Calm in the wilder­ness

New ad­ven­tures await at this East-meetsWest re­sort in the beau­ti­ful moun­tains of British Columbia, writes Chanel Par­ratt

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - RANCH LIFE CARIBOO -

plan to live on the ranch and build ex­tra ac­com­mo­da­tion for vis­it­ing fam­ily and friends soon changed.

Walk­ing around the ranch one morn­ing, Norm says: ‘‘ We thought per­haps this was a lit­tle too in­dul­gent to have all for our­selves.’’

Over the next five years, the Dove lodge and cab­ins were built and they opened for busi­ness. The cedar wood used in the con­struc­tion of the lodge and cabin build­ings was also used on the Thai spa – cre­at­ing a beau­ti­ful con­ti­nu­ity across this East-meetsWest ranch.

The 65ha prop­erty is sur­rounded by four unique biomes: the canyon, with its hoodoos and sand spi­rals; grass­lands, where ranches run be­tween 10,000 and 15,000 head of cat­tle and farm hay; the mar­ble moun­tain range, which you look out to from the prop­erty; and the flat­lands, with lakes and marshes.

Guided day trips head in all direc­tions. You can ex­plore by foot, horse, 4x4 and plane – the ranch has a pri­vate land­ing strip.

I stayed in a pre­mium room in the Look­out Lodge, where I could ap­pre­ci­ate the view to Mt Bow­man. The sim­plic­ity of the room, with wooden floors and fur­ni­ture, plush king bed, feath­ery pil­lows and thick white linen, cre­ated a sense of lux­u­ri­ous coun­try hos­pi­tal­ity.

That same feel­ing ex­tends to the kitchen, where chef Ja­son Folk serves meals along the kitchen bench. You can help your­self to as much or as lit­tle as you like be­fore set­tling at one of the long com­mu­nal tables.

Din­ner on the first night was a ten­der beef osso bucco that I could pull apart with my fork. On the last night, there a bar­be­cue around the campfire – ribs, lamb cut­lets, roast duck, salmon, beef rissoles for burg­ers, salad, roast pota­toes, coleslaw and fresh wa­ter­melon.

Break­fast each morn­ing was a vari­a­tion of sausages, crispy ba­con, fried eggs, salmon and veg­etable omelet, roast to­ma­toes, mush­rooms, french toast with maple syrup, straw­ber­ries, fruit salad, yo­ghurt, ce­real and toast.

GOLDEN GLOW: The sun sets on the Dove lodge at Echo Val­ley; Dar­rel pans for gold.

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