Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park, BC

Our family just returned yesterday from one week in the Cathedral Lakes Park, near Keremeos, BC.  It is part of the Cascades Mountain Range which extends from southern BC, through Washington state, Oregon and California, and includes many of the mountains we have visited and loved, including Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and Mount Hood.  The Cathedral Lakes Park is closed to vehicles (other than the transport vehicles used by the private operators of the Lodge and associated cabins), bicycles, and pets.  So it remains rugged wilderness, and a great location for some pretty serious hiking.

Of the 5 full days we were there, the first 3 we hiked 5 or 6 hours per day, typically climbing about 250 meters of elevation, to visit the many lakes and ridges in the area.  Then we rested one day, followed by a 10.5 hour hike, climbing about 500 meters that day.  It was pretty challenging for me, so I was proud of myself for just surviving that journey.  Hopefully my photos will portray some of the beauty of that area, and its flora and fauna.

First, some landscape and hiking spots :
In this hike, we had originally planned to take it easy and hike to Scout Lake, a mere 75 meter elevation above our cabin, which was at about 2000 meter above sea level.  But we accidentally started on a path which was marked in ribbons (not the park's standard wooden signs), and ended up climbing up the side of Scout Mountain, coming out about 200 meters above the lake.  See the patch of snow just below where I am standing for the photo?  Then we hiked down to the lake, and back to our cabin.

These are some more photos from the top of that ridge.  I love the green and black lichen on the rocks up there, and in many of the areas we visited.

There were a total of 6 lakes in the area within reasonable hiking distance which we visited.  This is Glacier Lake.

This is Quiniscoe Lake, which is where the lodge and cabins are located.

The scenery was an  interesting mix of lush green wildflowers and young healthy trees, and large dead trees (apparently wiped out by an infestation of spruce beetle).

Did I mention we were hiking?  I found the long hikes quite challenging, but the scenery was really quite beautiful.

As you see, I may not have had a big backpack, but I was carrying a lot of weight.  :-)

Getting up close with some of the local wildlife - mule deer and mountain goats, was fun.  On this hike past Glacier Lake to the Rim Trail, a family group of mountain goats passed us on the way up....

...and came to rest on a big patch of snow.  We continued to climb the mountain, above them.  (Although I would have preferred to join them on the patch of snow.  I think they had the right idea.)
If that encounter wasn't close enough for us, then passing them on the trail at the camp was even closer.  They seemed quite comfortable to wander about, passing beside our cabin and next to the tents at the nearby campsites.

The mule deer were equally bold, passing very close to us on the trails.

The kids spotted this healthy looking bunny during one of our hikes.

Being the northern (Canadian) part of the Cascades mountains, the wild flowers reminded me a lot of those at Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.

What hiking trip would be complete without wild berries?  I was amused by these huckleberry bushes, which were only a few inches high, but the berries were amazingly sweet (albeit tart).

The grouse seemed to think so, too, and we found a family (mother with 3 chicks) enjoying huckleberries beside the hiking path.

A few more floral scenes :

A black lichen "heart" which made me think of Clytie at Random Hearts.  I had to take a photo of it, for her :

And finally, one of my favorite locations in Cathedral Lake Park - a big granite rock next to our cabin, which was perfect for relaxing in the sun, when not on one of our hikes.


Tim said...

Great photos, and good job on that 10 hr hike....the wife and I have been doing coastal hikes the last few years, but the scenery you encountered is enticing me inland.

Clytie said...

Ohmigosh, I am in awe. I will be back to visit ... I haven't been online much the last few weeks, but hope to change that soon!

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