Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JAN-FEB 2019

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Opportunities for making oneself temporarily inaccessible are hard to come by these days; at Chilko they come in spades. With just 1,000 stalwart souls spread out over 32-million acres, don't expect cell service until you return to the Main House. During a day-long fishing expedition, we traveled the entire length of the 50-mile Chilko Lake (the largest natural high-elevation lake in North America), and didn't see another soul. Stopping at an inlet, Phil led our group up a loosely defined trail over spongy moss- covered rocks to Muir Lake, a secret oasis ringed by mountains that is open to anyone who knows its whereabouts. We could just discern the rumbling echoes of a 200-foot waterfall obscured by acres of pine forest. A 1980s-era cabin built by a family who leased the land from the park service sits at the edge of the lake. Phil unbolted the cabin's door and pulled out two volumes of a log book; I felt like I was joining a naturalists' equivalent of a secret society as I added my name to the registry. Later that day we dropped anchor at a popular fishing spot where a newbie fisherman in our group snagged a bull trout on his first cast. I was content with checking out bear and moose tracks along the shoreline with Anne, and picking up flat rocks to skip along water so blue and clear it prompted me to reminisce about a snorkeling trip in the Grenadines. Because he is so immersed in the local community, Phil knows the most colorful places and people to visit. Among these is Chendi, aka Frank Tannenbaum, a Philadelphia native who came to the area in the 1970s and has been living off of the land in the same picturesque plot ever since (and in spite of several deportation attempts by Canadian authorities). Sporting a Santa-style beard, often shoeless if the temps are above freezing, and amazingly sane to those of us who could not imagine living in such a primitive fashion, Chendi tends an organic garden, pulls driftwood from the lake for building materials, has a cell phone and internet access, fashions and sells beautiful kitchen implements from exotic woods, and would give the Dos Equis pitchman a run for his money as the most interesting man in the world (albeit for different reasons). I arrived at Chendi's compound wondering how anyone could live so simply, and departed feeling slightly envious of his simple subsistence existence. e Chilko Experience is an adventure adaptable for people of all ages and abilities, with Phil and his staff committed to delivering each guest with a once-in-a-lifetime experience tailored to their interests and expectations. "Mountains, glaciers, rushing rivers, pristine lakes, soaring eagles and wildlife have lifelong substance. Connecting people to nature at the highest possible level is my greatest enjoyment," said Phil. All-inclusive rates at the Chilko Experience begin at $2,950 per person for 3 nights/4 days. For more information visit thechilkoexperience.com. sl slmag.net 55 Night sky above the Main House

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