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Wilderness Adventures - Dec., Week One/2008

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' about the Lakesounds just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.

07/12/2008 1:50 PM


This is a continuation of Search and Rescue stories sent to me by Floyd Vaughan who flew in the Chilcotin for years.

- "One search I was on was for Jimmy Stilas who was chief of the Ulkatcho Band at that time. Jimmy was one of the better chiefs, and had a trap line down the Dean above Salmon River. The band office called me and wanted me to go look for him as he hadn't came back to Anahim when he was supposed to.
I flew down to his cabin on the Dean River but couldn't land there because the river there was still open, and I was on skis. I could tell that no one was there as there was about three inches of fresh snow, and no tracks except older snow machine tracks going every direction. With no smoke showing in any direction I started to follow the snow machine tracks, as best I could toward Tanya Lake.
The tracks were really hard to follow through the trees, and with the fresh snow on top of them. After about two hours I tracked them to Tanya Lake by circling back about 50 times to find the tracks again. He had been checking his trap line and the tracks went all over the place, so after around three hours I had to return to Nimpo for fuel.
While I was getting fuel I notified the band office, and they sent some guys down river with snow machines to try and help follow the tracks. When I got back to where I left off I followed the tracks back towards the river, and Jimmy's cabin for another two hours circling until I was almost dizzy. After I was nearly back to the river I come out on this small lake, and couldn't find where the snow machine left the lake. After looking for about 15 minutes I decided the snow machine had came onto the lake but hadn't left it as far as I could tell.
There was no smoke or camp and no hole in the ice which left me wandering where it could have gone. I touched down on the lake a few times to test the ice, and each time I broke through into water, and couldn't tell if it was lake water or overflow. After a while I spotted something on the ice, and after bumping it with one of the skis I knocked the snow off it and could see that it was a thermos bottle laying on top of the ice, so could speculate that the snow machine had gone through the ice. I figured Jimmy had swam as long as he could, and being unable to get up on the ice he had tossed the thermos bottle on top of the ice before he gave up. They got some divers in two days later and found him and the snow machine in only eight feet of water under the ice right where the thermos was laying.

The next search I was on was for Ken Keran when he was guiding for Lester Dorsey. Lester was camped at Tom Matthew's place just below Satie Cahoose's, and had sent Ken on a day hunt with two American hunters.
When I got the call I flew down to their camp, and found out they were hunting north of the Dean River with just a saddle horse each. They had taken only a lunch for that day with no sleeping bags, and had been gone three days by now.
I started looking between the Dean River and Gatcho Lake along all the old wagon trails, and the many meadows and swamps. After several hours with no success I went west along a string of lakes ending up at the outlet of Segutlet Lake. This was so far away and through such bad country, and miles of wind fall that I thought there was no way they could be here but decided to fly the shore line anyway.
Segutlet is a big lake about 15 miles long so after flying the south shore to the west end I turned east, and started down the north shore. I hadn't gone three miles when I seen a smoke at the east end of the lake, so when I got there they were all waving their arms and jumping up and down.
After I landed I asked Ken if he knew where he was and he said he did, so I ask, "Where?" and he didn't have a clue. They hadn't had anything to eat for two days so I opened my survival kit and gave them some granola and candy bars. In Ken's defense I know that the country he was in is real confusing if you can't see the sun or stars for days on end. After the three of them had something to eat I took Ken up so he could see how to get back to the Dean River with the horses, then flew the hunters back to camp. They seemed glad to see a sleeping bag and Lester's stew. I then took some grub to Ken as it would take him two days to get back with all the wind fall he had to go through.
For years after Ken would never admit he was lost, but did say that he was real glad to see the airplane land. Pan Philips told me he had never been lost either, but that he was kind of confused one time for about a week." -

Now that sounds like Pan. Thanks Floyd!

