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 4/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
New Year's Eve
is going to be extremely short folks, because we've spent
the last couple of days getting the Hall ready for the
New Year's Party. That long cold spell caused
the sewer at the Hall to freeze up so Andy and Len have
spent the last two days trying to get it thawed out. No
one realized it was frozen until we went over yesterday
afternoon to decorate so the guys have been using trough
heaters to get rid of the ice. Looks like it might be
okay now, but we'll have to see if the pipe between the
two tanks is frozen as well. Unfortunately, the guy that
installed it did a real half assed job of it, leaving
too much above ground. That won't work in cold country
where facilities are not used very much.
Our neighbour came over happy as could be. After
days of his water being frozen up, he came up with an
ingenious idea for finally getting his pipes thawed out.
He should patent it since that's not an uncommon problem
in this country.
I didn't get a chance for a ski or walk today, but walked
the back trails yesterday. I was absolutely astounded
at the number of rabbit tracks around. On the road, on
the trail, and dotting the snowscape. It's been years
since I've seen that much sign so they must be on an up
There were lots of fox and coyote tracks, as well
as ptarmigan or grouse. I suppose I should look
it up in my track book so that I can tell the difference,
but from what I could see, it was both. Ptarmigan seem
to have shorter, furrier tracks, while grouse tracks are
'cleaner' and longer. Even the odd path beaten down by
squirrels from home to cache was evidence that everything
is on the move again now that it's warmed up a bit.
The temperature actually made it up to -2C today
but we're not seeing a lot of sun. It got down
to -16C or 3F night before last but only dropped to -10C
or 14F last night, and that actually happened this morning.
It was only -4C when I went to bed last night because
it had clouded over and was trying to snow. Not that it
amounted to much but it was blowing in sideways with a
hefty wind that started up yesterday evening. Nothing
like what Vancouver was expecting for winds, but still
pretty brisk. I haven't watched the news yet so I don't
know what damage they've sustained, but we definitely
seem to be coming out better weather wise lately than
they have. For that matter, my Mother said they had five
foot high snow banks in Hood River, Oregon when they returned
home a couple of days ago. Pretty unusual down there.
It would seem everyone is getting snow but us.
Okay, gotta go! Happy New Year's to everyone. Drink,
be merry and don't forget your resolution for 2009! :-)
Three New Properties For Sale
the season. Folks are already looking to spring and putting
up their properties for sale.
One property is located on a 22 acre parcel down in Tatla
Lake with a large log home and view of the Coast Mountain
Range. Another is located on Nimpo Creek Road just shy
of the lake although lake access goes right by the driveway.
It's pretty rustic but with over five acres, a great price
at the BC Assessment value of $118,000 with 20% off if
you buy before February 15.
Just down from there is a heck of a buy....the famous
Nimpo Lake Resort. After 40 years in the business,
Mary wants to retire and move next door. Since she doesn't
want to wait forever to do that, she has the resort on
for a super price at $395,000. That's the BC Tax Assessment
value folks! Nimpo Lake Resort has a good name throughout
North America and is an extremely successful business,
with several cabins with all the modern conveniences,
some of which were built by Pioneer Log homes. It's
a pretty hot buy and were it not for the global
economic downturn, this place would have been gone before
it went up for sale! You can check out more information
Properties for Sale. The
other properties can be found under the residential section.
Our weather isn't exactly the greatest thing since sliced
bread. We had heavy overcast with this dim little
orb that was trying vainly to shine through it.
I kept egging the sun on in the hopes it would make it,
but it didn't. That meant going out for a ski in temps
not much higher than -8C or 17F with no sun to warm things
up a bit. It also meant very poor light and were it not
for my sunglasses, I would have had a hard time seeing
my track. Still, it was nice to get out and I wasn't the
only one that thought that way. A few folks were
out skiing and walking again today, and the odd snowmobile
passed by here and there. A neighbour over on
the other side of the lake is trying to push an ice road
through from his place with a plow on a fourwheeler. Probably
a tough proposition now with those drifts on the ice.
