Old Man's Beard(Usnea) Whistler Hiking Trails
Old Man's Beard(Usnea): The lichen seen hanging from tree branches in much of British Columbia. It hangs from tree bark and tree branches looking like greenish-grey hair. A form of lichen, usnea can be found world-wide. There are currently over 85 known species of usnea.
The Old Man's Beard pictured above is along the trail to Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park in Whistler. The image below links to an aerial video of Panorama Ridge. Note the hazy background due to the forest fires in 2014 in Washington State and the Okanagan.
Almost every hiking trail around Whistler will have Old Man's Beard hanging from the trees. Brew Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Whistler Mountain, Blackcomb Mountain and Wedgemount Lake all have sections of the trail filled with these strange looking lichen hanging from the trees. Wedgemount Lake is a stunning hiking destination in Whistler. Click the image below for an aerial video of this amazing place.
Wedgemount Lake is one of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park. Though it is a relentlessly exhausting, steep hike, it is mercifully short at only 7 kilometres (one way). The elevation gain in that short distance is over 1200 metres which makes it a much steeper hike than most other Whistler hiking trails. Compared with other Whistler hikes, Wedgemount Lake is half the roundtrip distance of either Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, for example, at 13.5k and 15k respectively (one way). Wedgemount Lake itself is a magnificent destination for a day hike or spectacular overnight beneath the dazzling mountain peaks and stars.
Click the video here to see the prominent arête leading to the summit of Wedge Mountain(top middle - pictured below).
At a fast hiking pace you can reach Wedgemount Lake from the trailhead in just an hour and a half but at a leisurely or backpack laden pace you will likely take over two hours. The trail is well marked and well used. The steepness of the trail doesn't require any technical skill, however that last kilometre before the lake you will be scrambling on all fours quite a bit. The elevation gain makes a tremendous difference when carrying a heavy backpack and unprepared for the exertion. There is hardly a section of the trail that is not steeply uphill. The first 15 minutes takes you into the deep forest and then across Wedgemount Creek. This crashing creek can be heard from quite a distance and gives you a hint of the steepness of the trail to come. For more information, maps and directions to Wedgemount Lake and the amazing Wedge Glacier, click here...
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails