Our days in Fernie with the family were only a few so we tried to make the most of them. Andrew and Louise arrived early in the morning and were due to depart only a few days later, so we decided to explore the woods via snowshoes.
Snowshoeing is right up there with my favourite winter time activities. Where walking in deep snow is usually a bit of a hard slog, the snowshoes allow you to sit on topthe snow by distributing your weight over a larger surface area.
We headed to the hills outside of town and proceeded to clamber straight up the mountain. The going was a bit tough, dad slogged on bravely towards the sky. He fell a few times but always sprang back up. I am sure it was good for him. The mountain air alone makes you feel revitalised.
We got to the top of the hill after the better part of an hour of climbing. The snowshoes were, on occasions, not big enough to stop me from falling a metre or so into the powder snow on the north face of the hill.
We could not have picked a better day to go exploring. While the temperature hovered around -18C, we were sweating profusely from the exertion. As we reached the top of the smaller hill, the sun was beginning to set and the valley was fully visible. The Three Sisters peak perfectly arranged for us on the opposite side of the valley.
Local legend states this peak came about because a young native chief could not choose between three girls for a wife, so he was turned into the adjacent Mount Proctor. The maidens were so distraught, they prayed to be turned into mountains as well, and became the Three Sisters. The young chief now gazes on those he could not, and never will, have. The middle summit of the Three Sisters stands at 2,788m above sea level. Mt Kosciuszko, the tallest point on Australia’s mainland, stands shorter, at 2,228m.
Jarrod and I stood and took in the view for a few minutes. Intermittently slapping the nearby juvenile trees with our walking poles, causing the ice that had formed on them to jingle like tiny bells.
We decided we could not climb higher that day and started our descent. As we climbed down the ski patrol at the Fernie Ski Resort commenced their afternoon avalanche control bombing. We steadily snowshoed our way back to the car to the sound of these bombs and their resulting avalanches.
For the record, Andrew wore Solomon running shoes for this walk – his toes bled from his near frostbite.