Level: Moderate

Distance: 14 km r/t

Time: 5½ h

Elevation Change: 850 m

Season: June to Oct

Topographical Map: 92 G/14 Cheakamus River & 92 G/15 Mamquam Mountain. A full-colour plastic map of the entire Garibaldi Region is available from Lower Mainland bookstores. Published by International Travel Maps at a scale of 1:100,000. They forgot to include a scale but that's 1 cm = 1 km. The only other drawback is contour intervals are based on older government charts expressed in feet rather than metres. Conversion yields intervals of 61 m, not exactly a dream number to navigate with.

Black Tusk Access: The bus to Whistler [See Appendix Getting to Whistler] will drop you off at a side road 37 km north of Squamish on Highway 99. Make sure the driver completely understands where you want to get off. There should be ample room for the bus to pull over at the turn off. Look for signs along the Highway indicating Garibaldi Provincial Park, Black Tusk.

After getting off the bus follow the paved side road 2½ km east to the Rubble Creek parking lot. Be thankful you don't have a car to park here as, on a typical weekend, at least some of them will be broken into. The route to the Tusk begins with the previous Garibaldi Lake trail description.

Click to View Map

Whether camping or day tripping, a pilgrimage to the Tusk is de rigueur though climbing to the 2316 m summit is not recommended without special equipment. The trail to Black Tusk climbs away from Garibaldi Lake for three kilometres before rejoining the trail from Taylor Meadows campsite at Black Tusk Meadows. Expect the meadows to be alive with colour in the springtime, a verdant canvas splashed with purple heather and lupins, fiery red Indian paintbrush and golden butter cups all visited time and again by the busiest of bumblebees. Please remain on trails at all times to avoid disturbing this fragile landscape.

Continue through the meadows for a short distance before veering left on the fork that leads 2½ km up through loose talus to the base of the Tusk itself. This striking monolith is thought to be a volcanic plug; a column of solidified lava left behind as the cone is eroded away. The trail ends at the base of the only safely climbable chimney to the top. Novices should not attempt to scale the 100 metre route without benefit of ropes, helmet and the guidance of more experienced climbers. Always ascend or descend one at a time as the crumbly volcanic material presents considerable hazard to those below. The view from the top is without peer, extending from the Tantalus Range in the southwest and turquoise Garibaldi Lake at the foot of Panorama Ridge across to the Fitzsimmons Range in the northeast behind Whistler Village.

The End


Salal

Salal

Though not a popular trail-side snack in modern times, salal berries are not only edible, they are quite tasty. Perhaps the "hairiness" of the berries or the grainy texture imparted by their many, tiny seeds is a turnoff to jaded modern palettes. Being plentiful throughout the coast, salal berries were an important component of pre-European diets hereabouts. Aboriginal groups generally consumed salal berries directly from the bush or processed them into a kind of fruit leather for storage. These cakes were then reconstituted with water and served mixed with the omnipresent oolichan grease. An acquired taste, no doubt. The deep purple colouring of the berries found use in dying baskets. Salal berries are presently used primarily in jams and pies. The bright, leathery foliage is commercially harvested for use in floral displays world-wide.

Illustration by Manami Kimura