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The Dean on Nimpo is the starting point for numerous activities in the West Chilcotin
Woman in a canoe photo.
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Wilderness Adventures - April, Week 4/2010

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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Check out the Picture of the Day.

29/04/2010 10:03 PM

The Lake

We had a reasonably warm day yesterday and a great one today. It got up over 10C or 50F today and would probably have gotten much warmer with straight sunshine and no wind, but we had some cloud and a very chilly little breeze. It was not comfortable outside if you weren't standing in the sun. A lot of that chilly is probably from wind moving over water barely above freezing out at the point and over melting ice. That wind is probably also why the ice is thinning so quickly. Where the ice is black it will be absorbing a lot of heat from the sun and the wind moving over the ice will be wicking away moisture. I'll post a picture up on the right. You must compare it to the one at the bottom on the right taken just a couple of days ago.
Yesterday morning Andy brought me a chunk of ice that he pulled off the ice shelf in the lake in front of the dock. So I took a picture of it and you can see how furry it is on top where it's starting to break down in the sun and of course, the bottom is pitted but smooth. The next picture down shows the crystalline structure after the candles split apart. Basically you just have to roll a chunk of ice between your fingers and the candles will separate. That's what makes clinkers. I've often mentioned before that you can hear the clinkers in the lake. In the fall, it's ice that has formed and then been broken up by the wind and is basically just thin sheets of ice rubbing against each other. But in the spring, the clinkers are made up of thousands of candles (or millions I guess) floating in the water and knocking against one another. That movement makes a really pretty musical sound.
Generally, once the lake ice begins to candle, it won't be around for long. That chunk of ice in the picture from yesterday was about five inches long. Andy broke off a piece of ice from the same shelf (farther out now) this afternoon and the candles were only about two and a half inches long, so they halved in length in little more than a day. But, it's always a guessing game. I guess that's why we have an Ice Off pool. You just never know what the ice will do or when it will go off because it's different every year, and it sure is weird this year. It's acting totally differently from most other years and while it sat and did nothing for the longest time, today, it's going great guns. There's a line of water from the point to the big island as of this evening where yesterday it didn't go out that far from the point. And a little pond of water has opened up in the reed bed over in front of the neighbour's this afternoon, but there still isn't more than just a few feet opened up along the shore so we have very few ducks cruising in along the shoreline as we normally do this time of year.
There have been ravens and seagulls out on the ice in the last couple of days, picking at something. We can only assume it's small bugs that were caught in the ice during freeze up last fall and that they're picking the bugs out of the now rotting ice. Everybody's enjoying spring!
Now if the warm temperatures would just stay with us for a little while longer, it'll be just a few more days to blue water!! Our neighbours are also eager to see open water on Nimpo Lake I think. They've just bought a new boat to bring up to Nimpo and they'll be here next week. You hear that Mother Nature???

Picture of a boat in a living room
27/04/2010 9:47 PM

Weather Ups and Downs

Boy, it's been a long stint since I wrote last! I've actually had a blog in the works since last Friday but never got it finished. It's kind of out of date now so I'll have to start over.
We have had an incredibly mixed bag for weather in the past week. We had to go into Williams Lake last Wednesday and while it poured rain down on us all day, out here it was incredibly warm and sunny. Everyone commented on it. Naturally, we missed it. It's called Murphy's Law. Once we got back into the Chilcotin you could see the line of blue in the west and by the time we reached Tatla Lake, we had clear sailing and could watch the temperature move up nearly 10 degrees from where we left it in Willy's Puddle. The morning we went out Clearwater Lake was still under ice and by that afternoon on our return, it had opened up. It was the same with the bay that the Dean River meanders through after leaving Nimpo Lake. There was still a lot of it frozen over that morning but when we came back through, it was open.
Since then, our weather has done a little bit of everything. We've had lots of days where it's spit rain off and on and lots of heavy cloud. It's been pretty breezy too, which is to be expected this time of year. Today we got a little more sun than usual, but the wind blew as well, although not nearly at the gale force speeds of yesterday! You just about needed to tie yourself to the house if you were going outside!
The past week has also been somewhat cool and it's been getting down below freezing at night. Last night was an exception where it remained about four degrees above freezing after a high of over 12C or 54F during the day yesterday. That's exactly what we need to get that lake ice melted, and boy, is it looking black tonight! If it stays above freezing tonight we just might see blue water in a couple of big patches between here and the big island and the ice is pulling away more and more from the shore, although admittedly, not nearly as quickly as in some years.
A few days ago we watched what looked to be an otter humping his way just as fast as he could go across the ice from the big island to the small island. They're sure funny creatures to watch and you wouldn't think they could go very fast with the way they do move, but they motor right along. Had he tried crossing today though, I suspect he might have fallen through the ice.
A pair of loons have been in for nearly a week now and are hanging out down at the entrance to the Dean. On Sunday we saw quite a sight. We were down at Nimpo Lake Resort at the other end of the lake having dinner when Mary noticed a fish jump out of the open water there and land on the ice. Everyone watched it flopping around with its silver belly flashing in the light for a moment. Mary had just commented that it wouldn't last long before the eagles would spot it when here came one gliding down out of a nearby tree. He was on that fish like flies on manure and it wasn't long before his buddy showed up with high hopes of sharing in the banquet, not that there was any chance of that. I guess someone down at that end watched an eagle get a duck the day before that. They're getting to be a nuisance in a way. I don't mind them eating fish but our bird life is scarce enough and getting scarcer yet with the increasing population of eagles around the lake.
For anyone that might be interested, there's a new category under Other up on the navigation menu on your left called Classified Ads. A part time visitor to the area is looking to sell some stuff to anyone that might be interested and most of it could definitely be handy to this area. He'll be up in May and could transport some of it if you're interested. Have a look at the page and we'll see if it garners enough interest to make it worth keeping on the site. And of course, if any of you folks have items that you would like to list here, just let me know.
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's reading at April Week Three.

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!
Ice is beginning to rot on Nimpo Lake.
Holding ice in a crystalline structure called candling.
After candled ice splits into individual pieces.
Green necked mallard dancing on water.
A moose along a pond.
Lake ice and snow covered mountains.
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