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 - August, Week 1/2006
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
of the Day.
few things are more disconcerting than seeing a large
bear track cross your own. While walking yesterday
on our trails in the woods I spotted a pretty large track
of the rear foot of a bear that had crossed my tracks
from the day before. Although there are lots of berries
for bears to eat right now, the heat and limited water
sources can keep them in a small area and our woods
are an ideal place for a bear to hunker down for the summer.
Since I'll be walking alone for the rest of the week I
took the precaution of carrying bear spray today as well
as my firecrackers. I even went so far as to attach a
cat bell to my wrist (for want of anything better) simply
to warn a bear that I was in the vicinity. Since the trail
is very quiet for walking, I'm more concerned about surprising
a bear on the trail than anything. I also walked during
the hottest part of the day when any bear with brains
in its head should be holed up in a nice quiet spot under
a tree or bushes somewhere. Early morning and
evenings are times that you're more likely to see animals
moving about this time of year.
I watched the news hour with interest this evening because
they were going to have a short blurb about the Carrot
Lake burn near Vanderhoof. A look at the map shows that
the burn was taking place quite a ways north of us and
is indeed a heavily controlled one. Forestry has cut out
several squares of beetle killed pine with absolutely
no burnable material in the guards surrounding the squares.
They will be doing controlled burns over the next two
years in an effort to gain understanding as to how a forest
fire acts in beetle kill versus a green forest. So far
they have learned that the fire is much more intense
and tends to spot more, which means there are
more sparks that start fires further away than normal
and that the trees tend to crown more. This means that
wild fire travels from tree to tree via the tops. As
the one Forestry scientist said, forest fires in beetle
kill have the potential to be catastrophic and
fire fighters need to learn the methods required to fight
them in a safe way. So it makes sense to study the behavior
of fire in beetle killed trees versus green forest because
with over nine million hectares of destroyed trees so
far, there is no doubt that we will be seeing lots of
forest fires in the future.
As stated on the news hour, there is no question that
whole ecosystems will change in British Columbia and it
will be quite interesting to see just what the long term
impact of the Mountain Pine Beetle will be. I'm
willing to bet the changes to come will be far more extreme
than even the scientists can predict.
Today was another cooker with fairly clear skies and high
temperatures. Fortunately, no thunderheads yet and hopefully
we can keep dodging lightning strikes. There was
heavy frost this morning and a friend in our cabin
said he actually had to scrape his windshield before going
to work. Welcome to the Chilcotin! If you don't like the
weather, just wait five minutes.
Burn A Carrot?
heard an interesting bit on the news tonight that probably
concerns our area. Actually, we had been hearing from
the locals for the last day or two that the Minister
of Forests will be doing a controlled burn at Carrot Lake
of beetle killed pine trees. At sixty miles south
west of Vanderhoof, that should put this lake just northeast
of Anahim Lake, possibly somewhere in the Blackwater,
but darned if I know where it is. I haven't looked at
a map yet, but will. The news item didn't say much other
than the Ministry wants to see how a forest of Mountain
Beetle destroyed pine will burn. How about Very
Hot? There have been enough forest fires in beetle
pine in British Columbia in the last couple of years that
the Ministry should probably already know how such a forest
burns. But perhaps they want proper observation rather
than the usual panic that a full blown out-of-control
forest fire usually entails so doing this burn probably
makes sense. Observing the fire's behavior could
well serve fire fighters in the next few years
when we will be seeing a lot of forest fires and perhaps
they will also be able to learn at what rate regrowth
occurs and if it differs from a 'green' forest fire.
Many forests can only regenerate after a forest fire.
The heat creates exactly the right condition for the pine
cones to open up. However, our trees are unable to reproduce
after being hit by beetles, so I suppose the only regeneration
that will occur will be from pine cones already on the
forest floor and between the squirrels and weather, there
aren't very many viable ones left.
The newscaster was quick to assure viewers that the Carrot
Lake burn will be strictly controlled and that the Ministry
said there will be no danger to residents but that people
should be aware that there may be a lot of smoke. I'm
sure that may be so and not to knock Forestry too much...but
they have been known to screw up before. Royally!
Chilko Lake comes to mind when that huge fire in 2003
was made even worse by a supposed 'expert' in his field.
