Yes, it's that time of year again - time to play hunt the glacier lilies! After last year's successful search in Black Tusk Meadows, I decided to try and catch the bloom right at the start, and I think I timed it just about right. We saw plenty of flowers and not just glacier lilies. I expect the bloom to continue for another couple of weeks but will tail off after that.
Like last year, we took the trail up to Taylor Meadows, then to Outhouse Junction and a kilometre or so beyond along the trail to Helm Pass before backtracking to Outhouse Junction and then down to the lake before returning to the car. We took our time, and slowed right down as we entered the meadows. Journey time was almost 9 hours :-)
The trail is snow-free as far as Outhouse Junction, and dry. Beyond, there are a few patches that are melting quickly - the snow is soft and not very supportive. Where the snow has recently melted the trail is very muddy - please wear the right footwear so you can walk through the mud and not widen the trail by dancing around it... The trail upgrades started a couple of seasons ago have now reached the trail leading to Taylor Meadows so expect to find crews working there during the week.
The lake was busy of course, but not ridiculously so. The campground looked pretty full - Taylor Meadows was not. As Steve mentioned in his recent report, we encountered a handful of hikers who seemed to think that the world wanted to listen to their music in the backcountry. Not as obnoxious as the guy on the Chief trail back in April, but still irritating.
Flower report: glacier lilies, lots of alpine marsh marigold from Taylor Meadows onwards, globeflower, a very small number of western anemone, spring beauty, yellow violets, pink and white heather, alpine buttercups, cinquefoil, a few lupine, sitka valerian is just beginning to bloom. In the forest, expect to find lots of queen's cup (in bloom in the first 1-2 km, in bud for the next 2-3), bunchberry, various wintergreens, a few patches of wild ginger, rosy twistedstalk, Hooker's fairybells (!), coralroot, and maybe a Columbia lily or two.
Bugs were mostly a non-issue, but those that we did encounter went straight in to bite with no messing about. Black flies were the worst offender, but even then not that bad. I picked up 4 bites in 2 minutes by Taylor Creek and maybe one or two more after that.