This past weekend, Ford Canada invited me to the Fraser River Lodge in Agassiz (about an hour east of Vancouver) to get ‘back to basics’ when thinking about planning a road trip.
We started out in Burnaby where we were shown our destination via an old school map.
Then we got paired up and headed out for the little over an hour drive on the highway to Agassiz to our destination at the Fraser River Lodge.
It sounds cliche but this place is definitely a hidden gem. I haven’t been out this way for over a decade and had no idea such a great place existed. With it’s stunning views of the river and mountains, it was literally a postcard setting. The amazing weather we’ve been having lately didn’t hurt either.
Once we were settled in our cabins, we met up with members of the Ford team who went over basic car care techniques such as changing oil & tires and the types of equipment you should have on hand while roadtripping, especially during the winter.
There was also a clinic for those (like me) that haven’t driven a manual transmission before or in a long time where we learned the best way to not ruin a clutch.
After a few more spins around the countryside in various vehicles, we met up for a session with carver Don Froese, a local artist and storyteller who made the carvings that are all around the lodge property as well as a number of other well known pieces on display around the world.
It was fascinating to hear the process for creating a piece of artwork, the tools used and how the raw wood helps dictate how the piece will turn out. We also had the chance to try our hand at using Don’s tools on the work in progress. The smell of the wood once the tools started cutting into it was amazing.
Next up was a wine tasting and a spectacular dinner in the main hall of the lodge with Chef Lucky Dhillion.
The night ended with s’mores by campfire.
Sunday morning came early as we suited up in hip waders and waterproof clothing and walked down the trail to our waiting fishing boats. We were heading out for a morning of (catch and release) sturgeon fishing.
It was a little chilly but we were all well prepared with clothing layers, blankets and hot chocolate.
Our guide, Ryan, showed how he baited the hooks for the sturgeon with salmon eggs and bits of lamprey eels.
Not long after the rods were in the water, one of the other boats caught the first fish, a great 5.5 foot sturgeon.
We then spent the next few hours coming up empty. This despite the boat’s sonar showing us that there were plenty of fish right below us. It was a perfect day to be on the river.
As our time was winding down, things started looking up. We finally got a fish on the line and I was given the rod to bring it in.
He ended up just being a little one at 3.5 feet in length. We let him go and then, literally as we were packing up everything we got another good bite. The other boats had already left to head back to the lodge.
I’ll let the video tell the tale:
I was actually the third person reeling it in – we were all pretty exhausted once we finished. In the end he was 7.5 feet long and an estimated 300 lbs. Literally a sea monster. What I was surprised to discover while on the trip is just how many of these fish are in the river…and then seeing them on the fish finder proved it.
We then let him go, climbed back into the boat and headed back to the lodge to share our giant fish story to the others…fortunately it was well documented. Not a bad way to spend a weekend in February.
More photos can be found in my Flickr album.
Disclosure: The Ford Motor Company paid for my meals, accommodations and activities during the weekend getaway. I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. The opinions posted here are my own.