We got some really wet, sloppy snow last night that froze instantly onto whatever surface it lit on. That included our satellite receiver for our Internet that had to be cleaned off twice because we lost the signal, even though the snow didn't last for long and there wasn't much of it. The beauty of it though, is that it froze to all the ice around here, and has provided great traction as a result.
Walking was a breeze today compared to yesterday and even our main road is now in excellent shape for driving where yesterday, Andy said he was sliding all over the place coming in from the highway from town. This will give the Highways guys a breather.
I've managed to miss the news and weather for a couple of days so I don't know what we're supposed to be getting but I know some people that are going to be very disappointed that there wasn't more snow.
Anahim Lake Community Hall had their Christmas Cabaret last night. Since they were borrowing some tables from our Hall I actually knew about it but completely forgot to mention it in here. I'm sorry about that folks! But just to redeem myself, the Christmas Craft Fair is on December 13th (next Saturday) and will be held at the A.L. Community Hall. (I wondered what happened to holding it at the school?)
The Anahim Lake School concert is being held on December 17th at the school, and the Christian Academy Concert is being held on the 18th. Everyone welcome! I'll post these dates on the newsletter section as well.
For the locals, don't forget about the general meeting at the Hall tomorrow night to discuss the purchase of tables and chairs. It might not hurt to get a few volunteers to help out with the New Year's party, either. Speaking of which, Anahim Lake has a New Year's party scheduled as well but I haven't heard whether it's actually going to be put on.
06/12/2008 3:00 PM

Looking For The Lost

More great stories about Search and Rescue in the Chilcotin from Floyd Vaughan.

- "The next time I was involved in a search it was for Rodger and Wanda for one of their hunters on the Ulkatcho mountains. Rodger had been trying to track the hunter for two days when they called me.
I think what happened was that Rodger told the hunter to stay on this stand, and when he came back he was gone. Rodger found his horse later that day but no hunter, so the next day they called me to look with the helicopter.
I flew almost all day with no luck, and no smoke. About sundown I came over this little opening and saw two people waving at me so I landed. Rodger had tracked him down and found him about twenty minutes earlier and all was OK. The hunter had seen me flying over many times but for some reason he would hide, not wanting people to know he was lost.
The Sager boys and some of their friends decided to go up on the Ulkatcho mountains one winter on a snow machine trip. When they didn't show up by dark, Bryce Sager called me to see if I could find them.
I got up on the mountain with the Cessna 180 just as it was getting full dark, but there was a good moon so I could see fairly well. It didn't take long to track them up to the bottom of a steep canyon where there were dozens of fight holes in the snow where they had been trying to get out of the canyon.
(Fight holes are bad stucks.) They looked pretty beat so since I couldn't land there I dropped some grub and matches, and went back to Nimpo to tell Bryce the good news.
Later that night, Wayne Escott and some others went up there with snow machines and got them out of the canyon, and home. Then there was the search for a twin engine Islander Aircraft with about six Europeans on board. After it was missing for about a month I got this call from the wife of one of the passengers wanting me to look for it. The airplane was missing between Smithers and Vancouver, and the Air Sea Rescue search ended after about two weeks.
When I got the call from the woman in England she told me that a medium or crystal ball gazer had talked to her dead husband and told her where the airplane had crashed. She had me fly to the place to have a look, explaining what the country looked like, and the latitude and longitude on the map. This went on for over six months with a flight about every week. Mostly I used the twin engine Baron because it was so much faster getting to the places she wanted me to look.
Over the months the bills added up to over $12,000 and I never saw anything. She always paid promptly and never complained when I never found anything. After about six months she finally gave up and I never heard any more from her. I always looked where she wanted me to, even though I didn't believe in what she was doing.
Then there was Darcy Christenson and the time he ran out of gas in the Ulkatcho Mountains which I covered in the other writing I did for the grandkids. I also did several other searches for him, all turning out o.k.
One time when he went missing I found his airplane above timberline on the Itcha Mountains, and couldn't see anyone around so radioed back my position and landed to investigate. I was in the Cessna 180 J.C.Q. which wasn't as good an airplane in deep snow, and on steep slopes, as Darcy's Scout.
After I landed and found no one around, and ski tracks of two people leaving towards Anahim, I decided to try to follow the tracks in the snow with the airplane. After I got myself dug out and turned back down slope, which took about an hour and a half, I got off and followed the tracks to about a mile below timberline where I lost them in the trees.
About four hours later, Darcy and his girl friend made it to 4 mile and got a ride to Anahim. The problem was that he had a bad battery, and couldn't get the airplane started, and the Lycoming engine can't be hand propped after the starter is engaged. He took the battery out and packed it all the way back to 4 mile about eight miles. Afterwards I got him a good battery and took him back up to get his airplane.
Darcy and I had always had this agreement that if one of us went missing, we would keep looking no mater how long it took, and would not let the cost of the search have any influence on how long it took. Darcy and I were good friends all through the years, even though we were fierce competitors in the fur buying and flying for people in the bush. " - Thanks Floyd!

