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
Wilderness Adventures - West Chilcotin Blog
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The Amazing Summer
has been one long and amazing summer, which is why you
havent seen a blog for nearly three months. Day
after day the weather has been fine even into this fall
when weve only just started getting cooler, blustery
The reason there is a blog today is because from
the moment I got up this morning and looked out the window,
it has been ugly outside! You could see fresh
snow on the mountains and the closer hills, and more snow
coming in. We have heavy, low clouds, a cold wind, and
rain spitting on the window now and again. Its just
not a day I even want to go out into for a walk, although
I may later. So its pretty much the first day in
many months that I dont mind sitting down in my
office at my desk and pounding out a blog.
In terms of weather, this is the best summer and
fall Ive ever seen anywhere! We have had
long, warm days with nary a breeze, and just as nice a
nights. We had about a week of hard frosts back in September,
I think, but most of central BC got hit with a killing
frost that wiped out many a garden. Were lucky to
have the warming influence of the lake this time of year
because it only set back a couple of perennials for me
and since I didnt have a veggie garden this year,
it didnt really matter. Since then, weve had
a few light touches of frost but nothing major until maybe
last night. It dropped to about three degrees below freezing
and its been slow to warm up today.
We didnt see our first snow up on the far
mountains until around the first of October and that melted
pretty quickly. A couple of days ago there was
a light dusting on the closer mountains but that disappeared
fairly quickly as well because were still above
average temperature during the day going to 16C or 60F
most days. However, I expect to see a fair amount of snow
up in the hills by tomorrow. That will make the hunters
We havent seen any rain to speak of all summer,
certainly nothing that ever registered much in my rain
gauge. I think we got a total of two tenths of
an inch in the past two and a half months. Fire bans finally
came off toward the end of September for our area, much
later than in the rest of the province, but only because
we were starting to get heavy dew at night, higher humidity,
and cooler temperatures. Even then the woods are
so dry that it would take nothing for a fire to take off
and an open burning ban has been extended to the end of
October for us, with good reason.
I dug another gate post hole down four feet out at the
entrance to our property the other day because the wooden
post I put in this spring is splitting already. Weve
replaced it with a big metal I beam in cement. The
hole was dry all the way down and Im certain that
had I dug another two feet, it would still have been dry.
Andy has noticed the same thing when using his Bobcat
on jobs this year. Everything is just powdered dust.
We had a lot of aspen leaves turn brown along the swampy
meadows by August this year and I figured we would get
no color at all this fall. But since it just happened
to aspens and buck brush near the swamps, I think it must
be because their roots were so shallow. They were always
near damp ground and so never had to go deep for water.
As a result, when the meadows dried up, the roots couldn't
grow fast enough to keep the leaves green. Everywhere
else, though, the leaf color this fall has been absolutely
astounding and has lasted for at least a month or longer.
Weve had peaches, golds and oranges, every shade
of red and of course the bright yellow of the aspens.
I dont think Ive ever seen a year this good
for color so maybe having a long, hot, dry summer causes
it. Surprisingly, we still have a lot of bushes and even
a few aspen that still have green leaves so I dont
know what will happen with them. It may extend this years
color or they just may go into winter green.
About six weeks ago I drove a stake into the rocks
at the edge of the water on our shore line in front of
the house. The lake at that point was the lowest
anyone has ever seen it and there has been no water flowing
out of the Dean River for months now. The lake level is
about a foot out from the stake now so the water has continued
to drop and will unless we get some moisture and then
some melt up in the mountains.
Amazingly, even as warm as it has been this year,
there has been very little algae growth on the lake and
then only in the last couple of weeks. I think
that is because of the lack of nutrients going into the
water. Without rain to wash stuff off the shores into
the water, or streams bringing anything in, there is nothing
to feed the algae. I think that the same has caused the
fish to be hard striking and hungry all this summer and
fall. The fishing has been absolutely amazing all
year, with most people limiting out within an hour or
two every day even in the middle of July and August.
But there has been very little bug hatch, no mosquitoes,
and no goodies washing into the lake so they have been
very hungry and willing to go after just about anything.
The trout arent as big and fat as they usually get
this time of year but theres lots of them!
