Fernie, B.C. is the kind of place that people come to for the powderful winters but end up staying long-term for the amazing summers. Even though Day 2 of our B.C. road trip was cooler and rainier than our first day, we had just the kind of July adventure that you’d expect in this outdoorsy mountain town.
Blake helps Bennett with some rock hopping on part of the the Coal Creek Heritage Trail in Fernie, B.C.
We hiked part of the Coal Creek Heritage Trail, stopping to pick plump Saskatoon berries, ripe raspberries and tart thimble berries. Blake and the kids did some rock hopping, then we got down to the serious business of ascending through a pine forest to walk along the trail toward town. An approaching thunderstorm sent me jogging ahead to get our car from the trailhead and pick up the family just before the rain hit.
High: Dangling feet into a freezing mountain stream beneath a small waterfall.
Low: Realizing we’d gone hiking without dog poop bags (faux pas!), which meant I had to skewer Piper’s poop on a stick and toss it into the bushes. Ewww! (And also, bad pet owner!)
Outcome: We only hiked maybe four kilometres of the 9.3 km trail (and I never did see any of the 12 interpretive signs, or the old ghost town or even the old coal mine, though we were walking sloooowly), but we enjoyed taking the time to eat berries, look under rocks for salamanders and dip hot heads into a mountain waterfall.
Day 1 of our B.C. road trip summer holiday was all about water. We started the morning teaching Piper how to swim in the Elk River (with many opportunities for the kids to wade), and then carried on with the water theme at Surveyor’s Lake in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, home of the western painted turtle. There we swam, kayaked and looked for crayfish under logs near the shore.
Bennett and Avery get wet while teaching Piper how to swim in Fernie, B.C.
High: Avery finds and captures the first of many crayfish.
Low: Bennett refuses to go kayaking to look for turtles, but makes up for it by jumping off the dock and swimming until his lips turn blue.
Outcome: Fun! We love Surveyor’s Lake. With no motorized watercraft allowed, it’s perfect for families. It’s also usually five degrees warmer than Fernie.
It’s holiday Monday and it’s hot, so let’s go to a lake! Our favourite mountain spot for cooling off is Surveyor’s Lake in Kikomun Creek Provincial Park near Fernie, BC. It has a sandy beach, warm water and the added bonus of “wildlife” for the kids to watch (crayfish, singing loons and my favourite, western painted turtles).
A kid-approved summer pastime.
When not building sand castles, we like to rent a two-person kayak from Turtle Haven Rentals ($20 for one hour) and turn it into a four-person conveyance by squeezing both Avery and Bennett on. We then paddle around Surveyor’s Lake and adjacent Engineer’s Lake looking for sunning turtles, trying to spot trout swimming in the unbelievably clear water and touching silky lily pads as our kayak skims over them.
The two busy beaches scare the turtles away at Surveyor’s Lake. Paddle under the bridge and see them at neighbouring Engineer’s Lake.
We kayaked up to this little dude sunning himself.
If we’re feeling energetic we’ll walk the three-kilometre Surveyor’s Lake Trail that winds around the lake, and breathe in the lovely scent of sun-baked pine needles that carpet the path.
When we get back to the beach we simply can’t resist jumping off the dock into the cool water. Heaven!
Bennett musters his gumption and jumps off the dock!