This Novice Hiker

Squamish for Not-so-beginners

If you’re eyes could see what I saw yesterday ae.

I really really made the most of nature’s belays yesterday as I hiked, scrambled, climbed and slid my way up and down the hike to and from Echo Lake. In the last week I feel like I’ve gone from 1 to 100 with regards to the difficulty of my hikes. My previous two posts covered Squamish for beginners, hikes with very little incline that I would rate novice/beginners at most. If they can even be considered hikes (more of leisurely walks).

Echo Lake Hike takes you across the mouth of the Squamish River, right by The Split, the hot spot for Wind Surfers here in Squamish. This part must be taken by boat and cannot be swam due to the glacial feeds into the water as well as the strong tidal currents.

Our boat was small (and new to it’s owner, our guide) so we went across two at a time, three of us squished into this tiny boat (not that I’m one to complain the trip was for free as a promotion to the hostel!) . This made for an interesting journey, the engine took a little longer than normal to get started and wasn’t very strong. We pushed on through and had to row a fair bit as we exited the strong currents. When we were dropped off, the guide headed back for the remaining two guests, friends of mine from the hostel.

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The Squamish Split (Echo Lake Crossing)

After ferrying everyone over we tied up the boat and had a brief safety chat (waivers had already been signed at the hostel). Our guide was more concerned about slips and trips than bears and cougars. The majority of the incline is steep and often slippery; it follows along a waterfall so if you take a bad slip you’re dead. Comparatively, a bad slip hiking The Chief should result in no more than minor injury as the trail is very well marked, very well trodden and far less hazardous

We went on our way. The pace was good as we stopped for viewpoints and to learn more about the forest around us. The incline, albeit somewhat treacherous, was definitely easier than our descent. I was challenged with climbing and scrambling opportunities in abundance. You got a real sense of danger that got your heart pumping real good.

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You can’t see the death drop here but trust me it’s a death drop. Photo courtesy of Simon Kausch, fellow hiker from the hostel)

We didn’t get so many good photos of the climbing and scrambling as we were a bit preoccupied with all the climbing and scrambling. Here’s a bit of a blurry one from a slightly easier part.

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Image courtesy of  Logan Leedahl 

It wasn’t all plain sailing and smiley though. It really pushed me to my limits when we reached the snow. There was a lot more than expected and it was all gullied along our trail next to the waterfall so we had to head off trail (which was also very snowy). I lost my leg down into the snow at one point. We were far away from the falls at that point though so I wasn’t too shocked, I did get a chilly bum though.

Echo Lake

It was not long after this point here that my leg slipped all the way in up to my bum ^    Image courtesy of Simon Kausch

After the moss, the foliage, the gravel and the snow we reached Echo Lake. It took just under three hours I believe: including our various stops for food and viewpoints. The reward was a beautiful snow covered lake and some hot rocks to sunbathe on – I never mentioned it was more than 25 degrees – b e a utiful.

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Echo Lake (under that snow) Image courtesy of Simon Kausch

The descent is less blog-worthy. It was tough and my legs turned to jelly. I skooted a fair amount of the way on my bum and got pretty scratched and bruised.

I’m not sure what’s going to top this anytime soon (although I definitely have someone in mind to share my biggest adventures with).  Here’s the whole team at the top.

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Simon, Logan, Tayla and myself at the top. Image courtesy of Tayla Eddy

Over and out

The Ever-loving Abigail

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