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Retreat at Cathedral Lakes

By Natalie Foley - October 6, 2014 under MT+Co.

Our fifth annual retreat was held at Cathedral Lakes Lodge located in Slocan Park, British Columbia on the first weekend of October, 2014.  Described as “a true wilderness experience, Cathedral Park comprises an expanse of jagged mountain peaks, azure lakes and flower-dappled alpine meadows that are definitely for the adventurous. Located between the dense, wet forests of the Cascade Mountains and the desert-like Okanagan Valley, this mountainous park offers a rich variety of terrain, flora and fauna.”

We made an early start on Friday morning and drove through Manning Park and Princeton toward our lunch venue: the Hitching Post Restaurant in Hedley.  The staff at the Hitching Post were great and the food was fantastic.  From Hedley we travelled past Keremeos to the basecamp and transferred to the Lodge’s four wheel drive trucks.  The staff from Cathedral Lakes Lodge drove us for about one hour climbing 4,000 feet to reach the Quiniscoe Lake camping ground.

We had three days to investigate 33,272 hectares of park and 353 hectares for the protected area.  The Lodge is located almost 7,000 feet above sea level and at that elevation the weather is unpredictable so we prepared for sun, rain and cold conditions and we were delighted to see some sunshine.

Friday night was Pecha-Kucha night!  Pecha-Kucha is Japanese for “chatter” and we followed the simple set of rules to present: exactly 20 slides displayed for 20 seconds each.  That’s it.  It was a lot of fun and we discovered we are a funny mix of people.  Amongst us you will find:

  • A celtic mutt who has planned his next tattoo and loves mini bull terriers, Quebec and the Queen of England.
  • A Metallica fan who loves thin rimmed teacups, frisbees, rudgy and roadshows.
  • A travelling basketball player with a weird foot who loves Leonardo DiCaprio. Who doesn’t love Leo?
  • A motorbike riding, banana eating, moosehead drinking shark!
  • An animal lover with a dollar bill from Chamillionaire and a lot of notes in a memory box.
  • A snow-boarding, mushroom-picking, family-loving swimmer who, like most of the planet, is still trying to figure out how to pronounce “Titerle”!  Aren’t we all?

We made bonfires, hiked, danced, sang, drank, swam, paddled, laughed, cuddled, ate, walked and sometimes ran.  We lived amongst the deer, chopped wood, slept in, woke those trying to sleep, and accomplished headstands and yoga on a moving raft whilst drinking.  Those adept at bear impersonations scared those who watched out for bears.  We wore headlamps, red lipstick, shorts, pajamas, the same clothes over and over again and smelt like campfire.  We lost phones, found phones, chilled out, messed about and got down and dirty.  There was also that discussion about our future and how grateful we are to be working amongst friends.

After too much fun we had to get back to our Gastown reality.  On Sunday afternoon we cleaned up, packed up and jumped in the trucks.  “Have we got everything?  Don’t leave anything behind!”  We headed back to basecamp and arrived only to find we had forgotten one very minor item – our most senior lawyer.  While Jim had gone to take one last look around to make sure we had everything, we drove away none the wiser.  Jim was sporting his “handsome lumberjack” look the whole weekend and we think this may have been an attempt to stay up in the mountains.  But alas, the driver (not anyone from MT+Co.) finally noticed Jim was missing and sent a truck to collect him.

On the way back to Vancouver we stopped at the fruit market and bought a lifetime supply of fruit for the office and enjoyed looking at the variety of pumpkins available as we head close to Thanksgiving.  We also purchased a few weird pumpkins for our Halloween party while we were there.

Cathedral Lakes was the biggest and the best retreat so far and the anticipation of the 2015 work retreat grows.  Malibu?  Portland?  Nicaragua?

We can’t wait for our next retreat!