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 - April, Week One/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
night I saw the most incredible, awesome thing and still
wonder what it was I saw. I was sitting watching
television just shortly after 1:00 a.m. last night, unusual
for me, but I had borrowed a movie and I wanted to watch
it so that I could return it. Next to me is a six foot
plate glass window that looks out over Nimpo Lake and
the mountains. It was pitch dark and suddenly there was
this fireball streaking across the sky. It was big! Or
close. I'm not sure which. It was white in the center,
blue around the edges with burning debris or sparks trailing
from top, bottom and behind this slightly elliptical thing.
You know how most meteors are just thin green streaks
across the sky that usually go past so fast that you definitely
don't have time to make a wish before they suddenly burn
out? Well, this thing was a lot closer and big
enough and slow enough for me to get the colors and shape
and trajectory. It almost looked like one of the little
bombs from fireworks streaming sparks but the angle would
have been all wrong, and this wasn't fireworks.
I was a little stunned at seeing it at first so it took
a moment before I ran outside to see if I could hear anything.
Fat chance. The lake was rumbling so steadily last night
that you couldn't hear anything else. Even so, I eyed
up the mountains and foothills in front wondering if this
thing had landed close enough to create an explosion or
a forest fire. No such luck. Presumably it landed somewhere
out in the Pacific Ocean. I bet it made quite a
I suppose fireballs or good sized meteors are commonplace
to those who are looking for them all the time or those
working in observatories but that one was still a doozy
I think. Sometimes I think it would be neat to have
an observatory out here. When you consider that
the Chilcotin spans something like 3000 square miles with
a population of little more than 3000 people, light pollution
is nonexistent here. Particularly after midnight and facing
a direction in which there is no habitation whatsoever.
The only downside to having pitch black darkness is that
when you see something like that fireball or meteor that
I saw, you have no reference against which to place it.
Anyway, it was cool to see if not a little disconcerting.
Not much to report since yesterday other than the
temperature dropped really quickly last night hitting
-15C or 5F and although the day had a good start
this morning with temperatures warming up and the sun
shining, it quickly died a slow death. High haze moved
in, a breeze came up and it actually started cooling down
early this afternoon. Since we've a lot of moisture around,
a breeze makes it pretty damp and cool and it turned out
to be a disappointing day. The weathermen are still predicting
really warm temperatures for Saturday for the Lower Mainland,
but it's beginning to look like snow for us. Or rain.
That would really just suck. One bright note though. We
saw a pair of bluebirds on our way to dinner at friends'
yesterday evening. They flew out of that meadow across
the road from Fishtrap and they were a indeed a beautiful
sight to see!
I didn't get out for a walk today because I was
working on a little project that I hope you will enjoy.
It's still pretty hokey and a bit of a half assed job,
but I really wanted to get these pages up so that you
all could get some idea of what I'm talking about when
I try to describe the sounds Nimpo Lake makes.
I have some sounds from when she was freezing up
late last fall, and then sounds that I recorded just a
week ago. Unfortunately, I don't have the ice
pictures that go with the sounds for last fall on this
computer (the other still undergoing repairs) so all of
the pics with the recordings are of open water. I do have
the pictures that go with the recordings from this spring,
but since both beginning and end were really noisy, one
bit from setting the camera on the ice, and the other
from being too noisy on the deck, I didn't include them.
Besides, they're in avi format. So I just took the recordings,
trimmed the noisy bits from beginning and end, changed
them to wav and mp3 formats, and uploaded them. They're
still pretty big files so probably not worth listening
to unless you have high speed dial up or cable.
They aren't too bad downloading on our satellite hookup
which isn't exactly the speed of light, but it's still
faster than slow dial up. I wouldn't recommend anyone
trying to listen to the recordings if that's all you have
since none are smaller than 411kb.
Anyway, Lake sound 1 is still my favorite. Hope you guys
enjoy it. Just remember that you will need to turn
your sound up and you will probably need external speakers.
I can't hear anything at all on my laptop but the recordings
come in loud and clear when I I plug in external speakers
or if I use a headset on the laptop. That's pretty good
too but I find there's more hissing noise without an external
speaker to do the filtering.
