In early spring, Chuck Gorton of Avalanche Safety Solutions announced that Ryan Johannsen, Glacier Rafting, and himself would donate a canoe to Gorman Lake – equipped with two paddles and two lifejackets. Posting on Facebook, through Golden Classifieds, it went viral. Within hours, the feed had a number of shares, with over 100 + comments, spreading the word and giving kudos where kudos was deserved. For our family, the annual trek up to Gorman was going to look different this year.
Waking up early to a bluebird morning, I started negotiating with my teen daughter, Lily, to get out of bed. With work complete at 12:30 pm, we packed up the gear, our dog - Marly - and snacks. Prior to leaving, I checked goldenhikes.ca and took screenshots on my phone of the access description – just in case my memory doesn't suffice.
Driving 20 or so kilometres from Golden, we were still looking at a good 45 minute trek. Cautiously negotiating logging roads, we saw birds, hares and a cinnamon black bear lazily eating dandelions. Once parked, marmots and pikas squealed, and the sound of Gorman creek churning over rocks greeted us. Crossing the bridge a slight breeze kept the bugs at bay and we started our ascent.
Gorman has many elements to its hike. Ascending skid trails, re-planted cut blocks and boardwalks graduate into lovely rooted wide trails through forest. Hikers cruise up hand-built stairways through scree slopes. Rock cairns have been creatively placed to avoid confusion. Confusion still persists though, and I recommended to my daughter that she look way ahead, then back track, similar to how she figures out the mazes in activity books.
Having surfed some snow, discovered fields of avalanche lilies (her name sake), we arrived. From here, I sourced out where the canoe was. I appreciate where it has been parked for accessibility and use. You don't even have to get your feet wet to launch!
At the shoreline picnic bench, we snacked and breathed in our surroundings. Rock formations loomed above us like castles. I have hiked here every year for 17 years with my daughter or with friends. Breathing in the feeling of familiarity, we sought out rock formations. Being here again is like coming home for me.
Yet this day, there was a new adventure at hand. Trekking over to the canoe, we flipped it over and got organized to launch. Marly got in willingly, completely calm.
Paddling on the lake is different than hiking the perimeter. Floating in the middle of grandiose peaks gives relevance to perspective. At the centre of the lake, observing the massive slabs on the bottom connect one to the story geology can tell of the area. Curiosity abounds. The colour of the water is somewhere between cobalt blue and deep turquoise. Sometimes you can't see the bottom it’s so deep. We located shoreline birds and streams filling the lake. Marmots darted across the rock bed, piquing Marly's interest. Fish jumped and wrestled with bugs on the surface of the water, leaving cylindrical ripples we watched grow larger and dissipate. Echoing in the distance, hikers return from Holt Lake – joyous and silly on the trail, they filled the peaks with laughter.
Gorman Lake makes me appreciate living in Golden, inspiring me to plan my return to these mountains – trekking longer and deeper into the terrain. Timelessness and a sense of gratefulness to our community are always present. Here's a 'hat's off' to our generous and pro-active community, as individuals look at how to give back, benefitting the whole.
JULY 22ND 2016 NOTE: SINCE THE SUBMISSION OF THIS BLOG A BRIDGE AT THE 13KM POINT OF THE GORMAN LAKE ROAD HAS BECOME INACCESSIBLE. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO VISIT GORMAN LAKE UNTIL FUTHER NOTICE.