We havent gotten any of the thunderstorms that we
normally would get building throughout a hot summer this
year. I think its because there just hasnt
been enough moisture anywhere to build a storm. I think
I only heard thunder a couple of times and then the storms
would move off inland. As a result, we had very
few lightning strikes or forest fires in the Chilcotin
this year, with only one good sized one at Alexis Creek
later in the summer that closed the highway for a day
or two. And Im not sure that wasnt
human caused since it started along the highway. We were,
however, tormented by smoke from the Chelaslie fire to
the north of us for many weeks off and on through the
summer. That fire at last reckoning was apparently nearly
300,000 acres. Fortunately, they finally got rain in that
area and it seemed to damp it down a bit, at least enough
to clear our air out.
The biggest blessing this summer was THE LACK OF
Man, was that nice! It was so unbelievable and so pleasant,
that every evening I could go for a walk, every evening
that we could sit around the fire and not see a single
bug, was a surprise. How I would love to see every summer
be like that! As a result, I got a lot more accomplished
this year than I ever have before because I could work
outside every single day, and even into the evening if
I wasnt too burned out from the heat. Even
going for a walk every morning in the backwoods was possible
during the summer because there very simply were no mosquitoes.
Amazing! How I hope it will be the same next year and
if we dont get a big snow load this winter, it just
might. Most ponds, sloughs and little lakes that have
been full of water since the beetle kill hit have finally
dried up. There are still a few around that havent
that didnt exist six years ago, but most has, and
its knocked out a lot of mosquito habitat. I hope
Lack of mosquitoes meant I could get my big projects done
this summer without having to plan when to be in shade
or sun at certain times of the day based on how buggy
it would be. And I wore shorts all summer. Me. I
haven't been able to wear shorts since I hit this country
12 years ago because of the bugs except for April
before last staining the cabin when there was a warm spell
and the mosquitoes hadnt arrived yet. I was a little
hesitant for the first couple of months of the summer
just because bugginess is so ingrained, but when they
still hadnt arrived in August I drug out a pair
of old jeans and cut them off for shorts. I forgot how
nice and cool they were, the same with wearing T shirts
with the sleeves cut off. Normally youre stuck with
long sleeves and long pants until well into fall in this
country. And I didnt have to be slathered in bug
dope all summer either, which my skin very much appreciated.
All in all, it was a wonderful summer and made
me fall in love with the country all over again.
Aside from a lot of mini projects, my major one to get
accomplished this summer was to get my perennial garden
moved out of the place that we were going to build the
new outdoor room. However, that wasnt all that easy
in view of the heat because perennials arent
partial to being moved in 27C or 75 to 85 degree weather
with a hot sun glaring down every day. But it
still had to be done and it didnt look like the
weather was going to back off so day after day I would
dig up a few plants, take them over to my new perennial
garden area, try to dig a hole in hardpan and a mass of
roots big enough to accept each newly homeless plant,
get some decent bagged soil tamped in around it, and water
it in. Then I would have to build and erect a little
shelter over each that would block out the sun the next
couple of weeks until the plant had settled in.
The whole area was pretty pathetic looking for about three
months until the weather cooled down and I could remove
all the shelters.
Sadly, I ended up moving my double flowering plum on the
hottest day at 33C or 91F and I dont think it made
it. It only took about three days for the leaves to curl
up and turn brown in the heat. Its too bad because
it was a beautiful plant covered in masses of pink blooms
every spring, and I had been babying it for eleven years.
I might have lost a few other plants but I wont
be sure until next year when they should start to come
up again from the root. I kept water misting over the
whole area a good part of the summer to try to keep it
a little cooler in the new perennial area but I dont
know if it helped.
Things were finally getting down to the wire at one point
and I got Andy to use his Bobcat to move some of the larger
perennials with huge root balls in the hope that they
would have a better survival rate. I think they might
be in a little better shape.
Once we got the perennials cleared out of their
old garden, Andy leveled it and then dug the holes for
the footings and columns for the new outdoor room.
It took us a few days to get those level, squared and
poured by hand and the saddles set in but we were finally
ready for the structure to be built.
My guest cabin was full right into the third weekend of
September when I finally had an opening so I could put
up the two fellows from Bella Coola. They had cut my timbers
for me and were going to help erect them on site here.
They asked for some skilled muscle and Im really
lucky because we have several friends and neighbours that
fit the bill that were willing to come over and help over
the weekend with sanding, routering, cutting and raising
the timbers in place. Since this outdoor room is two stories
tall and the beams were seven by seven Douglas Fir up
to 16 feet long, we needed all the muscle we could get.