This fellow was touted to be the 'end all' in back
burn expertise and set the fire fighters about
starting a back burn to control the raging forest fire
that was billowing smoke 18,000 feet into the air. He
didn't take into account the wild Chilko winds that arrive
so consistently every morning that you can set your watch
by them. In fact, it sounds like he took very little into
account when locals in the 'know' tried to give him a
little advice about the area. The raging inferno that
resulted not only made things much worse by indecently
increasing the size of the fire but now put more homes,
people, and firefighting equipment into immediate danger.
The only thing that saved that particular
day was Mother Nature herself! Oh, and the deep
pockets of a lot of poor taxpayers.
I really hope this experimental burn at Carrot Lake goes
well. Personally, I would like to see Forestry burn
a five mile wide swath around the communities of Anahim
Lake and Nimpo Lake in fall or spring when such
a burn could be more easily controlled. That would then
provide us with a safety line for the next few years that
forest fires are going to be such a danger for us. Once
the beetle killed pine are in the gray stage and the pine
needles on the forest floor have deteriorated, then the
forest fire danger in our region will lessen considerably.
Until then, lightening strikes anywhere within fifty miles
of us are of serious concern. With a swath burned around
the communities, it would act much like a cat guard and
then our only concern about fire would be within that
line. That would also save a tremendous amount
of money and resources for the Ministry of Forests since
they could let anything outside of the line burn. The
best thing that could possibly happen. However, a plan
like that makes way too much sense, which means it will
never be implemented.
A Nimpo Day
was just one of those extraordinary days and I really
don't know why. It's not like we accomplished anything
today other than maybe go fishing. We got two
beauties for our supper. Mine of course was the smaller
of the two by far and it took an hour to get them both
but getting fish is only a small part of spending
time on Nimpo Lake. There were some grebe or merganzer
types on the lake and every once in awhile a mighty splash
near the boat turned out to be a loon that we hadn't even
noticed taking a dive. The fish were really jumping today,
and I mean jumping! One little guy had to have gone four
feet into the air at least but even the big rainbows were
acting like they were in a high jumping contest.
A fish and game conservation officer sped up just as we
docked and checked out our licenses. He didn't have too
many boats to check out on the water today because there
just weren't that many out. Summers have certainly changed
here in the last couple of years. Now, if you see five
boats out on the lake at one time, it's unusual so there's
very little competition for fish. That's okay
by us. We're selfish and don't mind having the lake and
the fish all to ourselves.
The bachelor loons are still gathering as they do this
time of year. I counted nine bobbing out on the water
in my line of sight first thing this morning. They like
to do their squadron drills in the morning and evening
strengthening their wings for the fall migration while
the rest of the time they group up, split apart, and fish.
There seems to be very few baby loons this year. I
don't know if the bald eagles got them all or what
but even our pair in the back bay don't have any babies
and they usually succeed in saving at least one baby a
The wind was out of the west all day and that bodes ill
for our pine trees. While we are surrounded on three sides
by water, that is the one direction from which we
can expect a real swarm of mountain pine beetles
because it's all pine forest that way. We've been told
that there has already been two flights this summer so
hopefully we won't see one in the next few days. But,
we're already looking to the future by designing a lawn
in our heads to replace the trees we'll be losing. In
the meanwhile, it's going to be difficult to cut down
many of the trees in our yard because so many are near
the house or other buildings. Our neighbours don't have
it that easy either. We walked over to check on their
place in their absence today and noticed that they still
have several huge pine to fall and dropping them
without hitting something is going to be extremely difficult.
There's been a fall chill on the air the last few evenings
and I've had to start a fire a couple of nights to warm
up the house. No sign of a frost yet but folks down at
the other end of the lake say that there were two nights
of hard frost just before we returned from holiday. A
little moisture wouldn't be a bad thing right now. The
woods are tinder dry and we're not out of forest fire
danger by a long shot.
You may have noticed that articles are coming at
only about one every two days. I apologize but
the weather has been just too nice since we got home to
be inside the house glued to a computer when there's watering
and weeding to be done, mountains and lake to look
at, and floatplanes and birds to watch. Summers
are short in this country and should be appreciated. Besides,
this is the first summer that I haven't been working for
the past few years so I'm relishing every moment! I'm
sure you understand...lol.
