Last week, a co-worker, Meghan, and myself were heading down to Abbotsford for the Vancouver Motorcycle Show. We left Wednesday morning in a rental SUV with good winter tires and 4 wheel drive. After stopping for a lunch at the best little bakery in Merritt (Brambles… it’s a must do!) we hit the road. Just as we got back on the Coquihalla, we heard that they had closed the highway in both directions. At this point, we were already on a section that you couldn’t turn around so we just decided to take our chances and keep going. Worst case scenario, we figured we could play cards for a few hours if we got stopped – plus we had a safety kit with some extra food, water and warm clothes (highly recommended for any winter travelling). Visibility was poor and the highway had pretty much turned from 3 lanes to 1 ½ lanes but we slowed down and just took it easy! It may have taken a little bit longer than we had hoped, but with good music, good tires and four wheel drive – the trek really wasn’t that difficult.
After five days at the Motorcycle Show (which was so much fun!), it was time to come home. Sunday evening we checked the road reports while eating dinner in Chilliwack (such a good sushi place there) and everything looked fine… definitely not worse than Wednesday so we figured we were in the clear… There was heavy rainfall through to Hope and then the snow started falling. It was a complete white out to the point of not being able to see a foot in front of the vehicle. Even being prepared with a good vehicle and supplies – we couldn’t go faster than 40-50km/hour. Thinking the snow might clear up the higher we got – we kept going! By the time we reached the summit – we did not want to continue. Yes, I am sure we would have been fine to keep going slow but neither of us felt like driving that slow in those conditions when we had just worked all day. Wishing we would have stayed overnight in Hope, we stopped at the old toll booth rest area to try and figure out what to do. At this point, we figured it would take just as much time to go back to Hope as it would be to continue onto Merritt so away we went. Two minutes later, we both just realized that there was no way we could drive in the blizzard as it was just too nauseating to drive through all that blowing snow.
It was at this point I said “I really wish there was somewhere to stay overnight here”… Meghan looked at me and with what seemed like an epiphany – said something that was music to my ears… “I think there is a place just ahead”. And she was right! A moment later we were just able to make out a sign for the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge. We immediately pulled over and called to see if they had any space for the night and we were in luck, they did! The owner Mark told us to drive down - 2 mins from the highway but with the limited visibility and nearly snowed in road… it seemed like a lot longer. He met us in the parking lot on a snowmobile and was overjoyed at the amount of snow that had fallen! He told us to park and jump on the sled. Pardon? We have to sled in? I was a little apprehensive as I have never been on a snowmobile but was also excited to try it out. Meghan and I decided right then, that instead of being disappointed we couldn’t make it home, we would look at this as an opportunity to check out a local tourism product and make a bit of an adventure out of it. Approaching the main lodge, we were immediately greeted by Coconut, the resident dog which made us both feel immediately ‘at home’ since we were both missing our dogs! Mark and his on-site employee were so hospitable and made us feel so welcome that evening. After having been sold out for the weekend – Mark invited us into his home and offered us dinner and drinks while he got our cabin ready. After a short wait, we were taken to our cabin on what has to be one of the most unique valet services in the area… by snowmobile.

I didn’t really know what to expect as usually I am the type of person to research where I stay first, but the cabin was great. With a full kitchen, living room, bathroom and loft with two double beds – we were so excited to be staying there. After a glass of wine (we definitely had our priorities straight when grabbing what we needed from the car for our overnight stay), we both snuggled up in our beds with some very comfortable bedding Mark graciously supplied us with (usually, you bring your own) – we feel alsleep to the crackling and glow of the wood fire. Waking up feeling rested, we were excited to go outside and check out the area… there was a ton of snow… I mean a TON! It was above our heads in some places and we both wished we had our winter clothes with us so we could jump right in. The cabin patio opened up to a view of the lake and the peacefulness of the area just stunned us. Looking around, it was easy to see that the outdoor recreation opportunities were endless – from snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the Winter (did we mention you can pretty much do these activities up until April!) to swimming, fishing, ATV’ing, mountain bike riding and more in the summer months. There is even a person on-site to give you a massage after a long day snowmobiling (must call ahead to book)! After having a wander around, another little rip on the snowmobiles and some coffee – Mark had plowed us a route out and we were on our way. Monday morning, the roads were clear and the sky was blue and we had a beautiful drive into Kamloops. This place is definitely great for families and would be a perfect addition to your getaway to Kamloops!
They say everything happens for a reason, so next time life gives you snow… go snowmobiling!!

-Kamloops Kendel