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Wilderness Adventures - April, Week 3/2007

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

You can search this site for a subject of interest to you at the bottom of this page. Check out the Picture of the Day.

19/04/2007 1:53 PM

Profiling Nature Trails

I'm happy to introduce a new listing on the site under resorts. Nature Trails Wilderness Lodge offers a true wilderness getaway providing complete relaxation in peaceful comfort. As they state on their website, no roads, city noise, or computers. Just wilderness where you can keep an eye out for wildlife such as Grizzly bear, black bear, caribou, moose and bald eagles. Take advantage of the world class fishing for native Rainbow Trout, Whitefish, and Kokanee on several nearby lakes and rivers. Explore North Tweedsmuir Park and the West Coast Mountains with sea kayaks or canoes or hike the remote alpine lakes and meadows.
The lodge offers cozy accommodation in cabins with running hot and cold water and wood burning stoves or fireplaces. Relax and enjoy a refreshment while your meals are prepared by a trained chef at the main lodge. To enjoy this all inclusive fly in getaway just made for those who love the outdoors, go to or to the Resorts page for contact information.
If you would like to have an adventure holiday accessible by road, then you'll be thrilled with what Terra Nostra Guest Ranch has to offer you. Located on Clearwater Lake only a three hour drive from Williams Lake or by free shuttle bus ride from the Anahim Lake Airport, this guest ranch offers a choice of accommodation, a fully licensed dining room and delicious meals served by their trained cook. The ranch is an excellent base from which to take unforgettable day trips to Chilko Lake, Tweedsmuir Park, the Rainbow Mountains and Bella Coola. Take advantage of the excellent fishing or hike into remote alpine lakes, meadows or the nearby Kleena Kleene waterfalls. From the ranch you can enjoy such activities as hiking, canoeing, mountain biking or horseback riding or just sit back, relax and watch the wide variety of wildlife in the area. For contact information about the Terra Nostra Guest Ranch go to the Resorts page or go directly to their website at
It's been snowing off and on for most of the day and last night's storm dropped about an inch on the ground that promptly melted this morning. Andy dropped another old hairy beetle killed pine today and was burning the limbs while it snowed big, fat, furry snowflakes. I tried to get a picture of it snowing furiously while the pile burned which is posted up on the right, but for some reason the snowflakes didn't show up, even though me and the camera ended up soaking wet in a matter of moments. Although they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I guess it just goes to show you that what you see in an image isn't necessarily the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
In any case, it's readily apparent that Old Man Winter is taking at least one more kick at the cat.
This weather can't make the folks down on the Lower Mainland very happy. Although it makes little difference to us, for every inch of snow we get, the mountains get several, and the people to the south already face severe danger from flooding. Cooler temperatures have so far prevented the slow melt and runoff that they were hoping for and increases the snowpack in the mountains every day. If we get a sudden rise in temperature things are going to turn downright nasty for anyone living near or downstream of our major rivers in British Columbia.
I'm a little up to my neck in work right now and I'm having a hard time even finding my desk. We have someone we're supposed to be showing a piece of property to tomorrow, so I'm not sure that I'll be posting anything before Saturday. Have a sunny weekend everyone!

