Isn’t it hard to believe this area was once a warm shallow ocean full of sea creatures? Today we are surrounded by tall beautiful mountains, full of stories that are 200 million years in the making. Stories fossilised and preserved in rock. This includes a story about a giant fossilised Ammonite (Titanites occidentalis) hidden on Castle Mountain! A carnivorous, coiled, squid-like predator that hunted these waters around 150 million years old. Finding this beauty took us on our next Deskie Adventure – an Ancient Ammonite Hike.
We’re going on an Ammonite Hike….
Ask the locals how to get the ammonite and you will see how elusive it is to find. And so, not too keen on getting lost, we booked an Ancient Ammonite Hike with Lee-Ann from Elk Valley Wildsight. Armed with water, snacks (because well, snacks!), bear spray and good banter, we headed off with our friends from Wildsight and Tourism Fernie. On the hunt for something soooo old, it probably hung out with dinosaurs! Maybe that’s why the scenery felt very ‘Jurassic Park-ish’!?
Out past the gun-range on Coal Creek and just after the first bridge you will find the trail-head. The path creeps alongside and then up and around the mountain to a creek bed. Follow the creek up until you spot the giant fossil. So, that sounds easy enough to find right!? Hmmmm, not so fast.. Clambering over and under fallen trees, zig-zagging through stinging nettles or heading down the wrong path can easily divert you off course. Certainly a beginner level hike however it is best you have someone who knows where they are going!
We stopped several times throughout the hike as Lee-Ann gives an interpretative talk . She spoke about the history of the mountains, types of rock found in the area and the fossils. And she generated some interesting discussion and thought on how WE can help protect and conserve our natural world.
We’re gonna see a big one…
If you look hard enough, you can find fossils of ancient creatures on mountain tops and hill sides all throughout the Elk Valley! A geological crew mapping seams of shale, siltstone and sandstone in the Fernie Formation discovered the ancient ammonite back in 1947. The team thought it was a ‘fossilised truck tire’ due to its size and shape but instead they had discovered the biggest complete ammonite fossil ever found in Canada!
While this ancient ammonite is bigger than any Deskie curled up, its closest relative today is a shelled nautilus and smaller than 20cm in size. It is said to have large eyes, long-suckerless tentacles and swam vertically using jet propulsion,varying the air pressure in its chamber to change depths. These carnivorous creatures hunted in shallow, warm waters around 400 – 65 million years ago. Did you know these creatures are part of the cephalopod family? The cephalopod family includes octopus and squid!
Whatever hike you’re making this season, make sure you look more closely for fossils!!
We’re not scared…
Out in the elements there is no stopping natural erosion of the ammonite however, we can minimise human impact! We definitely recommend booking an Ancient Ammonite Hike with the Elk Valley Wildsight team. Not only will you will safely get to the ammonite, you will also learn all about it! And, knowledge is power right!? The more we know about our environment, the more we can do our part to help conserve this beautiful area.
Lee-Ann and the Elk Valley Wildsight team work to ensure nature and the economy go hand in hand. You can read about the amazing initiatives they work on in the Fernie community including EcoGarden, Apple Capture and the Wild Nature Tours on their website. Wildsight is a registered charity and their five branches, including Elk Valley are separate non-profit societies. You can become a lifetime member or donate and help Wildsights mission for sustainable communities.
You can also visit Lee-Ann and the team at the Wildsight office located on 2nd Avenue. Make sure you look out for our new friend, Riley the dog who is an office regular. He loves hugs and treats!
It’s a beautiful day!
As always, we recommend checking out the Tourism Fernie website when planning your next visit to Fernie! It has all the latest and greatest information about our beautiful area!
Fernie Food Trucks
Food! Glorious Food! When it comes to eating out, Fernie Food Trucks have so many great choices that is hard to choose. These choices really compliment all the great restaurants based in Fernie. But I love getting my meals from a Food Truck. To me, there is something about food from a truck that makes a meal taste even better.
- Maybe it’s because to me they scream ‘SUMMER’!?
- They often park up at our summer festivals and summer markets.
- They are the perfect stop on the summer road trip!
This gives you an idea of my love for Food Trucks, so you can imagine my response when my manager suggested I write a blog about the Fernie Food Trucks. UM, YES PLEASE! So just for you, the reader of this blog, I have been eating my way through Fernie Food Trucks this summer. It has been a hard job… Just kidding, I loved every meal, but my next blog may need to be about gyms in Fernie.
Food Trucks have taken off around the world. They are the perfect opportunity for the person who wants to own their own business and has a passion for food (and well, can cook)! The Fernie community is full of talented, forward thinking entrepreneurs. This is true in the Fernie Food Truck business too!
What’s on offer?
