Living our dream, discovering Joffre Lake !
Prior to our visit in Vancouver, we mapped out places we wanted to visit. Nothing crazy really, everyday we were waking up and deciding what we were going to do. We covered it by area, Vancouver north for example, we visited a couple of places in one day (Lynn Canyon, Deep Cove) then another day we did Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Brunswick beach. Also on the itinerary was discovering Joffre Lake, Nairn Falls and Whistler.
Whistler was on our list of things to visit and we knew it would take an entire day because of the four hours driving there and back plus we wanted to visit a couple of other Provincial Parks in the area; Nairn Falls and Joffre Lake. As indicated, Whistler was 2 hours by car from Vancouver, Nairn Falls was 30 minutes further and another hour for Joffre Lake and that's just the drive. We were fortunate to meet 2 Brazilians while hiking Lynn Canyon and got ourselves a little group to spend the day. In the car were two Brazilians, one Costa Rican, one Slovakian and one Canadian.
We all met up at a skytrain station early in the morning and left the city by 6:30am. It was smooth sailing once we crossed the bridge. Our first stop was Whistler. It's a very beautiful place and our entire time there was great. We experienced the gondolas, saw the mountains, olympic park and the olympic rings. We experienced the peak 2 peak as it was recommended to us. It did not disappoint. We spent 3-4 hours at Whistler and we could have stayed much longer. But that meant missing out on something else.
After lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory, we took the car and drove to Nairn Falls. We hesitated about going directly to Joffre lake but Nairn was the next stop. So we decided to keep the chronological order. Nairn was a breath of fresh air, a nice 30 minute brisk walk after lunch. The hike was great, filled with beautiful sceneries, rapids and of course the falls at the very end.
Once conquered, we set out to our final destination, Joffre Lake. Oddly enough we hadn't researched Joffre lake much and were under the impression it was a lake on the side of the highway. I had only seen pictures and was under the impression that it was the same type of hike as Nairn Falls. A friend of one of the Brazilians had already been to Joffre Lake but only made it to the second lake. They were a big group and it seemed that everyone was tired and just wanted to head back. Once we talked about this in the car, we made a group decision to conquer all three lakes.
Once at Joffre Lake, we felt the air much cooler. So we dressed accordingly and walk up to the park entrance. We get to the entrance and notice a sign that indicates the estimated time to hike. Three hours one way to the third lake !? We asked around, and a group of 20 year olds boasted how they finished it in 1h20 minutes. They also said it was much faster on the way back. Slightly reassured and confident that we wanted to conquer this hike, we set out into the wilderness.
On the park sign the 1st lake was supposed to take 15 minutes (one way) and we got there in about 5 minutes. We thought ''Ok, so at this rate, we will finish it much quicker''. We took some time to appreciate the lake, the mountains, the snow. It was strange to see snow on the mountain tops in mid-summer. We got back on track, heading off in the other direction towards the other lakes. At this point I took out my phone and started the chronometer to count our actual time. I thought, perhaps we won't finish it in record time but we will make good time. In the end, the best advice I can give is not to make it a race or about how fast you can get there. The dream is better lived to its fullest.
Our group of five quickly became split into two. It consisted of my wife and I at a slower pace because I was with the camera gear and we wouldn't see the others until much later. I wanted to embrace the hike and take pictures or film when I was struck by beautiful scenery. Despite our frequent stops to snap shots, we tried to keep up with our group but we could never catch up. The beginning of the hike was very relax, just like our experience at Nairn Falls. Once we got to a fair distance from the first lake, it started getting steeper and steeper. We were surprised because we didn't expect this degree of difficulty.
If we knew the degree of difficulty prior to coming perhaps we wouldn't have come. We didn't know what to expect and that was good. Otherwise we could have avoided this trip all together because of its difficulty. We were simply motivated to complete the hike. It's an intense hike, even for someone who works out regularly. Surprisingly, I found my heart beating quite fast which resonated in my throat.