If we thought we had a mess yesterday weather wise, it isn't much better today. It started raining in earnest in the middle of the night and the result is everything covered in a sheet of ice. Walking today was downright difficult because both the road and back trails are glazed with ice.
It was as thick as pea soup out there with all the moisture in the air this morning. The trees were dripping and it took a long time for the sun to burn through the fog. When it did, it was usually a shortlived event before the fog would come rolling back in again. Now we have clouds coming in so I don't know if we'll get snow or not. The temperature is sitting right around freezing so it's possible. I understand Prince George got about 30 cm of snow while Quesnel got a foot and even Kelowna got freezing rain yesterday.

05/12/2008 3:00 PM

Search and Rescue

I'm delighted to have received some Search and Rescue stories from Floyd Vaughan today. It couldn't have come at a better time because I also received a complaint that I'm writing too much about the present political situation and in the past, the RCMP. I hope there aren't a lot of you out there that feel that way, and if so, I apologize.
Floyd Vaughan has been a long time pilot in this country and has a lot of stories to tell. Sometimes I would love to get into his head and write the series of books that I know are in there. He sent me several stories and printing them all today would take up too much space, so I'll just split them up and print them over the next few days. They're awesome and very much what this country is about. Thanks Floyd!!

- "The first search I was on was for Murray Vanoy who lived on the Blackwater, between the Home Ranch and Eliguk Lake. Murray had a family of two boys about 7 and 9 and two girls about 3 and 5 years. He had filed on a place about ten miles northeast of their place on the Blackwater just east of Laidman Lake.
I think it was spring 1971 that I got a call that Murray was missing between the two places where he was cutting trail. I flew out and followed the trail he was cutting, and after about an hour I found a tractor upside down on the trail. I couldn't see anyone around, but figured he must be under the tractor. I couldn't land anyplace close so had a helicopter come up from Bella Coola with a doctor. The helicopter pilot had me go with him so he could find the place, but by the time we got there it was starting to get dark, and the pilot said he couldn't stay more than ten minutes.
The tractor was in a swamp, and it was late spring with the mosquitoes swarming real bad, and the doctor had city shoes on. After wading through the six inches of water and swamp we found Murray under the tractor with just his head above water. The doctor was fighting the mosquitoes real hard but had a quick look at him and said he was dead.
When we got back to the helicopter they decided to come back the next day to get Murray out. I didn't go the next day, but Dr. Vanderminne the coroner said that when they got there the next day, Murray had only been dead about an hour. Nothing ever came of it but the other doctor had been in such a hurry to get out of there that he misdiagnosed the situation.
The next search I was on was for a fisherman I had taken to upper Kluskus Lake (Ghost Lake) with two other guys.
When I went to pick them up one of them wasn't there, and we couldn't find him. I flew until dark but still couldn't find him so took the other two back to Tshaca Lake Lodge, and told
everyone we would try again the next day.
After we had looked for over a week, and his friends had landed their twin engine airplane on the strip at Tshaca with gear up, we decided to get some help.
We went down to Antone Babtiste's place on the east end of Tshaca, and offered his family five hundred dollars to find the lost fisherman. The next day they brought him into the lodge a little hungry, and with a gray beard but otherwise in good shape. The old guy was 86 years old, and had wandered off to pick berries and couldn't find the lake after that. He had lived for all that time on berries and water. It was a good thing that it was in the fall of the year with lots of berries or he wouldn't have made it. I think some of the nights were a bit cold for him, but he seemed in high spirits and good health." -

