Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: CairnsCairns, inukshuks or inuksuks are a pile or arrangement of rocks used to indicate a route, landmark or a summit.  The word cairn originates from the Scottish Gaelic word carn.  A cairn or inukshuk can be either large and elaborate or as simple as a small pile of rocks.  To be effective a cairn marking a trail has to just be noticeable and obviously man-made.  In the alpine areas around Whistler, above the treeline, cairns are the main method of marking a route. 

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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In the spring and fall when snow covers alpine trails, cairns mark many routes.  An inukshuk(also spelled inuksuk) is the name for a cairn used by peoples of the Arctic region of North America.  Both spelling versions are pronounced nearly as they are spelled.  So inukshuk is pronounced inook-shuk, and inuksuk with inook-suk.  Though an inukshuk can take many forms similar to a cairn, it is usually represented by large rocks formed into a human shape.  The word inukshuk literally translates from two separate Inuit words, inuk "person" and suk "substitute".  The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler used the inukshuk for the logo of the games.  Today you will find several giant rock inukshuks in Vancouver and Whistler at various places.  In Whistler there is an impressive inukshuk, several metres high a the peak of Whistler Mountain.  Another huge inukshuk sits overlooking Whistler Valley at the Roundhouse next to the Umbrella Bar.  The first inukshuk that most visitors to Whistler see is the huge one on Village Gate Boulevard.

Inukshuk Near the Roundhouse

Inukshuck on Whistler Mountain

Whistler Peak Inukshuk

Insukshuck on the Summit of Whistler Mountain

Inukshuk and Distant Black Tusk

Inukshuck and Distant Black Tusk

Battleship Islands Cairns

Cairns Battleship Islands Garibaldi Lake

Surprisingly often in Whistler's forests you will find a tree growing on an old fallen tree or out of a decaying tree stump. Decaying logs and stumps in ...
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When hiking to Parkhurst Ghost Town, the first area you will encounter after you cross the disintegrating bridge over Wedge Creek is the wye.  In railroad ...
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Along the shore of Green Lake, you will find a monstrous old Caterpillar tractor that dates from the 1930’s.  Abandoned here in the 1950’s, it looks as if the ...
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Ablation Zone: the lower altitude region of a glacier where there is a net loss of ice mass due to melting, sublimation, evaporation, ice calving or ...
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The pale green shub-like growths hanging from trees in the forests around Whistler is called usnea.  These bushy, coral-like fruticose lichens anchor to bark ...
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Neal Carter (14 Dec 1902 - 15 Mar 1978) was an early explorer of the Coast Mountains around what would eventually be called Whistler Valley.  In the summer ...
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The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the ...
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Cirque: a glacier-carved bowl or amphitheater in the mountains.  To form, the glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a ...
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February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is fairly ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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Brandywine Meadows is a nice, relatively short hike to a massive flower filled valley high up in Callaghan Valley. Located 40 minutes south of Whistler, this tough and sometimes muddy trail gains a huge 550 ...
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Skookumchuck Hot Springs(aka T'sek Hot Springs and St. Agnes Well), located two hours north of Whistler along the edge of the huge Lillooet River. The name Skookumchuck means "strong water" in the language ...
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Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the ...
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