I finally got some beef suet for the birds and put it
out last night. They've been going nuts over it
and the woodpeckers and chickadees aren't above sharing
at all as you can see from the picture up on the
right. We've got a whole crowd of grosbeaks around but
they've been working over the cones on the pine and spruce
trees and obviously haven't figured out yet that the feeder
provides all the free seed they want. Probably just as
well. We've enough freeloaders on the bird feeder
that are going through seed at a ferocious rate, especially
during the cold spell. And if you're wondering
about the picture below it, I couldn't resist putting
it in. That's my Jack-in-the-Beanstalk plant that a good
friend of mine from Saskatchewan gave me. I became pretty
sure she gave it to me as a joke after this scrawny thing
started growing, up to the ceiling and then along it.
At least eight feet at first flush. It's definitely not
the most attractive plant and nearly went to plant heaven,
except that it sprouted some gorgeous flowers just in
time to redeem itself. It sprouts them at the oddest times,
with clumps of 10 to 20 rose petaled flowers with a heavenly
scent. It's a welcome little surprise to have a gift of
spring while we've had this cold weather. I keep looking
longingly at my soon to be completed greenhouse, and waiting
for spring. It's kind of a battle between wanting to go
snowmobiling and cross country skiing, and growing things.
Just a reminder, the New Year's Party will be on
Wednesday night and for those Directors that might
be reading this, we're decorating tomorrow afternoon should
you be up to participating. For everyone else, your most
welcome! We've got some awesome prizes gathered up and
I've got loads of food to take over so we won't go hungry,
anyway. Since Andy got the liquor license back today,
no one will lack for refreshments either!!
everyone had a great Christmas and got their fill of turkey,
stuffing, ham and in our case, prime rib. Sometimes I
feel a slight twinge of guilt that Andy, who really likes
turkey, doesn't get it on holidays unless someone else
invites us to dinner, but prime rib has always been a
tradition for holidays in my family. Not that I'm stuck
on tradition, but I'll take a big old prime rib over turkey
We got an incredible warm up the other day when
the mercury nearly made it up to the freezing mark.
Suddenly, where the lake had been silent and as quiet
as could be, it was full of life. Cross country skiers,
snowmobilers, and different sets of folks going for a
walk while out by the small island, folks were ice fishing,
and Tracy had her sled dog team out.
Even today, the bunch from Wilderness Rim were going
to snowmobile to Hotnarko Lake for some ice fishing,
Andy and Terry snowmobiled up on top of Little Kappan
to fix the TV tower, and a snowmachine passed by me while
I was out skiing. Yep, finally broke out the cross country
skiis. I have no idea how thick the ice is out on the
Main Arm but with only an inch of fine snow on it, I figured
it was plenty safe enough for me to ski on. Andy and Terry
took a few passes over me once they came back and fired
up the Super Cub on skiis, and since they didn't frantically
wave me away from the Main Arm, I guessed there
were no gaping holes in the ice.
The temperature was only up to -5C or 23F today, but the
sun was trying to shine so it wasn't too bad out. Yesterday
it got up to -2C but it's been dropping pretty good at
night to between -15 and -16C or 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
We've had some clouds rolling in from over the mountains
that look like they've got snow in them but nothing has
dropped on us yet.
We had a wild, wild wind on Friday night that pushed
some little drifts up on Nimpo Lake. I'm glad
we didn't have a great deal of snow on the ice or the
wind would have made a real mess of it. When we've had
a lot of snow that has then drifted, it makes for a bone
jarring ride across the lake on a snowmachine, and is
terrible for skiing.
I had hoped Terry would see fit to put in an ice road
for everyone on Nimpo Lake while he was up over Christmas
as he usually does, but he didn't get around to it. It's
too bad because with as little snow as there is on the
lake, he would have made short work of it. The only other
person here with a plow truck light enough for the lake
is our neigbhour's and he's away until the middle of January.
