Skoki Part 1: I’m fucked, aren’t I?

The other day, Olive asked me if I could run.

She wasn’t asking me to run, mind you. She was asking if I was physically capable of running because, presumably, she’s never seen it.

It’s true that I’m not often found running and jumping and engaging in strenuous activity or competitive sports. Or even mild activity and recreational sports, if we’re being honest. I’ve never been super athletic and my kidney condition means that I’m always hovering on the edge of fatigue just from daily activities. It’s one of the reasons I love yoga so much, it’s a way to stay in shape and maintain some sort of muscle tone without having to sweat buckets of precious electrolytes. But, of course, Olive doesn’t see me in yoga class and while I’m sure I have run in her presence, it’s obviously happened rarely enough that she doesn’t remember it.

I’m sharing this anecdote with you for two reasons. First, to add yet another example of Olive’s trolling skills to the already-long list. And second, so that you will have some context for the following story.

A friend of mine works at Lake Louise and earlier this week he texted me saying that he needed to go up and check out one of the lodges – one that Will and Kate stayed in a few years ago, no less – and did I want to tag along for a few nights for free?

I think it’s a basic rule in life that if someone asks you if you want to spend a few free nights in a luxurious lodge in the Canadian Rockies, especially one frequented by literal royalty, you say yes. Always say yes. And, as luck would have it, I had just finished sorting out arrangements for Olive to head to her dad’s house to spend five days with her grandparents.

So, obviously, I was like, “OMG, amazing” and instantly took him up on his offer.

Immediately I started daydreaming about room service and big stone fireplaces and began rummaging around in my closet for my bathing suit, because everyone knows that the best part about staying at luxurious lodges in the Canadian Rockies is sitting in an outdoor hot tub late at night inhaling the cool, crisp air and looking at the stars.

It wasn’t until I was texting a friend about my weekend plans the next day that I realized how unnecessary that bathing suit would be.

“What lodge is it?” she asked, and I as I opened up the text from my friend to check the name (Skoki Lodge) I realized that I hadn’t even googled it to find out where I’d be staying, so I did.

And oh my god it was everything I thought it would be.

Skoki Lodge/Mike Byrne

I mean, really. Could anything be more gorgeous?

Excited, I began to read the site’s description. And then slowly, my excitement began to waver. And then I began to sweat a little. Phrases began to jump off the page at me, unfamiliar phrases. Phrases like “rustic” and “no running water” and “no electricity” and “outhouses”.

Motherfucking outhouses!

And then I discovered the real kicker. The lodge is accessible only via an 11-kilometre trail. In summer you can hike there. In winter, you access the lodge by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

At this point you might be asking yourself, “Does Madeleine know how to cross country ski or snowshoe?” and in lieu of answering that I will simply remind you that my four-year-old daughter cannot even recall seeing me run.

So, no, I don’t know how to snowshoe or cross country fucking ski!

At this point, however, I had committed. And I didn’t want to back out and look like a whiny little bitch, “So, I actually can’t come. I’m incapable of moving my body at moderate speeds for long periods of time and I prefer to poop indoors, thanks.”

So, in quite a panic now, I texted my brother for reassurance. Liam goes ice climbing and camping and is decidedly more outdoorsy than I am, and I was hoping he’d be like “Oh yeahhh, you’ll be fiiine!”

After briefing him on the situation, that was not how the conversation went at all.


So I decided to fess up. I texted my friend like, “Heyyy, Peter! So the thing is, I am not so outdoorsy or sportsy and I’m a teensy bit nervous about the hike in.” He seemed nonplussed and replied that there was absolutely nothing to worry about; why, he had picked up a couple of 75-year-olds coming back from the lodge just that morning and they had managed the trek no problem.

On one hand, this was the sort of reassurance I was hoping for.  I mean, he’s seen me. He knows what I’m working with, so I feel like I can trust his assessment of my abilities.

On the other hand, it’s going to make it even more humiliating if I can’t do it. I’m not one to underestimate someone just because of their age – my 96-year-old Granddaddy still plays badminton and mows his own lawn. Ask me the last time I played fucking badminton.

During this conversation, I also asked how one goes about cleansing oneself with no running water and no electricity. He generously replied that he would bring wet wipes. For “the pits”.

So. This brings us to today. I’ve ransacked my favourite Goodwill store (which has a surprisingly large activewear section. Who knew?!) I’ve hunted down some wool socks. I have borrowed hiking boots and stocked up on electrolyte drinks, packed my medication and a book and even rustled up my Padraig slippers to wear indoors, just like the website says.

Tonight I drive to Lake Louise and then bright and early tomorrow morning (after a giant coffee) we’ll put on big backpacks and snowshoes and hike eleven kilometers into the mountains for two days of kerosene lamps and no wifi and wet-wipe showers. Just like Will and Kate!

I’m actually kind of excited!


Read about Skoki Part II here.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like


  • Reply heidi ruckriegel April 13, 2017 at 7:38 PM

    Wow, that sounds great! You’ll be fine. Hiking isn’t running, you probably walk a lot everyday without realising. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other until you get there. Take some bandaids in case your boots rub and put them on as soon as you feel rubbing anywhere. DON’T wait until you’ve got blisters. Big bandaids. That’s my tip. Have fun!

  • Reply Sarah April 13, 2017 at 7:59 PM

    I cannot wait to find out how this all goes down…

    • Reply Kat April 13, 2017 at 8:31 PM

      My thoughts exactly

  • Reply Goldie April 13, 2017 at 8:40 PM

    My thoughts too! I bet though Sweet Madeline, will do just fine, and have another great storh for us all! Can’t wait to hear it!

  • Reply Sara April 13, 2017 at 9:52 PM

    Oh, I’m worried about the borrowed boots… I once borrowed a pair that seemingly fit, but my feet slid slightly and my toenails got so banged up they eventually fell off. Granted, it was a 36 km hike up and down a mountain most people do in three days but my boyfriend at the time fancied himself an outdoorsy Jon Krakauer-type hero,destined to push himself in the wilderness until someone died tragically in ways I found eminently preventable. He dumped me before my toenails fell off, also before the toes regained feeling, so I never got to show him that I wasn’t just whining, it really really fucking hurt in ways it probably shouldn’t have.

    What I’m saying is, bring extra socks to really stop your feet from sliding if the boots are at all too big, in addition to moleskin or bandaids for regular blisters!

    • Reply heidi ruckriegel April 14, 2017 at 1:36 AM

      Yes to that – two pairs of socks are always a good idea!

  • Reply becklist April 13, 2017 at 10:58 PM

    Funniest post ever! Can’t wait for part 2!

  • Reply Colen Russell April 14, 2017 at 12:01 AM

    Oh my god you had me snorting out loud. You are so hilarious you crack me up!

  • Reply vijinathan April 14, 2017 at 5:27 AM

    A glimpse of ur getaway…nd i know itz going to b awesome.have fun dear.

  • Reply Lane Dewar April 17, 2017 at 6:59 AM


  • Reply Laura M April 20, 2017 at 9:15 PM

    I was just at Deer Lodge for my spring break! I’m dying to know if you survived!

  • Reply I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it - Sweet Madeleine April 29, 2017 at 12:40 AM

    […] I did all of this while secluded in a lodge with no internet, late at night (sometimes until 1 or 2 am), after I’d finished all the rest of my writing […]

  • Reply Skoki Part 2: Duct Tape and Muscle Relaxants - Sweet Madeleine June 28, 2017 at 3:30 PM

    […] Click here to Read  Skoki Part I: I’m Fucked, Aren’t I? […]

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.