Just as I trod on the summit, barely 9km from the trailhead, I turned around and there was the view I was seeking. The glaciers were right in front of me, no longer able to hide. I looked back and saw nothing but more glaciated peaks, jagged rocky summits and valleys green with tall trees and meadows. The soundtrack to this alpine scenery: the distant rustle of Ruth Creek, 670 meters below.

With this view, I could cross off most of the items on my list of sights to see in this trip, all of which simply don’t exist east of the Rockies. This is not how it started though, and it’s not how it ended either.

Chapter 1 – Vancouver, old friend
I glance out the window as the plane lands. Sunny and blue skies. The optimism creeps back in my mind for a moment, though I know the weather in the mountains and the weather in the city are two very different things. Besides, a lot can change in 3 days.

I’m hoping it doesn’t rain when I embark on my 6-day exploration of Garibaldi Provincial Park, but the forecast is not on my side. It calls for 100mm of rain and some snow on Black Tusk on Monday and Tuesday, just when and where the backpack was set to start. I switch off Airplane mode on my phone and check the forecast again in case it changed since I left Toronto. It hasn’t.

I really like Vancouver. A lot. I like its laid back and unpretentious vibe. Life seems to start earlier and have a calmer pace. The sunlight and seagulls wake me up early on Saturday morning. I look out the window and see people stretching before a run. Others take their time putting bikes in their trucks while their dog patiently waits for the door to open so it can jump in the cabin and stick its head out the window. Despite the notoriously wet weather, life and outdoors seem to go hand in hand here.

The Vancouver area is known for its shortage of residential land, partly because of its geography, where sea quickly becomes high mountains. However, that geography also means there’s no shortage in places to enjoy the outdoors.

After a weekend of sampling some of Vancouver’s finest, it’s decision time. I look at the weather forecast one last time. Not as bad as it was, but still, a few days of rain coming up, which is too many for this short trip. The backpack in Garibaldi Park is off. Luckily, the skies are brighter down south and backpacking in nearby Washington is on my bucket list. Garibaldi will still be there next year, eh?

Life lesson: It’s good to have a plan B (or C, or D…), just in case.

Next: Baker, the lottery and the importance of gut feeling