The Golden Larches
It's Almost that golden time...
One of my most favorite times of the year is seeing the Golden Larches. It's eye dropping beauty. What's a Golden Larch? Picture this...Blue skies, mountain air and trees draped in gold. These trees are part of the Pine Tree family but are found high on top of some mountains. They are 2000 years old. The trees needles change colour each season for a short time before falling off and leaving the ground in a rich gold carpet. You could even say a bright yellow. It is one of the most beautiful trees to see. Each year I make the time to see these trees and each year they take my breath away. So do you wanna see these trees? Here's two great spots.
Frosty Mountain-Manning Park: 16 km's return/800 m elevation
Park at Lightning Lakes, walk past the pit toilets and cross the dam bridge. You will see the trail to Mt. Frosty. It is a gentle constant climb as you zig-zag and switchback your way for the first 2 km. There are a few glimpses of Lightning Lakes down below. For the next 2 Km's the trail is on a 45 degree angle, is skinny at times and one side is wide open. Once at the 4 km's mark it becomes quite flat through the Wilderness Camp. There's a pit toilet at the camp and a few areas to rest. Have lunch or a snack and the Whiskey Jacks will gladly share your lunch. After the camp it's about 10 minutes to the Frosty Mountain sign post and its here as your turn the corner and you'll be treated with your very first Golden Larch. They just keep coming. Keep walking through the meadows to the 8 km's mark. On your right side there are valley views and Frosty inviting you for a summit. It's only 2 km's more to the top. The wind whistled, rocks tumbled down the valley and the Larches were magical. This hike is best done on a snow, frost free & blue sky day. Timing is everything but if you miss The Larches there's always next year.
Blue Lake: Northern Cascades, USA-2.2 miles/ 7 km's/1100 ft/320 m elevation
Start off on a wooded bridge with Blue Jays chirping you on. Dirt path followed by a wood bridge. Along a twisted path to another wood bridge. Again on a dirt path. Boardwalk and wood bridge dirt path. Series of boardwalks and in between dirt paths Just keep going as the trail passes rocks and then to an open view with Larches on the slopes don't forget to turn around as you look st the snow covered peaks. Once back in the forest the trail continues on dirt. Soon one Larch appears and then two and three along a rocky area. Larches like rocks and slopes. Soon after the views pop open with tons of mountain views. If it has snowed yu may need MICROspikes as the trail gets icy and there are some spots where you could fall down the slope. The lake comes into view. You can stay right for an upper lake view or go left and sit on the rock where Whiskey Jacks and little chipmunks come to visit. Don't forget to check out the tired old cabin at the entrance to the lake.
The hike up Frosty Mountain is a little longer and steeper but closer to get to. There's also the option to carry onto the summit of Frosty Mtn for an additional 4 km's return.
The hike at Blue Lake is a little easier but a longer drive. A very beautiful drive through the Northern Cascades. You'll need a passport. You also have the option to drive a short distance to a lookout after that pretty stunning.
Whichever hike you choose make sure you go. It's my favorite time of the year. The air is crisp and the colours are ah-mazing! Soon the Larches will turn and your window will about about three weeks to see them. Watch for my posts, it's almost Larch time. Happy & safe hiking.
Other Larch hikes in B.C. www.hellobc.com/stories/finding-golden-larch-british-columbia
September 16th, 2019
I work for Surrey School District as an Education Assistant. In my free time I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, going off-road, dragon boating, writing & hanging with my huskies.