I know you people are getting tired of my poor-me-in-the-mountains stories, but today’s really takes the cake.
After a day of driving through the Rockies (not half the nightmare I’d feared) and stopping for a bit at Hell’s Gate (link is video, but not ours), we did the smart thing and called ahead for a room near Vernon, B.C. Melani scored us an A-frame cottage with a loft bed and a fire pit and barbecue. We drove merrily along, stopping at a Save-On Foods for hot dogs and smores-ables. Ah! Real vacation accommodations! Like a real holiday!
“When you come to the lake,” the guy had told Mel, “turn left toward the mountain. There’s a bit of switchback and you’ll see signs. We’re about 16 kilometres out of town.”
Two small bits he left out: The resort was actually At The Top Of The Mountain and the road was a non-maintained, pitted, gravel hell on the ground. We didn’t really clue in at first. We followed directions. We stopped to take pictures of the deer. I was excited because all along the trip because I kept seeing signs like: “Livestock on road.” Today, I saw livestock on the road! I was excited and took cow pictures.
We kept going, up and up and up, past the alpaca farm. The switchback was pitted and broken, huge holes everywhere. We kept going up. It was a steep up. The switches back were deadly.
I went for perhaps 10 kilometres. I have an economy car. It’s not very powerful. Also, on a one-and-a-half-lane road, not very easy to turn around. And yet I did. When we finally (finally!) made it back to the bottom of the mountain, my brakes smelling like an electrical fire, a we stopped to ask a man hanging around outside his ranch house whether he’d ever heard of this place we were looking for.
“Sure,” he said. “That’s at the top. You pretty much need a 4 X 4 to get up there.”
Yeah. Pretty much.