Ranching And Trail Riding
would like to welcome a new listing to Resorts BC. Six
Mile Ranch is a small, family run cow/calf operation with
about 300 head of cattle and around 50 horses. Besides
operating a trail riding business, the family at Six Mile
Ranch is now offering you a true ranch holiday.
Regular ranch activities include Spring Turn out, Spring
roundup, Summer range drive, Fall roundup and more. There
are set times of year for these ranch activities so you
must adjust your vacation time to fit the ranch schedule
for the activity you would like to participate in.
Sorting and driving the cattle can take several days so
in some cases you will be overnighting out on the range
and delicious camp cooked meals will be provided to you.
You do not have to be an experienced rider because the
folks at this ranch say a desire to do the job is enough!
A horse will be personally chosen for you
based on your level of experience and Terra very much
enjoys spending time with both kids and adults that would
like to know more about their horse and what can be accomplished
with them. While a guest at the ranch you can have as
many riding lessons as you would like to make your experience
as enjoyable as possible.
For those of you that are experienced riders and are interested
in learning the process of starting your own colts, the
Colt-Starting-Clinic lasts for seven days in the first
week of June. Even if you do not wish to participate
in the clinic itself, you can certainly make it a part
of your vacation and just come and watch some of the amazing
things being taught!
The folks at Six Mile Ranch would like to emphasize
that they are not a 'dude' ranch and prefer only
very small groups of eight or less at one time so that
you receive individual attention, and you are encouraged
to put groups together yourself. You can become as involved
in ranch life as you choose to be and everything except
your sleeping and personal gear is included in the very
reasonably priced ranch packages.
You can design your own package which may include only
a day or two of ranch work, some relaxation in your cabin,
and activities in the general area. This part of
the Chilcotin is home to numerous pristine fishing lakes
and premier salmon and steelhead rivers. Hiking
the alpine with your camera are a favorite activity because
you'll see lots of wildlife, birdlife, and fantastic
alpine flowers and the scenery is breathtaking.
The family also runs a trail riding business so you may
want to talk to them about going out on an exciting mountain
trail ride in July.
For contact information and to learn more about this unique
ranch vacation go to their listing on the Resorts
a small, local plane went down yesterday. One of the local
charter planes from Nimpo Lake crashed in the Itcha Mountains
yesterday, killing the pilot and another plane owner from
the US. Their plane wasn't located until around 9:00 last
night by a floatplane pilot from Nimpo Lake.
Since their names have yet to be released by the news
media then I won't say more here other than we would like
to express our condolences to the family, friends and
employers of the victims. Weather was pretty socked in
over the mountains yesterday so if a system came in and
settled low or if there was engine trouble, then those
mountains can sneak up on you pretty fast.
I was working outside yesterday and every once in awhile
the clouds would roll in low and black and it would spit
a little. Yesterday evening we had light rain and it was
overcast off and on today. Lots of sunny breaks though
so I found it virtually impossible to force myself into
the house to work on the computer.
Actually, I spent part of the afternoon redesigning the
yard in my head. Things are going to look drastically
different once all the beetle killed trees are felled.
There just might be room for a ball diamond! I'm getting
quite used to seeing all the red trees. It's kind of pretty
really...or colorful anyway. I'm glad we saw so many red
trees in the Burns Lake area before coming south. It kind
of softened the blow when we arrived home.
We went around and sprayed the remaining pine on our's
and the neighbour's property that weren't hit by
the Mountain Pine Beetle last year. Most of those
are quite young and some have been hit very recently this
summer so we're hoping that the spray will at least kill
the beetles inside and prevent them from infesting our
little trees next year and the years after. The trees
that do have fresh bore holes only have a very few. It's
nothing like the mass attack of last year so it's
possible that we killed most of the beetles on the property
last year. There certainly won't be any lack of firewood
in the near future. Picture
of the Day
will show you what I mean.
Tonite we watched a big, fat yellow moon come up over
the horizon and the fish are feeding like crazy
in Nimpo Lake. There are lots of insects out there
this evening, hence lots of feed. We had to move pretty
fast on our walk through the woods tonite and poor River's
face was just covered in bloodsucking mosquitoes when
we stopped to talk to neighbours out on the road.
