Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pemberton Valley Lodge

I've had another great sleep in this wonderfully comfortable place. I've been coming here ever since it opened. Luke and I came once and used it as a base for hunting. I remember him being impressed with the way 'old guys' hunted. It's a truly luxurious place with beautiful autumn d├ęcor, little kitchenettes like you'd find in upscale city apartments. The showers and baths are standard thoughtful hotel. They're definitely a change from the clutter of home. Then there's the pool and hot tub outside. There's an exercise room I've never used.

Gilbert today barked by the bed. It's his dog alarm clock. If you don't walk me now I'll leave a steamy brown pile hidden for you to step on. As I'm stumbling about looking for hoody and sweats, he's already jumping about chewing on shoes and dangling from my pant legs. I was just about ready when he made that rear end squat threat of his. I did the scoop and we were out the door, the dog smile all over his face. They're smarter than we think.

Thanks to him I found this incredible dog walk round the back. It in turn connected to the horse trails. Pemberton is this great riding community and horse trails lace the whole country side. I used to come up here to ride with Wayne Andrews, the World Champion Indian Broncho Rider. He has WD Ranch over in the Mount Currie Reserve by the rodeo grounds..'wat_First_Nation He's the real horse whisperer. Once had me doing Man from Snowy River coming down a mountainside.

Grandad had a ranch and I'd grown up riding western. The principle idea was to stay on for long periods. With my Dad and his cowboy friends I'd ride about the north. It was just what they grew up doing. My cousin Wayne, now logging, raised Appalloosa Ponies after he built his log cabin. He's the first one I knew with a Cockapoo. Rode around the back woods in his truck and the dog went everywhere with him in the front seat.

You've got to like a community that's horsey. Reminded me of England I met Princess Anne one time when she was doing a little backwoods jumping with her friends. She would have loved to ride with Wayne. My ex wife rode dressage. She jumped too. Wayne Andrews and her hit it off just fine since he loves anyone who loves horses. Good memories of fishing together and sitting about his sweat lodge he built on a grizzly bear run. The horse trails the dog and I walked on reminded me of those good times when we all were a whole lot younger. Haven't met up with him since before I went sailing in the Pacific. One of these days I expect to see him riding gallantly through the woods. He's a grandfather umpteen times over now. It's hard to believe it looking at her but I'm staying at the lodge with a grandmother.

The flickers and robins were out in force along the trail. A brochure says Pemberton has become popular for mountain biking and paragliding. I've ridden all over these hills on horses and motorcycles and I forget that the really healthy and fit folk are doing the same on mountain bikes today. I've done my share of backwoods camping along trout streams up in these hills too during hunting season. Regular folk are now taking advantage of all the recreational sites during the summer. I still like to camp along Lake Lillouette so I can get down to the St. Agnes Hot Springs. Along Duffy Lake Road there's always places to get off the motorcycle and set up camp too.

Gilbert thought walking along a cow trailswas the height of excitement. Sometimes he was behind me, then he was dancing past me, then with great courage he was strutting out in front of me. Gilbert on point didn't last very long. Just until he looked back and saw I'd seen what a brave puppy he was then he was back behind me risking his chin on my heels, in very close puppy formation. It's his first cow trail.

I remember the first time my puppy Shinto met a cow that looked dolefully down at him while he barked with much bluff until I walked over and shooed the cow away. He was really impressed that I could get a big beast to move away so easily. Later he'd think it was his bark that did it. He'd probably forget too that his bark had said, "Dad Help" and not "I'm not afraid of you big terrifying cow beast." If he'd had puppies the story might have become a great campfire tail in which he faced the 'dragon cow' and saved his master from sure destruction.

My puppy sort of whimpered at a loud noise in the bush. Probably just a tree falling but his little body was plastered right up against my ankle when we heard that monster coming. A doggie treat settled him down just like popcorn at the horror pictures.

Coming out on pretty farmland nestled between the snow capped mountains I decided to turn back and jog over the area I'd come. His little legs were going double time to keep up then but he's still happiest on the homeward journey rather than the great adventures outwards. I imagine in his mind he's faced a whole lot of windmills already.

The Pemberton Valley Lodge has thoughtfully put out a doggie plastic bag dispenser and Gilbert seeing it took the opportunity for a constitutional. Then we were back in the lobby where they have a Starbuck's Coffee dispenser machine. Automatic Cappucinos charged to the room. I'd thought of picking some purple wild flowers for Laura but could see she better appreciated being woken to Starbucks Cappucino. Gilbert danced about like we'd all not seen each other in weeks.

Now Laura's in the bath. It's only 8 am and I'm going to mozy down to the hot tub for a tough executive work out. I love how it's situated to look up at the snow capped mountain.

The nights that Laura and I've been out there the stars have been spectacular. We've come up on the Harley a few times doing the great Duffy Lake Road to Lillouette loop,back down the Frazer canyon returning to Vancouver through Mission along #7 and the Barnett Highway. Saddle sore from the Sea to Sky Highway ride I've really enjoyed the hot tub. The locked underground parking has kept the Harley safe.

Other times I've come up like now with the truck but having the Honda 230 enduro in the back so I'm off hunting in the backwoods while Laura hangs out at the lodge doing the girly girl stuff. I guess it's age but I just don't long to climb mountains with a back pack and a rifle and tent up in some windy place after a grueling climb using hands and toes. I like now being able to say I did that. Looking up at the mountains around Pemberton brings back those memories.

But really I'd rather enjoy Pemberton from the base camp of Pembeton Valley Lodge. I just have to hike down to the hot tub now. Laura can watch Gilbert while I get a little more exercise climbing down the steep stairs into a glorious hot tub.

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