Now that I’ve recovered from the Plague that knocked me out flat for a week, I am getting up this stupid trail even if it kills me. I’m working the Feast shifts on the 2nd, so I need to do it today so I don’t find myself rushing. The second the gondola is open, I’m on it, heading straight for the top of Whistler, only stopping to go to the Roundhouse Deli to make a sandwich for lunch. They have a make-your-own deli stand, so I can avoid the sauces I don’t want considering how long it’ll be till I eat it. My one complaint is how much it cost – no sandwich should cost $14+. If I didn’t have the 50% discount for staff, I wouldn’t have bought it.
The High Note trail is not a full loop, as it starts and ends at the Whistler Summit the end of the Harmony Meadows trail. After looking at the map, I decide to take the Peak Express chairlift to the peak of Whistler, since it’ll mean less uphill climbing.
I haven’t been to the summit since the start of the summer, and damn but it looks different now that all the snow has gone. The giant snowfield has vanished, the Nestle Shack is open (and I wave to my roommate who is now the unfortunate soul stuck up here) and they’ve started construction on a suspension bridge they’re building for next season (which has wrecked on the easy loops on the summit).
The first part of the High Note from this side is closed off due to construction as well, so you have to get down via a maintenance road. When you get onto the trail, it’s pretty vicious in how steep it is. I’m grateful to have grabbed the hiking stick when I left the Roundhouse, because we haven’t had rain in weeks and the ground is spectacularly dusty. I fall one, naturally at a place that ends with an almost sheer cliff drop, and decide to start going down a lot slower.
By the time it flattens out, I find a clearing where people are reading or having lunch, and I kick myself for not bringing a book. The view is awesome, and this would not be a bad place to spend some time.
As you head around the mountain, the trail starts to narrow, eventually resulting in the official entrance, which you get to by crossing the bike trail, and then start hiking along the mountain edge.
After maybe an hour, I managed to make myself about 1/3 of the way there when I arrived at the viewing spot for Cheakamus Lake. I’ve never been down to the area mostly because I don’t really take the buses, but the lake is a beautiful shade of blue – the kind that until I came to Canada didn’t realise water could come in outside of the tropics.
I spend a little too long as this section as I decide to grab lunch, mainly because I can see it’s going to be an upwards climb after this point, and I’m not wrong. We have chains, ropes, and even a makeshift metal bridge in order to navigate round the mountain.
After thirty minutes, I make it back down to a flat area, where there are options to split off into the Half Note trail (the shorter route back) and the option to do the Musical Bumps trail – the hardest one available given the sign post warning of the length and threats facing hikers that take it on. I’m not even going to pretend I’m attempting it, and keep heading down the High Note towards my next checkpoint, Symphony Lake.
By the time I reached the lake, the temperature has gotten a lot higher than I expected. I’ve got sun cream, but it also means I’m going through my water a lot quicker than I expected. I’ve still got about 90 hours to go, and I’m not sure I have the water to do it comfortably. As such, Symphony Lake looks REALLY appealing for a toe dip.
The next leg of the hike is once again uphill, but the good news is once I’m over this one, I’m back at Harmony Lake and just a stone’s throw away from Roundhouse and some more drinking water. Course, when I hit Harmony Lakes, I get distracted by some of the locals.
I think these are whisky jacks, but I’m not certain. All of them are very interested in what’s left of my lunch though. Once I’ve ripped up the tomato and ham and bread into small enough pieces, it’s not hard to coax them over to say high. There’s at least four of them flying around, all in varying states of friendliness and curiosity.
In the end, thirst is what pulls me away, and I struggle up the final uphill trek to make it back to Roundhouse, happy to guzzle down nearly an entire bottle of water and relax in the restaurant before heading back down the mountain.
It’s taken me over an hour longer than I’d expected, hiking for 4 1/2 hours in temperatures a lot higher than expected, and I’m exhausted, so decide I won’t do anything else with the day. I had considered renting a bike, but I really wouldn’t be able to appreciate it with my legs in the state they are now.
I had planned on doing some more hiking of Blackcomb on the Saturday as well, but this hike takes so much out of me that I’m a wreck, and given that I have to work the Feast, I decide that it’s probably safer to stay in the village. Hopefully I’ll manage to make it to the Ascent Trail and the Decker Loop before they close in September.