Writer: Chanel Aries
Primary Photography + Links: AV. Wakefield
Everyone loves those quiet backcountry moments away from the city, but finding the time to get there can sometimes be challenging!
Last weekend we were lucky enough to discover those peaceful moments can be found without miles of hiking into the backcountry. We left Calgary after a long day of work and arrived at Engadine Lodge around 7:30 p.m. I couldn’t believe we were able to drive right up to the Lodge , only to have a short walk to our destination for the night. Many headlamps lit our path and guided our feet along the path and to the Yurt. Our arms overflowed with bags containing pillows, blankets, books and hearty food.
In the summer I could see myself carrying in lawn chairs to watch the clouds float by during the day and the stars dance around to light up the meadow at night. My favourite part about the Yurt’s location is the quick and easy walk in that can be done in the dark. It makes backcountry moments possible when you can’t take that extra day off of work. Knowing we had a short drive to get to our destination was a great feeling after a long week of work.
Once we were settled into the Yurt we had the opportunity to reconnect with each other and chat about recent happenings in the Hike365 community. What I love about Hike365 gatherings is the ability they have to bring people together from all different backgrounds, careers and values. It creates a community of women with a wealth of knowledge, driven to learn from each other on and off the trail.
We enjoyed warm drinks around the fire with 4 Hike365 Ambassadors + one Founder and chatted about their favourite hikes in the surrounding areas + their past/future adventures inspired through the Hike365 community. For their responses keep readin’
Just a few years ago I was a mountain newbie and I had no idea what a Yurt was. I could’ve never imagined I would have the opportunity to stay in one, let alone with 4 girls I had met on Instagram. Sounds crazy right? I can say these 4 girls who play a large part in the Hike365 community have introduced me to many things I would have never done on my own. They’re a beautiful bunch of humans I’m lucky to call my great friends.
So what is a Yurt? Here’s what I learned this past weekend; the modern yurt can be decked out with windows, lattice walls, skylights multiple levels and bunk beds; wrapped in a wall of fabric. They can be insulated to withstand cold winter temperatures and optimized to handle hot climates. They are best described as glamping; glamorous camping or luxurious travel.
The Yurt at Engadine Lodge takes glamourous camping to the next level. Featured with a small deck, wooden door, skylight, bunkbeds and even a private fire pit. It’s not often you get to enjoy an uninterrupted lake view from your own private Yurt, particularly one that is just steps away from a cozy lodge serving delicious meals.
If you’re looking for a backcountry experience but don’t necessarily have the time to hike in, the Yurt is a great alternative.
After a luxurious night of camping we woke up early to pack so we could sit back and enjoy a few cups of coffee with great company before heading out to the trails. What I learned that morning is that Shannon makes one amazing cup of French pressed coffee. I didn’t feel bad drinking a few cups of her Kicking Horse Coffee because it tasted so good and helped me survive our snowshoe later that morning.
After cleaning up in the main lodge bathrooms (we used our Element Botanicals Refresh Kits!) we said our goodbyes to the staff + Dexter and drove 2 minutes to the meet the rest of the Hike365 girls at the Rummel Ridge trailhead. The day’s adventure consisted of a few new faces and one great snowshoeing adventure. At 665 meters elevation, 5 hours and 6.87 km, Rummel Ridge leads to some unreal views, even with the snow blowing in. Our day ended with some new friendships, many warm hearts and me wishing I had one more night in the cozy Yurt beside the meadow!
Engadine Lodge/Yurt Booking Details
The Yurt is open year-around for those brave enough to sleep through the cold winter temperatures. At $125.00/night per person an all-inclusive package includes all meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and even afternoon tea. The Yurt can also be booked at $50.00/night per person excluding meals. We prepped our own food to gain a true winter camping experience, but we couldn’t help but drool over the meals leaving the kitchen.
Bookings can be made over the phone at (403) 678 – 4080. More information can be found online at: www.mountengadine.com .
What to Bring
The great advantages to this peaceful Yurt is the accessibility from the Lodge’s parking lot and proximity to the main highway. This means that pretty much anything can be brought to the Yurt. You’ll still have to walk a few 100 meters up and down hill to get to the Yurt.
You will want to bring your own sleeping bag, pillows and some extra clothes in case the weather drops at night. You do not have access to showers however you are able to use the bathroom in the lodge to clean up.
Remember to leave the Yurt looking tidier then when you arrived.
Activities in the Area
It’s easy to say that there’s an activity for everyone at Engadine Lodge.
If you’re staying during the winter snowshoes are available free for guests and $15.00 for non-guests. Toboggan’s can also be seen flying down the hills around the cabin and there are many great cross-country skiing trails at nearby Mt Shark + Peter Lougheed Provincial Park leading to beautiful ice covered lakes.