Okay, more tomorrow, folks!
We've had a real dog's breakfast for weather here this morning.
Andy went out really early this morning headed for Williams Lake. Not long after 6:30 he was back. There was freezing rain last night and in talking to the highways guys, they were doing their best to try and get sand on the highway but with a road temperature of -6C the rain was freezing instantly. Andy made it nearly to Towdystan when he noticed the road was even shinier than before and decided to try his brakes on it to see how slippery it was. The truck just kept on going down the middle of the highway like he had no brakes at all. He got turned around and made his way back home. Since Andy's a truck driver from way back, for you, me, and the general populace, we might as well just stay in bed because if he had to turn around, the rest of us wouldn't have had a hope. I know that when I went outside this morning, even the gravel had a layer of ice on it and you could barely walk on it.
Andy went back out before eleven and finally made it into town after two. He said it had rained so hard at Alexis Creek that it had formed an ice sheet probably about an inch thick, and where the rain had run onto the shoulders of the highway, it had frozen instantly into a thick layer of ice.
Since the new contractors took over Highways about three years ago, their head office has refused to allow them to use mag or salt because it's more expensive than sand. All they have is barely enough salt mixed into the sand to keep it from freezing into a solid block in the back of the trucks. But in a case like this, it's just not enough to make the sand stick to the road. Had they poured the salt or mag to it, it would have burned that ice right off. As it was, Andy said they had tried using plows and ice scrapers on a grader to break up the ice to little effect. Not particularly cost effective either. It's a mystery to me as to why the government puts so much emphasis on drinking driving counter attacks but won't force the contractors to make the roads safer to drive in winter.
Williams Lake got snow and then freezing rain on top of it which probably slowed our mail guy down, as did Highway 20. He had to put chains on just to drop the mail off at Alexis Creek and he was pretty late getting here today. When I was up getting the mail at Nimpo he fired back past the post office on his way to Williams Lake, which means he only went as far as Anahim Lake and not to Bella Coola. Either the highway in that direction is closed or he was warned to not even try the Bella Coola Hill. Can't say I blame him for that! That is not a road you want to be on if it's glazed over with ice because there isn't a lot between you and the river a 1000 feet below.
I understand that the RCMP have warned people to stay off the road between Clinton and Williams Lake because of freezing rain as well, so this is a big, messy system that's rolled in.
It got up over 6C or a balmy 43 degrees Fahrenheit today and it's been spitting rain off and on all day. There's a lot of water laying on the ice in front. It'll make for awesome ice skating and be as smooth as a baby's bum if it doesn't snow before it's safe to walk on the ice. That scenario is highly unlikely though judging from what's coming in over the mountains.
A neighbour told someone who has been my walking partner since the grizzly bears have been around, that he thought there was bear scat at the top of his driveway. We took a close look at it when we went out today but I didn't see any bear tracks. There were rose hips that had been half eaten and dropped on the snow, which had stained it red. But without any other sign, I'm guessing it was a grouse or fox that did it. I'm hoping, anyway. I lose my walking partner for a month next week so I'll be on my own. We didn't see any fresh sign in the woods, although it will have been hard to see any on the frozen track.
04/12/2008 3:47 PM

The Unholy Alliance

Political disaster has been averted in Canada for now since the Governor General has agreed to allow Stephen Harper to suspend Parliament until the budget is tabled in January. It was to be expected as it's rare for a Prime Minister to ask for a Parliamentary suspension and the wish is always granted when they do. However, it will all start over again at the end of January so my preference would have been for an election call.
It was bitterly cold today. Not so much because of the temperature, because it actually made it up to -3C again today, but it sure didn't feel like it! There was a vicious little breeze that could chill you to the bone in no time! I suspect that the still open water on Nimpo Lake is very close to the freezing temperature, so the wind is carrying that damp cold right to us. As a result, I didn't go for a walk today. I wanted to, but every time I stepped outside for a moment to test the temperature, I just could not get up the nerve to face that wind. It has teeth!
It was just short of -14C or 6.8F when I went to bed last night but had warmed up a degree or so by this morning. While it was clear as a bell with a cold moon last night, we had pretty heavy overcast today. So the sun never did break through to warm things up. Too bad it didn't. That lake will have just been booming with the sun warming up the surface of the ice. It'll be interesting to see if we actually get some of the snow predicted for the province, or if it will pass us by yet again.
This is a short one today. We've got to go out this evening, and I still need to get some work done.