The Fernie Food Trucks offer something for everyone. Feeling like something sweet? No problem, pick up a sweet Nutella crepe from Flippin’ Crepes for something that will hit the spot. Want to reminisce about your vacation to Vietnam and all that tasty street food you ate!? Go see The Chopstick Truck for a tasty Pho. Can’t make the get together with your friends at Yamagoya tonight but reeeeaaally want sushi? You definitely need to visit Yama2Go. Got a hankering for delicious Central American food!? Go see the Saucy!! Sombrero for some tasty tacos. Had a couple of drinks and need to get some food in the belly to cancel out the drinks? Track down Cooks Cabin for some traditional Canadian Poutine! Or, do you miss your Mom’s home cooking? Stop by Good Grubs for some hearty home cooking that may just rival your Mom’s cooking.
The Chopstick Truck
Our first visit was to The Chopstick Truck to visit Sydney and the team. The bright green truck is parked up most days, unless they are at an event of course. Sydney and team have been operational for a couple of years now. She decided to start The Chopstick Truck as she loves Fernie, the locals and the great food we have here in town. The menu is fresh Vietnamese street food made with locally grown produce. You can sit down and enjoy your food as well as the view of the mountain ranges!
We tried Banh Mi, fresh spring rolls and the Vermicelli noodle bowl with Spring Rolls, all washed down with a delicious bubble tea. The flavours were delicious and fresh. Sydney told us the most popular dish they sell is Vermicelli noodle bowl. Fun fact; it was our favourite dish too!
The Saucy!! Sombero
This funky food truck is painted in the Mexican flag colours and you can spot it a mile away! A food truck had always been Millie’s dream as she wanted options available for those to who live with Celiac disease. This is the second year of operation for Millie and The Saucy!! Sombrero. The truck was actuallyone of of the first food trucks in Fernie many years ago. When that business was no longer in operation, the truck spent many years stuck in a field up near the ski hill. Millie got the truck itself for free but when a truck comes stuck in a field with a tree in it, you kind of have to rebuild the truck from scratch!
We ate the popular Saucy Ground Beef Burrito, Redneck Pulled Pork Nachos and a Beef Taco Salad. This is delicious cheap and cheerful food; the Pulled Pork Nachos was the crowd favourite for us. The Saucy!! Sombrero sometimes sets up across the road from Red Tree Lodge along the main highway! This has been dangerous for my nacho addiction!
Most Fernie locals know how great Yamagoya is! The line outside the door tells us so. But what is better than sushi from Yamagoya? Sushi from Yama2Go!!! We found Yama2Go at the Wapiti Music Festival and boy-oh-boy did we have a good time at this truck (and the festival!). Cam and the team have been bringing us ‘solar powered roaming sushi and authentically unauthentic Asian cuisine’ for years now. You know you’re in for a good meal when you see the yellow truck parked up.
We dug in to the Tuna Tataki roll, Classic California roll, Korean BBQ Beef, Tuna Tacos and a Beef Sushi Burrito. Jody’s dish of the day was the Korean BBQ Beef and the sushi definitely hit the spot for me. The sushi hit the spot several times during Wapiti weekend actually!
What does a Friday night, a beer, a fire and a lifetime love for making Crepes equal? For Marie, it is a brilliant idea for a Food Truck. That idea became a reality about six years ago with a custom built truck and the business of ‘Flippin’ Crepes’. Marie and the team have been based in Fernie for the past three years. You can find Flippin’ Crepes at the regional Markets, Socials or parked up near Gear Hub. This is the perfect stop for those who want something sweet or something savoury!!
Jody and I sat down to enjoy a Nutella with Banana Crepe and a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato) Crepe washed down with a Latte and Mango Smoothie. The Crepes were made to order, hot, fresh and DELICIOUS! There is something for everyone on the Flippin’ Crepes menu. It is a hard decision between the sweet and savoury crepes so best order both….think main and dessert!
It is hard to miss the bright yellow Good Grubs Food Truck! Jessie and Lesley have been offering Fernie yummy homemade food in some capacity since 2006! That was when they started a frozen food company selling at markets. In 2013 they started catering for events like weddings and luncheons and now they also have their Food Truck! Jessie and Lesley serve “made from the heart” good grub!
We found the Good Grubs truck at the Sunday Mountain Market in Fernie and ordered some Perogies, Cabbage Rolls and a Sausage Roll. Each dish tasted great and definitely had that homemade taste that reminds you home. In fact it inspired a phone call home to Mom!
That’s not all folks…
Not only will you spot the above Food Trucks out, there are still MORE out there!! Happy Cow Ice Cream, Cooks Cabin, The Gut Truck and many others from the Kootenay area will appear at regional markets and events!