By then we could have too much snow on the ice
to put an ice road in. Right now it's okay to
drive on the existing snow, but it won't work if we get
much more. Especially on the boat launch on the other
I have no clue whatsoever as to what our weather is supposed
to do in the next few days. We missed the news last night
but I know that Vancouver got hammered again a couple
of days ago. I think that they were supposed to get rain
over the weekend though and everyone's worried about flooding
because all the storm drains are clogged with snow. Not
to mention what will happen when all the snow they have
melts. In the meanwhile, we're just bumbling along here,
thankful we're out of that cold snap.
Merry Christmas Eve!
that time folks! The day before Christmas and all
is quiet. Around here, anyway. Judging from the
news, there's a lot of people doing a lot of scurrying
around trying to get from one destination to another.
I understand the Vancouver Airport is a mess again and
there's still a backlog of passengers waiting for flights.
Pretty tough to blame Vancouver for all late flights though.
Major airports across Canada and the US have delayed or
canceled flights due to the weather. However, it
would appear that Air Canada's name is mud right about
now. Apparently they canceled all regional flights
within British Columbia without reason. That means if
you were stuck in the Vancouver airport with your ticket
in hand assuming you were going to be able to fly to Prince
George for Christmas, think again. Vancouver airport officials
insist that they worked all night to ensure runways were
clear and ready to go and that there is no reason why
those flights couldn't go ahead even though they have
received more snow. So I don't know what's up other than
when you have a monopoly in Canada, other than Westjet
which is more or less a regional airline, I guess you
can do whatever you want to. Since Air Canada is the government's
pet, that probably won't change any too soon. But
I feel for those folks trying to get home for the holidays.
Our temperature was dropping slowly last night and then
about midnight, it reversed and started to climb just
as slowly. A stiff breeze picked up out of the south,
which is probably why it got warmer rather than colder
as it should have through the night.
It cooled off to -17C this morning but has warmed up to
-13C or 8F and the wind is switching back and forth
between the north and south. It looks like we
have two more days of cold and then temps warm up throughout
the province on Saturday.
We do have cloud but the sun is trying very hard to peek
through so I guess we're not getting the heavy snow predicted
for everywhere else. That's okay! We all know I want good
ice and I'll wait on snow! Very disappointing for the
snowmobile enthusiasts, but you don't have to go
very far from the lake toward the mountains before you're
wallowing in more snow than you know what to do with.
Leah tells me that the last time they were out when they
were stuck so much, you would not have been able to tell
that a trail had been broken the time before, even on
Charlotte Main. Their tracks were completely obscured
by new and blowing snow.
Since it's Christmas tomorrow, this will be the last blog
for a day or two. I cannot express how much I have appreciated
and enjoyed getting your emails this past year, getting
your feedback, good or bad, making queries, or simply
your thanks for the blog. You folks are the reason
I keep writing it. I would like to personally
wish each and every one of you a really wonderful Christmas
and awesome things to come in 2009!
From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!!
Andy & Jane
Nimpo Lake, BC
Just Keeps On
cold weather just keeps on trucking. Surprisingly, we're
still slightly warmer than Williams Lake this evening,
as has been the case for a couple of days.
It was -30C or 22 below zero Fahrenheit this morning
but actually warmed up to -16C or 3.2F this afternoon
for a short period of time. The mercury is creeping back
down again but not quickly and I think we may warm up
for tomorrow and then be back in the deep freeze on Christmas
Day. There's a system sliding down the coast from Alaska
that is going to push that monster high that's brought
all the cold out of the way for about 24 hours, bringing
snow to the coast and some serious outflow winds.
I don't know how much, if any, snow we'll get inland,
but heavy cloud definitely moved in on us today. Actually....
bands of cloud. It was cloudy this morning, cleared up
for a couple of hours giving us some vivid sunshine, and
then socked back in again.
Andy crossed the lake again today, this time with the
one ton dually, and he said the ice is so thick that it
didn't make a sound. Usually, when someone drives
over the ice, the gunshot sounds and deep rumbles it makes
is literally terrifying. Especially if you happen
to be out skiing or walking on the ice at the same time.
