Friday, July 13, 2012

Enjoying the great outdoors ... comfortably

I never thought I'd be thinking this - never mind putting it in writing - but as I've passed the 50-year-mark in my life, I actually think I would prefer sleeping in something other than a tent while enjoying overnight outdoor adventures.

There. I've said it.

But although I'd prefer to sleep on something softer than the ground and with washroom facilities that I DON'T have to step outside to use, I'm not quite ready to go all "hotel-chic" yet.

While I have certainly enjoyed glamping, the destinations that offer this option can be pricey - certainly pricier than pitching a tent and cooking over a campfire in a provincial park (although even that is getting more expensive, these days).

There area other alternatives to camping and glamping, though.

Canoeing Quiniscoe Lake

For example: if you want to spend time hiking in Cathedral Provincial Park in the British Columbia interior, you can choose to camp there, as the park provides both vehicle access and walk-in campsites.

Or, you can stay in cabins at Cathedral Lakes Lodge.

The lodge is rustic - we're not talking five-star accommodation, here - but it provides quick and easy access to several trails in the park and even an opportunity to do some canoeing on the lake.

It also provides simple but hearty home-baked fare for hungry hikers staying there. The staff can also help you plan your hikes. And at the end of the day, you can enjoy a soak in the hot tub in the main lodge, relaxing and soothing your muscles after a day of trekking up and down mountain trails.

(Take note, if you stay there, they do shut down the power generators at night, so if you require something like a CPAP machine, you'll have to bring a battery pack or make special arrangements with the staff to leave your room "on" at night, which they will do for you.)

The lodge itself provides transportation to and from a pick-up point 20 minutes from the town of Keremeos. The road is steep and rough enough you will not want to take your own vehicle from the Ashnola River to the lodge. In other words, "Don't make a fuss, leave the driving to us!" is a good catch-phrase to follow.

As for the hiking itself...

Cozy time!

You can choose from trails that offer a variety of distances and difficulties, taking you to some incredible alpine viewpoints of lakes, forests and mountains.

You can also encounter a variety of wildlife; while staying there for three days, we saw several pikas, squirrels, some mule deer and many different birds, including Canada jays (whiskey jacks), woodpeckers and birds of prey like eagles.

Glacier Lake
The trails are all well-marked, so there's very little chance of getting lost. However, you are very high in the mountains, so be prepared all kinds of weather. 

We visited there in September, and alternately experienced rain, snow and warm sunshine on successive days. But the views were certainly worth braving the elements...

Regardless of what your hiking level or experience is, you'll certainly appreciate being able to wind up your day, curled up by a roaring fireplace in the evening without having to chop the wood or start the fire yourself.

That's especially enjoyable at Cathedral Lakes Lodge, as there are no televisions or telephones there to distract from the experience!

And then there is that bed you're climbing into, instead of a sleeping on a camp cot or an air mattress....


  1. Will make note of Cathedral Lakes for next summer's adventures - thanks, John.