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 - Dec, Week 4/2006
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
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at the bottom of this page. Check out the
of the Day.
Dodged The Bullet
managed to dodge the wind and weather bullet for the most
part again. We got some wind and it was above freezing
and raining when I went to bed. There was fresh snow on
the ground this morning but we got less than Anahim. They
got closer to three or four inches of snow.
A series of squalls came in one after another today. At
one point as I was driving to Anahim Lake I drove
through a snow storm so bad that I could barely see the
pickup truck that was right behind me. Then suddenly,
it cleared and the rest of the day turned out pretty nice.
The temperature sure dropped tonight though. It's already
-12C or about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. We're supposed to
get a really nice day tomorrow, then another storm
on Saturday. Christmas Eve isn't supposed to be
too bad but then another storm moves in
on Christmas Day. As the weatherman mentioned tonight,
we seem to be getting the storms about every second day.
I know one thing, the snow sure is piling up outside!
You don't really realize how the snow has built up until
you go for a drive and see the snowbanks. The highway
is okay but they're going to run out of places to
put snow on all of the sideroads if this keeps up.
I'm not sure how the Interior of British Columbia made
out in last night's storm. We heard rumors that the Williams
Lake area got hit really hard with high winds and that
there were power outages in Prince George, but that was
about it. Vancouver area had a few more downed trees but
only about 25,000 people were without power. The wind
was out of a different direction from last time so
I don't think it had quite the devastating effect that
they were expecting. I'm sure there was a big
sigh of relief down that way.
We've acquired a new visitor at the bird feeder in the
last couple of days but this dude is mostly after the
suet. He's a Hairy woodpecker and I don't know how much
he's finding for bugs in the trees right now, but he's
definitely taken a liking to the fat I have out for the
chickadees. I normally find woodpeckers to be extremely
shy but there is absolutely nothing bashful about
this boy. Or girl....who knows.
I'm not sure how many posts there will be over the next
few days since it is the holidays but if I'm able to write,
Here It Comes Again
Everyone. Sorry about no post yesterday. We had to drive
into Williams Lake for some Christmas shopping and down
to 100 Mile for Andy's new Ski-Doo.
We got hit pretty good with those winds on Monday
and it was a good thing I posted the short article when
I did because we lost our power for four hours.
We actually made it through the worst of the winds and
they had dropped quite a bit when the power went out.
But they had changed direction and there must have been
a tree that hung in there for just so long, and then down
We sat in candlelight for part of the evening and
watched our windows flex in the wind. I really
expected our beetle killed trees to come down and by some
miracle they didn't, but the snow in our yard was just
littered with red pine needles and both red and green
boughs. It looked like a bomb had gone off!
Our driveway drifted over so badly that Andy actually
got his truck stuck in the drifts, even though he had
it in four wheel drive. Nimpo Lake is just a mess
from the wind. In some places the wind scoured
the ice clean, everywhere else there are long lines of
drifts, some a couple feet high. It's just going to be
brutal crossing the lake on a snowmobile this winter.
In lots of places the snow piled up by the wind is so
deep that it's caused overflow, and in the back bay, it's
pure slush. What a mess.
Yesterday morning was quite cold when we went into town.
We saw two moose feeding in the meadows along the
highway and I got a picture of a beautiful Mulie
buck and his buddy on the way in. It was quite warm in
Williams Lake but it was still quite cool out here when
we got home. Unfortunately, that hasn't lasted. It started
warming up this morning and was way above freezing
all day. I expect the snow dropped quite a bit in the
melt. We have quite a warm front right over us but a cold
front is moving in from the southwest. That's supposed
to bring high winds both to the south coast, north coast
and to us. Vancouver Island is expected to see 70mph
or hurricane force winds while the Interior, including
us, is expected to see winds up to 90kph or 55mph. We
didn't get them that high Monday so I sure don't want
it any worse tonight and tomorrow.
These storms are really something and I'm not sure anyone
has seen them come in one after another like this. Particularly
in the Vancouver area where the weatherman said today
he has never seen it like that with nine major storms
in the space of a few short weeks. You can see that everyone
is pretty wind weary down there and BC Hydro has readied
their crews and told everyone to get ready for more power
outages tonight. They still have customers without power
from the last storm!.
It turned out that there were fatalities
in Vancouver from the last storm. An elderly couple died
of carbon monoxide poisoning because they were running
a gas powered generator in their basement with not a single
window open and no other source of ventilation. Their
son said that though the generator was brand new, he would
have thought his father would have known better than to
run it inside the house.
