Dave's Report - July 03, 2005

The Fernie Ridge / Bear Chutes hike

With the sparkle of �Canada Day Fireworks � at the Aquatic centre, still in our eyes from the previous evening, we decided to hike up Fernie Ridge, on the east side of town, on Saturday morning. Starting at Ridgemont Road (Coal Creek end ) the trail heads off to the right about 500m up the road. Despite the amount of rain we have had it was surprisingly dry. We started our steady climb, dressed in Summer �stuff� as it was quite warm. You know, shorts, T shirts , baseball caps etc, and for the first 45 mins we got quite hot. Little did we know what lay ahead. Did we come prepared for the often vast and quick changes in mountain temperature and weather. Absolutely not. We should know better.

Approximately half way up we stopped to take in the beautiful & uninterrupted views of the Ski Hill & Island Lake terrain. To the South and West, dark clouds were gathering, with the sound of distant thunder letting us know that some unwanted weather was on the way. We pushed on and with a certain amount of huffing and puffing, (its actually quite a steady climb for an easy trail ) and another 45 mins of hiking, and 3 switchbacks that are right at the end of the climb, we arrived at the top of the ridge. We had a wonderful view of Fernie town below us , Mt Fernie and The Three Sisters to the east ,and further north Mt Proctor and Mt Hosmer, which were rapidly being enveloped by thick black clouds.

Despite the rumblings overhead we reached our destination with only a brief interruption from a small hail storm. By now the temperature had plummeted to what seemed like �0� degrees, so we sought a spot out of the very chilly breeze to have lunch. Lunch was not really a leisurely relaxed affair, as it was becoming colder & darker by the second. And because we didn�t follow THE RULES we were becoming colder and stiffer the longer we sat still. With the storm now crashing overhead and our hiking poles acting as potential �lightning rods� we made a fairly hasty retreat back down the way we had come. We had planned to head out via the bike trails behind the Ridgemont housing area, but being a little frozen and wanting to get back to the car ASAP, we decided the quickest way down was to retrace the path up. As we got lower down the hill the temperatures warmed somewhat, and feeling came back into very cold hands.

All round it is about a 4 hour walk, not too difficult but a steady uphill . The views on the way up and at the top make the trip more than worthwhile. As we are supposed to become wiser with age, and we are all quite old, we decided in future to follow the mountain hiking and biking rulebook ( which we all know and didn�t follow ) RULES 1 � 1000. BE PREPARED. Take extra clothes, gloves, socks etc etc. Well we had plenty of food ! The next best thing after actually getting back unscathed, is to head for the obligatory beer and hot tub. Which we did. What a great place Fernie is.

Our group was Anita, Nancy, Dave ,and �The Nameless One�. If anyone recognizes this guy perhaps you could E.mail us.

At the start of Ridgemont Road.

Fernie Ski hill

Final climb over rocks before the top

Fernie township

Island Lake

Trying to warm up (unsuccessfully )at lunch

Brrrrrrrr - no long pants

Ominous clouds over Mt Hosmer

Here come da rain

Who is this man ?