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 4/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
got an absolute downpour today....again. It started early
this morning and poured off and on all day. We got over
an inch of rain and I know it made our gravel road
so greasy that I was sliding around the corners on my
way out to Nimpo today. It started to clear off
this evening and the sun was even shining on the bright
new snow on the Coast Mountains but a big, black cloud
has moved in over us again from the west. It looks like
it means business.
It's funny, but it looks like we've been inside the cold
side of the Jet Stream, because our temperatures have
been dropping steadily the last two days. Yesterday morning
actually started out gloriously. It was sunny, and reasonably
warm, so I decided computer work wasn't getting done after
all. But by noon I was driven in by a chilly wind and
cloudy skies threatening rain.
Today was cold at 9C or 50F, but it's already down
to 5C or 40F and it's dropping fast. I've already
covered my vegetables but I'm debating whether I should
take my flowers in as well.
Driving home from Nimpo I noticed the Itcha and Ilgatchuz
Mountains have fresh snow on them and they aren't nearly
as high as the Coast Range peaks. The weatherman suggested
on the news tonight that folks in the Cariboo may expect
snow flurries tomorrow at higher elevations. I've got
news for you man...
There were extreme temperature differences on the
weather map today with Williams Lake coming in
10 degrees warmer than Prince George just to the north.
There's quite a difference in temperature depending whether
you were on the north or south side of the Jet Stream
today. Unfortunately, we in the Chilcotin seem to have
chosen the wrong side.
According to statistics for the Lower Mainland, they've
had one of the rainiest Augusts on record. I'm beginning
to think that could apply to us as well. This is usually
the very best month but since there isn't a lot left of
it, I think we'll just give up on it and wait for September.
It has to be better! Hey, but the upside? It's too
cold even for the freaking mosquitoes!
So have any Canadians been watching the news about the
Listeria outbreak? You know, processed meat isn't something
we normally worry about since we rarely ever purchase
it. But since we were having a dinner party Saturday night,
we picked up smokies for the barbecue in Williams Lake.
I knew of course about the Maple Leaf meats and made a
deliberate effort to buy another brand name. It wasn't
until the week progressed and the recall included such
a huge list of brand names I never even knew Maple Leaf
owned, that we started thinking about those smokies. Finally,
I dug the Fletcher's package out of the garbage and looked
at the lot number, just for my own peace of mind. I mean,
if you're going to poison your friends and neighbours,
you should at least warn them. Besides, I had to get Andy
off his jaunt. Every time anything went wrong this
week, whether a bruise, stubbed toe or sore eye, he joked
that we had Listeria.
The smokies of course were fine but then they're talking
about Maple Leaf bacon on the news next. Well jeez, man.
Give me a break! Okay. Check the bacon in the freezer.
Now it's salmonella in cheese in Quebec. To heck with
it.....I give up!
It's a bit of a problem for those of us that live in the
boonies and do our shopping once a month or every six
weeks. Naturally, you freeze everything. So when an outbreak
occurs such as this where meats that left the plant in
June are at fault, and symptoms may not show up for five
weeks, it can be a problem for those people that freeze
a lot of stuff. I consider us fortunate that we don't
eat a great deal of processed food and so I don't
have to go digging through my freezer to check establishment
numbers, but I feel for those that do rely on
the processed stuff. However, I certainly don't think
Maple Leaf foods is at fault. From everything I've ever
read about the 100 year old company, they have an impeccable
record and actually do more than they need to when it
comes to inspections in their plants. So unless something
is found to be totally out of order, I completely sympathize
with the damage this is going to do to them. I think what
really bothers me is the class action suits springing
up all over. I sincerely hope courts looking at the suits
make sure there is evidence of mismanagement or negligence
before allowing the suits to proceed. Jeez. We're becoming
as sue happy a nation as the Americans!
My heart goes out to family members of people who have
died from this, mostly the elderly or immune impaired,
but sometimes things just happen. Listeria,
as I understand it, is a common bacteria in many things
all around us. Sometimes, you just have to accept that
things happen and there isn't anyone you can pin the blame
on. Particularly if in this case, Maple Leaf foods met
and exceeded all the standards set for them. Sometimes
sh!!t just happens.
Have a wonderful Labour Day weekend folks!
The Big Plane
of my favorite planes came in today from Westcoast Air
and I haven't seen it in years. It's a big Twin
Otter turbo prop on floats made by DeHavilland
since the 60's, although production was discontinued in
1988. However, a Canadian company operating out of Victoria
bought the rights to start building the plane again and
an assembly plant was set to go into operation this past
January in Calgary.
Aside from being one of the prettiest planes around
for its size, it has an incredible rate of climb.
In fact, part of its designated name is STOL, which means
short takeoff and landing, and does it ever!
When that thing took off this morning I swear it took
less lake than a Supercub to take off and climbed nearly
straight up and then banked sharply to the south. I'm
assuming the pilot had no passengers on board because
most of them would have left their stomachs on the ground.
Actually, when he came in and while he was refueling I
didn't see any sign of passengers in the windows, so he
was probably driving that plane the way it was designed
The Twin Otter is easily able to operate in temperatures
to -75C or 103 degrees below Fahrenheit. The two
engines make it reliable and safe, it can land and take
off anywhere on floats, skis or wheels, including on gravel
beaches and tundra, seats 20 and is a favorite plane in
the far north and Antarctic. It's even a favorite plane
for skydivers! I just love that plane, especially when
it flies overhead checking Nimpo Lake over before landing.
It sounds like a jet plane. I could put forty pictures
of it on here but I'll try to be good and just put one
on Picture of the Day.
Our dreary weather hasn't improved one bit.
Actually, that's not true. The sun was shining for a little
while this morning so I threw the doors and windows open
because the house was already warm from the fire in the
wood stove all night. Next thing you know it was freezing
in here and everything had to be closed up again. In no
time clouds had covered the sun, a cold wind sprang up
and it turned nasty. Even the birds were fluffed up today.
Our feeder is presently being mobbed by a whole bunch
of immature blackbirds. They all look pretty fat anyway
but they looked even more so with their fluffed up feathers.
Much as I would like to feed them up before they head
south, I'm letting the feeder run out of seed. Otherwise,
past experience has shown that they just won't
leave and get caught here when it turns cold.
I had a good walk today and was sorry I hadn't taken my
ear muffs. I know, it's August, but you wouldn't know
it and there's no improvement expected before the weekend!
Which reminds me. I guess there's a long weekend coming
up. I didn't realize Labour Day fell on the first this
year so it snuck up on me. Hope you're all planning a
last kick at the cat before summer is over. Vacation wise,
In any case, as I mentioned before I have a bunch of work
to do. It has taken me most of the day to find my desk
under the pile of stuff on it, so I no longer have an
excuse to not get to it. I may try to write tomorrow and
then take the weekend off from articles to work at something
that actually brings in a pay cheque. I don't know about
us but it looks like you folks on the south coast are
going to have a pretty decent weekend weather wise, so
have a good one!
Surely Not Winter Yet!
freezing our Wellington's off here folks! I was
working late last night and didn't get a chance to start
a fire. As a result, getting up this morning felt like
we were back in the winter season already, and it was
Our neighbours stopped over for a few minutes and we were
wandering around outside for only a short time, but with
heavy overcast, a blustery breeze and a low temperature,
you sure didn't want to stay out long. Yeech!
I got a chill picking up some lumber for the greenhouse
and couldn't shake it so I didn't even go for a walk this
afternoon. It was just too miserable out and way too early
for winter to start but it sure felt like it!
When I was driving along the highway today I noticed quite
a few of the shorter aspen that were in low lying areas
where the frost settles had already turned yellow, seemingly
overnight. And as I drove by the mill the smoke was only
barely coming out of the burner and it was already headed
for the ground, that's how heavy the air was.
It threatened to rain all day but only spit a little here
and there but it was definitely snowing in the mountains
off and on all day. It's at 4.6C or about 39F
out there right now and I don't know if it'll freeze tonight
or not. There was heavy cloud cover earlier so you wouldn't
expect it to, but it was supposed to get windy tonight
and that generally clears things out. In that case, it
will definitely freeze. Which is why I covered everything
up tonight. Last night I took my flower pots into the
garage and didn't even bother taking them out of there
today. I'm pretty sure I heard the Petunias croak
a thank you as I went by this afternoon. I don't
blame them. I didn't want to be out there today, either.
The only consolation is that most regions around the province
are reporting below normal temperatures as well.
I sure don't know what's happened to our normally fabulous
weather in this country. I hate to jump on a crowded bandwagon
but I sure have to wonder about the climate change thing.
This is starting to get a little ridiculous. I can see
it being possible to have a wet year in 2005, and '07,
but another this summer? Three out of four cool, wet summers
just is not the norm for the Chilcotin. Remember, we're
in the Coastal Mountain rain shadow and on a high, arid
plateau. Or at least we're supposed to be. And I
don't count four days plus four days of hot weather as
our definition of summer. This sucks. Either someone
slid the Chilcotin off the plateau and we didn't notice,
or Mother Nature's really PO'd at us!
Oh well, maybe we'll have a nice, long, warm fall.
If this kind of weather keeps up for a few more years,
there will be a definable trend. Cool, wet summers, and
slightly warmer winters with higher snowfall. In other
words, more moisture all around. And if this keeps up,
it shouldn't take too many years before we start seeing
a shift in vegetation. Oddly, one contradiction
to our weather has been in the activity of the beavers.
They completely blocked a culvert under the highway this
spring, and there's a lake where there never was before.
Too, they've reduced the Dean River to less than a trickle.
It made a lot of sense when we got that little hot spell
and I figured it indicated a hot summer because they seem
to do a lot more damming if the weather is going to be
extremely dry. But it would seem their weather forecasting
is as unreliable as our own. Or maybe it just means there's
a bloody cold winter coming and they don't want their
lodges or runs frozen out.
Anyway, that's the weather update for today and there
isn't much else to report so I'll keep it short tonight.
Nature appears to be reading the wrong calendar of late.
It's supposed to be August!
According to the rain gauge, we only got about another
half inch of rain yesterday, which surprises me considering
how hard it came down. I'm assuming it was much worse
out quadding yesterday since Andy came in looking like
a drowned rat, and that was after he had
dried out some while having lunch at Gus's Meadow with
everyone else. He tossed his jack shirt to me in a plastic
bag and it was soaking wet. I think that was after he
had wrung it out too. Same with everything else, like
his gloves. It sounds like everyone got pretty wet and
cold which is why they had turned back initially from
going all the way up Charlotte Main and decided to hole
up at the meadow. I'm beginning to think that only having
one four wheeler in this household might not be a bad
The temperature dropped pretty good last night with
only one degree above frost this morning. Water
on three sides of us is the only thing that saved my plants
because I didn't cover them. But talking to someone at
Anahim Lake today, he said he was scraping frost off his
windows this morning and apparently it froze quite hard
on Charlotte Lake as well, so I got lucky.
Today was quite cool with mixed sun and cloud and a ruddy
chilly breeze. If you were in the sun and out of the wind,
it was quite pleasant. Otherwise, it was jacket weather
for most of the day. I had three layers on when I started
out on my walk this afternoon. You warm up after awhile
of course, especially in the protection of the trees,
but it definitely had that fall feel. I expect the
leaves away from the lake will start turning pretty soon.
The aspens are often yellow by the first of September.
So we finally fired up our new toy this evening. We purchased
a new generator in town on Thursday but it's been sitting
in the back of the truck until now while we got other
things done. Andy got it together and running after supper
and we just tried it out on our water pump that draws
from the lake for our sprinklers in the yard. Fired right
up! It's pretty exciting because now we finally have a
gen set big enough to run part of the household and
the water during a power outage.
We had been disappointed in the generator we bought before
because it just wasn't big enough to start up either water
pumps. We can always do without anything else if we have
to but the water pump was one thing I did want operable
in the case of an outage. Not that we don't have lake
water available a few feet from the door, but it's a pain
to pack it for toilets, shower, and kitchen, etc. Ha!
Listen to me talk! I was raised without running water
and spent well into my 30's without it and here I'm complaining
about having to haul water for a few hours or days. Still,
it is a pain and we had another concern.
In case of a power outage during a forest fire,
or because of a fire, we wanted to be able to keep sprinklers
running on the property continuously and we can do that
Sadly, we only learned from a Charlotte Lake resident
two days after we picked up this generator that we could
have gotten a bigger one, used very little, for a lot
less money. Such is life. You have to have bad luck some
Well folks, it's cold enough in my office that I'm contemplating
starting a fire in the stove tonight. We had to have one
last night and I expect it will be the same tonight. Just
to let you know, blogs in the near future may be sporadic.
The pile of stuff on my desk that needs to be done has
reached epic proportions and a couple of phone calls today
verified that it isn't going to go away. Having poor weather
is probably a good thing because I'm less likely to sneak
outside to play in the dirt for the day and more likely
to face up to the mess on my desk. Sometimes I just wish
the dog would come in and eat my homework!
The Long Absence
Sunday Folks! It's been pretty busy around here
which is why there's been no blog. We made a day run into
Williams Lake Thursday which means you're on a dead run
from early morning to late evening and dead beat when
you get home. And the last couple of days has been busy
with getting ready to put on a barbecue for some of the
Charlotte Lake folks and Nimpo Lake people, including
our soon to be new neighbours. That's how we bribe
people to move out here. We feed them full of
good southern cooking!
The weather has been really dreary ever since it changed
last week. It's been trying to rain off and on for
the past few days, although to date we still only
have about 3/4 of an inch of rain at most. We sure haven't
seen a lot of sun so I'm thinking fire season is officially
over unless we get an unusually hot September. That's
not impossible. We got a limited draw entry for moose
this fall and invariably when that happens, we're hunting
in hot weather.
