Canada – Burning in Fernie

We finally crossed over into Canada for our first stop in Fernie, British Columbia. Or as we now refer to it – Burney Fernie.

We chose to stay up at the Fernie Mountain Resort, dry camping in their parking lot. For a small fee they have parking spaces that you can enjoy for 3 days. We found the parking lot fairly level with amazing views.  The mountain offers a small store, a bar and tons of amazing downhill mountain biking. 

Several other areas exist to stay in Fernie including a commercial park that looks tight on spaces but within walking distance of downtown and fishing on the local river. Another option is the Mt. Fernie Provincial Park which is very popular (note it is very shady and not kind for solar power). 

The town is small, cute and filled with restaurants, bars, cute shops and with a river running adjacent to town with fly fishing just about everywhere. 

While we had big plans for mountain biking, hiking and fishing in town, we were sidelined by a serious injury on our first night. While cooking I managed to burn myself with boiling homemade teriyaki sauce (yes 2nd and 3rd degree sugar burns) on the inside of my arm. 

After much screaming and cooling with water, we headed to the closed lodge to use the bike cleaning station for acontinuous water bath.  When that wasn’t cold enough we figured out how to get into the lodge and find a cold faucet. This particular lodge was closed for the season and housing resort employees. While one employee called security on us, another we met helped and called first aid to look at me. The lodge employees could not have been more helpful.

The outcome was a trip to the local emergency room. The nurses in the emergency room wanted our insurance – which we didn’t have. We failed to get a travel insurance policy. Honestly, it did not even occur to us as our former policy always covered our international travel.  We were quoted $1,000 just to have a doctor look at us, clean the wound, apply polysporin and receive asprin. We took the wound care sheet they passed out and trotted off to the store to handle it ourselves. With a firm understanding that if the wound got infected we were headed straight back to the US. 

While I would like to say it was no big deal – it really was and we spent many weeks taking care of the burns which extended from inside by wrist up to almost my armpit. Hikes, mountain biking and fishing were all out as I couldn’t swing the arm, leave it down without elevating for too long or put much pressure on it. 

Despite all the drama we loved the beauty of Fernie.  Even the views from the parking lot of the grocery store are spectacular. We really enjoyed Fernie Brewing – yummy!  Wandering around the cute town for food and can’t wait to hit the trails and fishing on our next visit.

A trip up to Island Lake Lodge is a must for anyone who visits.  This beautiful lodge is listed as one fo the Extraordinary Lodges in the world and located 12 kilometers from town through a winding dirt road up the mountainside.  Wintertime it is a cat skiing mecca and summer is hiking trails, mountain biking and canoeing.  The lodge has a wonderful deck with food and drinks that rival the views. Our next trip will include an extended amount of time up here exploring. 

So lessons learned, don’t make your own teriyaki sauce and be sure to put your travel insurance policy in place before you travel internationally. If you have a chance to spend some time in Fernie we strongly recommend this town.

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