Two weekends ago I got to check an item off of my bucket list. Tyler and I hiked Joffre Lakes (past Whistler) and slept at the tree line under the Matier Glacier in hammocks. It's not a huge feat - only a few hours outside of Vancouver, but it's one that I had been wanting to do for awhile.
The hike itself is a pretty intense 2-3 hr grind uphill (for the average person) past 3 amazingly blue, glacial lakes. We stopped often to take photos and really check the different spots out, so that added time. I think the hike was made more rugged for us in that they were doing trail maintenance at the time - so the regular trails were closed and you were guided into a different, root and rock filled corridor. Down is much faster at about 1.5 hours. The hike can be done in a day but I recommend doing the overnight at the top campsite if you can - you'll never want to leave when you see it.
Every single spot you pass on the way up is characteristically different and beautiful in its own, unique way. We experienced rain, sunshine, rainbows, mist, fog, waterfalls, deciduous and coniferous greenery - you basically get a taste of everything. For this reason I would say be prepared for anything weather-wise when you pack. If you decide to camp overnight be sure to pack warm clothing - it gets cold at the higher altitude.
Here we are setting up camp at Upper Joffre. The campsite is nestled at the base of the rock below the Matier glacier. In the warmer months you can hear pieces of the glacier cracking off and tumbling down the rocks. The sites are nice and basic. They provide buckets for safe food storage and there's a single outhouse. It's a seriously beautiful campsite. We were nestled in hammocks and fell asleep staring up into the cliffs and glacier. The entire experience from start to finish was incredibly surreal. You're definitely reminded of how insignificant you are amongst those immense mountains.
This is something we'll definitely be doing again in the near future. Hopefully next time we can stay more than one night and really get to take it all in.