Last year, on my birthday in September, Simon and I decided we needed to experience the real beauty of our new home in the Kootenays – hence a hike to Gwillim Lakes. It was a grey, forbidding day and we were the only people on the trail. Despite the lowering clouds and the quick, chilly lunch at the lakes before heading back, we were entranced. This was a place of power and beauty!
So this year, we chose to go back to Gwillim Lakes to celebrate our second anniversary. Once again, we were the only ones on the trail but unlike last year, the weather was magnificent. We had bluebird skies and in the sun, the temperatures easily reached 20 degrees.
Every bit of this hike is magic. There’s no forest to slog through before reaching subalpine and alpine terrain. The views open up almost instantly and then, before you know it, you’re standing on the edge of Drinnon Lake – gorgeous. And then, more lakes and mountains, and a valley and a high pass and you are deposited in the Gwillim Lakes Basin – stunning and staggering are words that don’t do it justice. As Simon said, he hasn’t experienced quite this feeling since Mount Robson.
Yesterday, there was no need to gobble down lunch and head back down. Instead, we walked to the end of the last lake. And when I said that I’d like to hike up to the pass ahead of us, Simon agreed! Well, it turned out that the trail was a good switchback that didn’t toss us out at a pass but instead, to our surprise and delight, brought us to an upper lake in a perfect mountain bowl.
More superlatives! And then, of course, the views down into the basin were gobsmacking to say the least. I took 126 photos. That tells you something about how gorgeous it was.
We had lunch, did some snogging, said “I love you” several dozen times and agreed – best anniversary ever! Heck – best day ever!
The hike back was as packed with beauty as the one up. The autumn foliage was sunlit and presented as much beauty as spring flowers – perhaps even more.
All this magic – and we had it all to ourselves.
We’ll be back for camping next time. There is a good deal more here that we want to explore and when we’re done with exploring, I can’t think of many finer places to just sit and stare. (Simon will say that I won’t be able to sit longer than 5 seconds. Ahem – there’s a small chance he could be right)