We continued on our trek and crossed paths with many people, quick to ask how far we were to the second lake. We got caught up with the time it was going to take us rather than enjoy the view and experience. Lia stopped at one point, exhausted physically and mentally, broke down into tears saying ''I didn't sleep well last night, didn't eat well today and I'm not in shape to finish this hike." She continued with ''the next time you want to do something like this, you go by yourself''! At the time I took it personally and felt horrible that I dragged her along. I later searched the web and found out it was an intermediate level hike, oops.
On a side note, when I used to jog I recalled tips and tricks that kept me motivated and I tried them with my wife. To jog is physical, but when it boils down to duration, it becomes mental. For instance, you could go further but you make a conscious decision to stop before. All you need, is to set small goals for yourself and visualize objects along the way. From this moment on, we took many small breaks, to catch our breath and to recharge our legs. I noticed many people that weren't in the best of shape on this trail and most of all a small dog on a leach. I told my wife that she was more in shape than others who had conquered. If they could do it she could too.
Note to self, when hiking here bring food or a small snack to munch on. I saw one person eating a banana and wished we brought one too. All we had was a water bottle and 2 granola bars that we recalled on later on the way back. We arrived at this water source, that looked crystal clear and so refreshing. Our bottles were still full, so we took note of that for the way back.
We created a rhythm. Without knowing it we got closer and closer to experiencing this dream. Whenever we felt
tired, we took a small break, I took a picture to shift the focus elsewhere. We didn't cross the other three until we finally got to the second lake.
Finally, the second lake ! We stopped here for a good while and took some pictures. We did like the rest of them and walked up the log half floating in the water to take our victory pictures. Then I hesitated to ask, ''do we walk to the third lake or no?''. To my surprise, my wife replied ''yes''. I didn't understand it and she said that she would explain later, once we got there. She knew something I didn't and would only share once we arrived.
The paths became rougher and it became difficult to visualize the direction. At one point I noticed the stained rocks and made the association it was the dirt from the paths. We kept a look out for the rocks with the brownish/orange surface. I couldn't imagine walking on that later in the day when the sunlight dimmed, unless you knew the way. We crossed a small waterfall, which was approximately halfway to the next lake. The third lake, we made it. I felt accomplished and glad that we continued on. What I didn't know, was the experience my wife just had.
Lia explained the main reason she was motivated to continue. “In my dreams it wasn't clear whether I was always going alone or with other people. I recall it was a kind of park with trees around and I knew to expect a place with turquoise blue water. This dream occurred approximately 6 times. Each time I woke up I was always wondering if that blue water was about a waterfall or a beach, trying to recall the events that transpired. But a beach with trees?''
In the dreams I always was trying to get to the top, I knew that beautiful and amazing place was there, but I couldn’t reach the end. I was walking, walking and it wasn't amounting to anything. In one of the dreams I remember I got to a point with a waterfall and I thought, Finally I've arrived. Then I understood that we hadn't arrived and I knew the other place was more divine but I couldn’t find it. There were more than one just like Joffre’s lake provincial park.
In hindsight, I believe the waterfall from my dream was Nairn falls. Because I recall that it was easily accessible. When we first arrived at Joffre, I didn’t immediately realize this place was from my dream. It hadn't sunk in yet but the difficulty level gave it a new perspective. When I finally saw the second lake, I felt a deja vu. Instantly felt I finally got to the place from my dreams !
I didn't immediately tell my husband because I didn't think he would understand. Why would I to continue to the third lake after my struggles. In my dream, I knew it was more than one place with sapphire blue water. I could never get there in my dreams. But when I got to the third lake I understood that was the “Top” of the blue water. I saw the mountains around, trees and scenery. The third lake was the confirmation that I could accomplish the task. I would have these dreams almost 6 months before and it was great to see it in real life. After some struggles it felt great to conquer the three lakes.
I am still trying to get the “meaning”. Was I just supposed to see the lakes ? Why did I have these dreams ? Was it to see that I could reach my goal and learn that it’s possible ? Was it a life lesson or was it some sort of premonition ?
I am glad I could find it. I am also sure that blue water it will be always with me in my dreams in my way !
We found it, we conquered it and darn proud of it ! See you again in our dreams Joffre Lake ! ??
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