I’ve been hiking for years and I’ve e always loved getting up into the alpine, summiting peaks and sleeping under the stars. Cabin trips have always been great but there is something about sleeping in my own portable home that makes it that much more memorable. When I was younger, I thought hiking was a slog up a steep trail with limited views along the way, only staying up in the alpine for a short time before stomping back down the trail. I didn’t know there were hikes that afforded stunning views the entire way that weren’t progressing relentlessly upwards. I didn’t know it was worth carrying all the extra gear to camp the night. Well, after my first time at Gwillim Lakes, I was hooked. My first alpine camping experience, over 10 years ago, left an impression on me that I don’t think I’ll shake anytime soon. This past weekend, after spending the first part of the summer in New Zealand, Gwillim Lakes was my first hike since last year.
Even though I have been up to it a few times already, it still holds the same allure. Every step along the journey is beautiful but once I crested the slope, and got the whole view of the basin, my jaw dropped (as it does every time). I don’t think I can imagine a more picturesque place. This trip had photographic intent though. The moon would be quite small and would not rise until late at night, which gave me the perfect opportunity to shoot the Milky Way. Luckily, the clouds didn’t appear and I was awarded a completely clear sky.
Every time I revisit a place high up in the mountains, I try to look at it with fresh eyes. Always scanning the landscape looking for something I missed the first time. In the past, I was all about conquering summits and checking hikes off the list, with the intent to move onto the next challenge. But I know there’s benefit returning to where I have been before. I get the chance to know it more intimately. To see how I’ve changed when I know the landscape has been the same since long before I was born. I will definitely continue to visit Gwillim Lakes for many years to come.