In Ontario, they're golfing, there's no snow and the famous
Rideau Canal has not frozen over. Oh well, stuff
Okay, gotta go. I have to help decorate the Christmas
big weather system has definitely hit us with a vengeance!
We're clocking winds straight out of the south
of only 30mph right now but expecting gusts up to 45mph.
I would hate to see what that would be like. Our flags
are already in tatters and the trees are bent right over.
Looking out over Nimpo Lake is like seeing an apocalyptic
scene from out of the arctic with snow being driven
across the lake at high speed. I guess it's our turn but
I'm not liking it with all this beetle kill still around
Most of the time the beetle killed pine just shivers in
the wind because it no longer has the elasticity of the
green trees. But in this wind, even they are bent right
over. It's a good thing we got lots of moisture before
the ground froze. At least it means the roots of the trees
are frozen in pretty solid. Now, what's more likely to
happen is the trees will shear off part way up the trunk.
Not a happy thought.
At the rate we're going the snow might be blown off of
the ice on the lake rather than melted off. I watched
our temperatures climb all evening last night. By this
morning they were above freezing. Between the wind
and the sun, we'll probably lose some snow today.
Right now Andy is moving the snowmobiles out from under
the trees near the house, which would seem like a really
good idea. And I am going to try to get this posted before
our power goes out because that should be happening any
It's Still Winter
just realized that Friday was the last day I posted. That's
probably okay because not much new has been happening.
We got another skiff of snow yesterday and Andy knocked
down some more trees. We have an interesting method
for pulling down beetle killed pine right next to the
house. We tie off some long repelling rope as
high up the tree trunk as possible, take the rope around
one side of a tree farther out putting it at right angles
and the opposite direction of the house, and then anchor
it to the fourwheeler. Andy cuts his notch, then cuts
the back side. I watch to see how close it is to going
over and start pulling on the rope from on the other side
of the wrap tree. I don't know if you can see the
rope on the tree on the right but it's tied off just above
the yellow arrow. It's then pulled around the
tree between the stumps in the picture below and tied
off to the fourwheeler at the back which puts the fourwheeler
at right angles to the tree. You can see where the tree
has been pulled down in the picture.
The method has actually worked very well for two trees
that have had to be pulled over away from the house. We've
managed to avoid damaging the roof, the deck, the satellite
dishes and haven't even broken too many little aspen trees
off in the process. Knock on wood. Actually,
that can mostly be attributed to Andy's excellent falling
skills. Initially, he wanted me to use the fourwheeler
to exert pressure on the rope, but I didn't think I would
be able to judge either when to start pulling or control
the amount of pull as well as I could pulling by hand.
A fellow I played poker with Friday night who hand falls
beetle kill for BC Hydro actually confirmed that the way
we were doing it was just exactly right. The only unexpected
twist is that the one tree near the house was very healthy
looking but was actually punky in the middle. That
means it can be harder to control where the tree will
go because you can't rely on strong wood in the center
to support the tree during a cut. Fortunately,
we only have a few more close to buildings to worry about.
Plugging away at this process is probably the best way
to get rid of all the beetle kill on the property. Andy
was only going to do two a day, which means I could help
him clean up the brush. However, he's been doing far more
and I couldn't even help him today because of a web project
I need to get done. It's sure starting to open up around
here though. We're definitely going to have a better view
and a lot more sun. If we ever see the sun again. It's
been a bit dreary that way.
You can listen at any time of the day and usually hear
a power saw going somewhere around Nimpo Lake now. Everyone
has the same idea. Get the beetle kill down and
cleaned up before next summer and the impending forest
fire danger. Many people, including ourselves,
have a hundred trees and up to clean up.
They're still cleaning up after the storm down on the
coast and trying to return power to homes and businesses,
some of whom have been without electricity for a week
because of the past storms. Washington State and parts
of Oregon are also undergoing clean up and last I heard,
the number of people killed in that storm was four.
Numerous people have been hospitalized because of
carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires have
been started because of improper use of candles. I realize
people get pretty desperate when they're without heat
because of power outages, but how many decades is it going
to take before people learn that you cannot keep yourself
warm and alive using a barbeque in the house
without proper ventilation? Heck, I even insist we crack
the door if we use the propane light inside the house
in a power outage. It isn't intended for use in a closed
place so I figure you need to change out that air. I sympathize
with folks that don't have wood stoves or fireplaces.
