Since I knew we were coming to Panorama, B.C. for a few days before driving back to Utah, I googled trails in the area so that I had a plan for runs while we are here. And after one look at pictures from the Lake of the Hanging Glacier, I knew I had to go and see it for myself.
I talked with Lee. I checked the weather forecast for the best weather. We planned around family activities. Then we decided to do it on Thursday, the day before we head home.
And we woke up to cloud cover and chances of rain throughout the day.
Lee and I decided to go anyway! We loaded up the car with our hydration packs, some food and gave our family a rough return time of 3PM. The directions from the mountain resort website were great! We got on the two-lane highway towards Invermere, found the turn for the town of Wilmer and got ourselves onto the gravel forest service road that would take us to the trailhead for this epic run. So far, so good.
But then we had a little hiccup.
As we neared the end of the almost 50km that we had to do on the gravel (!!), we came to a fork in the road and, after a quick look down both of them and checking our directions to see if there was any mention of this, we decided to take the more traveled road to the left.
Turns out, we were wrong.
The road we chose was still drivable but it became very steep and very bumpy and, as we rounded a corner, we found a washout across the road. Lee jumped out to see if we could cross it and, after a thorough inspection, decided we could so we nervously motored across the rushing water.
After making it to the 49km marker where our trail was supposed to start and after much searching, we found nothing that resembled a trailhead. At this point, almost three hours into our adventure, two hours off schedule and with no cell service for the majority of the road we'd just traveled, I thought my dream of seeing this lake was over. But then Lee decided that we should try out the less traveled road we'd opted not to take a few kilometers back.
Turns out, he was right!
This jeep road to the trailhead is much less traveled and our little Jetta was bouncing all over the place as we made our way the few kilometers to the start of our run/hike. The clouds persisted but luckily the rain stayed away for our ascent and then started soon after we made it the 8km to the bright blue glacial lake surrounded by jagged mountains. It was gorgeous there but I was cursing the weather as I imagine it is spectacular on a sunny day.
So we'll just have to hike it again someday.
And because of the directions and the detour we took as a result of their lack of thoroughness, our 3PM return time turned into 6:30PM. Since the area we were in is some of the most remote wilderness in B.C., has no cell service and is home to a healthy population of grizzlies, Lee's family was a little worried, to say the least (and frankly, at times, I was, too!).
My pictures don't do the beauty of this place justice.