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Wilderness Adventures - April, Week 1/2014

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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07/04/2014 11:00 AM

Wild Winds and High Temperatures

Yahoo! We just broke the 10 degree mark this morning and it’s not even noon yet! It is 10.6C or 51F out there with mixed sun and cloud, but we have a howling wind. Much as I hate it, that’s a really good thing right now because it didn’t freeze last night so the snow is going to be melting like crazy and the faster the wind dries things out, the better. I tried walking across the lawn yesterday where the snow has melted (There’s still up to a foot in other places on the lawn.) and it’s so saturated with water that I might as well have been walking in the lake.
This wind might also help the main road dry out because it looks like our ice road is done for anything but ATVs or snowmobiles. We crossed it Saturday to go up to Nimpo for lunch and we broke through a bit where the ice is pulling away from the boat ramp. We got three more weeks out of it than I expected to back in March when it started breaking up in that warm spell we had. But with the cool, overcast weather and cold nights, the ice road tightened right up again. However, I think one might be taking a bit of a risk crossing it now, not that my other half isn’t crazy enough to if I’m not watching him. He asked me this morning if he should cross it on his way over to the Post Office and I’m not sure my resounding “No!” hit him in the back hard enough as he went out the door. Mind you, I guess if he wants to put his truck into the drink he can. I just don’t want him to put the truck I drive through the ice. I took the tranny out of my truck a few years back being the last off the ice so I’ve learned my lesson. Not to mention the wild ride I had through the overflow last year when I went on the ice road to plow it. Now that was a ‘scrape your underwear’ moment that I don’t care to repeat!
A couple of our neigbhours took a ride up toward Goat Pass on snowmobiles a week or so ago and decided to turn around and come back because there was only two of them and the potential for getting stuck and staying that way was pretty high. I guess there was about four feet of fresh snow up there from all of these little snows we have had for the past two weeks down here at a lower elevation. I figured there must have been quite a dump of snow up in the mountains because as I mentioned in the last blog, they are much whiter than they have been all winter and when there’s that much bright white even on the open slopes, then you can guess that the snow is deep.
In my last blog I mentioned that there was very little sign of migrating birds but that changed within just a day or two of the post. We’ve seen numerous V’s of Canada geese flying over although we did see several V’s flying back to the south a few days later, which is never a good sign that spring is here. It’s like everybody went north, hit the crappy weather, turned around and said, “That’s it, Mabel, we’re going back to Florida!” I can only guess that the geese couldn’t find any open water or ground at all and without one or the other, they can’t eat so they have to go back south until they can find open fields somewhere.
The closest open ground would probably be Kleena Kleene and Tatla Lake. Neither place got much snow this year and so the geese could bunch up there because the Kliniklini River would be open and maybe there would be some melt water on the fields at Tatla. Even then, how many birds can group up in those two small fields and have enough to eat until they can head north? The same applies to the Trumpeter Swans. They’ve come back from the brink of extinction in the past few decades in a big way and we see huge numbers of them coming through in the spring, but they have to have open water to make it so they get crowded in on tiny waterways along the way that are open enough to be utilized but slow moving enough for the swans to feed. That leaves few options out here right now. We’ve had small pairs of swans landing on the lake for a couple of weeks now but just last week we had a dozen land in our back bay right in front of the Waterfront Resort and hang around for awhile and I've heard a number of them go overhead. It’ll be a tough go for all the migratory birds for the next couple of weeks now until things open up.
So far we have only had a little bit of water open up out at the point this spring and the bald eagles have been sitting on the water's edge off and on for a while. Unless fish go close into the shallows near the bank, I don’t think they are able to fish in the water. I think that they probably wait for fish to jump and land on the ice instead of back in the water, because they’re there every spring when it first opens up. I was over visiting a friend across the bay a couple of springs ago just a little later than now and the ice was really rotten. We watched a fish jump through the rotten ice but it landed on solid ice. It had only flopped around for moments when we could see the eagles already zeroing in on it. We were jumping up and down yelling at the fish and cheering it on while the eagles flew hell bent for election from across the lake. The fish finally made one big jump and flopped back through the ice as the eagles came in where it had been. So the eagles are obviously tuned right into the possibility of fish jumping onto the ice at this time of year.
I saw my first robin the other day! In most places the ground is still frozen just under the surface or covered in snow but on the back trail just as it exits onto the road there is an area where Andy had cleared snow with the Bobcat this winter to get firewood so the ground under the pine needles was exposed. I doubt a robin would find much in the way of worms yet but I expect he found a few bugs or spiders. Still, it will have been slim pickings for him for a few more days until the snow melted back a bit more and the ground warmed up. I’m always amazed at how robins push the envelope in the spring, although even they seem to be here a bit late this spring. Actually, everything seems to be a bit late this year. Only a few pussy willows have started to bud out along the road and the buck brush is only now starting to blush red in the meadows. Still, watching the weather channel last night it looks like BC is expected to be a few degrees above normal for the rest of April while the rest of Canada is expected to be up to five degrees below normal until May. There are times that I am very thankful to be living in BC....
Right now it’s up to 12.8C or 55F and though this is supposed to be our warmest day this week
, every little bit of heat helps, especially since we got a little sleet and rain last night. We were afraid it was going to be an all nighter but fortunately, it started to clear off a bit shortly after midnight so we didn’t end up with any more of a muddy mess than we already have.
I think the north coast and inland got nailed pretty hard with rain and snow and that we do not need right now or with the ice road out, we’ll be walking for the next month. We’re invited out to dinner down at the other end of the lake this week and the hostess just emailed to warn us that their driveway is a mud hole and to wear appropriate footwear for when we get out of the truck. It must be the Chilcotin. In gentler places the hosts might warn that there are nuts in the hors d'oeuvres. Here they warn you when you might lose your truck in a mud hole. :-)
I want to congratulate Maria Horsfall for winning the three days free stay and breakfast package at AJ B&B in the contest celebrating 100 likes on the Facebook page. We very much look forward to a visit from the Horsfalls or whomever they choose to give the package to. Just to let you all know, once the Facebook page reaches 200 likes there will be a new contest that I will include here that will have two prizes of much longer duration in stay at AJ B&B.
I have two notes to mention here. First, you may not be able to access this website for a day or so this week because I will be moving it to a new server. So if that does happen, just come back in 24 hours or so and it should be back up. If not, I'm sure you'll be able to see the blue smoke over Nmpo.
Second…. I’ve asked this before and didn’t get a response from anyone but am still hoping to. I am in the process of researching a web camera that will be like a weather or highway cam where I can have photos uploaded onto the website every few minutes. I want to mount it looking out over the mountains and lake and want really good resolution so a minimum of 2mb and up to 3mb, possibly with a variable lens and capable of taking very cold weather without a heater or blower. Most security cameras out there seem to be too short range for good resolution and color but if any of you have some experience with a brand of camera that you are really happy with that you think would be appropriate for my use, I would really appreciate if you would contact me at question@resortsbc.com
All right, I'm going to finish this up and get more office work done. I keep eyeing up my garden that is slowly emerging out from under the ice and snow and thinking that I'm going to be awfully mad if spring does come and I can't get outside. I just planted several trays of tomato plants and perennials to put under lights in the basement so at least it feels a little like spring somewhere here in the Chilcotin!
Last week's blog is at March Week Three.

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!
Bright white Trumpeter Swans sit on the ice.
 
A flock of geese fly south toward the Coast Range.
 
Three people sitting on a red ATV cross the ice.
 
A black truck crosses the lake ice.
 
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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