You can order a “lumberjack breakfast” pretty much anywhere you go and it will usually consist of a variation on eggs, potatoes, meat and maybe pancakes. The dish carries an ideal of an old fashioned, hearty breakfast that can carry you through long hours of working outdoors. When you order it in an urban diner, you do so because you’re hungry or possibly severely hungover. When you order it in the Canadian Rockies that ideal becomes a reality.
Valemount is the last small town on the British Columbia side of the Rockies when driving northeast on Highway 5. It is an obscenely pretty place when visited on a clear, blue June day. Snow-capped mountains are in the distance, the air is crisp and clean, the buildings have no need to rise above one story and as long as you don’t look at the odd fire-ravaged restaurant, it is all very charming.
After a short drive through town we settled into a table at the Great Escape Restaurant and ordered twin plates of their sausage, scallion and egg scramble, which came with a mound of hash browns surrounded by a fortress of stacked toast. It was one of those meals where the more you ate, even more remained on your plate. And it was good: the food was fresh, a little hot sauce and coffee added some punch and a slice of orange provided a touch of citrus contrast.
The meal consumed, we ambled back into our rented minivan and drove towards Jasper, Alberta and a full day of hiking. I think we packed some snacks in our bags before hitting Whistler’s Mountain, but we didn’t need them – the scramble carried us through the rest of the morning and midway into the afternoon, just as it was meant to.
–Text & photo: Dan Meade
Date of visit: 6/25/2006