That’s a burrito…
Fernie Food Trucks are the perfect summer accessory! Who doesn’t love fun, quick and tasty food from Fernie locals with a passion for community, culture and food!? And with not much summer left, check out the Tourism Fernie website for the latest events because this is where you find the Food Trucks! Can you eat at them all in your next visit? Pro Tip: Wear stretchy pants!
Calling all thrill-seekers! Looking for adventure on your next trip to Fernie? Well, all the fun isn’t reserved just for winter! How does scaling up tall trees to try balance, jump, climb and clamber your way through an obstacle course? What about screaming down a Zipline at up to 60km per hour? If this sounds like your ticket then you absolutely need to check out the Fernie Alpine Resort Aerial Park & Zipline.
During the hot summer months, Fernie Alpine Resort turns into a thrill-seekers playground with Mountain Biking trails, Hiking trails, Aerial Park, a Zipline and more. This months Red Tree Lodge Deskie adventures took us to check the Aerial Park & Zipline out.
Fernie Alpine Resort Aerial Park
On what turned out to be one of the hottest days of the season our team arrived at the resort ready to start our adventure. The Aerial Park team suited us up into our safety gear before taking us on up to the Park. Walking up to the Aerial Park, the teams anticipation was clear; “Actually, I’m not sure if I am scared of heights”, “Will this thing actually catch me if I fall?” “Is my butt strap tight enough?”.
There are 23 features (obstacles), three Ziplines and one Leap of Faith ranging from beginner to advanced levels to make your way around. Lucky for us, the Aerial Park guides have a feature set-up nice and low to the ground that allows up to practice. We were shown how to attach ourselves and our buddy to and from features safely and then set free on the course.
Time to climb
Standing at the bottom of the tree and getting ready to make the first climb is where the adrenaline starts to pump a little. The hands get a little sweaty and the stomach fills with butterflies. However, once we nailed the first climb and feature, we had the swing of it. Each feature got a little more challenging and a little higher in the trees than the previous one. This was much more a team building experience than I realised. The higher and harder the features got, the louder the encouragement from the Red Tree and Aerial Park teams were!
Even if you are okay with heights, there are features for all levels that will really push you outside of your comfort zone. The feeling of accomplishment and reward was awesome after getting across the difficult features!
Rescue Procedures Test
One of the harder features is called the ‘Swinging Islands’. You need to somehow ninja across swinging platforms while holding onto ropes. At this point our manager Jody decided to check the Aerial Parks rescue procedures….by falling off one of the islands! Okay so she may not have actually wanted to check the rescue procedures but we appreciate her commitment to this blog. Looking like a ‘hang in there baby’ cat poster, Jimmy from the Aerial Park team managed to pull some swift rescue moves and get Jody back to safety, just in time for his lunch break! And thanks to Jody, I knew to by-pass this feature as there would have been two rescues! You can see why the ‘Swinging Islands’ became our favourite feature to talk (ahem…laugh) about.
Fernie Alpine Resort Zipline
Rippin’ the Zip
The Aerial Park does have three Ziplines, two of which will get you down from the features in the trees. Cruising down a Zipline from 40ft in the air is definitely the fun way to get down.
If you are wanting to really ‘Rip the Zip’, check out the Zipline set up near the Mini Moose run! After our fun at the Aerial Park, we made our way up to the top of the Mini Moose run. Locked and loaded we each had our turn taking off from down 555ft Zipline and hitting speeds up to 60km/h on the way down. The breeze was certainly welcome on such a hot day! And the screams, well, they were a necessity on the way down!
Just when you thought the fun was over, you need to catch a ‘Tru Blue’ system down off the Zipline platform. Both the Aerial Park and Zipline have these ‘Tru Blue’ systems which are aptly named the ‘Leap of Faith’. The system is designed to catch you as soon you take a walk off the platform. Jumping off platforms and having complete faith in the gear that connects you is not for the faint hearted. But it sure is fun!!
The Aerial Park and Zipline are run by different teams. You need to complete waivers and receive safety information and gear for each activity. See the team at Guest Services to chat where to go and who to meet.
If you’re planning your getaway to Fernie, check out the Tourism Fernie website. The website is loaded with information about Activities, Culture, Events, special Packages and Offers. There is even a planning tool that will help give you fantastic ideas on what to do.
At Red Tree Lodge, we use the Tourism Fernie website to plan our adventures and check up to date event information. You can find tons of information about the Fernie Alpine Resort Aerial Park & Zipline including dates of operation, rates, height/weight restrictions and more!
If you are looking for a challenging yet family friendly/team building adventure, then definitely head up to the Fernie Alpine Resort Aerial Park & Zipline this summer! The fantastic Aerial Park & Zipline teams will ensure you have an amazing time. And let’s be honest, there is nothing quite like the hilarity of watching your boss be rescued by Jimmy!