For a quick weekend getaway from Seattle, we drove north for Vancouver but the highlight of our trip was our hike of Joffre Lakes Park. This hike was nothing short of AH-MAZING and is just a quick 2.5 hour drive northeast of Vancouver. The drive alone was beautiful. We were told of a couple waterfalls that were right off the highway that we should stop at, Shannon falls and Brandywine Falls.
Shannon Falls was right off of the main highway. You can actually see it without stopping. Right down the road from it, was “The Chief”.
Next stop Brandywine Falls. You could tell this waterfall was not as popular as it was a little farther out from civilization (Shannon Falls and the Chief were right outside of a town). Brandywine Falls was just a quick 10 minute walk from the highway. This waterfall fed into a lake that you could look down into.
Our stops made our drive a little bit longer, but we finally made it to the park! The Joffre Lake system consists of 3 glacier fed lakes, Lower, Middle, and Upper (creative names right). The hike is breath-taking every step of the way, literally. This was not an easy hike. With snow on the ground and straight up a mountain in other places, I found myself looking for a little more oxygen quite often. But it was so worth it, the views on this hike were unlike anything I had seen before.
Lower Lake was a quick 5 minutes into the hike. We found the snow a little surprising considering we went on this hike in late May and being from Texas. This brought up the concern if the rest of the trail was open. We tried doing another hike the day before and it was closed due to avalanche warnings. Luckily the entire Joffre Lake trail was open! After the Lower lake being so close to the beginning of the trail, I was not expecting the Middle lake being so much farther. We found ourselves in the middle of no where quite often, questioning if we were even on the trail anymore, since everything was in the snow.
Most of the time, it felt like we were hiking straight up a mountain. After stopping for a break, we realized we really were hiking straight up a mountain.
The hike between the Lower and Middle lake was tough and long compared to the hike between the Middle and Upper lakes. The Middle Lake is where we stopped for some PB&J’s and took in the gorgeous scenery for a little bit. Middle Lake was still half frozen.
Since there was so much snow, you would think it would be cold and it was at certain times (mostly in the shade) but because of the difficulty of this hike, I was usually to worked up to wear a sweatshirt.
We’re almost there! The Upper lake, we were told was so close to the second (all I can think is hallelujah). On our way up, we experienced the deepest snow yet. From some reason I decided to take a step off the main path and ended up sinking hip deep into the snow. I’m 6 feet tall if that tells you how deep the snow was. This was only the first time I “stepped off the beaten path” that ended up with not so great consequences. This one at least came with some good laughs too. We also came across a waterfall that connects the Upper and Middle lakes.
We finally made it to the Upper Lake! After hiking for about an hour and a half. It was still completely frozen over. Nolan decided to stay back a little bit and take pictures while I wandered closer to the lake. We weren’t 100% sure where land stopped and the lake started since everything was white. It was cold but had astonishing views. This lake is fed by the Matier Glacier giving the lake an amazing aqua blue color. Unfortunately, since it was still frozen, we didn’t get to see it.
Funny Story From The Way Down:
We thought the hike up was difficult, but man the hike down was also. The snow made things incredibly slick and it seemed like an entirely different trail than what we came up on. I bought hiking shoes specifically for this trip and I am so glad I did. At one point, we came across a very very slick spot. One wrong step, Nolan goes sliding down the ledge. Being the scared girlfriend I was, I tried to help him up, and down I went with him. We both were holding onto a root that was sticking out from the ledge. With me in tears, Nolan went into survival mode. He found a couple of rocks that we could climb up and got us out of this scary situation. Needless to say, we got out fine, just a few bumps and bruises.