Andy got the forms off of the footings for the greenhouse
and it looks pretty darn spiffy. Although I think that
most people might laugh when they see it. It might
be a bit overbuilt for a greenhouse with 16" footings
and a short wall on top of that. But that's how
Andy likes to build things and admittedly, very little
ever moves with the frost around here. If it had been
me I would have just used beams on gravel and left room
for the glass to move if the beams shifted, but then I
always did build in a more half-assed manner. It comes
of being raised in the boonies where you made do with
whatever you had and cement wasn't something we ever had.
So...the Beijing Olympics are officially over today
and Canada made a pretty poor showing. On the
one hand, that's to be expected when you're competing
with the Chinese in their own country. Their strict training
regimen from a very young age for their athletes has a
resounding familiarity to the Russian training program
during the Cold War years. While I don't necessarily agree
with that type of training, the Canadian government has
long gone the other way with little or no support for
We were shocked to learn that so many of our athletes
would never have made it to Beijing if their communities
hadn't put the funds together through fundraisers to send
them. Night after night on the news yet another
story would be aired about how an athlete went to the
Olympics solely because of the good hearted generosity
of their communities, not the Canadian Government!
What the hell goes on here?
I understand that since they are amateur athletes they
can't accept money in a manner that a professional athlete
could, but these people work their butts off all of their
lives for that one chance to make their country proud,
and we can't pay for them to go to Beijing? We see
our tax dollars wasted on garbage and pay hikes for our
bureaucrats but we can't pay for our athletes' transportation?
For that matter, the lottery corporation is supposed to
be handing out money to sports programs. How about holding
back a million or so dollars every week on the 649 draw
for things like this instead of giving it out to prize
winners? It's a pretty sad commentary on our country when
we can't do better than we did in the Olympics and I think
you can lay the blame almost entirely on the Government's
lack of funding.
There was a news item about a girl with Cerebral palsy
that was going into the Special Olympics in Beijing but
would not be able to go because transport of her
horse alone was something like $21,000 as she
competes in dressage. As most people probably realize,
dressage is one of the toughest disciplines in the world
and few hale and hearty people can manage it, much less
someone with Cerebral palsy! And we can't pay for her
to go? Fortunately, her community raised the funds necessary
to send her and her horse to China. A remarkable feat
for a community, and a really, really sad show of support
from our nation's government.
Two doctors have quit in Ashcroft because they are overworked,
clocking in 130 hours a week and just can't do it anymore.
Our health care system is in the toilet, more and more
communities are losing their hospitals and emergency services,
our roads are falling apart, the number of homeless on
the streets increase every day, and we're all taxed to
death. Just where is our tax dollars going, anyway?
Oh yeah, that's right. Our top heavy government keeps
on giving itself pay increases. For what!!???
The United States is in no better shape so perhaps Democracy
is not the be all end all when it comes to a form of government.
And we wondered what happened to the Roman Empire....I
think the answer to our future is staring us in the face
unless things change drastically in this century.
On to more fun stuff. Well, maybe not so fun for those
involved. Everyone was going up on the mountain
on quads today. The weather looked kind of iffy
because you could see storms rolling in over the mountains
but Andy and our neighbours took off from here when it
looked like it was clearing up. The kids from the store
were going to meet them a little later up there but the
guys just radioed back to say they were stopping at the
shack at Gus's meadow because it was pouring rain and
then they will return home if it doesn't clear up. Unfortunately,
I couldn't catch Richard and Leah before they left so
I'm hoping they don't find themselves alone up in the
alpine in this weather. With any luck they'll keep an
eye out for tracks and see where everyone has gone. The
rain at Gus's Meadow finally hit here and it's pretty
black and just pouring out there so it won't be pleasant.
Okay! Just got a call from the kids and they turned back
because it was raining so hard and they were cold and
wet, so that's a good thing! It's definitely a deluge
out there and Andy will be wet, cold and a very unhappy
camper when he gets in!
I just checked on our cabin because it's raining so hard
and there are a few leaks around the screws holding down
the old tin roof. It was never a concern before because
the battleship linoleum on the floor could take anything,
but since we've just laid a new laminate floor, it really
can't take the moisture. There are a couple of leaks but
I put covering down under them so it should hold up okay.
I guess that means that project 4653, putting on a new
roof, may have to be moved up a notch. More work!
I'm posting the more modern pictures of Rimarko Ranch
taken by John and Blair a week ago up on the right, so
I've started a new week so you'll find last week's articles
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!