So for a pickup as heavy as his to not make any noise,
then it's some good quality ice! He made a few runs up
and down the boat launch on the other side of the bay
to pack down a track because there's enough snow on it
to cause a problem going up the hill. It probably needs
to be plowed but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
I haven't gotten much computer work done the last few
days, but I'll still have to keep this short. It's close
enough now to Christmas that there's more than a few things
to do. Tonight we have to call some friends while today
I wrapped presents while Andy was gone to get the liquor
license for the New Year's Party at the Hall. I
had to be pretty darn careful stacking gifts under the
tree and actually attempted to avoid it altogether.
Andy got the tree in the Bella Coola Valley and it was
a real stunner. Bright green with fine, soft needles and
really bushy. Alpine fir (or what we've always called
balsam fir) we think. But coming from the Valley back
on top here to temperatures below -30C must have been
a bit of a shock to it. Andy brought the tree in a day
later and it was absolutely stunning for a few hours.
The aroma was unbelievable! Our whole house smelled like
someone had peeled hundreds of California oranges fresh
off the tree. It was really something for the senses!
The next day I noticed that the outer branches seemed
to be taking on a yellowish to olive green tinge and Saturday
evening when Andy went to put lights on it, the
needles started falling off in a big way, so he
quit. I had been at poker so it wasn't until the next
day that he was able to ask if I would like a different
tree. Heck no! Didn't matter to me if all the needles
fell off. You've still got branches to hang decorations
on! Besides, it was too cold to go look for another tree.
The tree is now decorated and sheds needles on a pretty
regular basis. We leave the lights off so as not to heat
up the tree any more than need be. We won't turn them
on until Christmas morning and then only while we're in
the room. I think the tree will make it until then. It
only has a day and a half to go, but I do expect it to
look pretty naked by that time. That's okay. The
best tree in the world doesn't make Christmas.
I figure if I'm at home with my husband and family of
pets, don't have to travel and fight the weather like
all those people stuck on roads and in airports all across
the country, then a Charlie Brown Christmas tree is just
dandy with me.
The Shortest Day
is the first full day of winter but it's also technically
the shortest day even though it says otherwise on our
calendar. That's what the weather guy said on
the television the other day, anyway, that although the
calendar marks yesterday (Sunday) as the first day of
winter, the shortest day doesn't actually occur until
after midnight. However, Andy did a little research and
his data says that the shortest day actually lasts several
days and we won't see the increase in daylight in its
tiny increments for about four days. That's okay, tiny
increments or not, just knowing that the daylight
hours are going to increase does wonders for my mental
health. Call it psychological (or more accurately,
all in my head) if you want, but just thinking
the days are getting longer makes my winter better! The
only value I see in having shorter daylight hours is that
it's darker later in the morning, which makes sleeping
in very easy to do. No glaring light drumming
on your eye balls too early in the morning, giving one
a great excuse to make like a bear and hibernate.
Our weather continues to be cold, although we've had some
strange shifts here and there. At one point when I was
at poker Saturday night, the mercury was sitting at -32C
or 26 below zero Fahrenheit. By the time I got home after
midnight, it was 24C and continued to warm up through
the night slightly. It hovered around there and
warmer to -18C or -4F yesterday and today and
sifted down a little snow. Total accumulation was no more
than about an inch though. Nothing like what Vancouver
and the Island got hit with again.
Our temperatures have been a few degrees warmer than the
Cariboo around Williams Lake and Prince George, which
is highly unusual. Usually our elevation means we're a
lot colder, but maybe this time, our proximity to the
coast and the jet stream where it takes that deep dive
to California, has kept us slightly warmer than farther
inland. I think the cloud cover warmed things up a bit
too but it rolled back to the south this afternoon in
a fairly obvious front line, letting the sun shine in.