But then I wouldn't live anyplace where I didn't have
an alternative source of heat. Call me weird, but it's
just one of those things I insist on in life.
Our weather is expected to take a turn for the worse.
A huge system is coming in from the Pacific, and this
time it's aimed at us and the north coast rather than
Vancouver and area. It's our turn I guess. There are high
winds packing a wallop expected and from the looks of
the yellow and red on the radar, we'll be getting some
snow again. At least one thing that you can say about
having dreary days this month. At least we're getting
snow with the grey. We've been getting some weird temperatures.
Friday night just before I went out, it dropped
six degrees in an hour and a half. It dropped
from -5C late afternoon to -22 that night. It's been chilly
since but now I see the temperature is higher now than
it was earlier this afternoon so I can only assume that
system is pushing warm air in front of it. However, there's
an arctic front pushing in behind it so I imagine temps
will drop again in a few days.
Hurricane Force Winds In BC?
would certainly seem so. At about 4:00 am this morning
many residents of Vancouver woke up to hurricane force
wind gusts. The Vancouver Airport clocked 97kph
winds on three different occasions last night and this
morning. Winds in the worst hit areas were clocked at
157kph or almost 100mph! The noon news hour
was really something to watch. Numerous people got out
of bed when the wind started howling and went into their
kitchens, living rooms or downstairs, only to have
a tree go through the roof of the bedroom where they had
been sleeping. One girl narrowly escaped the limb
of a tree that pierced her bed because she had just gotten
up to go check on a noise downstairs.
Many homes had up to five trees land on them while many
vehicles were crushed including a beautiful old antique.
Power is out to about 250,000 residents and many aren't
expected to get their power back on until sometime into
the weekend and as late as next Wednesday.
The size of some of the trees that fell is just
remarkable and the huge root systems uprooted with the
trees did as much damage in many cases as the tree itself.
One camper looked really funny with the back of the truck
on the ground because a tree's roots had come up under
the truck, raising the whole front end up into the air.
What's most amazing to me is how well the folks down on
the mainland and on the island took all this. Most people
just laughed and remarked on how lucky they were.
There are numerous power lines down and Stanley Park is
just a mess with hundreds of trees down. The Lion's Gate
Bridge is closed as are many side roads and many of the
street lights on major intersections are not operating.
Most of the ferries were cancelled this morning and I
think most schools were going to close for the day. Damage
is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
Highways out of Vancouver to the rest of the province
are closed. The Fraser Canyon is closed and it's
strongly advised that you not travel on the Coquihalla
Highway unless absolutely necessary. You could see in
the web cam that there were numerous big trucks pulled
off and there's lots of snow so it'll be a real mess up
Washington State bore the brunt of this same storm. Power
is out to about one million people and three people died,
two from trees coming through the roof of the house and
one from drowning in the basement of her home. Apparently
it rained in torrents in the western part of the state
before the winds came.
I've really got to feel for those people down on the coast
and south. They're really getting the worst possible
weather this fall. Being slammed with one vicious
storm after another doesn't even allow them time to finish
cleanup before yet another hits them. The next storm tonight
and tomorrow is supposed to bring a litte snow to the
lower mainland but not much else. I'm sure folks down
there aren't looking forward to that much, either. But
hey, look at the positive side! At least it's easier to
brush snow off of the hole in the roof of your house caused
by a tree falling on it than it is to keep the rain out.
We got no wind at all from that storm but we picked
up about three more inches of the fluffy white stuff yesterday
evening. Tatla Lake was supposed to get about
8" of snow but at least that's not why we're not
getting all of our mail today. Instead, it's because the
Canada Post trucks can't get through the Fraser Canyon.
The snow has covered up all signs of our fire on Nimpo.
We cleaned up and burned the branches from four more trees
out on the lake. Surprisingly, even though the ice and
snow melts under the bonfire, the red needles cause the
fire to burn so hot that it burns down to nothing.
Today is another one of those, "Not sure what
it's going to do," kind of days. Sometimes
a little sun but mostly high cloud. Got a good look at
the mountains today and there's probably a whole lot of
snow up there. Heaven help the first guy to break
trail up there with a snowmobile this year!
As you can see, this is the start of a new week. If you
would like to read about last week's wild weather, you'll
find it at December,
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!