I'm not going post these pages anywhere official until
I get some feedback, hopefully from you folks. If it isn't
going to work or make sense for most people, then there's
no point making the recordings available to anyone other
than those of you that read the blog. Just keep in mind
that I used my poor old digital camera, don't have really
good sound editing software, and have not done a lot of
this before. Unlike kids that seem to be able to pop a
movie up on YouTube like there's nothing to it, I
wouldn't have a clue. So please be forgiving!
The sound link starts at Lakesounds
where you can choose what you want to listen to. The first
one is by far the best I think. (Welcome aliens! Or maybe
Just think, we get to listen to our lake for weeks on
end at freeze up and Break up and it's one of my favorite
things to do just before going to sleep at night. Welcome
to Nimpo in winter!
I don't have time to change the picture of the day because
I really want to get this up tonight. I'll try to remember
to change it out tomorrow.
really. We all expect to see snow in April. It's
just a given in the Chilcotin. Actually, anywhere
in Canada. It dropped about an inch of the white fluffy
stuff last night, giving a nice fresh coat to cover the
mud and old snow that's a part of Break Up around here.
It warmed up pretty fast though because the sun kept trying
to shine through the cloud layer. It never quite made
it but it still has some heat in it at this time of year.
All day it's alternated between watery sun and heavy cloud
with poor attempts at snow and tiny hailstorms now and
While fresh snow just adds to the mess on the ground when
it melts, it sure is fun when going for a walk. New tracks!
A pair of foxes walked down the back trail,
sometimes side by side and occasionally behind one another
sometime since the fresh snow but just before the first
mini hailstorm that started just as I went out for a walk.
At least I'm assuming they were together
but they might not have been. To my surprise, just as
I came out of the woods at the other end of the trail
I saw that one track had come from the trail going to
the gun range, the other from the road, but the one might
just have been circling too.
Only a few moments after starting on the trail for my
walk I came on a great smear crossing the trail, sharp
tracks in the snow within it. Otter. It only belly flopped
across the trail and then walked up the hillside in the
mixture of crusty snow and pine needle covered ground
rather than slid. I kind of wondered where the heck it
would be going but Otters tend to wander all over
the country for little reason other than they seem to
really like new snow. I only walked a few hundred
feet when I had to laugh. Coming down the hill above me,
across the trail and out an ancient cart track to the
road were the otter's belly slides. Obviously he was going
up the hill in the woods for no other reason than to slide
back down again but how he knew to choose the very best
spot on the whole trail to go tobogganing is beyond me.
They must be smart little buggers. That or else, like
crossover skiers and snowboarders, maybe he'll trudge
miles just for the thrill of a steep run and new powder.
When I came back along the road I looked to see if he
had crossed it at the end of his slide but he hadn't,
so I have no idea where he went to. It looks like he came
out of the swamp and then went back in there, so maybe
that's where he's living.
He's not the only water rat out and about now.
The evening before last we walked over to where that beaver
had been trying to build a lodge and feed bin last fall
where the docks are stored for the winter. Lo and behold,
beneath the tree that marks the entrance to the lodge
were freshly debarked and chewed sticks and a freshly
frozen over splash hole as well as a small spot of open
water. It would have to have been kept open all
winter to not be frozen right to the ground since it's
quite shallow there, so I can only assume that
the beaver took up residence under one of the docks. That's
the only sign that it's been around since it hasn't tried
to rebuild its lodge or move the monsterous pile of wood
Andy pulled out of the feed bin just before winter hit.
But, it doesn't need to. It's still nearby so he probably
goes and pulls off whatever stick he wants, pulls it back
to the water and enjoys a nice, peaceful, candlelit dinner.
Well...maybe not the candles. Still, I think we've
been beat by this little turkey. It still makes
me mad when I recognize the limbs of trees and bushes
that came off the shoreline of our property.
People are still driving on Nimpo Lake,
especially since we've had this chilly spell the last
few weeks. The ice has tightened right up again. The Lower
Mainland is supposed to see some really high temperatures
on Saturday and I'm kind of hoping we will too. We need
to boost the melt around here. I think at the rate we're
going, it will be the first week of May before we see
the ice melt off of lake. Unless things change drastically,
it won't be an early ice out and we're certainly not going
to break any records this year.
Pushing The Sledding Season
it just goes to show you that you can't keep a good snowmobile
rider down. A few of the guys went out today and Andy
brought me back a nice batch of pictures taken in areas
that we don't go to a lot.
He had to use the back trail to the other end of the
lake this morning since the snow crust on Nimpo was
just too hard, using the only scratcher he had left.
