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A Stay at Laidman Lake Lodge in BC’s Remote Interior

Our recent trip to the Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia included three nights up at Laidman Lake Lodge in BC’s remote interior.

The lodge sits northeast of Moose Lake if that’s any help but I bet it isn’t. You’ll probably need a map to get oriented for this one.

"Repeating hills from Laidman Lake"

Laidman Lake on the morning we left

"Our hosts - Natalie and Billy"

Our hosts – Natalie and Billy

Laidman Lake lies due north of Itcha Ilcaghuz Provincial Park. And as the crow flies, it’s about 55 miles southwest of Vanderhoof, a small town west of Prince George. In theory you can drive in – but you’d need a GPS and likely a four wheel drive to navigate the maze of logging roads. It’s a whole lot easier to fly in by float plane.

We did just that in a little over 20 minutes from Anahim Lake. I can’t recommend that option enough as you get a chance to see some truly stunning, uninhabited country.

"Our pilot John Maxwell - who has over 40,000 hours of experience"

Our pilot John Maxwell – who has over 40,000 hours of experience

"Crazy topography you get to enjoy from the air"

Crazy topography you get to enjoy on the flight into the lodge

When we arrived we were met by Billy and the two dogs Buddy and Max. Our bags were thrown into the back of an ATV, and we were whisked to the main cabin to meet Natalie. She proceeded to show us our log cabin and then served us lunch.

"Our log cabin - The Hunter's cabin"

Our log cabin – The Hunter’s cabin

Everything Natalie whipped up was delicious! And when you consider the remoteness of the lodge, it was even more of a feat. She has a big garden that she plans to expand even further next year. And she has taken to raising chickens though there are no eggs yet – and any talk of eating the birds alarms her to no end. Next year she may add a cow to the menagerie. I suggested she make fresh cheese in her spare time if that was the case.

"Salmon for dinner"

Salmon for dinner

"Pork schnitzel and spaghetti"

"Home grown lettuce is picked daily for salads"

Home grown lettuce is picked daily for salads

"Dream bars"

Dream bars are rich and delicious

"Some of Natalie's chickens"

Some of Natalie’s chickens – who have a nasty habit of escaping

One of the first things they did when they purchased the property was to build a room for cold storage – though it kind of reminds me of a bunker. That way when they leave in the winter – which they still do for a few months every year – all their canned goods and anything else that might freeze can safely make it through the winter.

"Cold cellar built to keep their food through the winter"

Cold cellar built to keep their food through the winter

As for our room.

Our lodging was in a roomy log cabin furnished with two beds – one queen and one double. There was also a bathroom with a shower and a small kitchen with a coffee maker and mini fridge. Provided in the room were an assortment of teas, hot chocolate, coffee, bottled water and orange juice.

It wasn’t fancy but it was comfortable. I particularly liked the bear themed duvet covers. They seemed very apropos considering our environment. My one complaint was that there was only one reading light at night and the wattage was so low that you really needed your headlamp to read.

"Inside the Hunter's Cabin"

Inside the Hunter’s Cabin

Outside of the cabin were a few chairs for sitting and enjoying the view. At night the mosquitoes do appear but for most of the day it’s fine.

What can you do at Laidman Lake Lodge?

Laidman Lake Lodge really is in the middle of nowhere. To get around you have a few options – short hikes, canoeing, ATVing or guided floatplane tours. The floatplane is expensive to rent as a couple but if you have a group the price per person decreases substantially. Billy can get you up hiking in the high alpine though it’s the fisherman that love to use the floatplane to get into lakes that rarely see a human.

John and I chose to explore Laidman Lake by canoe and on foot. The first time we went out canoeing we came across a moose and its baby feeding in the shallow water. Loons were everywhere too and I’m told by Billy that in the spring the bird migration is something to behold.

"A mother moose with her baby"

A mother moose with her baby; we came upon in the canoe

On another day we paddled to the end of the lake, donned some waders and explored the river on foot. We could have fished but we were happy doing it our way.

"Me having fun walking the pools in waders"

Me having fun walking the pools in waders

If you’re a photographer you’re going to love the area. There are plenty of wildflowers, northern scenes, wildlife and amazing sunsets.

"Beautiful sunset on Laidman Lake"

Beautiful sunset on Laidman Lake

"Golden light on the trees"

Reflections at the golden hour

"Wildflower"

"Fireweed"

Fireweed in all its red glory

"Dramatic skies"

Dramatic skies as we canoe around the lake

You can go our for a hike though it’s a bit of a leap of faith that you’ll find your way back again. On our hike we came across beautiful meadows and …

"Wide open meadows"

Wide open meadows we came across on our hike

foot prints from moose, wolf and bear – all in a matter of minutes which sent my adrenalin levels through the roof, especially since we hadn’t remembered to bring the bear spray. Fortunately prints are the only thing we saw.

"Bear track"

Bear track

And on one day we were both total couch potatoes. We took advantage of their free WiFi and thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the books they had on the area. One in particular stands out – The Rancher Takes a Wife by Richmond P. Hobson Jr. He writes about the area back when it was first being settled and in fact another of his books – Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy was made into a CBC – TV series.

Three days up on the lake positively flew by. Both Natalie and Billy were engaging hosts and happy to help out in any way at all. But before you head on up be sure to discuss with them what it is exactly that you want to do. And check with them for pricing as the floatplane trip has to be added on.

Have you ever been to a remote fly-in lodge?

Leigh McAdam

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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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