The final ridge beam went on by 3:30 on Sunday
afternoon and the structure was as far along as it was
going to be this year and looked beautiful!
I was afraid we would run out of good weather this fall
so I didnt get the materials to put the roof on.
We just painted the floor and stained the beams with their
first coat of Sikkens to protect the structure from winter
weather and then well start work on it again in
the spring. Once the floor that was level with our deck
was on I could step out into the building and see that
it actually has a pretty darned nice view. Its going
to be a great place to host dinners without having to
worry about weather or bugs once its done.
A project this size took up a good part of the summer
in the planning and building process, so a couple of other
things didnt get done, but Im pretty pleased
with all we got accomplished this year. And that
on top of running a full B&B this summer and fall.
Im just really glad I didnt put in a vegetable
garden this year. Keeping existing perennial gardens weeded
and watered, and the lawns watered and cut, was about
all the time I had for green stuff besides moving a bunch
of plants. And I definitely didnt have time to have
a full greenhouse. However, since it looks like the cost
of vegetables is going up this year because of the California
drought, I expect Ill have a full garden in next
The adult loons in our back bay did a fine job of
raising both their babies to full size this year
and are now long gone leaving the youngsters to bulk up
and learn how to fly on their own. It looks like one baby
grew to full size in the front bay as well but our neighbours
have two adults with a new baby in front of their place
now. They saw the parents trying to defend the little
one from a Bald Eagle only just a couple of weeks ago
and couldn't believe that there would be a baby that small
on the lake. The female must have had a second
hatch or a very late hatch but there is no way it will
grow big enough fast enough to leave the lake before freeze
up. I just hope they know when to leave it behind so they
dont end up frozen in as well. The best thing that
could happen to all of them is for the eagle to get the
little one but the adults are pretty protective.
We didnt have quite as many eagles around this year
and Im glad to see it. The loon babies have a lot
better chance making it to size and getting off the lake
before winter hits.
We still have an ever increasing white tail and
mule deer herd here that come onto the property periodically.
I think that we may have to investigate the cost of deer
fencing to keep them out. They have decimated a neighbours
vegetable and flower garden down the road this summer
and I have no intention of giving them the same benefit
here. At least our existing fence and gate we put up this
spring has kept the horses out and from destroying the
yard, lawn and gardens as they have other places.
I got my network IP camera for my birthday this year as
requested and after finally finding someone that could
help me get it up and working, Ive found that
its probably the wrong camera. I really
wanted a camera that would upload a photo every few minutes
to this website so that part time residents could see
Nimpo Lake throughout the year, much like the highway
cam I have on there now.
I asked for a specific camera from Hikvision sold at Nellys
Security in the States because I wanted an American manufactured
camera. The salesman assured me that it would do
exactly what I described to him. Ive since
been in email contact for weeks with their tech guy who
says it will not upload an image with the same name to
the Internet and that none of their cameras have that
capability. And since it has been over 30 days and the
camera has been used, (on my desk, not in the weather
in an attempt to get it to work.) too bad, so sad, they
wont take the camera back, even though its
pretty apparent that the salesman lied to me about the
capability of the camera in order to make the sale. So
Im now stuck with a camera that I cannot make work
for my purpose and unless I can find some software, some
script that I understand, or help to get this thing to
upload images under one name so that my server doesnt
get overloaded, its useless to me. If anyone has
any suggestions, please let me know. In the meanwhile,
I suggest you not buy a Hikvision camera from Nellys
Security. Im disappointed beyond belief,
especially since it would have been such a gorgeous summer
and fall to have photos of the lake for you folks.
We attended a celebration of life for John Laurens
yesterday at the Nimpo Lake Hall after his death this
past Monday from a massive heart attack. Known
by most of us as Oscar, the trash can muppet on Sesame
Street, because of his grumpy nature, he was probably
one of the largest contributor to our community over the
years in terms of helping at events, etc. and had a heart
of gold. I was delighted to see nearly every person in
Nimpo Lake there and Anahim Lake was well represented
as well. It was good for his daughter and granddaughter,
who had arrived from Saskatchewan, to see that he was
highly thought of in this community. Were
going to miss him a lot.
last blog is at July
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!