Monday, November 03, 2014

A Day at Charit Creek Lodge, Part II

After we got to the lodge Carole decided to take it easy and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Since we'd only hiked 2.1 miles to get there, I was still wound up and full of energy. Looking at my trail map, I saw that a hike of a round trip of four miles would take me to a high overlook that I could see from the lodge. Pretty much exactly two miles to Station Camp Overlook and a return trip via retracing my path up.

Since it was still cool and I had consumed several bottles of fresh water after hiking down I grabbed just my camera and lenses and headed up. The trail was created mainly for horseback travel and there were no switchbacks. It was rather like a road that tackles the slopes straight on. In fact, I did encounter a party of horseback riders coming down the trail. And, as always with horse trails, I found some large sections to be mud pits unfit for walking and I had to move into the forests to bushwhack past them. I really do hate what horse and riders do to our National Forest and National Park trails. Something really needs to be done.

At the end of the first leg of the hike I reached the ridge line and hooked a hard right that continued to follow the heights. The Fall colors were really reaching their peak at the top of the plateau and walking amidst all of those reds and yellows and oranges and browns was a pleasure. In short order I found myself emerging from the forest onto the cliff edge at Station Camp Overlook. The Park Service has constructed a solid log fence there to prevent idiots from falling from the heights.

After snapping some shots looking down on the Lodge itself, I headed back down to be with Carole. I found her napping, but she got up so that we could sit on the back porch and listen to the creek babbling through the trees. We just relaxed and talked and waited for supper, which was served at seven.

The Lodge was being run entirely while we were there by a young man named Bill. He took care of the guests and did all of the cooking alone. And he is an excellent cook. We had a great supper with lots and lots of vegetables. His carrot souffle was so good we all had seconds and thirds. I don't think we left much for the dog to eat as scraps.

After dinner I took a shower and we went back to our cabin which was toasty warm. We'd fired up the wood stove before supper so that the cabin was very nice and comfortable when we got back to it. I got up a couple of times in the night to add some wood to the flames but mainly spent the rest of the evening in a very deep sleep. So deep that we were almost late for breakfast.

After the morning meal we cleaned up and decided to sit around the cabin until 10 am. Then we packed up our stuff and said and goodbye to Bill and Lars (his boxer dog) and headed back up the truck, stopping for a while at the Twin Arches to take in the views of that amazing geology.

I very highly recommend a stay at Charit Creek Lodge. The folk who run it are exceptionally accomplished at what they do, and it's an amazing place to spend time. I think the next time Carole and I go there we will stay for at least two nights.

I head up the trail.

Horses completely wreck a trail. I had to bushwhack around this muddy damned mess.

Warning sign at the cliff edge.

Despite appearances, you can't drive to this spot. Foot traffic and horse travel only.

The lodge was visible below with telephoto lens. The smaller of the two buildings is one of the cabins.

A nice oblique view from the clifftop.

Real color. Amazing blaze of Autumn.

Carole peeks out at me from her comfy bed.

As the sun sets, I look up at Station Camp Overlook from the Lodge grounds.

This was a self-portrait I took in subdued light at breakfast.

We relaxed in front of the wood stove for a couple of hours before heading out.

This was our host, Bill, who did all of the amazing cooking! And his canine companion, Lars, who has to be one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. Lars loved to be petted and talked to--what a big baby!
Sadly, we head back up the trail. The previous day had been bright and sunny. We left in a drizzling rain and solid overcast.
On the way back, I climbed to the exposed summit of North Arch and took this video of the views from the almost treeless summit.

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