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Nick & Tim’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2003

Location: Fernie, Canada


Well here we are in Fernie, in the Rockies! In fact we have only two days ride and we'll be in ALberta somewhere. Its spectacular here, mountains all around. We left you a while ago, and we have done a lot since then. The Swiss came into camp late on our day off, they are following our footsteps. Was great to see them again and swap stories, and laugh about the massive mountains and bears we meet. We headed off the next day for the next big challenge, the Kootenay Summit at 1744m! But of course the road doesn't go straight up, first we had a tour of a massive dammed lake, a trip to the US border up a massive hill (had a coke and took a photo of the US), then a depressing 15 minute ride straight down, just so we could ride up it again over the Kootenay summit. Well 2 hours later we were at the top, surrounded by snow, a beautiful lake, and eating lunch in a log cabin at the top! The longest downhill in the world was after this - no kidding, over an hour of riding downhill fast, with our hands frozen to the handle bars and the freezing rain causing shivers that shook the bike! Down down down to Creston... 122km day, where we camped. From Creston we headed to Moyie Lake, where on the way we met a pom who had decided to dump his hire car, bought a bike at a garage sale and cycled around. Good on him! We reckon he might have been an English Lord or something - he didn't appear to do any work and did a lot of travel. Was a pretty uneventful day besides the massive tail wind we had and the nice lake. Oh and the fact that we crossed a time-zone.... we have riden a whole timezone! Over some hills, past some Eagles eating a dead deer, down through Cranbrook and onto our camp at Wapiti Lake - a beautiful secluded lake. We had our first glimpses and views of the Rockies that day, if a little clouded over and wet. And then Yesterday, we headed to Fernie, via of course the crazy Trans Canada Trails tour of cow paddocks, riding in circles in the hills, and all kinds of other stuff! Of course we had our 5th bear encounter - this was the closest yet - 15m away, he only noticed us when I called to Tim, "Hey there's a bear" with which he bolted. The views were great, as we headed up the valley, Rocky Mountains on both sides. Problem was it was dumping, and on the mud track we got covered, as did our bikes. So when we finally got to Fernie, Tim cracked and got a motel room, Nick went and camped in the local Forest Park. Fernie is beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and still has a friendly small town feel. We've had heaps of people helping us out again - giving directions, calling people to find out conditions, giving us home cooked cakes, and really looking after us. So far we've climbed 5 passes, 1400m, 1250m, 1688m, 1388m, 1750m - which isn't far off Australia's biggest mountain! Bring on the prairies! We are eating masses of food, junky food, yummy food, but losing heaps of weight. We can outdo Jenny Craig any day. Anyway... we have a ride to do, have to go see the worlds biggest truck at Sparwood (mining truck), and then on to Elkford (1300m), the last civilisation before we dissappear into Grizzly country up and over the last (we hope) mountain pass into Alberta. We aslo bought bear mace today, complete with holster.... will be practicing the quick draw tonight.... Until Alberta......