April 23rd, 2010

Chatter 2010 Review

For those of you who have never been to Chatter Creek (Vertebrae Lodge) before, this article can shed some light on how great of an experience it can be out there.  And for those of you who have been there, this is to help you relate and remember your trip, and help bring back some memories!  
I guess our trip started on Sunday (one day prior to leaving) with finishing up work at Mountain Motorsports and GSR.  The ritual is routine, but never easy with gathering all the necessities needed for a 3 day sled trip.  Extra socks, casual wear, gloves, goggles for bright sun, flat light, camera equipment, extra batteries, this that and the other thing, etc… oh sleds too.  And for you two strokers out there OIL (hahaha).
I had already driven to Chatter a few times in the past few weeks with rental deliveries, and of course a ride day as well, so I knew the road conditions and had marked out all the major bumps in the “B” Road (access to Chatter).   
First thing Monday morning we set off on our mission.  First stop is always the 43km bend turning the access road to the harbor down the Bush Arm.  This is a cool spot to stop to see a bit of history.  There are a few old tug boats beached below, reminisce of a logging operation of days long past.  Cool thing to see, and evidence we are heading in to a area most would not venture.
Second stop The Causeway.  One of the most amazing valley views I have seen to date.  Second to none and worth the stop.
Next stop the Gas Drop.  Depending on the time of year you travel to Chatter, the 69km parking lot is as far as you can drive, however, this late in the spring an elevation rise is in order to reach the fluffy (or not so) snow.
All I have to say about this section of road is (quote of the trip) “You guys got your mudders on?”
Time to unload and get in there.
We arrive around noon and check in.  We were greeted by staff explaining the waiver, snow conditions (HIGH, HIGH, CONSIDERABLE).  
With this in mind we set out to the Chatter Glacier (not much overhead) and spent the afternoon ripping around and enjoying the extremely warm temps.
We came back to the lodge around 5:00pm with a new sun tan, and some tired muscles.  Nothing a few beverages at the Lodge Bar couldn’t take care of.  Chatter sticks strictly to the “Once you order a drink, you done sledding for the day” rule, and you can only respect that!  Day one meal Steak and stuffed potatoes!
A few more beverages and in bed by midnight.
Day 2 showed expected temps of mid 20’s in the town of Golden and you can bank on a few degrees warmer up there, but not by much.  We waiting for the snow to soften up a touch before heading out, but not by much as we wanted to be out of committing terrain by 1pm.  Straight to The Keyhole, on to the Glacier and over to the Prattle Plateau to have a look down at the Sullivan…  If you haven’t been there before or aren’t comfortable in BIG terrain, get a guide, DO NOT attempt on your own.
This is as big as terrain gets.  It is manageable however even in higher avalanche times, but it is remote, and easy to loose your way.  
Noon rolled around and we continued our retreat back to the Lodge, but not before grabbing a solid chunk of glacier ice for some evening beverages.  (an annual treat started by a several years ago by one of our x-Chatter employee riding friends).
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the hot tub, and sun tanning! haha Today was cooking!  This day the kitchen cooked up a surf and turf past dish to help bring the carb level back up to normal.  Amazing, enough said.  After dinner Dale and Hacker lit a HUGE fire pit that we enjoyed along with our glacier ice rye and gingers’ until around 2:30 or so… nuff said.  Oh and did I mention spinning fire girl?  Nope… didn’t think so (see photos).  So cool.
Day three was a slower start, hard to believe I know, but we did a quick explore mission in the morning to some new terrain I had never been to.  This was really cool for me as I always love to see new terrain, and opened some new doors for the future exploration.  That is all I’m going to say about that.
Back to the lodge, pay up our tabs and back through the mud pit to the truck to load up.  An amazing trip that will go down in history again as a trip I will never forget.  Big shout out goes to Fabrice, Dave, Mike, Don, Ang, for spending time on snow with me!  Also Dale, Danny, Isabelle, Wendy, Hacker, Mel, and of course the entire Chatter staff for making out trip the best one yet!  Every time you outdo yourselves!  
Thank you!  I can’t say it enough!

This might seem like the trip was over, but two days of moto trail riding was to come.
I’m in the process of putting together the video right now of the trip.  I’m not super fast at video work so bare with me!  I hope the photos help tell the story!  
Til next year Chatter!!!  I miss you already!
For more info about Chatter Creek and Vertebrae Lodge CLICK HERE!