Ever since the Big Birthday Trip to New York three years ago, the three amigos have been trying to organize another adventure. Portugal was our first choice, but timing has been an issue along with the plummeting Canadian dollar. We decided our need to get away together was more important than the location so we booked a four day weekend at Cathedral Lake Lodge. With their base camp a mere two hour drive from our Tim Horton's stop, it guaranteed a whole lot of quality time together, surrounded by nature.
Here we are at base camp waiting for our ride. Cathedral Lake Lodge provides three trips up the mountain daily. For residents of the Lodge, it's included in the price. For others it's $100 return. I cannot imagine lugging camping gear etc. up to this place, even by vehicle but I'm not a camper so if you are, check out Trip Advisor for more info.
Not long after we arrived two big trucks pulled up and discharged their load of passengers and gear. We clambered into the back of a beat up Suburban. It took about an hour for driver Don to ferry the three of us and five others up a jarring dirt road. Don claimed to have driven the road over 6,000 times in the past 25 summers. He seemed to know every curve, rock and bump, and by the end of the ride, so did we. That's not a complaint, just an observation. Despite the fact that it was raining fairly heavily, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
We housed ourselves Unit 1 of the Lakeview Cabins, right next to the Lodge.
Our essential supplies!
First photo at 6 a.m. on the first morning.
Food was plentiful and delicious. Meals were served buffet style. At 7 a..m. you could help yourself to a breakfast with a selection of fruit - you name it they had it - a variety of cereals, and coffee or tea. This was followed by a hot breakfast at 7:30 - eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast.
The staff laid out an assortment of breads, meats, fruits, veggies, cookies and a variety of delicious condiments (sriracha mayo, pesto mayo, mustards, and chutneys) allowing you to pack a lunch for your travels.
Our first hike was the Diamond Trail which went around Scout Lake and over Scout Mountain. It was considered "strenuous" with an elevation change of 300m. It took us about 4.5 hours as we stopped for photos, lunch, deer, eagles, marmots and pika (yes, they resemble pikachu).
There was a dusting of frost on the low lying plants and a nip in the air so we dressed in our woolies. Once we were above the tree line, the sun warmed us up quite nicely and we slowly shed our layers.
A short detour off the Diamond trail took us to Scout Lake.
Can you see the deer hiding in the trees?
Christina and I at the trail peak with Scout Lake below us.
Friday night we were treated to an impressive set of music provided by our driver Don and his wife Rhonda. Don played a gorgeous rich sounding Stratocaster, beginning with Santanas Samba Para Ti. Rhonda played the piano and sang. The couple spend their summers at Cathedral and then winter in Puerto Vallarta where they gig in Old Town and Rhonda is the musical director for a live stage show.
Day two dawned warmer than the first, but it was a smokey one.
Still, we knew we were going to be at a higher altitude so we layered up once more and headed for the Rim Trail. We hiked the Glacier Lake trail up to the Rim Trail, hiked past the Devil's Woodpile , through Stone City, Down the Lady Slipper Trail, past Lady Slipper Lake, between Pyramid Lake and Lake of the Woods and ended up back at the lodge around five o'clock. Check it out on the map here. It took us about 8 1/2 hours.
The trail was well worn and where it was rocky, it was well marked with stone cairns.
Tracy, our fearless leader with Glacier Lake below.
Several years ago I ordered an XL T-shirt from "Connected in Motion", a community that strives to inspire, educate and challenge Type 1 Diabetics with insulin pumps. The t-shirt seemed incredibly small for an XL and it annoyed me that their idea of who was appropriate for their group did not seem inclusive of people not in perfect shape. I knew I would eventually take a photo of myself wearing the T, no matter how small it looked. I forgot to take it with me when we hiked La Soufriere in Guadeloupe this past March but I was determined to remember it for my Cathedral Lake climb. Here I am at the top of the Rim Trail at an elevation of about 2600m ...tah dah!
Hiking through Stone City
This was the absolute worst part of the hike. I think we came down between the large bit of rock and the smaller piles. It was very unstable shale. I'm not sure if I would rather have gone up or down it.
Heading down Ladyslipper Lake Trail
A little free climbing (wink wink)
He looks skeptical...
And up and over once again.... Looking down at Pyramid Lake
Between Pyramid and Lake of the Woods.
As we walked over the bridge, nearly home, I couldn't help but
sing out "Looks like we made it!"
sing out "Looks like we made it!"
We felt pretty good the next day and wanted to keep our muscles moving. We had to be ready for the 1:00 trip back down the mountain so we did the one hour loop around Lake of the Woods after breakfast. It was lovely.
We saw two of these boys and their dads the previous afternoon coming up the Ladyslipper Lake Trail and the others walking along Pyramid lake also with their fathers, carrying their fishing rods and three nice sized trout.
I highly recommend you spend four days and three nights
(or more) at Cathedral Lakes Lodge. You won't regret it!