Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Lounge At The Eagle Plains Hotel

Every once in a while, when you travel to new and different places, you find somewhere that makes you feel at home, comfortable, like you belong. They are not always the places you would expect, nor are they where you would expect to find them. Sometimes these places just plain surprise you, coming completely unexpectedly. We've found them in Florida, in South Dakota, and now we have found one in the Yukon.

Eagle Plains Hotel, and particularly the lounge at Eagle Plains Hotel, is that kind of place for me, and for Katherine too, as it happens. When we arrived there yesterday, were were eager to claim what we have decided is our "regular table" after only one prior visit, at least for Katherine; I've been here before and I already know I like it. For the second time in a row, we sat down to nachos and beer, with sour cream and salsa on the side. For the second time, we sat at our table and looked out the big picture window at the treetops just over the nearby ridge.

The lounge is old school, with a coin operated pool table where the coin slot doesn't matter, stuffed animals standing about, moose and deer heads mounted on the walls, and plenty of local photos. The beer supply is bottled only, and limited in selection. What can you expect from a lounge which is 200 miles from the nearest town, Inuvik at that, and more than 500 miles from Whitehorse, the nearest real source of supplies? You can't just call for a quick resupply up here; it takes time.

As with all real places, it's not just the setting which makes it work, although the setting is incredibly cool. It's the people, too. This "oasis in the wildernes" has attracted some of the nicest, caring people. These are people who will do whatever they can to make it work, whatever it is. For example, there are three rather large steps to get down into the lounge. When I arrive, the staff rounds up three or four of their more robust patrons, and I get down the stairs. The reverse happens when I want to leave.

What happens when I want to pee? Discretion is what happens. Perhaps the best way to reflect on it is this. When we left this morning, the first question out of the manager's mouth was "Did Richard get down into the lounge okay yesterday?" Of course the answer was "yes". How could it not be? After all, it's the lounge at the Eagle Plains Hotel.

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