On Saturday the 7th, we set of early-ish on our drive from Fernie to Calgary so we could catch our overnight flight to Halifax for the ArcticNet conference.
The temperature was ridiculous. It was -28C when we left Fernie and we watched it get lower and lower the closer we got to Calgary.
We drove over the Crowsnest Pass (which apparently is the scariest bit of road on the way to Calgary) and the temperature dropped below -30. Crowsnest Pass is known for tragedy, in 1903 the tip of the nearby Turtle Mountain broke loose and decimated part of the village of Frank, they then named it the Frank slide. You can literally see the whole side of the mountain has broken off.
Over 82 million tonnes of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain within 100 seconds, obliterating the eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian pacific railway line and the coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest. Between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom remain buried to this day. The sheer amount of rock and debris making it impossible to excavate.
Today you can still see the extent of the Frank slide.
The scenery changes dramatically between Fernie and Calgary the mountains fade in the distance and the amount of cows increases. We were very happy to see a lone moose hanging out in the open field just grazing on a nice frozen patch of grass.
After a four hour drive and only having to make three turns, we arrived in Calgary. Calgary. The city itself is pretty big, with sprawling urban suburbs and a CBD stacked with tall building. A lot more developed than we had predicted, with lots of roads intertwining all over the place. After visiting some shops and sampling some great asian food, Sarah and Thomas dropped us off at a good friends house for a brief catch up, he would then drop us off at the airport. We hope to catch Patrik on the way back, or towards the end of our time in Canada. A great bloke who we have a lot of respect for.
Patrik informed us that Calgary was the second coldest place on Earth that day, it was -36C with a wind chill of -45C. That got our minds and bodies prepared for the Arctic.
We only had about one hour to wait at the airport so that wasn’t bad at all. We were nicely entertained by a nice but very strange couple who played tunes on his guitar to pass the time.
After the long red eye flight with no sleep at all, We quickly hailed a cab and got to our hotel, luckily they had a room available for us so we could catch up on some sleep.