That would be one that was on my machine
but somehow found itself bolted onto his some while
back after he'd broken his own.
Andy said conditions were actually quite good
up top with some fresh snow resulting in the
nice spring riding we normally associate with this time
of year. From the looks of the pictures and what he
said, they got into some really pretty little spots
once through Goat Pass and on the Kappan fire guard.
There's one spot up there just under the shadow of Trumpeter
Mountain under an overhanging cornice that is actually
a frozen lake. I didn't particularly care for sitting
on the lake under the cornice last time I was up there
because it just seemed like you were too vulnerable
to avalanches, although a spot farther back and up in
the rocks was really pretty and probably quite safe
from the danger. Today, the bunch went a little beyond
the lake where there's a chute coming down off some
pretty steep rock. Andy took a picture of Logan's
machine parked next to a large block of ice
that had come down off the mountain along with a good
scattering of other snow and ice from an avalanche.
There were some pictures of other areas too that I didn't
recognize, including a heck of a view of Anahim Peak and
the Precipice that I've posted as a collage on Picture
of the Day. It's along a trail that most of us haven't
been down which is why I didn't recognize the view.
A lot of that new country was discovered when everyone
went up to help recover our friend's sled after he went
over the Trumpeter Mountain cornice last year.
Testament to his fine riding skills since not many seniors
would have survived that fall in as good a shape as he
did. Few youngsters for that matter. His machine didn't
fare so well but it was repairable and he's been back
riding it this winter.
The weather was pretty decent up on the mountain today
but we didn't do so well down here. It started out being
a beautiful day but then the clouds started rolling
in with the breeze. It still got up to about 6 today
but the wind was chilly. Typical weather for this time
of year when one low pressure system after another keeps
rolling in from the Pacific. Most of the province is
still recording below normal temperatures but from the
look of the weather on TV tonight, it looks like we
might be in for a slight warm up. Suits me!
weather has been absolutely glorious! Well, at least in
comparison to what it has been for the last few weeks.
That warming that I mentioned on Tuesday has translated
into a slow but steady warm up. Wednesday was spectacular
with sunshine and balmy temperatures and you could
see everyone's spirits rise with the temperature. Except
for the hard core snow machine riders who have been very
disappointed that our season has been shorter than normal
on this side of the New Year. I'm not missing it as much
as I might normally simply because I just wasn't able
to get out that much this year. And I'm ready for some
green....well, maybe mud since green isn't something
we'll see for a while. Winter started early last
fall and was cold for so long that I've had about enough
of it and I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment.
I know I've been a little slack writing this week but
you can blame it on spring fever and finally just being
able to get away from the computer. And, the lap top isn't
quite as comfortable for writing long dialogues as a regular
keyboard. However, it turns out the keyboard that was
supposed to have fried in the power outage time before
last actually works very well hooked up to the laptop
which means something was wrong with my business computer
all long. So now I really don't have any excuse for not
writing a blog, other than I would really rather be outside.
Something I've long wanted to do is fix up our guest cabin
a bit that sits down on the lake. It's very cozy
and lots of people have not only fallen in love with it
the moment they've stepped into it, but feel right at
home. I don't want to change the character of
the cabin, but I do want to change the layout and the
flooring, something my partner would just love to see
me forget about I think, but it needs to be done. Unfortunately,
although I can do the flooring, I require his services
as electrician and roofer and moving person. For one thing,
we have an old wood cookstove that's heavier than
a truck that needs to be moved out. Fortunately,
it's just the thing the neighbours are looking for to
put into their new guest quarters, so at least it won't
be sitting somewhere in the yard rusting under plastic.
But moving it out also required the chimney to be removed
and the resulting hole in the roof to be patched.
It's funny how what should be a small and
easy project.... move the appliances, rewire for their
new position and lay clicky laminate flooring, actually
turns out to be a much bigger job than one would think.
I suspect that's why Andy might not have been as enthused
as I about this whole thing. He was quite aware of all
it involved while I blissfully made plans.
Maybe that's why men roll their eyes at the word renovation....
The flooring in the cabin was manufactured long
before Moses came along and while it hasn't been
in the cabin more than 30 or 40 years, it definitely had
a long life and a lot of wear long before it was laid
on that cabin floor. Probably brought up from the States
by the previous owners, I'm reasonably sure it was used,
and used well, for nearly half a century before it came
to Canada. Talk about recycling!
