|Peachland to Marysville|
I had arrived in the small and extremely friendly town of Fernie!
|A soggy camp in Clearwater|
|Contemplating in Marysville|
paid off and once I got the wheels turning and the blood pumping, I found the remaining aches and pains became much less noticeable. There are times when you have to listen to your body and stop (boy did I learn that the hard way), and there are times when you have to beat yourself into submission (or perhaps gently persuade?). Knowing which is which is the important bit.
|Being bear aware|
I didn't camp in Canmore as I met so many lovely people there! Here I found my first warm bed and a slow-cooked curry at fellow Welshman and biker Ian's house. We talked bikes and rugby most of the evening and the next day I moved on to meet Claire and her partner Jesse. Claire is British and the daughter of a biking friend of a friend in the UK! Actually it was her dad who had offered the bed for the night but the young couple, who had moved here a year ago from Australia, proved to be warm and willing hosts. From here I went hiking up to grass lake, checked out the pretty little town of Canmore and shared a beer on the river's edge, calling to elk (you have to bugle loudly), in the hope that we would get some communication going! Our calls were answered but from a long way off. My hopes for a closer viewing of these beautiful beasts were dashed by the passing cars that scared off one male elk as he made his approach in the distance. Still - the beer was good and the company was great!
|Beer and bugling in Canmore|
Michelle Stow. These guys have an open house for the many bikers that pass through here every summer. I was no exception and stayed for 2 nights along with Jason Spafford (one half of the biking duo Two Wheeled Nomads) who was resting up while his partner Lisa had gone to meet her mum for a couple of weeks. A house full of British bikers can only lead to one thing - food, sharing of stories and beer! Jason and I spent the next day visiting the sled dogs owned by the company Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Manchester lad Russell has worked with these dogs for 20 years and his love for them and the sport shone through as he proudly introduced them all to us one at a time. Each dog just as special as the last. He has 90 of them! It was a very special and educational day.
I felt so at home here that I could have easily stayed longer but the weather was turning and I wanted to get further south once more.
|The 40 from Canmore to Fernie|
black stuff and get on the gravel or the dirt. From Canmore I took the 40 which is two thirds well-graded gravel, and occupied only by hunter camps and the odd unsuspecting deer. It was a road well worth riding and the colours of the changing leaves added to the magic as I wound my way south towards the one-horse town of Fernie. Here I stayed for two nights in the empty Raging Elk Hostel. Once a busy coal mining community encircled by the Rockies and nestled in the beautiful Elk Valley, this town turned to adventure tourism to save itself from becoming another one of British Columbia's ghost towns. Whist Fernie refuses to die, despite a disastrous fire in 1904 which levelled most of the town, the neighbouring village of Coal Creek did not survive. During the 1950s residents left the town due to the closure of the mine. In 1902 an explosion in one of the shafts had left 128 dead in one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. Some parts of the town remain in the form of ruins, but most have been overtaken by forest.
The next day I was in for a treat. I had been told by a biker from the Okanagan that there was a pass over the mountains between Marysville and Gray Creek on the edge of Kootenay Lake. He had said that it was a dirt road and was only passable for a few months of the year due to the conditions. It sounded like a challenge and Rhonda and I were really up for challenges right now. I packed up early and hit the road once more in search of my daily dose of adventure........
|Bear trap in Jasper campground|
|Best of BC|
|Mad Dogs and Englishmen|
|On route to Fernie|