Ernie goes glamour camping
Hiking into a wilderness or back country where we have never been is one of our favorite adventures. Of course, it means carrying everything we need on our back or hiring an outfitter to carry it for us. Usually, we do it ourselves.
Occasionally, over the last few years, we have talked about finding another way to do our camping. After buying a big tent (it looks a little like a garage), we have been doing more car camping. Inside we put a big bed and still have room for chairs if the weather is inclement. On the table outside the tent (and there always is a table) is a two-burner stove for cooking. Over the table is a dining canopy in case there is a little rain or too much sun.
We still thrive on backpacking though. This last summer we discovered a way to combine our idea of glamping with backpacking. We hiked into the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in British Colombia. In the park, a little over five miles from the trailhead on Kaslo Lake, is the Kokanee Glacier Cabin.
This is not your normal back country hut. It has room for twenty people, each with their own bed. There is a full electric kitchen with refrigerator, cook stoves, hot running water and table seating for everyone. Of course, there are electric lights throughout as well as bathrooms with showers. On one end of the kitchen is a large common area with overstuffed furniture, a fireplace and library. The library has several books as well as games and cards.
No, we did not have to hike under power lines to get the benefits of all that electricity. It is provided by a hydro-electric plant near the cabin. And a sewer treatment plant in the basement made sure there was no contamination of the wilderness.
This is our idea of glamping: four walls, a roof, and heat in a beautiful setting. The only way to get there is to walk in, or by helicopter in the winter.
We realize it isn’t the same as others’ idea of glamping and we do not fault them for what they like.
For us, we do not need to use a bus-sized motor home. We tried a small one once and while nice, we could not, personally, make peace with less than ten miles to the gallon.
There are other ways to glamp that we have not tried. One example is the Resort at Paws Up in Montana. It really looks like a wonderful place to do a little glamping but their rates do not fit our camping budget. The website for the resort says a one bedroom tent rents from $1,255 to $1,590 per night. To be fair you get a king size bed, art on the walls, a bath with a heated floor, a “Montana Size” shower and granite vanity top. Included are three meals, soft drinks, water, and beer or wine. All of this lets you stay connected with high speed Wi-Fi.
Now for my experience that is Glamping, yes with a capital G.
We talked about it while we sat on one of the decks at Kokanee Cabin. For us we were Glamping with a capital G. Above the cabin was the glacier shining white against a bright blue sky. Looking in another direction was snow hanging on the side of granite peaks. We didn’t have granite in the bathroom but we had a lot of it outside. Cascades and falls flowing from the many hanging valleys gave a picturesque paradise atmosphere to our experience.
For five days we day hiked into basins, gorges, over ridges and to a toe of the glacier. We photographed breathtaking vistas and rainbows of wild flowers. After each day we came back to a warm, dry house. There we took a shower and fixed a hot meal with food that had been refrigerated since we arrived.
We did not have to carry tents etc. so we finished out our weight with things like premade real dinners that had been frozen to survive the hike in. There also was some room for wine to have with each dinner. We were Glamping and loving it.
I bet in the future there will be more real backpacking, you know with freeze dried food and water the only liquid, but I’m sure some glamping “our way” will happen again.
Ernie Hawks is the author of “Every Day is a High Holy Day; Stories of an Adventuring Spirit” available on Amazon, Kindle or in your favorite bookstore.