremely overwhelmed and honestly don't know what my next steps are. In a few days, I am leaving for Clearwater, Wells Gray Provincial Park, Mount Robson Provincial Park Jasper, and Banff. I am heading west for what looks like right now to have high levels of smoke and poor air quality. Except for Clearwater, the rest of the days, I am camping. The part of my travel to Jasper, Banff, and Glacier National Park is the crown for me. They have all been on my bucket list for many years. I had a scheduled trip with REI to Jasper and Banff for June 2020, but that, of course, was canceled.

The clouds in my mind are fogging my experience, and I'm struggling to enjoy the moment and the view that always brings peace to my heart. Of course, I'm frustrated with myself. All of this is clouding my emotions, and the wonderful idea of living in the moment is far from me. I know it's not productive, and I should give myself permission to fall apart and be upset. I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day.

After I stopped beating myself up, I got a good night's sleep. I remind myself to focus on the good lesson I can learn instead of what I can lose. I decided to continue as planned. I will figure out things as I go. It is comforting that Sandra reminds me I am always welcome at her house. The most distance to Invermere is an eight-hour drive. She also reminds me that smoke levels can change in a matter of hours. I never had to deal with it, and I am sure that adds to my uncertainty.

It's always helpful to have a phone conversation with my dear friend Eva Marie. She always knows how to put me back on the path of faith and peace, so as I hike to High Note on Whistler Mountain, I recite the serenity prayer. With that, I am back to my happy me as I hike one of the most beautiful hikes I have been on.

For the first part of the hike, The Black Tusk Mountain is at every angle of your view; it towers above all, letting you know it is the ruler of this landscape. You truly can't ignore its beauty. I hike slowly, watching my steps as some areas are steep and rocky. Just like that, without warning, Cheakamus Lake comes into view. I knew I would get a fantastic view of the lake from this hike, but wow! This is absolutely beyond beautiful! The color of the lake is the perfect color of turquoise. Turquoise is one of the most complex colors to balance. It is so sensitive to the green or the blue undertone, but right now as the gentle sun's light reflects on the lake, I experience the most beautiful balance of turquoise color I have ever seen, and my heart is whole.

I choose not to push myself too hard and take the shorter way back through the Half Note trail. Well, that was a fantastic choice. I got to lose the crowd and have the silence of nature all to myself for most of the hike.

After a hike like today, I question myself if I am, after all, maybe in one big dream? Perhaps not, because today is a laundry day. :) I have been washing my hiking pants daily; the trails are dusty. The weather showed that Monday would be a rainy day. I could not waste a beautiful sunny day on Saturday doing laundry, even if that meant I would be smack in the middle of so many other travelers.

Yesterday's rain cooled off the temperature, and this morning, the hike to Cheakamus Lake under the old-growth trees is wonderful. I know I will need to drive on a dirt road for a few miles, but I wasn't prepared to drive so slow to be able to maneuver through all the potholes.

There are sections in the hike where I feel I need a flashlight; the woods are so thick that the sunlight doesn't have a chance to get through. I love this feeling; it is like a tight hug from mother nature. My early start rewarded me with most of the time in intimacy with nature that I always love to have. The hike goes along the minty color roaring Cheakamus River; the minty color is soft, and it's almost like you can taste the cool sensation of the water. As I get to the lake, the hike is now hugging the lake shore. The water is like glass, reflecting the glacier mountains and the play of the sun and shadow playing with the color of the water is a feast to my eyes.

In the end, the hike was close to ten miles and not the five I was planning on. AllTrails takes you to the first campground and the first clearing to the lake, but the trail keeps going, so I keep hiking until I get to a sign indicating the end of the trail at Singing Creek Campground.

That is it for Whistler; it was, without a doubt, a privilege to experience this majestic beauty, but it is time to prepare for my next destination. I take advantage of the kitchen in the hostel and cook meals for the next four nights.

Yes, I met many friendly people in the hostel, but most were young, and I didn't find common ground to connect. It is funny that the last evening in the hostel, while I was cooking, another woman around my age was preparing her dinner. We acknowledged each other with a smile and started to share our travels. Meriam is heading in the same direction as I am the next morning. Meriam is from Holland and came to travel to British Columbia for three weeks; she is heading to Jasper and Banff, but will get there before I do. We planned to travel together tomorrow until our paths will split.

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