18/04/2007 8:39 PM

It's Snowing

You've got to love the month of April because you have absolutely no clue as to what's coming next in the way of weather. Right now it's pouring the snow down yet four days from now the spring before last Andy and I were going fishing because the ice was out. Well, not quite out. I admit we jumped the gun a bit and there were still some very large ice floes out there, but we were still fishing! In contrast, there's a few little, tiny spots opened up along the shoreline but the only fishing a person is going to be doing right now is ice fishing.
That same spring not two weeks later we were already into a nasty forest fire season with one fire occurring just down the road and had not every neighbour in the vicinity jumped on it right away, it would have really gotten out of hand.
This year the fire warden came out to check on a place to live for the summer and then returned to a temporary posting in Alexis Creek because there's still too much snow on the ground here. Gotta love the variety in this country!
At least we're not in quite as desperate a situation as the folks down south in the cities. Apparently their Blackberry service went out for a whole day and officials were afraid that there might be some serious consequences for society overall.
Wow...sounds serious.
What the heck is a Blackberry?!!!
Okay, wait a minute. I know it's a little flat thing that people do stuff with because I saw a very self important lady using one in the seat next to me on the plane when I ventured out into the 'world' in February. I wasn't referring to her self importance because of the little flat thing, but rather because of a really important conversation she was having on her cell phone with a business associate regarding a presentation she was putting on when we got to where we were going. I'm assuming it was important because she continued with it after a really cheesed off flight attendant had already asked her for the umpteenth time to turn off her cell phone for takeoff. I'm only guessing that the important young lady was the reason we were late getting off the ground and the reason why I didn't get any little packets of stale pretzels or offered a drink like all the other passengers. All because I was sitting next to this person. I suppose I must have been branded a self important lady too. Even though my cell phone was older than Moses and I still hadn't figured out how to dial out yet. (Andy's phone.) Oh, and I didn't have a Blackberry to pull out like the self important lady did after she was told to put her cell phone away. Apparently you're not supposed to use your Blackberry on takeoff either.
Drat! Blacklisted again.
After the plane got up off the tarmac my aisle mate got to turn her Blackberry back on and although I had my face stuffed in a book so as to not be nosy, I was amazed at the speed with which she did whatever it was that she was doing with it.
Which brings me back to the piece we watched on the news tonight. (It's probably a good thing we have news, eh? I can see a lot of readers of this article sitting back and going, "It's a good thing they at least watch the news or they'd really be backwoods hicks!") They actually showed someone text messaging with their thumbs and just going at great speed. Andy's first thought was wondering how many people in our society are going to end up with carpal tunnel syndrome because of the way in which people use these items.
Now, I'm not trying to criticize people who use a Blackberry. Like any good tool, I'm sure they're very useful. But these are the things that they were screaming about in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill a while back. Apparently the Speaker has had to reprimand several of our MP's (so called representatives of the people) because they're too busy playing with their Blackberries (That doesn't sound right, does it?) rather than listening to what's going on in the House. It's nice to know that our taxes that pay their wages are going to such worthy causes such as grocery lists and checking on sports scores.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know the Blackberry's capabilities nor even how it works but I'm assuming they work on the same principle as a Palm Pilot and I found the one I owned to be a royal pain in the derriere. I suppose I could do a search to find out everything a Blackberry does, but since I suspect it has the same requirements as a cell phone, then they won't work in the Chilcotin. That means until I need to know what they can do, I really don't care how they work.
Whatever they do, though, I can't imagine it being so important as to actually cause people to have nervous breakdowns. The service was out for a whole day and people did not know what to do! A psychologist being interviewed said that the service being out for a day is a good thing because people who are attached to their Blackberry learn that they can make it through the day and that they can survive without it. Another study showed that people who are taken away from their Blackberry have the same physical and emotional reaction as a drug addict does to withdrawal from drugs. Are you kidding me?
Man, we're going down even faster than the Roman Empire!
Holy Cow. Really, how long has the Blackberry been around? How can a large portion of society become so dependent on a little piece of equipment like that?
You know, I can see that happening with a washing machine maybe. There's quite a jump between scrubbing an individual item of clothing on a washboard to dumping it into a machine and letting it do the work. You're talking a big savings in time and labor here. Or let's say the difference between a horse and an automobile. I can definitely see the dependency on something that will actually get you to where you want to go fairly quickly without it balking, bucking, or gassing you every step of the way. But a Blackberry? Aren't cell phones bad enough? To me, those items are all tools. They have a use. If I become so dependent on them that I don't have a life without them, then I probably need to rethink my priorities. If the power goes out and I can't work on the computer, I light some candles and go read a book.
I wonder if anyone knows how to do that anymore? Speaking of which... One lady being interviewed said that she didn't need a man around as long as she had her Blackberry.
There goes procreation....

17/04/2007 8:43 PM

Yet More Trees Down

Got down another four beetle killed trees today. Actually, that's not strictly true. Three were beetle killed and the fourth was green. Normally, we would really hesitate to drop a green pine tree with no bug holes in it but calling this one scraggly would be an understatement. Although quite a tall tree, you could count the number of branches on it on one hand, and they were all on one side. A number of large trees had to be cut out of that area and once they were down you could see this poor, pathetic thing standing there all by itself. Normally we would have wished it luck and moved on but it was in the way of actually being able to do anything with that spot. In fact, it would seem we have a number of spots that we can now do something with.
Where parking was at a premium before, it's now just a matter of choosing where to put some gravel fill. Prior to this you had to tuck this trailer into this spot between trees, the backhoe into another, snowmobiles hid under trees, the canopy had a stand in the trees, the Bobcat had its own little hidey hole, and so on. No more trees so no more hidey holes.
Andy pushed up a stump with the Bobcat today to see how much it would move and it popped right out, so clearing stumps won't be too painful, hopefully.
Now we walk around looking at where we want to put stuff without making it look like a mall parking lot. I think they call it forced landscaping. Mother Nature always did that for us before and now we're on our own. Gonna' have to start watching Home and Garden Television ... :-}
At least we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and no train coming yet. Knock on wood. We're still burning like crazy while we can and as long as we tidy up limbs and needles after each tree we won't have a big cleanup job to do before forest fire season. There are only seven trees left to do on our property and three can't be done until some items are moved. Once done, that should be a total of ninety-nine trees down on our property, plus the six or eight just outside our gate and the many we took down at the other end of the lake. It would be nice to think the job's done but the beetles will continue sweeping through year after year until they starve themselves out, and although they got most of our trees, they haven't gotten them all....yet.
We walked on the ice out in front of our place this evening and came across tracks that had to have been made in the surface slush from the other day. It's hard to be certain but from the size we figure them to be lynx or otter tracks. I think they're otter because the toe is more triangular and we had that otter on the ice right in front of the house last year because that was the only place that it was open. He would have been out of luck two days ago though, because the ice has only just opened up next to our shore today.
I don't think we'll be seeing an early ice out this year. The point where the bald eagle likes to hang out is open, but not clear across to the island as it usually is by now and other than a couple of small holes right next to our shoreline, we don't have anything open near us. The temperature has been getting down below freezing the last couple of nights so that slows thawing considerably. There's still enough of a temp. difference between night and day for the lake to talk though. I had just stepped outside last night to get some wood to bank down the wood stove when there was a crack and explosion that sounded like dynamite going off! If I had been inside and upstairs I bet I would have felt the house shake.
We're still getting mixed weather as is usual for April. The sun was shining, and there was high cloud, some hail, and sometimes a cool breeze. It rained, snowed and hailed between us and Anahim today but the squalls missed us for the most part. Looks like warm temperatures for tomorrow though. I feel for the folks in the east, both in the States and Canada. They definitely got slammed by the spring weather demons.