03/12/2008 6:47 PM


I see that pack of piranhas in Ottawa are still intent on tearing down the sitting government. Do you know, it wouldn't matter to me if it was the Conservatives trying to form a coalition with the NDP and the Bloc, or as it is now with the Liberals doing it, but regardless of anyone's political stance, what's happening in Canada right now is very simply wrong. And it would seem that a great many Canadians feel the same way, reacting with an anger that is unprecedented which is why I feel another election should be called. Because right now, I think that Harper would finally get his majority. People that normally don't even vote conservative are siding with Harper on this one, as do I. I don't think in a time of economic crisis that the country can afford an unstable government, and that's the most polite description I have for what those three parties would be if they formed a coalition.
I don't think Harper is on the right track asking the Governor General to suspend parliament for two months until he can table a budget at the end of January. He's still going to have a fight on his hands then against the parties trying to tear down his government. They will continue to trot out the "Confidence Vote" for so long as he has a minority government, so he's always going to face this. Better to face it now when he has a large, angry, Canadian majority backing him, and before he loses the impetus he has gained.
Floyd sent me a great email that perfectly describes what's happening now. The kind of thing to make you shake your head and wonder what happened to this once great country that we live in. I don't know who the author is or I would give them credit here, but it's well done!

- Political Coup???
Let me see if I have this all straight.

The NDP had already hatched a plan for a bloodless coup díetat prior to the economic statement by Mr. Flaherty.

It apparently didnít matter that Canadians just voted and elected Mr. Harper.

Mr. Layton doesnít care that we just had a $300 million election.

Mr. Dion announced his intention to step down, but the coup will put him into the Prime Ministerís office even though he got the fewest votes of any Liberal since Confederation.

The Bloc Quebecois holds the balance of power and the key to government stability.

Hang on, do I have this right? Mr. Duceppe is the defacto Prime Minister in this game of political monopoly?

So, to recap: Mr. Harper won, but really lost the election. Mr. Layton lost, but actually won. Mr. Dion quit but is going to be Prime Minister. And Mr. Duceppe is laughing his backside off because he is the one who is really in charge of the stability of Canadian government while being committed to breaking up the country.

Hmmm. I just wanted to make sure I understood all of it. Welcome to our new banana republic Ė land of the political wing-nuts." -

That pretty much sums it up. Sad, isn't it? That those bunch of yahoos could take Canada down to a level that you would expect from a third world country.
On to nicer subjects because we can pretty much kiss our country goodbye for now.
The ice is still growing on Nimpo Lake and there isn't a lot of the Main Arm left that isn't frozen over. The lake has been making a lot of noise the last couple of nights but last night it was just howling. I love that eerie alien wail that you get under the ice. There's just no sound like it!
We're all still hoping the cold will hold for a couple of weeks for good ice, but there is a low pressure system winding down from the north that's supposed to bring snow over the weekend. Whether it will miss us or not is another matter. The temperature dipped below -13C last night and never got above -3C again today. We had a lot of cloud until this afternoon so the air took a while to warm up. Still, it eventually turned into a sunny day, albeit a cold one.

