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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week Two/2010

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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26/02/2010 4:22 PM


So I said I wouldn't be writing much this week and that has turned out true. But for those of you who haven't seen Avatar yet, I wanted to share my thoughts on that.
I'm pretty sure that this is the first time that Andy and I have ever been to a movie together, my other half having a propensity for falling asleep during movies that we watch on the television or through DVDs. But since we were down in Kelowna where they actually have movie houses, and we had seen and heard so much about the movie, we decided to go. Wow!
The movie we had planned on going to had been canceled in favor of a Celine Dion documentary but the ticket girl told us the earlier show was still going through trailers so we could probably still catch it at the beginning. Unfortunately, arriving late meant we were stuck down in the second to last row of seats in front and we missed the very beginning of the show, but I don't think we missed much.
There aren't a lot of things that scare me in this world, but there are a couple. Grizzly bears and drowning are in there, but a fear of heights definitely tops the list. And no one told me this movie was all about heights. Holy Cow! Here these blue people are skipping along the top of ridges with thousand foot drop drop-offs on either side and I'm just supposed to sit there. Are you kidding me?? Every minute or so I would have to whip my 3D glasses off and hide my head. I kept having to tell Andy and our friend Marilyn to tell me when it was safe to look up. Marilyn misjudged the storyline at one point and on telling me it was safe to look up, the very worst drop off wavered huge in front of my eyes. Needless to say I missed a good part of the movie trying not to look when heights were involved. And Marilyn and Andy spent a good part of the movie enjoying great merriment at my expense every time I ducked.
Still, the special effects were breathtaking! The deal where people plugged their braids into something on a creature or plant that would create an instant connection or bond was an interesting concept to say the least. Although at one point when there was a love scene between the two lead actors, Marilyn piped up with something along the lines of, "Geez, the love scene is bland. You would think one could at least plug the end of their braid into the other's braid for that instant 'connection'." Well, I burst out laughing, or more like a snigger, trying to keep it down. I'm sure the other movie movie-goers wondered what was going on up front. All this laughing through a tender love scene. She's right though. James Cameron definitely missed an opportunity there. Or were they trying to keep it at a PG 13 rating?
A lot of the movie critics were saying that the special effects were spectacular and the movie well worth going to, even though some said there wasn't much of a storyline. I don't know about that. If you ask me, few movies have much of a storyline nowadays or are as involved as say the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I thought the storyline was great. How involved do you want the storyline to be when you're so involved in the special effects? It will be interesting to see the movie on DVD and not in 3D to see how well the storyline holds up then.
Yes, I know that members of a certain political party in the US took offense at the storyline because it seemed to be a knock on a super power like the US going in and trying to rape a planet for its resources. You know what? That's been going on forever. Countries that had colonies in Africa and the far East come to mind. For that matter, wasn't the US a colony at one time? Hm? Oh yeah, and the strip mining in West Virginia never took place. Face reality people. It is what it is. The chances of a super power on Earth going in and exploiting another planet for its resources when space travel finally allows it, is very, very good. I don't see the human race changing its attitudes any time in the next few hundred or thousand years it will take us to develop the ability to travel in space and colonize other planets. Provided we survive that long as a species, that is.
The storyline in Avatar is an age old one. I don't think that there was a problem so much with it being too simplistic. I think there was a problem with it hitting too close to home. Even Canada is not above fault. Did not the first white explorers here exploit Canada for her furs? Then her gold, then her fisheries, then her farmland, (Yep, lots of that blew away in the dust storms of the dirty thirties because of poor farming practice.) and since then, for pretty much everything we can exploit this land for.
Nope, I think Avatar was right on the money. It is a sorry but true commentary on the human race.
Kudos to James Cameron for producing another blockbuster. I admit, I really liked Titanic, although I understand a lot of men considered it drivel. Now there was a pretty simple storyline, and it was based on a true story!
What amazes me about Cameron is that he is always roundly criticized for spending the money that he does producing a movie, and most pundits swear he and the studios are going to lose their shirt, and then they don't. That boy makes everyone a whole lot of money. Although, it's easy to see why.
For anyone that hasn't been to a movie lately (2001 was the last time I remember being in a cinema house) there's some serious sticker shock involved. Over twelve bucks to go see a movie! I mean, not to say this movie wasn't worth it because it definitely was, but I can tell you this, I wouldn't go see a lesser movie for that price. Man, that's outrageous! It's a good thing we didn't have time to buy popcorn or a drink before rushing to our seats. I've already been told that's where the really crazy prices kick in.
Surprisingly, my non-movie watching partner stated that he would definitely pay to see Avatar at a movie house again. Translate that to mean it comes with the highest recommendation possible. But for myself, I would love to see it again but I'll wait for it to come out on DVD. I don't think I can do that 3D heights thing again. I do look forward to sitting in the comfort of my own home, with my inexpensive bowl of popcorn on my lap, and watching the movie over and over without some eye popping monster tearing through the screen above my craning neck, or looking down from dizzying heights into nothingness. At least I'll have the arm of my trusty couch to hang onto.
If you haven't been to the movie Avatar in 3D, go!!!

