Story by Roy Ramsay with photography by Alan Ernst
In the past, I’ve written of places that photographers can go and stay while out shooting landscapes and wildlife. As the spring thaw warms the landscape around us, I’m reminded of these spots you can call home while out on your photo adventures.
Aurum Lodge, located in Nordegg, AB, is one such place. I visited the Lodge hosted by Alan and Madeleine Ernst a few years ago and have been eager to get back there again. The interesting thing about Aurum Lodge, and why I chose to write about this place, is that it’s unique. Aurum is not your ordinary wilderness lodge, but rather a well thought out eco-tourism lodge and cabin complex, which is extremely low impact on the environment, but at the same time maintains a high level of comfort and quality of service. Aurum Lodge offers B&B-style accommodations as well as self-contained cottage units with kitchen facilities for those photographers who wish to take care of their own meals. For the serious photographers who are up before sunrise and out shooting later for sunset, it’s recommended that you book the cottage units so that you don’t have to work around lodge meal times. For those who do wish to stay in the lodge, meal times are 7:30-9 a.m. for breakfast and 6:30 p.m. for dinner.
Aurum Lodge is in the pristine Rocky Mountains, off the beaten track and nestled in a quiet part of Bighorn Country overlooking Abraham Lake, between Banff and Jasper National Parks. Accommodations at Aurum range from $125 per night (three-night minimum booking in lodge, standard room, with breakfast) in low season to $269 per night (two-bedroom cottage for four in high season); definitely a great location for the price point and a wonderful base camp for your photographic adventures.
Places to visit and photograph both landscapes and wildlife while at the lodge include the Columbia Icefields, Kootenay Plains and the many rivers, lakes and canyons stretching between Banff and Jasper National Parks. Other activities at or near the lodge include cycling, fishing, canoeing, trail riding, rock climbing and guided glacier tours in summer, just to name a few.
Alan and Madeleine opened the Aurum Lodge back in 2000 and have since maintained their philosophy of “encouraging our visitors to slow down, relax and enjoy our pristine wilderness; to practise what we preach and convince our guests, the general public, regulatory bodies and the hospitality industry overall that viable alternatives exist to lifestyle, traditional construction practices, conservation standards and business management.” They go on to say, “We firmly believe that there are values in life, which cannot be measured in monetary terms, but are equally precious; among them are a healthy, unpolluted and intact environment and peace of mind!”
Aurum Lodge is open year-round and is well worth the stay. For more information visit www.aurumlodge.com.