That warmed things up a bit but once the sun went down,
so did the temperature. Right now (early evening)
it's sitting at 25C or -13F and dropping steadily.
Andy went out this morning and drilled four holes from
our boat launch to the one across the bay leading up to
Nimpo and got 14 inches of good, clear ice under the thin
layer of snow. Naturally, that was good enough for him
so he drove my truck across it this afternoon since his
diesel is really heavy in the front end. I figured that
meant that he was first to drive on the ice this year
but when down at the other end of the lake today I noticed
that there were vehicle tracks in front of Mary's place.
I don't know if someone just checked the ice out locally
there or if some brave soul drove down from the Main Arm.
I shouldn't think anyone would be quite that crazy.
The Main Arm may be safe for a vehicle but since it only
froze a week ago, I would be inclined to give it until
the end of this week in a few more days of cold weather
to really tighten up the ice. The only problem with that
is that it looks like there's a great big system set to
hit all of BC on Wednesday, bringing snow to most of the
province. None of the forecasters know how much yet, so
I don't know if we'll end up with so much on the ice that
it will create overflow or not. An existing ice road would
keep that from being a problem but since we don't have
one, and seeing as how there isn't a bunch that we can
do about Mother Nature, I guess we'll just take whatever
Most of Canada is certainly getting blasted by either
snow, cold, or both. There's been a regular litany
of storm warnings on the weather across Canada every day
for just about every single thing winter can throw at
us. Right from BC to the east coast it's been Arctic outflow
warnings, snow warnings, wind warnings, blizzard warnings,
extreme cold warnings and even storm surge warnings for
the provinces on the Atlantic. I think the only warning
I haven't seen for a couple of days has been freezing
rain and that's only because it's just been too cold.
It's coming though. And poor Saskatoon....though not the
coldest place in Canada by any stretch of the imagination,
the reported temps of -48C or -54F with the wind chill
made me shiver in my boots since I lived there at one
point in time.
Apparently this will be the first time since 1971, or
37 years, that they're predicting a white Christmas everywhere
in Canada. Wow. However, I didn't get the
impression that wow was the word on many people's lips
today when being interviewed while trying to shovel through
massive amounts of snow in Vancouver and over on the Island.
Even the Okanagan is not a happy place for lovers
of dry driveway right now.
I've got a couple of announcements to make. First, I just
want to welcome Charlotte Lake Resort on board as a new
listing under the accommodations section. While I don't
believe they are open during the winter, they have cabins
and RV sites available on beautiful Charlotte Lake with
stunning views for your recreational pleasure next summer.
Check it out!
John Brecknock, who if you will remember, has sent me
a few great accounts of some of his past here in the Chilcotin,
has the following information:
Diana PHILLPS' book, "Beyond the Chilcotin", is
now out; John read the Book and highly recommends it.
He states it's a wonderful read and a terrific update
on "Grass Beyond the Mountain". Diana has been doing book
signings in Prince George, Williams Lake and 100 Mile
House. She has sold out what she had in her possession
at the moment because she has been shipping all over the
place on request. But if you would like to order an autographed
copy from her at Diane Phillips, Box 2703, Vanderhoof,
British Columbia, Canada VOJ 3A0 Telephone # (250) 567-5001.
The book has not been out two weeks and it's already
on its second printing. So for anyone that has read Rich
Hobson's three books on the Chilcotin a million times
and wished there were more after setting down the last
book, here's your fix!
Last, but not least, Janet Stegman, who reads the blog,
sent me some stunning pictures of a rainbow over Anahim
Lake taken on November 30 between 8:00 and 8:30 A.M. She
says that the sun was just coming up and for a half hour
the fog was forming and drifting and when it lifted, the
rainbow was there. It's really, really unusual because
you just don't see rainbows in winter here. However, Mary
Kirner down at the other end of the lake said that's what
she saw about a week ago and certainly the proof is in
the puddin' with Janet's pictures. I hope you enjoy them
as much as I did! Thank you, Janet!
Since we're into the last week of December this is the
start of a new week. 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!