Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crazy Ptarmigan attacks hapless hikers in Fairmont (and other stories)


So Easter weekend we traded one beautiful part of BC for another. This one had lots of craggy mountains which I love and miss. Fairmont Hot Springs is in the Columbia Valley wedged between the Purcell mountains to the west and Canadian Rockies to the East. It’s a slither of a valley with lakes, forests and a few natural hot springs thrown in for good measure. (and an inordinate amount of golf courses and hence timeshare units) We stayed in a lovely property right on the golf course with log fireplace, cute mezzanine bedroom and a freezer on steroids (this was important for making ice for the margaritas so you can see why it’s worthy of a mention).

Anyhow. Long Easter weekend, 2 buddies to party with, hiking gear packed and a trusty bottle of tequila (or 2) and we were set for the 6 hour drive from home on the Thursday. After forgetting that there was a time zone change between home and Fairmont we made it to check-in minutes before they went home for the night and promptly settled in. Since Krystina and Amos were sleeping on a sofa bed we had to get them just a little tipsy so they wouldn’t complain too much! And so our Easter weekend began.

For the next 3 days we spent a great time chilling out, sleeping in, hiking, soaking in the hot springs, BBQing and maybe raising a glass to our luck and fortune on this fair Easter weekend. The weather was A-MA-ZING! We hiked a wonderful 10km along the shores of frozen Alces & Whiteswan lakes on the Friday and another hike directly up a ski hill to the most spectacular lookout on Saturday. It was pretty hard going on the way up but thanks to a couple of emergency blankets found in Amos’ pack it was a pretty swift and amusing ride back down! Who says you need a toboggan to toboggan??! Pah!
It was here we encountered the bad-assed Ptarmigan. Seemingly sweet and cute at first glance it came over to say hello and didn’t seem particularly scared of 4 humans taking photos. It even seemed charming when it started following us along the trail a little. But then the demon set in and no matter how quickly we walked it followed with a look in it’s eyes that said it wanted blood, more specifically from the ankle region of Amos’ leg….I admit we might have started running in terror at one point. It took a full kilometer to shake the darn thing off and we spent the rest of the hike down the hill glancing over our shoulders in fear.

Thanks to M&D for arranging our accommodation, Krystina and Amos for the great company and the Honey Badger for a weekend full of laughs (unfortunately it’s certainly a ‘had to be there’ moment but feel free to watch this you tube video. You will probably need to be on at least your sixth margarita and have a severe case of the giggles to appreciate this, but then….the honey badger don’t care….and so neither will I!)


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