Friday, June 14, 2013
Northern Canadian Rockies- Muncho Lake, British Columbia
Northern Canadian Rockies- The Lodge on Muncho Lake, BC.
After driving 500 miles on winding mountain roads that are under reconstruction
this lodge seemed like an oasis.
Things learned about remote high elevation mountain campsites.
(1) The nights freeze even if it is mid-June. It was not uncommon to have 30 degrees by 2-3 am. Being awoken by the cold temperatures the first night was a surprise. I don't like to use heat if not necessary while camping. Here the heat was necessary.
(2) Remote campsites can charge whatever they want for services because the closest services are a 4 hour drive away. Warning to self: Don't let your gas tank get less than half empty or you will be vulnerable to the high cost of gas in the mountains. Or worse, no services and run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. While sitting in the lobby of the large log cabin of The Lodge using the WiFi to write my blog I heard repeated customer complaints about the cost of gas, meals and even using the shower. The gas in Canada is measured in litres. There are 3.8 litres of gas in a gallon. The Roadtrek RV has a 31 gallon tank, so that is 118 litres. I usually stop for gas at half empty I will need approximately 60 litres at $1.39 per litre that is $84.00 dollars for half a tank. In the good old USA I could fill my entire tank for between $86 - $100. At the Lodge the Swiss- German owner of the Lodge has a customer who has no choice but to pay more for gas. The price is not marked at pump and the credit card is left with the front desk. The cost of gas at the lodge is $2.39 per litre or $143 for half a tank of gas. Customers were surprised by the price and I heard many complaints while sitting in lobby. Imagine paying almost $300 to fill your tank of gas. What people didn't know until they left is that just down the road two miles is an old place with gas pump for a dollar less per litre. Luckily, I had filled my tank full only two hours earlier before arriving at the Lodge and the Roadtrek is somewhat gas efficient. I still had 200 miles of gas left before I left the Lodge that morning.
(3) Remote mountain villages do not have auto repair services or even part stores to do it yourself. The rough roads had caused my one wiper blade to stop working. Duct tape to the rescue! Visibility on a winding mountain road is essential. Canada didn't spend any money on guard rails on steep 2,000 to 3,000 foot drop offs. Many winding roads were above the tall pine tree tops. I imagined falling thru the trees to my demise as my windows were opaque from the heavy rain. On a more pleasant thought, the Lodge is a nice place to stay and I decided to stay three days to rest, do my laundry, enjoy a long hot shower and work on my blog. Think again. The shower costs $1.00 for 4 minutes of shower time. Desperation makes one do desperate things. It was the best $5.00 I had spent on my trip. Still it is irritating to stop in middle of shower to keep feeding the meter.
The Sauna was a nice place to rest in a warm cozy place.
Of course a Sauna,what else would you expect from a Swiss- German.
My campsite was close to Muncho Lake with mountains in background.
I especially enjoyed the Paper Birch trees that reminded me of my grandfather's cabin
on the northern lake of St Helen in Michigan. Maybe Grandpa is responsible
for my long trip North to Canada and Alaska. Thank you Grandpa Jim.
In the morning I would walk down by the waters edge and watch the Mountain Goats and their babies walk the sheer rock edges in the morning sun. Their white coats and four long legs would show up well against the contrast of the dark rock ledges and dark bark of pine trees.
There was a small fishing boat to fish the cold mountain waters.
The metal boat was similar to my Grandpa's boat but much nicer.
For the more adventurous there is a small plane available to fly to a remote fishing cabin overnight.
Only $550 for the 24 hour fishing trip. If only Grandpa had a plane! Now that's dreaming.
In the world of clamorous cities and ubiquitous social media, mountain scenes
like this one seems like the perfect antidote. Filled with this kind of immense scenery
how can one not become grateful for the years of life God has given us,
and know it is up to us to put life in our years.
The glacial waters have a turquoise color, reminding me of the beautiful Traverse Bay, Michigan.
Now I am off to Whitehorse,Yukon Territory. Ever closer to Alaska, just West of my present location.
at 11:24 PM