March 3rd, 2008

Chatter Time

Well guys, it’s almost that time of year again! CHATTER BOOKING TIME! For any of you out there that don’t have a sweet clue what I’m talking about, Chatter Creek Cat Skiing operation opens their doors every spring for sledders.
If you haven’t experienced what it is like to have terrain just handed to you, you should call for a taste of what I’m talking about. Myself along with four or five of my friends have made this our “season ender” trip for the last four seasons. I don’t want to call it a ritual cause it sounds weird, and creepy, but…
We load up with a few 20L jerries, swim shorts (hot tub) some casual clothes (bar), and of course your neckin’ gear. Located just past the weigh scale west of the town of Golden, BC is the infamous “Big Bend Highway” which is a historical story all on it’s own. Seventy km of passing lakes, harbors, the odd washed up tugboat and a causeway; you’ll arrive at the Chatter Creek staging area. There is ample parking now, and it is four place friendly, for all of those who travel in groups.
This is where the magic happens! By somehow managing to get all of your gear, gas, clothes, and oil loaded onto your machine, you head in a short 16km groomed trail to the Chatter Creek Lodge.
Now, this ain’t no regular lodge, but one that sleeps over 30 guests, has 20,000 sq feet of space, fine dining, two hot tubs, an amazing après’ bar, HUGE roof covered fire place, premium gas on tap, etc. etc. etc. It’ll blow your riding boots off!
Now that you’re blown away, you have to get rid of all your gear off your mechanical pack mule, get set up with a room, gear up, and actually go do what you came for… sled.
From the Lodge you can leave in almost any direction, Chatter Glacier, Fragil Rock, Prattle, the Sullivan Fault, Clamshell, Fish Bowl, the list goes on and on. Each of these locations has something completely unique, and if you ask anyone who has been to them before, they try and explain it to you but will be lost for words, and just say “I’ll show you…”. It’s true, each year I try and explain how big, how open, how remote, and how unique these areas are, and I always find myself making up weird words that don’t exist. “Gigantorous”, “Hugify” are a few that come to mind, and “…ahhh S&!T, my tank is empty again”, , oh, and “my head is killing me” from the Chatter bar, the night before…
Each year I go back, and find a completely new bowl, or zone I never new existed, and last year we found one that even the owners just recently found.
At days end, you’ll be bagged, stop by the bar for a drink or two, get changed into some casual clothes, and head to the mess hall, where your taste buds will be treated! After dinner if you can still function and aren’t food comatosed, it’s back to the bar to tell stories, and show pictures of your day… once you can’t see the camera anymore, from being so tired of course, it’s time to pack it in, head back to the room, and do it all again the next day.
I find the hardest part of the trip is usually leaving. You’ll find yourself asking if there are any available rooms for just one more night, or begging if you can just “sleep on the coach” or something along these lines. Or this is where I usually find myself anyway…
Of course the drive out seems longer then the drive in and is usually pretty quiet as you reflect on a trip of a lifetime.
If you are into exploring, and are comfortable negotiating big terrain, or are simply into going on a few hundred km of cat roads through some of the most beautiful and unique back country BC has to offer, don’t hesitate, e-mail or call Chatter Creek today and book your first annual trip. Trust me when I say, it won’t be your last!