Q. Abraham from Mexico asks: We want to hike Black Tusk in April, can it be done in one day?

A: Hey Abraham, great to hear from you in Mexico!  April and often May are difficult times to access Black Tusk due to winter snow.  Not only can the snow slow your progress and necessitate snowshoes, but it also obscures the trail.  You can easily get lost and head off into the woods in the wrong direction.  It is very frustrating to be on a hard hike and realize you have just hiked 10 minutes in the wrong direction!

So, if I were hiking to Black Tusk in April or May as a day trip, I would leave very early in the morning to make the most of the daylight.  I'd try to be at the trailhead before 8am.  Depending on the rate of snowmelt, you may not even be able to park at the trailhead and instead be parking 1 kilometre down the road.  Hopefully you will find the snowline much higher, be able to park at the trailhead and be hiking on dirt, instead of snow for about 4 kilomtres.  If you don't have snowshoes the snow you encounter will often be crusty on top and soft underneath.  This means you walk on top for a few steps then one foot plunges through up to your knees.  That's one annoyance you always have to prepare for in the spring.  I would anticipate a relatively easy hike for the first 4-5 kilometres, then some tougher hiking with snowshoes for a couple kilometres to Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake.  From Taylor Meadows the hike is fairly flat, and on a sunny day extraordinarily beautiful with pristine forest all around and nothing but sunny, snowy mountain tops in all directions!  And best of all, Black Tusk looms in the near distance.

From Taylor Meadows you can continue toward Black Tusk and it only gets challenging as you near it.  There is no way you will stay to the trail here, but you can navigate by sight quite easily.  Always be sure to not do this in failing light at the end of the day.  Even early evening light, makes travel in unfamiliar mountains very treacherous.  If you are energetic, have good weather and lots of daytime, you might be inclined to hike up Black Tusk.  You can fairly easily get up to its base, however in April or May, climbing that last final chute to the top may be very difficult.  It is fairly tricky on a perfect July day, but with lots of snow in the area it likely will be foolhardy to try.  Having said that I have done it with little difficulty the first week in June, though it was a not a very snowy winter previously.
The good news is that Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are quite realistic and beautiful to hike to in April and May as long as you are cautious, prepared and fit.  The bad news is that you may give up, short of Black Tusk due to snow making hiking too strenuous.  BCParks start doing trail reports in the spring months and measure the snow at various points along the trails.  This will give you quite an accurate indication of snow levels.  It can be found here... http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/garibaldi/