Finally – the Marriott Basin post. It took me a little longer than expected to write, it’s been a busy week.
The Marriott Basin is possibly one of the best hikes I have done. It is an absolutely stunning area, a relatively simple hike and very little traffic mid-week (although I’m told if you head up there Saturday/Sunday or in the winter can be quite busy).
The trail-head is just past the Joffre Lakes parking lot so it took us a little over an hour to get there from Whistler. We had a low-clearance vehicle so we had to park at the beginning of the forest service road. This added two kilometres to our trek. In a 4WD it would be easy to get all the way to the trail-head.
Once onto the trail, it was relatively easy going for the most part. There is a very steep section that lasted about 30-45 minutes and a couple of sketchy river crossings that needed a bit of care. The ground was fairly muddy and boggy which tested out the quality of our shoes.
After hiking for about 90 minutes we stumbled out into a clearing and we were greeted by a beautiful meadow with a great view up the valley. I could easily have camped here and been stoked with the scenery but the lake was our ultimate goal so on we trekked.
Once at the lake were circumnavigated it in a clockwise direction, steered away from it to have a look at the Wendy Thompson Hut.
This hut would be an awesome spot in the winter and I think I will definitely try to get back there. While the rest of my crew had lunch near the hut, I went for a bit of a scramble to see if I could spot the best campsite near the lake.
We headed to a clearing next to the river that flows out of the lower end of the lake. It was the perfect site. Flat, close to water, ridiculously good vistas and a good spot for a campfire (make sure you always check the fire restrictions before you head out there).
It was a warm sunny evening so naturally I thought it was a brilliant idea to wade across the river instead of walking the long way round. Hmmmm, maybe it wasn’t my brightest moment. It was COLD! I was breathless instantly and the water wasn’t even above my waist. The upside of this freezing water was that it chilled our beers very quickly.
It only took my friend, who was in charge of the fire, about an hour to start it. While he was doing that, I decided that, rather than be helpful, I should explore the area.
Once he finally got it going, we settled in to eat, drink, talk nonsense and star gaze (the sky was cloudless and stunning) for the evening.
The next day we attempted a scramble up one of the closer slopes. Due to an injury and the extreme gradient 75% of the group called it quits and headed back to camp. Being the stubborn fool I am I charged up the hill until I had a view that satisfied me. It would have been awesome to summit the peak. Not to worry, it just gives me a good reason to head back.