Don’t miss out on the northern lights or some of the most amazing stargazing with many opportunities to see shooting stars on a clear night.
If you’re looking for something to check off the bucket list, Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours + Mad Dogs + Englishmen offer a range of tours, both just a short drive from the Lodge. More information can be found here: www.maddogsexpeditions.com www.snowyowltours.com
Have a few more hours to kill, Banff and Canmore helicopter tours offer a range of adventures, from private to heli + horseback, or heli + white water rafting. More information can be found here: Alpine Heli Canmore + Rockies Heli.
In the summer and fall remember to bring your shorts and hiking shoes. Engadine Lodge is surrounded by many excellent day hikes that will make sure to leave you breathless.
Trail running, biking, canoeing, and golfing are a few other great activities! Or spend the fall soaking up the golden larches surrounded by dazzling alpine lakes.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled, there are many opportunities for animal sightings without leaving your front porch. Sit back and relax with a warm cup of coffee and watch the wildlife through your binoculars or camera.
About the Lodge
Engadine Lodge is a few minute drive off the main highway, perfect for an authentic backcountry experience accessible from your car. Located in the untouched wilderness of Spray Valley provincial Park the lodge is uniquely designed in a quiet and cozy environment. The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming including the lodges 4-legged friend Dexter the dog. Massive fireplaces light the lodge at night and peak through the windows; comforting the cold winter air. The books covering the wooden walls will keep you busy for hours. I would have never imagined I would have had the opportunity to stay at such a relaxing backcountry Lodge just minutes away from the main road.
If you’re looking for more information about Engadine Lodge visit there website here: www.mountengadine.com .
Get to know a few faces of Hike365’s ‘So Good it Yurts!’
Attendee – Hike365 Ambassador
“I recently moved to Calgary and was keen to meet others who enjoyed to get outside and explore. I learned about Hike365 through Instagram and excitedly signed up for one of their monthly events! The community has inspired me to approach travel with adventure in mind. Even if I’m headed to a nearby city for a workshop, I pack my hiking gear and aim to find some amazing trails along the way.”
“It was my first night staying in a Yurt. My favourite adventure accessible from Engadine Lodge is Smutwood Peak scramble. It’s a long and strenuous day on the trail packed with some stellar views! Burstall Pass is gorgeous in the summer when the valley’s abloom, and in mid-to late-September when the larches are changing colour.”
“I take my coffee with cream on weekdays, and baileys on weekends.”
Merchandise Financial Planning Manager
Attendee – Hike365 Ambassador
“Within my social circle I was having a hard time finding people to explore the outdoors with who wanted to get out as much as I did. I came across Hike365 on Instagram and started following along with their adventures because I thought it would be a good way to make new friends who shared my love for the outdoors. So I decided to attend my first hike and signed up through one of the monthly newsletters. I really liked the fact that the group was all girls because there seemed less pressure to race through hikes.
The Hike365 community inspired me to get out even more and I made a whole new group of friends. They encouraged me to follow through on trips I always wanted to take. This last year I decided to hike the West Coast Trail, which was one of the most challenging, rewarding and beautiful trips ever.
My favourite trail that is in walking distance from Engadine Lodge is Tent Ridge.”
Freelance Writer + Communications Specialist
Writer -Attendee – Hike365 Ambassador
“I stumbled across Hike365 on Instagram using the #Hike365 tag and winning their first monthly giveaway. What appealed to me was the excitement the community had to get out safely rain or shine. The community has inspired me to book a few ACC huts, including Abbot Pass and Asulkan Cabin. Diana, whom I met on my first Hike365 event, inspired me to book the Inca trail and Huayhuash Circuit in Peru for this year.
The community has opened up an array of possibilities for me that I could have never dreamed of. A year ago I didn’t even know what a Yurt was and now we’re staying in one! I can’t thank the community enough and I can’t wait to bring my family back to the Yurt in summer.”
Attendee – Hike365 Ambassador
“I was friends with AV prior to joining the Hike365 community and loved the idea of meeting new pals who love mountains as much as I do! I recently completed a 7-day hike/camp/trek in Wadi thanks to the inspiring community.
Meet A.V Wakefield:
Photographer + Designer behind North Birch Grove
Photographer – Attendee – Hike365 Founder
“I saw the need to create a community for like minded female outdoor enthusiasts to hit the trail together to safely + respectfully take on new outdoor adventure challenges!
The girls of our community inspired me to complete a 3 week long solo backpacking + camping trek in the north Archipelago of Lofoten in Norway.
I have stayed in a Yurt before, it’s always so much fun! Having a propane heater in the Engadine one is a treat! I like bourbon in my coffee, sometimes!”
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