12-Jun-2016 -- 50N 123W Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Line Hunting Date: 12 June 2016
A Spectacular Confluence Point – in memory of Dave Patton
After seeing the beautiful pictures of the 2006 hunting report of Roland Wirth, I have set my on this point near Whistler. It took me almost 10 years to fulfill this wish, even though I have visited Vancouver at least 30 times since that time.
After the hunt, I read the announcement of Dave Patton’s passing on DCP. This particular point was Dave’s first successful confluence hunt. I wish to dedicate this hunt to Dave, for his contribution to this great project which has given me much joy over the years.
This confluence point smacked in the middle of the Garibaldi Provincial park. Last time, I visited the park was a camping trip in the fall of 1983 with now the other half of the Yip-Bannicq , and we deeply appreciated the beauty of this park. I recommend this point to all confluence hunter visiting Vancouver.
In the past, most of my stay in Vancouver average 1.5 days which made a whole day confluence hunt not feasible. This time, I have a one week layover except forecast was not promising – rain or storm until the day I supposed to depart. The day of the hunt was forecasted to have showers in the afternoon, relatively the least precipitation.
I left Richmond at 5 in the morning, and whiz through Vancouver but encountered heavy rain on the coastal highway, not a good sign with a long hike ahead. It took 2 hours to reach Cheakamus Lake Road. After 6 km on this dirt road I reached the trail head – the parking lot, which was 4.4 km GPS distance from the confluence point.
First part of the trail was a 1.5 km gentle downhill to the hiker’s bridge (photo 10) over Cheakmus River (photo 9) with an elevation of 830 meters. After the crossing, it was a steep climb for 700 metes for the next 5 km until it flat out around 1550 meters. Starting around 1350 meters, the trail became covered with hard snow and ice which made progress even slower. I did not expect the snow, fortunately my running shoes were water proof otherwise it would have been miserable.
The well-marked trail lead to Helm Creek Campground which is about 7 km from the bridge and put me 460 meters away from the confluence point. The large meadow still partially covered by now, and some of the snow has a pink hue which I later learn it is a phenomena called “watermelon snow” in an article in New York Times which is related to a special algae and linked to global warming (photo 8) (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/science/watermelon-snow-global-warming.html? smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share)
Picking my way toward the confluence point, with 70 meters to go, I found a rather fast running Helm Creek keeping me from reaching the all-zeros point (photo 7). I followed the creek up stream until it was 300 meters from the point, and fail to find fallen tree or rocks for passage. Eventfully I took my jeans and shoes off and wadded across a wider part of the creek where current seems tamer. I must admit, this was truly a bone chilling experience.
Once I made across the creek, reaching the all-zeros point was truly a stroll in the park with specular view of the famous Black Tusk in the mist. I realize to truly enjoy the spectacular wild flower scenery per report of 2006, August is the right time to come, and Helm Creek Camp ground would be a terrific place to spend a night or two.
The return trip required one more crossing of the snow melt Helm Creek. The hike downhill was much easier than huffing my way up, except for occasional break through the hard snow and drop a foot or two. I made it back to the parking lot at Trailhead by 1.30 pm, feeling a bit tired but happy. Of course, the return drive was not as easy with rush hour traffic once reached vicinity of Vancouver. Door to door, exactly 12 hours.
I would rate this one of the top 5 confluence hunts I ever did – wonderful scenery, 17 km of great hike, and the excitement of crossing freezing creek. Not too many hunts, one can do so much in a day.
Rating of this hunt:
Degree of Challenge: 4 – A steep 5 km climb over snow and ice plus crossing a swift creek with ice cold water (1= very easy - drive to the point; to 5= a death march – glad it is over)
Scenery:5 – British Colombia at its best (Scale: 1= not interesting at all; 5= take your breath away)
Culture-social factors: 2 – Nearby Whistler is a great place for holiday in winter and summer (Scale: 1=dull; 5= most stimulating)