A Tetrad of Self-Propelled Exploration

Four wild places with uncommonly comfortable digs. Written by Leslie Anthony. An excerpt from the current Mountain Life Annual

 

MALLARD MOUNTAIN LODGE
A new kid on the backcountry block, Mallard Mountain Lodge is a classic Canadian log affair that was partially pre-built off site and flown by helicopter from Valemount, B.C., to the remote Mallard Peaks area of the Rocky Mountains — which is exactly how backcountry skiers/boarders arrive to this stunning powder paradise, accompanied by a fully qualified guide.

Photo courtesy Mallard Mountain Lodge.
Photo courtesy Mallard Mountain Lodge.
Courtesy Mallard Mountain Lodge.
Courtesy Mallard Mountain Lodge.

Features a large living/dining room with wood-fired stove, all meals included and a greywater shower system. The ultra-remote lodge’s solar power has enough storage to charge cameras and computers. Come summer, imagine hiking remote peaks with no backpacks, supported by llama trains.

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AUBERGE CHICOTTE LA MER
This ocean-view log structure with a blue-whale skeleton adorning the lawn is one of several lodges operated by Quebec’s national park system on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a wild, enchanting and preternatural limestone reef covered in boreal forest and bathed in clear northern light.

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Courtesy Auberge Chicotte la Mer.
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Courtesy Auberge Chicotte la Mer.

Imagine bone-white cliffs, breathtaking canyons, immense waterfalls, huge caves, basking seals, and a friendly plague of deer. Some 125 km of hiking trails crisscross an area larger than Prince Edward Island (the trek to Chute Vauréal—Anticosti’s Niagara—is a must). There’s also horseback riding, kayaking, spelunking, and fishing emerald waters for Atlantic salmon.

CLAYOQUOT WILDERNESS RESORT
Accessible by scenic private seaplane transfer from Vancouver, B.C., or a short boat ride from Tofino on nearby Vancouver Island, this exclusive eco-safari destination lives up to the tagline “remote, refined, remarkable.”

Campside Hottub View
Courtesy Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.
Beautiful Clayoquot - Michael Poliza Photography
Photo by Michael Poliza. Courtesy Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.

Guests sleep in roomy, luxuriously appointed white canvas prospector-style tents built on discreetly-situated wooden platforms connected by cedar boardwalks and hidden under a rainforest canopy along the oceanfront or perched amongst hillside trees. Local chef Ryan Orr honors the Pacific Northwest and its wealth of locally raised and grown products. An unprecedented range of activities include horseback riding, kayaking, surfing, hiking, hot springs, fishing, and bear- and whale-watching.

SOUTHWEST GULCH ALPINE HUT
The UNESCO World Heritage environs of western Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park deliver serious year-round adventure. In winter, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-climbing are readily accessed in the glacial-scoured mountains outside of Rocky Harbour.

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Photo courtesy GrosMorneAdventures.com
Photo courtesy GrosMorneAdventures.com

When it comes to backcountry digs, the Southwest Gulch hut (one of two in the park) is the real deal. Tucked into a hillside under spruce and fir trees, protected from ocean winds and offering magnificent views to the Tablelands ski region, the two-storey cabin accommodates 12 and features wood-stove heating, indoor flush toilet, a pair of four-burner propane stoves, and a fully stocked kitchen.

Subscribe to the glossy, collectors’ item Mountain Life Annual here.

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