Coronet Creek is the name given to the moving water which flows down from Ultra-Maligne Lake down to Maligne Lake. And there, just next to the point where creek and lake meet is one of the worlds most spectacular camping sites. A mere four hour canoe ride (with an electric motor travelling at trolling speeds) will get you there. However, in that moment when you stand at the edge of the dock at Coronet Creek, surrounded by dramatic Rocky Mountain goliath's that scrape the sky so high above you, listening to the sounds of nature's silence, it's hard to believe that civilization is anywhere near.
Another hard fact to believe is that when asked by my father George if I wanted to accompany him and his crew of fishermen on a paid trip to escort 6 lady artists to Coronet Creek, I had to "think about it". Two days later as I cruised down the blue glass that was Maligne Lake, reflecting the flawless bluebird sky and sunny golden mountains, a sight that must be seen to be believed, I was happy I decided to join the trip.
As part of his newly acquired business, my father George Andrew along with his crew including Ralph Melnyk and Milt Gilmore pull off an exquisite "gourmet style" camping trip. With no piece of equipment spared that most hold exclusively as comforts just for their home, including a kitchen sink and fully operational camp kitchen; I'd say that these men have comfortable camping down to a fine art.
The first day we leave shore bound for a four hour canoe ride to Coronet Creek. Since we sit within a fleet of five 20 foot freighter canoes, we are quite comfortable as the bows of the boats slice through glassy blue waters. Our first stop- Martini Bay, where we enjoy our first toast to the voyage and the official start of our "glamping" trip (glamorous camping). George's pelican case is opened to reveal polished martini glasses ready to serve. If James Bond went camping, I imagine he would follow the same procedures these guys do.
The next day we awake to a crisp morning. The fire grilled tenderloin, zesty vegetables and red wine still fresh in our minds and our bellies from the previous night's dinner. One comment heard so far from our clients, the ladies, is that they've yet to use plastic on this trip so far. So often a commodity on most camp trips. The guys assure the ladies that plastic is for campers, not "glampers".
During the day the ladies set up their canvases and spend the day creating their masterpieces. At Coronet Creek there is absolutely no shortage of natures finest subjects to paint.
My Father and I cruise across the bay and follow an avalanche slide path up the side of Mount Paul to a ridge overlooking the bay where the campsite lies. From this view we see how Coronet Creek flows down in a large valley before meeting the lake . As well, from here we are treated to a spectacular sight of the lake from up above. Like a splash of electric blue paint on a canvas of dark green pines and grey limestone mountains, the lake is practically glowing.
That evening, cocktails are served on the dock as we celebrate a beautiful day spent in the centre of the Universe- Coronet Creek. Fish have been caught, paintings created, mountains conquered and now in the middle of a roaring fire lies prosciutto wrapped cod slowly cooking within a thick dutch-oven. George and Ralph display the same finesse in this small camp kitchen using coolers as refrigerators and camp fires as ovens, as most chef's do in top downtown urban restaurants. As everyone sits down to feast I take a step back and take it all in; I'm eating one of the best meals I've eaten in a long time, in the middle of the forest. Not far away, surely a Grizzly Bear is drooling.