Backed with a black tar layer, paper and foil, it was
never glued to the planks and so bubbled up here and there
over the years, looking much like a geographical topo
map with hills, lakes, valleys and a few streams and rivers
here and there. Although none of the bubbles were
high enough to actually trip over, it was close.
I had intended to tear it out and lay the foam and laminate
flooring directly over the planks, but Andy's brother
suggested that leaving it might give a smoother surface
than the wood underneath on which to lay the new flooring,
if you can believe it. It probably will if we can punch
down or stretch out some of those mini mountains. It will
also provide an efficient barrier to the cold and moisture
that might seep up through the planks, since I think that's
all that is between the soles of your feet and the ground
under the cabin. Not unusual since many cabins in this
country were built that way, with the base logs often
just sitting on flat rocks on the ground. Many cabins
constructed in that manner can, and have, lasted a century
or more in our dry Chilcotin air.
Hi all. I didn't get the above finished because Andy came
home with the mail Friday and friends that we went to
the Yukon with last summer sent up a cd with a bunch of
their pictures on it. We spent the afternoon looking at
those on the computer and then got sidelined looking at
GPS maps of that country up there studying the route they
had taken after they left us and headed for Inuvik. Before
you knew it, we had to leave for dinner over at the neighbour's
and another whole day got shot down in fun things that
didn't involve working at my business on the computer.
Yesterday I woke up with enough of a head cold that I
just wasn't up to writing anything. So I'll have to carry
on from here.
We still had pretty cool temperatures at night until
night before last when it only dropped to -7C
or 19F and last night it only dipped down to -3C or 27F
and it's already getting pretty warm today with some sunshine
and 7C or about 45F around noon. There's a cool breeze
blowing but only because it's carrying so much snow melt
and cold or not, it will help to dry things
I think Andy and a few of the guys are going to
take one last kick at the cat either tomorrow or Tuesday
and see how the snowmobile trails have been holding up
to this warm spell. They'll probably be okay if
it's warm enough in the morning to soften up the snow
and keep their sliders lubricated and the machines cool.
But unless we get a surprise dump of snow, which could
easily happen, I think that's probably the end of the
The Trumpeter swans are still wheeling around here and
there, landing on the lake ice periodically and off the
point, which now has enough open water to support four
of them anyway. I don't know if the ones we're seeing
are the same flock or if it's different groups just passing
through, but the ones that land on the point still
have to go through the Mexican Standoff with the bald
eagles for water rights, just as they do every
We saw a robin Friday, the first of the year. A big fat,
fluffy thing that obviously had a great winter at the
smorg down south but seemed a little surprised that the
ground was still frozen here. That's what you get for
trying to be the early bird....:-)
April Fools on Me
Fools's everyone. Mine came a few days early, on Saturday
to be exact and I'm still looking for the funny part.
I have found the benefit, though!
On Saturday afternoon I came back from a walk to
find that we had a 30 minute power outage. Nothing
unusual and since I have a battery backup and surge protector,
didn't think much of it when Andy said that he did a proper
shut down on my computer once the back up battery started
beeping. No problem, right?
"We push button, we no start."
I figured my computer was just giving me some attitude
in exchange for being overworked so much these last few
months, and this had happened before. An emergency phone
call to our techie, who also happens to be my Brother-in
Law yielded a miraculous fix.
Not this time.....
We tried doing several different things including leaving
the computer turned off to drain off any lingering power,
to no avail. I even considered feeding it wine and grapes
as it rested but wasn't sure how to go about doing that,
or even if that type of bribery would work. Nothing we
did, including taking it apart or giving the computer
box a good shaking, changed the outcome. Said outcome
being that my computer is now sitting happily cushioned
in a big box bound for the bus station in Williams Lake.
Apparently it's forcing the holiday it only hinted at
after the last power outage. It can consider itself lucky.
It just about went for a swim. I had to leave and go for
a drive and visit with friends here and there to get past
my mad-on because I came very close to drilling a hole
large enough in the lake ice to drop the whole thing in
and see how good a boat anchor it would make.
It has only taken me a couple of days to see the definite
upside of losing my work computer, and that would be......no
work. Ah, the bliss of it all! To get up
in the morning and actually sit at the table to have my
breakfast instead of taking it in to my office and absent
mindedly consuming it while I sorted through email or
got started on my work day.
