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Wilderness Adventures - West Chilcotin Blog

This is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.


26/11/2014 5:00 PM

Our Odd November

Well, here I sit, next to my SAD light trying to dispel some winter blues because it's DARK out there!
It started snowing last night, snowed all day and still hasn’t let up this evening, nor is it expected to until Thursday afternoon. I haven’t seen the island all day, that’s how dark it’s been, so it’s been pretty hard to get motivated to go outside for any reason other than to shovel off the front deck. I’m sure it will all be better once the sun is shining, the snow has crisped up and I get used to everything being white, but right now, I’m just not ready for winter yet.
A large amount of snow has fallen into the water and the lake is starting to slush up now. I expect it will freeze over fairly soon because we’ve got a real cold front moving in on Friday. We were down in the Okanagan for a week and didn’t get back until last Wednesday, and because it had been deathly cold throughout the province then, I fully expected to come back to Nimpo Lake being completely frozen over. But other than for some ice in the back bay extending over to the public boat launch and a wide line of ice out in front of us, the lake was clear. Winds and warmer temperatures in the past week have beat the ice right back to only a few feet out from our shoreline.
From talking to people here after we got home, it looks like we were much warmer here than elsewhere in the province, probably because of an inversion layer. We’re at a higher elevation and it’s often warmer here while cold air is trapped in the valley bottoms. And there was no question that the temperatures have been much, much warmer on the higher mountains. They lost of a lot of snow while we were gone and a whole lot of black was showing up on those rocks. I guess there was quite a bit of freezing rain as well while we were gone, meaning it was definitely balmier here than in the Okanagan, but I think we’re going to pay for it now! Aside from having eight inches on the ground already and lots more expected, temperatures are supposed to plummet to –32C or –26F overnight for a few days after this snow ends. Then another bout of snow is expected when it warms up toward the end of next week. I’m thinking it’s winter.
Not only are our two immature loons still cruising around on the lake in front of our place but another three young loons joined them yesterday. The lower number of eagles this year seems to have helped the loon population. Now if the little guys just have the brains that God gave a goose and get their butts off the lake before it freezes, they’ll be good. Otherwise, they’ll be eagle bait. We’ve got a big Bald Eagle that’s been screaming around here for the past couple of weeks and yesterday I got a photo of it buzzing the young loons with nesting material in its talons, of all things. I wasn’t aware that eagles build nests in winter but maybe this hopeful is getting an early start on next year’s breeding season with a potential mate.
We finally got the moisture in November that we’ve been missing for most of the summer and fall. I think I mentioned in the last blog that I only recorded a total of about two tenths of an inch of rainfall for both seasons but alternating rain and snows this month added up to at least an additional half inch or more before I brought the gauge in because snow was freezing in it. The rain and snow melt in the mountains has also served to bring our lake level back up past the stick I put into the water’s edge at high summer this year, but it’s still incredibly low. And it was late this fall before the Dean River had enough water in it again to flow over the rocks at the bridge out on the highway.
As most of you know, fall is my busiest season for computer graphics and calendars for my clients, one reason why there again has been no blog for the longest time. But we’ve also been working on other projects, not the least of which has been to get our winter wood in. For the first time ever, we used up all the firewood in our wood shed last winter because the wood near the back was getting really old and had little heat energy left in it. We’ve replaced it with beetle kill which will by no means last as long as green wood of years ago would, but it will still be good for four or five years if we don’t get into it. It’s nice to have a wood shed nearly full of firewood just in case we get a long cold spell or a winter with a lot of snow that makes it difficult to get wood. Otherwise, Andy plugs away at bringing in wood throughout the winter a little at a time, mostly just to stay active more than anything.
We’ve also embarked on a trail building project for me. For some time I’ve been wanting to build a cross country ski trail that I can use in winter that hopefully won’t be as likely to be destroyed by snowmobiles as the backwoods trails would be.
We’ve spent a couple of days clearing deadfall out of the way and just about made it to the end yesterday but we both pooped out and I was wearing a pair of boots I don’t normally wear, so my feet were cold. I wish now that we had pushed through because now with all this snow, it won’t be easy to complete the trail. On the other hand, if we get a lot of snow, it won’t matter because I can ski over the deadfall.