02/12/2008 6:51 PM

The Chill Down

Talk about a reversal in weather! Our balmy temperatures have done flown the coop and have been replaced by downright chilly ones. Last night it went to -12C or 10 degrees Fahrenheit and never got above -3C or 27 F at the warmest part of the day, and even as early in the evening as it is now, it's already -10C. I don't know what it's going to go down to tonight but I suspect it's going to be bloody cold.
The nice thing about weather like this is that invariably it brings sunshine with it. So even on a walk with the neighbour today, though it might be crisp and cold, you've got that sunshine and it can make all the difference in the world to your mood.
When I got up this morning I would have sworn the lake was completely frozen over. Even studying the Main Arm carefully through binoculars, it was so still that it looked frozen. The sun was reflecting off of ice shards that were obviously not moving, so it had to be frozen! Then I saw a fish jump. Well okay then. Unless that fish jumped through the ice, the Main Arm wasn't frozen. Still, it was afternoon when a breeze came up and ruffled the surface of the water, that you could be sure it wasn't frozen. There must have been broken ice floating in the water, but not moving when I looked in the morning, which is what the sun was reflecting off of. Just as well, freeze up this week would be a week too early at least. Besides, there's snow predicted for Friday and like I do every year, I'm hoping we get good ice without it being snowed on too early.
The last two years the ice has been just terrible, especially for cross country skiing. There's nothing like skiing over a spider hole to get your heart thumping. Since we've received less snow this year than the last two Novembers, I'm hoping that we're back to a normal cycle. Mind you, with global warming, what's normal?
Things are going to get a little rough on the wildlife now. My walking partner and I cut through the woods on an unbroken trail today. There isn't that much snow, but what there is we were breaking through while the dogs were walking on the crust on top. That bodes ill for moose and caribou if that's happening already. Most other places around Nimpo, including Anahim Lake, have far more snow than we do so it's going to be a long, hard winter for the game unless we get a couple of feet of the fluffy stuff to slow the wolves and coyotes down.
Our unfortunate thawing and freezing cycle has made it pretty icy everywhere. Walking down the road means finding patches of gravel, patches of snow, or gingerly balancing on the packed ice where necessary. Driving is even worse. I travel our road pretty slowly most of the time, but especially when it's icy because we've got some wicked corners. I found myself doing an unintentional four wheel drift across the road a couple of times today and another neighbour said she thought sure she was headed for the ditch. She's got excellent ice tires on and was driving slower than she normally does, but the only thing that stopped her from going off a corner was her tire caught some dirt on the edge of the road.
I called the head of our highway maintenance crew late this afternoon and was super pleased with the results. He said there was a truck scheduled to sand our road right about the time of my phone call, then called me back tonight to inform me that the job had been completed. Wow, can't ask for more than that! You guys have got my salute!
I know that Highways hesitates to sand gravel roads, especially ones that have had calcium put on them, because as I understand it, salted sand really fouls them up. We rarely see conditions like this in the fall, but sometimes, you just have to put something on to break that hard packed ice down a bit. Even if the sand does nothing more than embed itself in the ice to give us a little traction.
1/12/2008 6:02 PM

