Josi is still in town http://www.ubc-voc.com/2016/07/29/harrison-hut-july-2016 and we figured that we could entertain her by trying to get up the Black Tusk. She likes taking pictures. My objectives were to see if I could still get up the Tusk, and to see how the newly-implemented camping reservation system was working. So we bought our permits for three people, two nights; one night at Taylor and one at the Lake. We cunningly planned to do this Sunday-Tuesday, hoping to beat some of the crowds.
Reservations: $72 for overnight in a Government camp site is certainly not what I am used to, because I am not used to paying for the privilege of putting up my tent. But more on that later. We were met at the highway turn-off by two people bearing the Parks patches, and these people were warning us about requiring permits (they checked on their mobile phones that we had overnight permits), about a bear that was not afraid of humans, about garbage, camp-fires ($345 fine), dogs and bikes ($120 fine) and maybe a couple of other things. They were friendly and courteous but obviously they had said it all before. They told us it was OK to park on the roadside in case the upper parking lots were all full. They pretty much were.
So we high-tailed it for Taylor and soon found the ideal tent platform (#40) and put up the tent. Ideal meant close to the drinking water, the toilet (not too close), the picnic shelter (for rain), and not totally surrounded by other campers. What to do with the rest of the day? There were clouds drifting in and out and we didn’t want to get all used up trying to find the Tusk in the clouds, so we went off to see Helm Flats, got some fine panoramic scenery, found a couple of lakes but it was too cool and misty for swimming. We went back to our tent and had a nice short nap before supper.
Just before we left for the Flats, we saw a serious-looking chap with a rifle (with aluminium foil over the pointy end). He was called euphemistically the “Conservation Officer”.
That night we experienced the “xylophone effect”. People walking past our camp-site on the board walk sounded like somebody trying to play a xylophone. This happened from time to time throughout the night. The thing definitely needed tuning.
Monday morning, not too early we set off towards where we figured the Tusk was. Clouds were swirling so we walked slowly, hoping that the stuff would burn off, and it did briefly. Eventually we could see where the Tusk was and Josi and I even found the gully, but Carla decided she was scared enough so she went back to wait for us at the “Scenic Viewpoint”. Josi and I climbed until we got to the overhanging bit then persuaded each other that almost dying was not required, in order to show that we were good, so we turned around. Besides, we rationalized, the clouds were coming back in. And, it was CHOSS!! (But, what do you expect, from a volcanic plug?) So we went back to the tent, had another brief nap, and carried our worldly possessions down to the Lake.
At the lake, much chaos ensued. There were rabbit-warren trails going all over the place. We were looking for a camp-site that was not already taken. We had permission to camp, but not an assigned camp-site. We felt that a spot with a tent already on it, was not good, but the ones with somebody’s permit might not be good either, until we read the permit and find it was from yesterday. We found a spot (#14) that looked like it might not flood in the rain, wasn’t too-too far from the lake, the toilet, the picnic shelter. We put up the tent and had another nap. Then supper. Then to sleep some more.
Garibaldi Lake, Battleship Island
Tuesday we thought we should hang around the lake to get our money’s worth, hoping that the clouds would burn off, but they never did. Josi, to her surprise, went swimming and claimed that it was warm but I think her thermostat’s broken. Nobody else went swimming. Eventually we went down, stopping for a long time at the lookout to photograph chipmunks.
These are just little bundles of cute. I sat on a pointy rock, afraid to move as Josi took pictures, until I discovered that I had pinched a nerve in my bum. You have all heard of your leg “going to sleep” which results in pins and needles feelings. But my leg was comatose. It did not respond to any of the usual commands like “lift foot now”, and it felt like my leg had been replaced by a totally useless rubber prosthesis. Fortunately it recovered in about 15 minutes, and worked fine afterwards.
At Squamish we looked up at the clouds; they were still there, so we all went home.
Epilogue:Bears We heard that the “bad bear” had been shot on Sunday. I wondered how much it costs to kill a bear, what with flying in the Conservation Officer, and probably flying out the dead bear, and the Government rate for the helicopter being somewhat north of $2k/hour. The Parks employees, while friendly and courteous, didn’t have much to say about the cost of bears, and preferred to talk about conservation, live trapping, etc, but we know. Maybe they should be charging even more for camping. To me it is perfectly clear that the park is full to overflowing with mostly happy overnighters and day trippers, even mid-week, and they don’t need me to be up there taking up space and adding to the problem. There’s still lots of places to go, where there’s no crowds and camping is free.We can’t expect city dweller, raised on Disney films, to understand, so just kill all the bears and don’t waste your time with regrets. For another take on this, see https://happiestoutdoors.ca/you-killed-a-bear/