It would be difficult to convey adequately the enormous thanks we all owe to the expert and unstinting work of the BC Wildfire crews, the many fire departments both local and from elsewhere, the RCMP, and the uncounted other groups involved in preventing any worse damage than has occurred from the wildfires in our area.
However, I have one personal thank you to send out: to the fire crews and helicopter pilots who, against enormous odds, were able to prevent the historic Cathedral Lakes Lodge from being razed by the Crater Creek fire. It is very sad to hear that the basecamp buildings, vehicles, and the bridge over the Ashnola to basecamp were lost, but one must be grateful for what was saved. The mitigation work done around the Lodge and outbuildings over the past number of years also paid off. Knowing the owners, I fully expect the facility to be in operation again next year albeit in dramatically changed surroundings.
I was very glad to see from the aerial photo that the BC Parks log cabin at the Lake Quiniscoe campground also appears to be intact. The other campgrounds are likely gone, but I trust will be rebuilt ASAP.
Like many others longtime visitors to the Lodge and its magnificent wild surroundings, I’ve camped, hiked, and backpacked in that area numerous times in the 33 years I’ve lived in the South Okanagan. My first trip there though was July 1, 1983 when I, with my brother and sister-in-law, backpacked up the Lakeview Trail from the Ashnola River.
We camped at Quiniscoe, in snow, and spent three days hiking the trails, enthralled by the beauty of the area with its five lakes, towering cliffs, and of course the Rim, the 8000+ft. ridge forming the southern flank of the Park’s Core Area. Then, for 12 years in the early 2000s, I and a biologist friend led annual eco-tours to the Park for Okanagan College, Penticton. We stayed at the Lodge in backcountry luxury: friendly staff, wonderful food, and comfortable beds after a exhilarating day on mountain trails. Getting to the Lodge in rugged Unimogs via the justly celebrated road was/is part of the adventure.
I had numerous other trips to the Lakes including a couple with fellow naturalists documenting birds and butterflies. The most recent trip was just three years ago. Four of us treated ourselves to the Lodge’s welcoming comforts (hot tub and sauna no less) and had three days of splendid hiking through the lush, rugged landscape.
I am most grateful for those many wonderful times at Cathedral Lakes. Best wishes to the Padmos family and all who will work with them to continue the legacy of the park and their unique mountain lodge.
Crater Creek fire burns right up to Cathedral Lakes Lodge’s door