Tuesday 03 July, 2012

Days 17, 18, &19 – Fernie!


My friends Karina and Marcus live in Fernie, BC. They are originally from the UK and recently emigrated to Canada. I took an indirect route there from Calgary, going thought Banff. At the town entrance I see two elk grazing. If you’ve never seen one in person, it’s an impressive sight. I’m used to seeing [...]


My friends Karina and Marcus live in Fernie, BC. They are originally from the UK and recently emigrated to Canada.

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I took an indirect route there from Calgary, going thought Banff. At the town entrance I see two elk grazing. If you’ve never seen one in person, it’s an impressive sight. I’m used to seeing deer, but elk are at least twice as large with giant antlers. They look prehistoric, dwarfing the small cars that stop to check them out.

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Banff is of course beautiful, the town having the usual tourist trappings, the scenery breathtaking. I only had a short time in town so I grabbed some coffee and pastries at Wild Flour Bakery and headed to lake Louise. Like most places I’ve visited, it really deserves to be seen over a few days, not on the run as a photo op. It is spectacular, even if seen briefly. Its late June and there is still snow on the ground in places and some roads are closed, blocked by little glaciers. Even in the summer, Canada feels like a wild place, always on the verge of some dramatic weather phenomenon.

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From Lake Louise south I pass through the Kootenay National Park. I see a herd of mountain goats arranged on a rock. Several other tourists have stopped to take pictures and created a bit of a traffic snarl so I resist the urge to join them. Outside the park I pass through Radium Hot Springs. I stop for lunch at the grocery store and notice a sculpture on a hillside. It turns out to be a large installation, a series of vignettes of the crucifixion story from the bible. An impressive undertaking if a bit lurid in the execution.

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That evening I pull into Fernie, a charming small town of about 5,000 people. There is a ski resort nearby (where Karina tells me the exterior shots for Hot Tub Time Machine were filmed).

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I get a tour of the town, and every few blocks we stop to chat with a resident. Karina seems to know a sizable percentage of the town. Marcus comes home from his carpentry job and Karina makes a nice dinner. They are at the early stages of a complete renovation. Because of this and their large cat collection we dine on the porch.

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Because Canada has a law that all homes must have at least one cat, the neighbors, Ann and Nells put me up in their trailer where I get a good nights sleep.

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The next day Karina takes me to the resort that has a summer chairlift running. We go to the top and hike around, me in my hiking boots and her in her flip flops.

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Afterwards we visit the town of Frank, famous because 100 years ago a nearby mountain dropped one of its main peaks on it, burying it like Pompei and covering the countryside with massive boulders. On the debris field it looks more like the moon than Canada.

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We visit Marcus on his job site then some friends in a nearby town. I thoroughly enjoy meeting Cindy, Mike and family. Returning to Fernie we ride about on bikes then have a nice tapas dinner at Picnic.

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Sunday we visit Island Lodge where Karina and Marcus were married year ago. It’s another amazing place just next to the town. We pass a hundred mountain bicyclists competing in the Furious 3, a multi staged race that is being held in Fernie over the long weekend.

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The first of July is Canada day. 145 years ago, the four separate provinces united to become a country. The celebration is very reminiscent to the Fourth of July, with picnics and fireworks. We have a BBQ at Ann and Nells then go to the park for some music and fireworks. A wonderful end to a great couple of days. Again I feel like I could happily live in Fernie. I will miss Karina and Marcus and being a Canadian, even if it was for just 10 days.

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One Comment

  • Karina and Marcus says:

    WE MISS YOU!!! you brought such light to us and our friends love meeting you… espically Cindy and Mike!!!


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