Garibaldi Provincial Park, August 2006
The experience is most definitely North American. The trail a tight corridor through otherwise impenetrable forest with restricted views. An acquired taste I suspect and if I’m honest not one I’ve acquired yet. As wooded walks go though this ones got character. Natural growth of Douglas fir, western red cedar and western hemlock score more points than the close knit, regimented plantations of imported quick growing spruce which dot the hillsides of my youth. As the morning passes, the sun climbs higher and, though unseen, it’s effect is felt. It’s hot under the canopy. By design or by accident the pace is most certainly slow and steady.
As we approach 1500m, with close to nine hundred vertical meters and six kilometres put behind us we arrive at a split in the path. We take the path on our left hand and climb a little further but a little less steeply. The path continues to duck and weave to left and then to right through the trees but on average it veers right and keeps on doing so until, at once, it levels out and we find ourselves contouring. First comes the edge of the wood and then comes the light. The harsh light of an early August midday made all the harsher by the clear skies and thin air. We're not above the tree line but the big trees are now behind us and , here on the shoulder of Black tusk, longer views open up, framed between tree tops and branches. Looking up I'm in the mountains. Looking down I'm in a flower garden. These aren't the hills I'm used to. Not subtle greens and greys under grey skies. Not 'ard 'n northern. None of that. No, these hills are extravagantly dressed in lush, long flowing green grass and accessorised with bright blue, yellow, red and white flowers. We're crossing the Taylor meadow in the first week of August and the display is at its best. It's an astonishing scene. Summer in caricature. I have to look up at the snow-topped points to remind myself I'm in the mountains.