There were two interesting boats out on the water last
night that I mistook for kayaks. They were back again
tonite and it was Andy that pointed out that the occupants
were pedaling them. I've seen pedal boats
before but they were always the big cumbersome things
that moved like a bathtub and took three kids and a dog
to move through the water. These craft must be far more
maneuverable because we first saw them way down
to the end of the bay where Nimpo Lake turns into the
Dean River on our way back from our walk. We hadn't
been in the house long when we saw them moving right along
past us and out into the main arm. It didn't look like
these folks were having to pedal too hard to get places
but it might be a pretty good form of exercise and a
whole lot more scenic than pedaling an exercise bike!
Back In The Saddle Again!
have finally arrived back in Nimpo Lake from our
trip to Alaska, and boy, is it good to be home! We got
back the night before last but it's been a busy one getting
the trailer unloaded and cleaned up, all the laundry,
and just reorganizing our house. Oh yeah, and weeding
We had a minor disaster on our way home and all
I can say is I'm sure glad I like plants. We wanted
to stay overnight with our friends in Quesnel and since
we were ahead of schedule on our way through Prince George,
Andy asked if I'd like to stop at my all time favorite
Art Knapp's, a plant and garden store. While I browsed
the overpriced greenery Andy crawled under the truck to
see if he could find the source of a clunk we had been
hearing for the last two days every time he accelerated.
Turns out that a universal was so bad that we had to return
to Prince George and get into the Ford dealer to have
it changed right away or we wouldn't have made it home.
Once that was done a few hours later we headed south and
not far out of Prince while on pavement we took
a big rock in the windshield off of the tire of
a passing truck. It's a pretty major smuck and the glass
is already cracking right across the middle on the driver's
side. Pretty ironic when you consider how many thousands
of miles of road, gravel and fresh chip seal we went over
that previously with no rocks. Other than that, we made
it to Nimpo without any more mishaps.
Everything looks great at home and the forest fire
in July didn't affect anyone in Anahim Lake or Nimpo Lake,
thank heavens! Just scared a lot of people. I guess the
forestry camp at Anahim Lake Airport just finished packing
up and pulling out the last of their people in the past
It sure was nice to see our Chilcotin country again. Even
with all the red trees from the Mountain Pine Beetle,
no place beats where we live! We've had a couple of really
beautiful days since we got home and yesterday Stewart's
floatplanes were taking off and landing on Nimpo Lake
more than I've ever seen before so they must be really
busy with the sightseeing flights.
Cancelled because of the forest fire in July, it
looks like the Anahim Lake Stampede may be on again,
possibly around the 26th of August, so here's your chance
to come out and see a great rodeo folks!
I'm putting up some terrific photos of a bald eagle taken
by our neighbours down the road who have kindly given
me permission to reprint them for this site and I'll probably
put a larger pic on the Picture
of the Day so don't forget
to take a look!
The last of the articles about our two month trip to the
Yukon and Alaska this summer have been shifted to July
Week Five. Eventually those web pages
may be accessed by a different manner on the navigation
on the left than they are now but it will be a little
while before I move them. In the meanwhile, we still have
lots to do to get over our holiday so articles this weekend
may be sporadic, especially since it is a long weekend
for most Canadians. For those in British Columbia,
Happy BC Day!
I sure would like to thank everyone that
made our trip pleasant in so many ways. Thanks
to Fleming and Anita for their great hospitality and allowing
us a place to park for so many days during our fridge
'disaster' and thanks especially to Anita for the wonderful
meals! It was a pleasure meeting Jay in Anchorage who
is a childhood friend of Andy's. I'm just sorry we weren't
able to meet up with him again but he was off racing his
car during the long July weekend when we went back through
Anchorage. Some really nice people and old friends of
Andy's at Little Atlin Lake, Jack and Beryl, provided
us with a beautiful spot to park, good company, great
supper and some gold. Life doesn't get any more bountiful
than that! Last, but certainly not least, thanks to super
friends in Quesnel, Bill and Anita, who've provided us
with wonderful meals, parking spot and great company both
going to and coming from the north. Special thanks to
Andy's sister, Barb, who gave us some great little insights
into the places we were seeing through her emails as we
travelled over many of the same roads she did years ago,
and to my Mom for telling us about Atlin and encouraging
us to slow down and enjoy the view. Thanks everyone!
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!