16/04/2007 7:13 PM

Happy Monday, Folks!

If that doesn't sound like a contradiction in terms!
I'm happy to introduce a brand new listing to the website today. Chilcotin's Waterfront Resort and Motel has been around for some time, previously under the name of The Waterfront and long used as a base of operations for an air charter service.
Located right on Nimpo Lake with a wonderful view of the Coast Mountain Range the Waterfront offers a little bit of everything for everyone. There are six ground level motel units including one with full kitchen facilities, three beautiful Pioneer built log chalets, and six serviced RV sites. They have an extensive docking system and are located in a very quiet bay on the South Arm of Nimpo Lake so you can easily tie up your floatplane or boat. Open year round, the log chalets are a real treat to stay in with the largest one sleeping six to eight people so your whole family can be easily accommodated.
Boats and motors are available if you would like to go fishing or your hosts can help to arrange a flightseeing or fly out fishing, hiking or canoeing trip. If you would just like to relax, you have six acres of treed property to explore or you can sit on the shore, watch the loons and just look at the view all day. You'll find contact information for the Waterfront on the Resorts page.
I'm also delighted to invite Richard and Leah on board with the listing for The Nimpo Lake General Store. Located right on Highway 20 in Nimpo, they can provide you with pretty much everything you need for your Chilcotin vacation. They have fuel, groceries, ice, fishing licenses, tackle, hardware, clothing, gifts, books, some automotive goods, and propane. They are also a liquor outlet as well as a lottery outlet so you're pretty much set for bear. Everyone at the store is friendly, helpful and would be delighted to answer any questions you may have. You'll find more information for them at the Groceries page.
See, I told you we might need that snow shovel again! It did a little raining and quite a bit of snowing today, although nothing stuck on the ground. It wasn't that warm today because there was a chilly little wind blowing, but Andy still managed to get a few more trees down. I'm afraid he did it without me though. I was stuck in front of the computer all day working on a web site design that I need to get finished. I was trying to make what I had in my brain translate to the mouse but it wasn't working worth a darn. Some days go like that.
It was ironic that yesterday's article was so much about people being positive about the blog and yet last night I found out that not all is rosy. I had the unpleasant experience of having to inform the producer of the local paper that not only is it not kosher to steal material from my blog for the paper, it is also illegal. It would seem strange that a 'journalist' would not know that there are very strict International and Canadian Laws governing copyrighted material on the Internet, but to give the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to assume that the person in this case is simply ill-informed.
I don't have a problem at all with people calling me and asking if they can use or reprint my photos and articles and heaven only knows there have been a remarkable number of people who have generously permitted me the use of their photos or stories about their visits to the area. But I try very hard to make sure that the authors get credit either written into an article, or when one rolls over a photo with a mouse and at no time do I profit from that. So I do resent someone profiting from my work when not only have I not been given credit for it, but I wasn't even asked if my material could be used, even though I'm just down the road and a phone call away. Although, piracy is more common than it should be on the Internet, you don't normally expect it from someone in your hometown. In any case, it's one of the few downsides that I've found to publishing the blog and I'm going to assume that this problem will not occur again. Certainly not locally, anyway.
15/04/2007 6:20 PM

