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Love the outdoors but tired of roughing it? Glamour camping is the latest al fresco indulgence and may be just what you’re looking for. Enjoy nature, while pampering yourself just a little.

Goldenwood Lodge

Scenic glamping at Goldenwood Lodge, west of Golden.

I open my eyes. A narrow strip of sunlight sneaks through the slit between the tent flaps, canvas dust dancing in its rays.

The first thing I see right above my head on the roof of the tent is a hairy brown dock spider. It’s bigger than my four-year-old hand, even with my fingers stretched out as far as they can go. The thinning damp grey canvas of our old army surplus tent provides a hideout for the spider, momentarily paused in its journey to search out a meal of mosquitoes and flies. I’m frozen, afraid to move or speak, in case the spider drops into my mouth. I nudge my big sister cuddled beside me and point to the roof of the tent.

She jostles our older brother next in line beside us, sleeping sideways on the double bed camp mattress. Before I can pull the red and black Hudson’s Bay blanket over my head, he jumps up, grabs the fly swatter and attacks the spider.

It falls onto the blanket and scurries away through the crack between the worn hand-hewn barn boards of the tent floor.

My earliest memory of camping. Tenting in the 50s, the childhood experience that shaped my attitude toward roughing it. I was raised to be a conscientious camper, learning lessons still useful in today’s world of Gore-Tex and lightweight mountain tents. And, yes, I’m still an outdoor girl. But I reserve discomfort for wilderness adventures like a canoe trip on the Yukon River or a trek into the Upper Mustang restricted area of northern Nepal. It’s got to be an otherwise inaccessible remote destination for me to tolerate hardship. So I’m glad glamping is on the rise.

Originating in the early 1900s, once the privilege of the wealthy loathe to leave the silver tea service at home while on safari, today’s trendy glamping options encourage enjoyment of the natural beauty of the Okanagan and surrounding areas without the downside of leaky tents, sputtering stoves and mouldy sleeping bags. There’s a huge range of opportunities, ways to embrace nature without forsaking the creature comforts we crave on a holiday. After all, why not soak up a little convenience and pampering when it’s readily available.

Yurt Barefoot Beach

Yurts at Barefoot Beach Resort provide all the amenities for full-on glamping. Photo: Barry Hodgins


Lakeside Yurt Village

Penticton local Max Picton, recently voted 2012 entrepreneur of the year, couldn’t agree more. He and business partner, Ben Lindsay, have created the ultimate four-and-a half hectare glamping resort, a lakeside yurt village. “When people visit a city, they’re looking for comfortable amenities,” he says. “When they’re in the wilderness, they expect to camp. We’ve created something in between, a unique city destination where you can connect with nature.”

Barefoot Beach Resort on Skaha Lake currently has 14 yurts, circular structures modeled after the traditional dwellings of Central Asian nomads, with plans for 77 more by 2018. Either blue or tan (colours of water and sand) the domed dwellings range from 20 to 30 feet in diameter with a floor space of up to a roomy 706 square feet.

So what makes a Mongolian style yurt more glamorous than regular tent camping? Air conditioning for a start. The breathable canvas exterior walls lined with foil bubble wrap insulation keep things cool. And heating. “We may stay open in the winter at some point. It’s only a 30-minute drive to Apex Mountain Resort from here.”

Units are equipped with linens, dishes, beds, pullout couches and indoor plumbing. Think clean, fresh sheets as you lie back and gaze at the stars through the 5-foot skylight in the 14-foot domed ceiling. Grill some shrimp on your personal barbie, walk barefoot on the natural wood floors and chill the wine in the kitchen fridge, tucked neatly under concrete counters and driftwood style cabinetry. Pop over to on-site Covert Farms grocery for some local produce, fresh veggies or salad fixings.  >> Page 2

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About The Author

Patti Shales Lefkos

Freelance writer Patti Shales Lefkos regularly contributes features, as well as Couch Neglector, Who Among Us and Rearview articles. Patti trained as a journalist after a career in education as a teacher, consultant and Vancouver inner city principal. Whether canoeing the Yukon River, backcountry skiing in BC’s Monashee Mountains or trekking in Tibet and Nepal, Patti embraces the culture and environment of wilderness areas. When not travelling or writing, she skis in the winter at her home base at Silver Star Mountain Resort and paddles in summer from her Ontario island cottage.

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