the last weekend of the season at Holland Lake Lodge

We are always coming and going and living a busy life, but this year especially has been full of busy travels.  We are fortunate to travel, but the trips aren't always true vacations and it's become clear that we need to make room for breaks.  

Living in Missoula, luckily we don't have far to go for a retreat in the woods.  Even so, we compete with the tourists and everyone else living here for reservations.  We have friends who are Masters of tracking availability of the best Forest Service cabins, getting in the rotation for reservations a year in advance and watching for cancelations.  We, however, are not such dedicated retreat planners.  We schedule trips for work or family visits, and vacations for ourselves are sandwiched into the calendar.  And for a trip to the woods, I've grown more and more into a Princess about amenities.  It doesn't have to be deluxe, but simply put: I prefer having hot showers and a bed.  Plus, if we venture into bear territory, (Hello! We live in Montana and bears live here, too), I won't sleep a wink if I'm laying in a tent.  The older I get, the further my camping days are behind me if I get to choose.  

So what's the easiest getaway solution for people like me?  

1) Cabins & 2) OFF SEASON.       

Holland Lake  © Toni Matlock. 2012
In the middle of October, we slipped away to Holland Lake Lodge for a low-key weekend of rest and relaxation.  Even with rain and fog, perhaps even more so because of the weather, it was a beautiful and romantic, getaway weekend.

We stayed in the cozy Griz Den cabin.  (Cabins are limited and coveted, so it's best to reserve them far in advance.  We got lucky calling only a week in advance for the last weekend of the season.)

Bruce at the Grizz Den cabin, Holland Lake Lodge, 2012
Our misty view  from our cabin.

If we had wanted a camp fire, there's a fire pit in front of the cabin on the Lake's edge.

I do enjoy cooking and even welcome the sparsity and challenges of camp-cooking, but I also appreciate after a hike and a shower to simply stroll up to a Lodge with a good restaurant for drinks and dinner. At Holland Lake Lodge I can expect to enjoy a simple menu of well-prepared food and a decent glass of wine.  The Lodge is an intimate structure originally built in 1924 with additions and remodeling from the 30s.  It's not overdone like the  casino- or resort-style 'western' lodges scattered around the Rockies. For this Goldilocks, it's 'just right' comfort in the woods. You get the luxury of a well prepared meal while nestled into a gorgeous setting with a fire crackling nearby.   (You can also get a room in the Lodge.) 

Holland Lake Lodge on a rainy day, October 2012
If you go, be sure to say hello to our new friend, Gary, a toad we met on our first night along the path by the Lodge gift shop. 

Gary, the Toad, Holland Lake, 2012

Walking around the Lake, look for birds of prey waiting around in the top of a snag, like this eagle.

You can hike an easy couple of miles up to the Falls, which looks something like this.  

Holland Lake Falls, Toni Maltock © 2012

See Bruce?  He's the tiny figure wearing a blue jacket in the lower left portion of the frame.  He went ALL the way up to within a few feet of the falls.

You can sit on big rocks and look at the falls or turn around and have a view of the Lake.

Nothing to sneeze at, eh?  As the clouds shift the sunlight in and out, we took a few snaps to commemorate the rejuvenating weekend.

Then we scrambled back down this path to the Lodge for drinks and a delicious dinner.

Studio Note: Holland Lake is one of the primary locations for the art video that I made titled 'you don't hear me'.  A sample of that video is on my art website, ToniMatlock.com, (click) here.

Full disclosure: We are friends with the owner of Holland Lake Lodge, Christian, so we we can't help but have a behind-the-scenes appreciation of the Lodge's history and its operations.

For more photos of the Lodge, go to their Facebook fanpage, or follow their blog. Visit the HollandLakeLodge.com website for reservation information for next Spring or Summer. 

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