The Christmas Month

Well, like it or not, it's here. The Christmas month is upon us. I think that everyone has mixed feelings about Christmas. Actually, maybe not. I know some people that live for Christmas. It's their favorite time of year and they eat, breath, drink, and shop Christmas. That's wonderful if you're in that category. I'm not.
To me, Christmas is a time of year that most people really can't afford. No matter how hard you try, I think that you spend more money at that time of year than any other, no matter how well you budget. I think that we all budget for gifts, or most of us anyway, but it's hard to budget for those little things that sneak up on you. You can make allowance for the extra food, snacks, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. But I never seem to make enough of an allowance. Maybe because I never know how many extra dinners I might make or even how many people I'm going to invite over. I can cook like a hot damn but I'm no Martha Stewart when it comes to organizing a dinner. I cook, you eat. That's it. I don't do meal planning ahead of time. I just decide what I'm going to make and I make sure that there's lots of it, as well as lots of wine of both colors, beer, and one of each of the most common hard liquors available, and that's as fancy as it gets. Maybe that's why I go over budget at Christmas. Lack of planning.
We go to the grocery store to do our shopping, and of course this time of year there's all kinds of extra goodies out, so you get a little of this and a little of that. Not much by most people's standards I guess, but still, it adds up. Then there's the odd few people that I deal with in business for whom I get a card and something sticky, gooey, and really bad for you. I suppose I could write that sort of thing off against my business but always forget to, just as I always forget to budget for it. Oh yeah, and don't forget the token boxes of candy or cool little gifts that you have to keep, "Just in case." Of course you usually never need them so if it's chocolates, you eat them even if you don't need them, and the gifts get donated to the next bingo or spot dance we have at the hall. Didn't budget for that stuff either. The same goes for replacement bulbs you need for strings of lights, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and postage for same, and the stocking stuffers. Little stuff, but it all adds up.
We're pretty fortunate because our gifts don't go on credit card or if they do, it's all paid off before the next bill. But I know that there are a lot of people out there where that is not the case. Especially people with families where there's expectation on their children's' part for presents to be under the tree on Christmas morning. Sadly, this year is going to be tough on a lot of families where one or both parents are out of work or expect to be in the near future, victims of the new economic times. There's been a lot of reporting on the television about that this year and there are different stories. Most people said they would be cutting back on spending, and some, like one woman, said they would be doing without for themselves in order to still buy gifts for their children. Okay. That's cool if it works for you. But I guess the ones that are in the scariest position of all are those parents that say they'll have to go deeper in debt to buy for their children. That's just not a good thing. While it might be tough to explain to your children why there are fewer presents under the tree this year, it might also teach your children fiscal responsibility. If they can learn from you that when times are tough, you have to cut back on the frills, it will pay them back many times over when they are adults out on their own. I realize that a lot of those kids 'NEED' that iPod, or Xbox or Wii, but they really don't. What they need is clothes and shoes to wear to school. That's all they actually need.
I know that parents want to give to their children. And I realize that it's really hard on them when they can't. Especially if their kids know how to lay the Smith and Jones guilt trip on them. "But Bobby down the street got a brand new snow board!!! How come I didn't???!!" Well, let's see. How about Bobby's daddy is a police officer and isn't likely to lose his service industry or factory job anytime soon?
Everyone wants to do right by their kids. After all, that's why you have them. Not to deprive them, but to give to them. But the way I look at it, if you've given your child the same opportunities as any other to go on to be a hardworking, useful adult, then you've done your duty by that child regardless of your income range. Not giving your kid the latest gimmick in technology is not depriving your child. Not being able to pay the light bill or put wholesome food on the table because you had to buy that gift for that child is depriving you of self esteem. It takes a lot of guts to tell your kids that you can't afford to buy them Christmas presents, but most of the children I have known throughout my life can be a lot more grown up than their parents give them credit for when it comes to crunch time. And that brings me to another thing.
Why not make your children's presents where possible? I know, a lot of parents don't have the time and think their kids won't appreciate the effort they've put into making a gift. But why not? I know to this day, the gifts that my parents hold most dear involved labor and love, not cash. Why not the other way around? Or, if you're not the 'build it' kind of person, get what kids need to build it themselves. Give a tween or teen a gift certificate for paint, brushes and stencils at the local hardware store and tell them they can paint their room whatever colors they want. I guarantee it will cost less than an iPod, keep them busy for awhile, and even pump their esteem because....hey! They get to make a decision and it's a major one! Camouflage anyone? All right! So who cares if you don't like it. You only have to repaint if you're going to sell your home or once the kid moves away. I know some of you are shaking your heads, going, "Wow, she is so out of touch with reality!" Hey, that was only one suggestion and I'm the most real, down to earth person I know! Maybe that's why it seems so simple to me. Oh, and I was raised in a family where there wasn't a lot of money. In the early years after moving to Canada, we had presents but not that many and no wrapping paper. In later years, we had too many because one parent overspent, hence, my dislike of overspending at Christmas. But had I been handed the money for a can of paint and told I could paint my room whatever color I wanted, I would have been walking on air!
Anyway, now that I've gone on with the long winded dialogue, I've decided that I'm going to take a page from my own book and budget for the Christmas extras this year. Or try to!
The owners from the store tell me that their snowmobiling this weekend was fabulous, Saturday being a little better than Sunday. It got pretty warm yesterday and they saw a lot more dirt from the melting than they had the day before. There was a lot of stucks but they got a lot of trails broken out which is great. That means they will have created a good solid base for the winter. Even if no one can go up now for a couple of weeks, it means the trails are no longer bottomless if we get a lot of snow.
Speaking of which, it's trying very hard to do that right now. Our temperature has been dropping steadily all day, much as the weather forecasters predicted. (Hey! They got something right!) There's a cold front moving in that created a lot of wind last night and may just bring us snow tonight. I think tomorrow or Wednesday it's supposed to clear off and give us a little sun.
Just on the itty bitty chance that you didn't notice, this is the start of a new week. Last week's blog can be found at November Week Four.

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!
Water on ice reflects the mountains.
Snow machine going up a steep hill.
Sledder heads up a hill.
Sledder gives a high five.
Yellow helmeted rider snowmobiling.
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