I actually enjoy going for walks without guilt and even
caught myself humming 'Born Free' on one of them. I got
to wander around outside today while the sun was shining
and enjoyed reconnecting with my partner, guilt free!
And reading! I've actually been sitting and reading at
night. What a delight! I don't know how long it's been
since I actually sat and read for sheer, selfish, enjoyment
instead of keeping up on industry publications.
I finally made myself pull out my laptop and start
updating it so that I could at least write a blog.
Since I'm no longer pressed for time work wise, I guess
I don't have an excuse to not write one.
Fortunately, the last project I was working on is a graphics
publication and it's so huge that it's too big for my
laptop and all the material I need is locked away in the
memory of that computer sitting in the box. Oh, and on
a disk in Williams Lake.
That was kind of a miracle in itself. I put all the files
for this project on a disk only the day
before we went into town to see if the Printers could
produce the publication directly from my work or if they
would have to recreate all of the artwork before it could
go through their printing process. That is now the
only record that exists of all the work I did if for some
reason the information on my computer is not recoverable.
Obviously, you can see why I was a little PO'd at my computer's
failure. On the other hand, if I'm not able to work on
this project, then the Printers will have to finish it
and I can wash my hands of the whole thing. Hallelujah!
I just have to figure out how to convince everyone else
that it's the way things were meant to be.
In the meanwhile, to my partner's absolute horror,
I now have time to walk around outside cataloguing all
of the projects that need to be done this spring and summer.
As a result, I think he's about ready to run away from
home. I know he's certainly expedited the shipping process
for this computer, packing it up and making all of the
arrangements himself for it to be taken into town and
shipped to the Okanagan, where his brother already has
all the necessary parts ordered and on the way. I
told them to relax and take their time about getting this
thing fixed, but it would seem I'm considered a menace
when I have too much time on my hands.
Our weather has finally, slowly, started to warm up. It's
still quite cold at night regularly dropping to -14C or
7F but it actually got to a couple of degrees above freezing
today and the sun shone most of the time. Although
I did wake up to a mini snowstorm that lasted a few hours
this morning. But it didn't take long for the
skiff of fine snow to melt. We still get a good little
breeze every day and though it's great for carrying away
the moisture, it sure keeps things cool and it's still
not comfortable being outside without wearing at least
a couple of layers.
The contrast in day time and night time temperatures still
has the lake going wild with sounds. Last night, it never
stopped. It was just a steady rumble. Actually, I listened
very carefully to come up with the best description for
the overall sound you hear this time of year, which is
different from in the early part of winter. I've decided
that if you don't know what distant mortar fire sounds
like, then imagine the sound of far off drums or
tom toms. That's one of the most consistant sounds
behind all the others. I recorded a few minutes of it
last night and I think I have the time now to post the
seasonal sounds of the ice in segments on this site. I
really will try to get to that sometime in the next couple
of days. But not tomorrow. If tomorrow's nice, I want
to get to one of those projects....see my husband grimace...lol.
We were sitting in the door of the garage in the sun and
out of the breeze contemplating our navels when I kept
hearing a sound much like a cat yowling. Finally
we realized that a small flock of Trumpeter Swans were
wheeling around Nimpo Lake trying to find some open water
to land on. They eventually landed on the ice
off of our point where another small group joined them
to bring the number up to nine. I don't know why they
chose that spot so close to human habitation, because
they normally don't, but perhaps they figure it
lessens their chance of being eaten by foxes or coyotes
in the night. Not that it would since a coyote
crossed the ice in front of our place only the other morning.
I was surprised to see that there weren't that many open
creeks or rivers on our way into town last Friday, lessening
the area that ducks, geese and the swans can hang out
until the lakes begin to open up. Although there were
hundreds of Canada geese and Trumpeter Swans parked on
the fields at Tatla, as they usually are this time of
Just to let you all know, if you sent an email or message
any time over the weekend, it was probably lost to my
other computer. If you didn't get a reply to your message,
please send it again because I now have my email set up
on the lap top.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the plane picture on
the right...that's the newest addition to our skies. Duke's
newly rebuilt plane predating the SuperCub has an unusual
and extremely pretty paint scheme and stands out even
against a grim sky. He's been out playing around for the
last week or so.
It's the start of a new month and so a new week. You'll
find last week's articles at March
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!