We had guests in the cabin late this fall that discovered how much I like skiing and the gentleman is just over 80 and remarkably fit, but no longer skis at his second home on a lake near 100 Mile, so he offered me both of his cross country ski groomers. One is a classic trail groomer and the other is for skate skiing, a form of cross country skiing that I’ve never done but have always wanted to try. We picked them up last week on our way home from the Okanagan and I’m just tickled pink about them. Now I can groom local trails on a regular basis when we get fresh snow or they’ve been run over by snowmobilers without having to go borrow Donn’s across the lake, which has often been borrowed by someone else and has to be hunted down in Anahim Lake. Then I feel guilty for having the groomer at my place when someone else might want to use it which is why last year was the first time in years I borrowed it. Now, I don’t have to worry about it and it’s going to be wonderful!
Next on the list of projects still to be done is finish our wood working shop and I want enclose the area below our deck for a home gym. It’s virtually impossible to work out comfortably in our basement where the equipment and wood stove is just because it’s way too hot, which is why I haven’t used the gym stuff much before this. It doesn’t look like doctors are going to be able to fix my hip so I’ll try fixing it myself. But the weather is going to have to improve a whole out there before I even think about starting on the project, so that probably means warm days in January or February. Right now, I’m just trying to get through the dark months. The wood working shop should be a lot easier and it will only take a small heater to warm it up inside, so I’ll get an upcoming AGM out of the way and then poke around in there with finishing insulating the last wall, plastic it, and then we’ll get some gyproc up on it. Same with the ceiling, then some lights and that’s it! We’ll start organizing all the stuff we have in there so that we have room to work and we will finally be able to do all of our wood working in one place for the first time since I moved here over 12 years ago. We also have some closets to build and finally get our basement rearranged and organized but Andy has been patiently working away at that and then my office is on the list for a major cleanout as well. I’m starting to feel less like a packrat and way more like those hoarders you see on TV. Scary thought….
THURSDAY:
It’s Thursday now and it’s STILL snowing. That’s nearly 48 hours and it doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon. We were up to 14” on the ground after it has settled a bit and that was earlier today before I got cold, wet, fed up, and decided I wasn’t going to do anymore shoveling until it let up. Andy arrived back at the house in the same condition and covered in snow with frozen fingers after spending all morning and part of the afternoon on the Bobcat getting us cleared out, our road plowed and a couple of our neighbours plowed out. There’s still more to do but we’ll leave it until tomorrow when hopefully the snow will finally have quit and maybe the sun will even be shining. Thank heavens the snowflakes have been really small or this might have built up a lot more than it has!
The temperature has been falling steadily from just two degrees below freezing at dawn this morning to –12.5C or or 10F before supper now and a wind-chill of -18C or 0F . It’s been dropping really quickly in the past couple of hours and I wouldn’t be surprised to see us in the mid-minus 20’s tonight. That won’t make it very pleasant to be outside tomorrow with that chilly north wind that’s blowing right out there right now, but hopefully if the sun finally comes out it will warm things up a bit.
The lake was green today from all the slush sitting in the water. The water has been so still and the temperature brought down so much by the snow that I think that it will be ice by tomorrow unless this wind kicks it up. Sad, because slush makes lousy ice but what are you going to do?
We've really been enjoying watching an otter family work the edge of the ice in front of our shoreline for the past week or so, catching fish and generally just having fun. But with this slush I don't think they're going to have open water much longer and hopefully they've already figured out where home is going to be this winter.
Thanks for your patience waiting for this blog to finally be written and posted but don't forget that you can find regular updates on the Facebook page at Facebook/TheChilcotin.
Happy American Thanksgiving, everyone!

The last blog is at October Week One.

Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.




The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip of the iceberg, so join me!


Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Flags are the only color in this white world of snow covered trees.
 
Three otters along the ice stand in front of the reeds.
 
An eats a fish along ice shelf on blue Nimpo Lake.
 
Heavy frost covered trees with still blue lake behind.
 
Bright red and other colors streak the sky in early morning.
 
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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