Bernie's Report - July 17, 2004
The Mt. Fernie Adventure
After living at the bottom of Mt Fernie for 2 years, we finally got to do the walk. Bill and Nancy suggested we meet at their place on Monday morning early around 8.45 to beat the heat. We arrived along with Bruce and Sherie, but where was Bob. Nearly an hour later, Bob turned up, after walking the dogs and then riding the 8klms from his house at Cokato. We explained to him that it is a lot quicker by car. By this time the temperature was hovering at about 27 degrees (bugger). So lets get going. After a quick tour of the Annex, Bill realised he had forgotten his sunglasses and hat - so back we went. ( One of the disadvantages of having an elderly group.)
We drove to Burma Road and started the hike opposite the Bighorn Helicopter pad. By this time it was around 30 degrees. But did we care. You bet ! The walk is consisently up, and up and up. You cross the track along the power lines that goes to Island Lake, and head north. It is quite shady and easy , but steady climbing on an access road. Nancy set a cracking pace, and we were all huffing and puffing by the first switch back trying to keep up.
At this point the track narrows to a single track, and becomes a lot steeper. The areas of shade were becoming more intermittent, and we looked forward to getting to top of the Moccasin for a break and to get some photos. The views over the town of Fernie are great. Here you head west up a narrow track which gets much steeper and rockier. In fact in a few places its hard to get a foothold and you find yourself using your hands to scramble up. It stays like this for the remainder of the hike, and is probably like this for the last half of the mountain. The last 600 metres is very rocky and you need to be careful of your footing. We made the top in 2 3/4 hours and found a rock to perch on for lunch. The views are quite sensational. Bob suggested we walk along the ridge to as far as we could, from where you see into Island Lake and off toward Cranbrook, far to the south. As usual it was worth all the scrambling. Only wildlife we saw was 2 little snakes and a chipmonk.
The trip down was done separately. Anita got a call just as she reached the top, to say an offer had come in on a property, so she and Dave (yes we all still have to work in Paradise) headed down first. Because it is so steep, its very hard on your legs and feet, and by the time we got to the bottom, we were really feeling it. The outlook for our bodies for the next couple of days was not looking good. Nancy stopped on the way down to cool her ankle in a stream , and realised when she got home, her sunglasses were missing. So at 9pm that night ,she and Bill had to hike back up to the stream, and there they were. But they got to see a moose and calf, which sort of made the extra walking worth while.
Anyway, that was Anita and Daves first hike for the season, and as per normal we didnt work up to it in stages, and we suffered for a few days.
Signed Aussie Dave