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Wilderness Adventures - August 2013

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.


20/08/2013 12:00 PM

Busy August - Campfire Ban Lifted

This has been one crazy month folks so thank you for waiting for so long for a new blog to go up.
We have been very fortunate to have back to back guests throughout the month of August with not a lot of time for breaks. I guess that fancy pancy new stain on the logs and new roof did some good after all. We’ve had some really wonderful people staying there and have gotten to enjoy their terrific company over meals. Some folks make a mark in your heart and if they lived closer, I could see them becoming life long friends. I guess that’s the best part about running a one cabin B&B. The cabin gives our guests privacy for both themselves and for us and meals give us the chance to get to know them. Unfortunately, we haven't had a lot of opportunity to either visit with or get to know our guest from the past week or two. We were doing the final push on my Mom’s bathroom reno down at the other end of the lake so we were gone every day. We finally finished it on Sunday. Yaaaaayyyyy!!!! Boy, that turned into a long project, but I guess every renovation does. That’s why contractors say to add 30 percent to your budget and twice as much time as you expect to do a full gut and renovation on any one room in your house. Boy is that true. It didn’t help that Andy was working over at Charlotte Lake a lot of the time putting in five days a week there and the other two over at my Mom’s, dragging our neighbour over on weekends where he could which meant that poor guy was putting in a seven day work week as well a couple of times.
I still have to pick up some sanded grout to finish off the glass backsplash behind the sink and we need to hang a light but the latter will be done in the next day or so.
Just to let anyone know that might consider tackling a tile job in future, DO NOT USE PREMIXED GROUT!!!! I never have before but this was such a small tile job it made more sense to buy a small container of premixed grout in white rather than a big box of the dry stuff. What a mistake. The stuff is absolute garbage to use and I’ve spent many miserable hours trying to fix the mess it makes on a area I did in marble. It made a similar mess on the backsplash which Andy got cleaned up but the grout shrank and cracked so it needs to be redone. But I’m darned if I’ll spend the time I did on the marble section to redo it in the premix and then clean it up again. Instead, I’ll buy a box of the dry sanded grout even though it seems a crazy waste. We already have a couple of boxes around here but they’re the wrong color. But another box it will have to be and maybe we can find a place to use it somewhere down the road.
We’ve had lots happen in the past three weeks since I last posted a blog. That hot weather we had at the end of July continued into August right up until a week ago. Like the Cariboo region, we had significant thunderstorms go through over the August long weekend with a whole lot of lightning. Here we had some major hail storms and downpours along with the lightning over a period of three days but that must not have been the case elsewhere. Fires started near Hotnarko Lake, down in the Bella Coola Valley and south of us around the Kleena Kleene area. The largest for us was in the saddle between the Itcha and Ilgatchuz Ranges to the north of us, a common place for lightning started fires every year. This fire blew up into a doozy about three days after the storm so it must have just been smoldering for a while until our temperatures heated up again.
I posted several photos on the Facebook page but I’ll post a couple here on the right for those of you that didn’t see them. The fire grew to about 3000 acres over just three or four days and forestry finally brought in a whack of personnel, helicopters bucketing and a bomber. They even set up a fire camp near Six Mile Ranch for guys to help fight the fire. It didn’t make any sense to any of us because usually fires in a park are let go unless they threaten structures, and there is nothing up in that country. However, it turns out that forestry decided they had to save the habitat for the caribou herd up there. It would seem insane that caribou are considered far more important than people when it comes to the fire centre jumping on a fire when you take into consideration that it was a month before they fought the Lonesome Lake fire, even though it burned out John Edwards and threatened Crazy Bear and Charlotte Lake residents. And even then things only ramped up because we got the media involved. I’m pretty sure the caribou herd has seen fires before and in many ways it should benefit their habitat in the long run. I would hate to know what it cost the taxpayer for this little adventure but it would seem that nowadays the environmentalists have a lot more clout than regular old people with homes do.
Campfire bans went on the Thursday before the August long weekend because of the dry weather but they have been lifted as of today. That’s sure going to be nice. It’s been hard to tell our guests they can’t have campfires at the cabin and of course our part time resident neighbours should be starting to filter in soon from parts elsewhere, and what’s a neighbourhood block party without a campfire? :-)
I don’t think anyone minded the bans going on this year, though. Our temperatures were absolutely rocking for a while there hitting 27 to 29C on a regular basis and we actually hit 32C or 90F one day. You already have dry fuels so throw in a heat source and a little wind and it was no surprise that the Itcha Ilgatchuz fire grew as fast as it did. But for the past week it has really cooled down with a chilly little fall breeze starting last week that turned into a full blown gale for two days including yesterday. Today it has finally calmed down and there’s a definite weather change. We were up in the predawn hours this morning covering some of my veggies with plastic because the temperature had dropped to just two degrees above freezing. There was a cold moon and clear sky out there last night so no surprise that the temperature dropped. It would just be nice if it were clear today instead of a lot of cloud hanging around keeping temperatures down. But I guess if nothing else, cooler temperatures make for more pleasant working conditions outside now that we have a little more time for our own projects. We only have a couple of months now before winter hits so we’ve got to get on the stick.
A good friend of mine and her partner came out from the prairies to visit last week, the first time ever since I left Saskatchewan 11 years ago. Because the cabin was booked we had to stuff them into our RV but they seemed okay with that. We took days off from the renovation job to take them out fishing one day and down to Bella Coola another. The fishing was great and the trout are big and fat now. The Bella Coola Valley was pretty as usual and it was fun to show them the Hill. Debra likes taking photos and took some beauties that I look forward to using in the future. She also took some nice photos of the Monarch Ice Field when she and her partner went up flightseeing to Hunlen Falls. Unfortunately, her partner had the camera for the first half of the trip and not a single photo of the falls turned out so that means I still don’t have a good picture of them. Someday I’m going to have to ask my Mom’s partner if he will take me up flying so that I can get some good photos of the waterfalls.
There certainly weren’t much in the way of waterfalls flowing down in the Bella Coola Valley when we were down and even that beautiful little set of falls in the grotto near the Bella Coola Marina was dried up to a bare trickle in the moss. There was only a tiny pool of brackish water at the bottom and some little fish swimming around in it. One more week of no rain and they’ll be gasping for air. We stopped at Clayton Falls and even it had less water going over the rocks than I’ve ever seen before including in the many photos taken of them.
It was shocking to see all of the raspberries on the wild bushes dried out and burned up before they even got a chance to ripen. I know that the valley had hot temperatures for days and weeks when we didn’t, and even broke a few records I think. It’s probably lucky that they ended up with only about three forest fires down there and none threatened structures. We could smell smoke from the Grey Jay Lake fire while we were down there but it had that stale almost ‘burned out’ smell of an old fire. I think from the looks of the radar and forecast on the news hour last night that Bella Coola should be seeing some rain and much cooler temperatures over the next few days so they should be back to normal soon.
One benefit of the hot weather, and now very cool weather with freezing temperatures away from the lake at night is that the bugs are pretty much gone. The mosquitoes haven’t been all that bad in the past week or so but they’re almost non existent now and it should only get better from here on in.
The air is clear of smoke, the fishing is great and the bugs are gone. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

You’ll find July's blog at July 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!
Rocks are rounded from water but bare now.
 
Creek waters exit into the ocean.
 
Picnic tables among the trees.
 
Mountain Peak.
 
Large smoke column from a forest fire.
 
Smoke from a forest fire mushrooms above the hills.
 
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