The Gift

I received a delightful surprise this morning. I woke up to a gift sitting on our dining room table that had been given to Andy by a couple that live here part time and were on their way back south. With it was a beautiful little card thanking me for, of all things, the blog. I would like to have had the opportunity to say, "You shouldn't have." but unfortunately, since I didn't drag my bottom out of bed this morning early enough, then this is my only opportunity to say that. I would also like to say, "Thank you very much, it's a beautiful gift!"
The gift is a heavy metal cast chime and it has all those little details that I notice when I walk or go skiing, like the bear tracks, and about which I bore everyone to tears nearly every article. I really appreciate the tremendous amount of thought put into choosing it. Thank you Bob and Karen. It now graces the eave near our front door so if you ever come looking for it, that's where you'll find it. I've also heard that you guys have been telling people about the website and I would like to thank you for that as well. The more people that know about our area, the more it helps out our local tourism industry.
Just to point out to everyone that has been really gracious and thanked me for writing the blog, (Including the recent note about couriers from the lovely lady in Saskatchewan.) I really do appreciate your encouragement, but I honestly have to tell you that sometimes it's a little embarrassing. For the most part these are just boring stories or inane weather updates and when so many people tell me that they read them, I kind of feel, "Man, I better start checking my spelling and grammar or find something interesting to write about because these people are actually reading this stuff!"
I can see why folks that only live here part time might want to check in every once in awhile, just to find out the news or check on the weather and it's cheaper than picking up the phone and calling your neighbours all the time. But even more embarrassing is to find out that local people are reading the blog. I've asked, "Why in Heaven's name would you need to read it when you live here?" This is the answer I got from one lady a week or so ago, bless her heart. "Oh, it's really interesting because there's all kinds of stuff I didn't know about around here. I didn't even know it existed and now I never miss reading it! I just love it!"
Really? Okay, one of us needs to get a life. And here I always thought it was me....
Seriously though, thanks everyone, but no more gifts please. Pass the word on. That's the best gift you could give to our area right now because we're facing a lot of serious challenges, especially to the tourism industry. The Mountain Pine Beetle has definitely caused a lot of devastation to our area and although I'm hoping our visitors can look beyond that to the incredible mountains and pristine lakes, it is still a factor in the viewscape. We are also seriously threatened by the forest fire danger this summer and I can only hope it doesn't ruin our tourism season as it did in the summer of 2004. Our operators run on a pretty short season and a very tight line as it is, so a big fire such as the Lonesome Lake Fire would not be a welcome one as evidenced by the pictures up on the right taken by the Millers. On the other hand, if it was further out and not threatening to any structures, a big fire would be just the ticket right now to revitalize our forests.
Our pine tree stands are said to be born of fire, because the lodgepole pinecone relies on fire to bring enough heat to the cone for it to open and spew out the seed. I believe the ash left behind by burned trees and undergrowth adds nutrients and helps to neutralize the acidic soil. So forest fires are good, so long as there are no people around...
We found out what that white bird was that I mentioned seeing a few days ago and that we've both seen every day along the road when going out to Nimpo. As close as we can tell from pictures in the bird book, it's a Snow Bunting. Also according to the book, those are its summer colors and this is its winter range. Its summer range is much farther north and into Alaska so it doesn't make sense to me, but I guess it doesn't have to. Pretty little thing though and very determined to stick to its territory.
The bald eagle has been sitting out at the point this spring for a while now, even though there isn't much open water there and no other birds. Usually, there's a Mexican Standoff between Swans, geese, ducks and the eagle but he owns that real estate so far this year.
Andy went out on Nimpo Lake with his fourwheeler yesterday, and although he stuck pretty close to shore, he nearly got stuck. I guess he went through the top layer of ice almost right off the bat and had to go hell bent for leather around our peninsula, not daring to slow down, until he could get back on solid land. It would seem our ice is rotting from the top down so it'll be interesting to see when it breaks up this year. I think the earliest we've ever recorded ice-out in our bay is the 22nd of April but I would have to check on that.
All I know is that for a short period last night the lake sounded like nothing I have ever heard before. Actually, that's not true. It sounded like firecrackers, gunshots and dynamite going off. Nor did it sound muffled the way it does sometimes, like far off mortar shells. These little explosions were right there and loud! I went out to listen for a few moments and the dog and two of the cats were lined up on the lawn listening to these explosions. It was the funniest thing you ever saw. I went out to listen a little while later and the sounds were a lot fewer, and shortly after that, the lake pretty much quit talking. The only thing that I think could have happened was that all that slush on top of the ice was suddenly freezing and cracking because we'd had a fairly sharp drop in temperature just after midnight. Or some cracks opened up, draining water on the surface of the lake, and the remainder was freezing and cracking really rapidly. It seemed awfully loud to be surface ice, though. But it's anyone's guess.
I've started a new week so you'll have to go to April, Week Two for last week's articles.

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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!
A cabin overlooks a remote fly in lake.
Burning Mountain Pine Beetle killed limbs.
New chalet sits on a hill overlooking Nimpo Lake.
Caribou watching the photographer.
Burned trees.
Fire blackened trees against snow.
Tracks in the ice.
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