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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week One/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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30/04/2014 11:30 AM

Not Much Has Changed

I could probably leave the last blog up and just change the date because not a whole lot has changed in the past ten days. Considering that this is spring, that’s pretty amazing.
The lake has finally opened up along the shoreline in front of our place varying between 10 and 15 feet and there is open water in the reed beds, but that’s about it for movement. It took five days just for the water to open up down at Dean River Place and the bay is still three quarters frozen. Out at the point it has widened there considerably but the open water is still only a third of a way to the big island rather than open all the way. Right now it looks the way it should in the middle of April, not at the end, so there certainly won’t be an early ice off this year!
Because the lake is still so locked in ice, even the wild winds we have been having are not enough to shift it, and that's part of what breaks the ice up. So I guess we’re going to be waiting for a long, slow melt to get rid of the stuff.
The temperatures that we are supposed to see for the next couple of days might make a big difference to the ice. It was supposed to be up to 17C or 63F and higher this week and certainly is much warmer in the rest of the province but I think Mother Nature forgot us again. While the rest of BC is basking in sunshine and temps as high as 26C or 80F we woke up this morning to overcast, a very brisk and very cold wind and a thermometer that zipped up to 12C or 54F this morning and then promptly dropped down again. Somebody here in the Chilcotin must have peed in Mother Nature’s cornflakes this morning and I really want to know who it is!
A couple of days ago we got about three inches of snow on the ground, which hasn’t helped spring come, and things are a little wetter and cooler than they were. However, we went for a walk yesterday afternoon after getting home from town and most of the back trail is dry enough to walk on now. There are only a couple of spots with snow and the ground is a little boggy in places but for the most part, NO MORE SNOW BOOTS!
We dropped down to the Okanagan for a few days and so it’s always a bit of a shock to come back from there to here at this time of year but at least we didn’t pull into a yard full of snow.
Apparently everything is about two weeks behind this spring down in Kelowna as well, but you wouldn’t know it from my point of view. The Forsythia was out all over the place and that stuff is just like sunshine on a stick! The magnolias were all blooming, the lawns were green as sin and many ready to be cut, and of course all the evergreen shrubbery was a bright spring green. We saw the odd snowflake down there, some rain, and there’s still snow up in the hills but it was still like getting a little spring boost being able to see Azalea’s, tulips and daffodils blooming and seeing color! I think that’s the big thing after a long winter is just that need to see some color. Mind you, the Kelowna people feel the same way. They had what they considered to be a pretty long, brutal winter as well with more snow and colder temperatures than what they are used to in the land of plenty.
My friend took me to a garden center and of course that’s just like entering the pearly gates as far as I’m concerned. I came back with a couple of trays of perennials that will be residing on the deck for a little while until I can dig in the ground here and get the poor things planted. Same with a bunch of lily bulbs I picked up. You have to dig deep for them and I’m assuming the frost is out of the ground for the depth I want but you never know.
But I can’t feel too sorry for myself. Before you know it things will be going crazy around here and I’ll be wishing I was back at this point where I don’t have to worry about keeping up with lawns and weeds yet and dealing with bugs.
One thing that we missed and I would love to have been here for is the earthquake last Wednesday. There was a 6.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Port Hardy in the evening with several aftershocks following it. Apparently it was felt as far away as Prince George, Squamish and Vancouver, which means like the Haida Gwai earthquake of 2012 near Halloween, we would undoubtedly have felt it at Nimpo Lake.
The earthquake was of the same magnitude as the 6.3 that devastated Christchurch in 2011 but this one was not only off the coast of Vancouver Island, but struck where there are few people. The same magnitude in a city like Victoria or Vancouver would be highly destructive whereas this one just shook people up and caused some minor damage locally, and set lights to swinging in other areas of the province.
I watched one video where a woman’s chandelier in Vancouver was swaying and she commented that she had felt dizzy just before the light started moving. That’s been my experience as well on the only two occasions that I’ve felt them, the first in Williams Lake in a furniture store filled with swinging lights when I had a distinct feeling of disorientation and not a little dizziness, and waking up to one in Prince George feeling a little dizzy and disorientated. Still, it’s been a lot of years and I would love to have been here to see if we could feel it in our house. We are on bed rock on a peninsula that sticks out into the lake and Andy said everything rock and rolled during that quake off Haida Gwai on Halloween at about the same time of evening as the Port Hardy quake, and it’s as close or closer to us so we might have been affected here. Oddly, up at the Nimpo Community Hall where most of us were, no one noticed over the blare of music or during the fireworks outside, possibly because the Hall is on sand. To my knowledge, only one person in Nimpo noticed the quake besides Andy and that was a neighbour babysitting the twins upstairs at the store and it’s possible that she felt it because she was higher and in a quiet environment. The type of foundation the store is on may have made a difference as well.
I have been watching the same patch of blue out my office window for at least a couple of hours now and while it has widened, it hasn’t moved this way to any degree so the haze must be high and this wind is at a lower level. I would like to see a sunny day because I have a lot of work to get done outside once I’m done this blog. Aside from the north coast, I think our little plot of land in the Chilcotin was the only one showing cloud over it for the entire province of BC today on the weather radar last night. But with blue to the south and west, I’m really, really hoping it will move out. Surprisingly though, I just looked at the temperature and it’s managed to come up to 17.5C or 64F this afternoon even without the sun so maybe I’ll head outside after all. Garden, here I come!
If you're wondering what's on the lake in the bottom photo up on the right, it's a fox sitting and looking at the view. Oh, and the loons are back! Or one is anyway. Andy said it was crying and flying in circles over the house this morning, probably looking for enough open water to land in.

Last week's blog is at April Week Two.

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!
Grey ice on Nimpo Lake with some water along the shore line.
 
Bright white snow on the ice.
 
Meadows of Caribou Flats are bare with snow covered mountains behind.
 
A fox is a black spot on snowy Nimpo ice with mountains above the tree line.
 
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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