22/02/2010 4:55 PM

The Sad Wild

We went for a walk in the back woods today and came across a sad sight indeed. It was another glorious day and I was determined to walk farther than I have been able to of late, so we took a cut off through the woods following a frozen snowmobile trail. I had been watching small moose tracks pressed into the trail and told Andy that they were fresh enough to indicate the baby moose was still around. Probably only a day or two old at most. He said, "Yes, and there's the moose." I looked up expecting to see the young moose standing in the woods.
Alas, no such luck. In the snow just off the trail lay the moose, back legs and one front leg folded under it. In fact it would have looked quite peaceful had its head not been bent back almost onto its neck. In humans and animals this can indicate a few possible causes of death. Disease, brain trauma, severe bleeding, meningitis, tetanus or poisoning, and unfortunately, can also mean a long, slow death. I hope for the sake of this poor creature that that was not the case. There was no sign at all of thrashing around in the snow. It just looked like the moose kneeled down in the snow and died.
There were no critter tracks around the animal at all. Only sign that the Whiskey Jacks and possibly ravens had been there. There was only partial rigor mortis and judging from the age of the tracks, the moose died only a couple of days ago at most. It's possible that it was weak enough that our -18C or 0F temps at night simply took its life.
Sadly, though the animal had a large head, it was a very small bodied moose and I'm afraid that it was the baby moose that we had pictures of on the last blog. That one limped because its rear hoof was curled up from injury or birth defect, but we couldn't see it under the body of this moose to see if it looked the same. This moose did seem to have a darker back than the pictures of the baby moose showed, but depending on light, cameras don't always tell the truth either.
We did find sign only a little farther along that the moose had eliminated a very unnatural pile of scat. Something I've never seen a moose produce but it certainly had moose tracks leading to and from it just off the trail, and that would indicate to me that the moose was really sick or had eaten something poisonous. Since with the exception of antifreeze, we don't have much that's poisonous around here, it must have been an internal sickness or disease.
I never like to see anything die in the woods alone, particularly our big game animals, but it's also life. Like our loons that froze into the ice this fall, there's not much you can do about it, and I suppose it's Mother Nature's way of weeding out the sick and the weak. Or in the case of the loons, perhaps the not so smart. Still, it's sad to see and gives you pause.
The temperature didn't get up as high today as it did yesterday, only climbing a couple of degrees above freezing in the shade. But it was beautiful in the sun! Not a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind. I can hear the smiles in the voices of people I speak to on the phone, and see the smiles on the faces of those I see. Nothing beats the sun to bring up everyone's spirits and banish the winter doldrums for awhile. We do have a nasty system coming in but hopefully it will hold off for one more day at least.
So today the Olympic Committee and Vanoc decided that the Canadians were not going to win in their quest to own the podium. Did anyone ever think they would? How could they? The Americans, Russians, and other European power houses have always dominated gold in the winter sports. I thought the Canadian athletes were doing amazingly well against the Americans. We have one tenth the population of Americans on which to draw our athletes from and a whole lot less money invested. Under the circumstances, I think Canada is doing great holding fairly steadily in fourth position in the medal standings so far. What more can you ask? But no. The Olympic Committee would rather embarrass the Canadian athletes now by calling attention to the fact that they have not reached the lofty goals set for them. It's as though they are now dismissing the efforts of athletes that will be performing this week. Why don't you just cut the athletes' legs off?
I think that a lot more pressure than was necessary or good for the Canadian team was put on them and my personal feeling is that the 'Own the Podium' scam was more of a hindrance than a help by far. There's enough pressure on all athletes from all countries at the Olympic games without expecting your home team to attain something that's simply not realistically possible for them to do. So far, I haven't seen a single solitary thing out of any Olympic official to impress me in the last five years. So this newest bumble is consistent with those of the past.
Oh well.... on the good side, the Canucks have shown their generosity yet again. As I understand it, Canadians have thus far donated more money to Haiti per capita than any place in the world at somewhere around 311 million including the government match funds. However, I haven't been able to verify that information yet. Still, not bad for a population of only about 33 million people scattered all over hell's half acres.
I just finished watching the Canadians win the freestyle skating in pairs. The first gold for this competition in North America. I stopped watching skating years ago from sheer disgust. It was sickening to see the Russians win decade after decade, even though their competitors in many cases were so obviously better. I was delighted to hear a few years back that the method of judging was going to be revamped and the judges' panels rid of corruption. It looks like it paid off. Honesty wins after all.
Well done Canada!

21/02/2010 2:49 PM

Spring Thaw

Hi everyone. I know it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted a blog. Looking back I just realized that January got short shrift and I'm afraid February is going to be scant as well. We just got back from a full week in the Okanagan. Not normally my favorite place to be but this time I got to stay over at our friends' place for a couple of days so that I could go to a chiropractor in Kelowna (To attempt to fix a muscle that has prevented me from walking much this winter.) and they made the visit well worthwhile. They're our neighbours in summer having taken over Lloyd Wilson's place and since we won't see them again before May, it was a treat to see them midwinter. We had also hoped to get down to Ashcroft to see other neighbours but by the time the week was up it was time to go home. Neither Andy nor I are much for a lot of people so we can only stand it so long around the hordes and then it's time to head back to peace and quiet.
Overall the weather was pretty decent in the Okanagan but I can never seem to get warm there. Probably because of the open water on Okanagan Lake and of course, it rained while we were down there. As a result, the humidity was high and I just freeze when it's like that. The day after we got home the temperature was much cooler than the Okanagan but I was outside in a tee-shirt, that's how warm it felt. Of course the humidity in the house is only 19% and it's not much higher outside so that makes all the difference in the world. Mind you, that's also what seems to have caused problems with my computer, which I had to take down with me so I could have my very helpful computer Brother-in-law genius have a look at it.
All last winter and this, I've had to put a rubber glove on before plugging anything into my USB port or even touching the computer. If I touched it with bare hands, I shocked it into turning off and then invariably it would screw up my keyboard and mouse and I would have to change them out to another set before I could get the computer to work again. There's no problem in the summer when the humidity is higher, but around here, it's dry enough that I can knock the socks off the cat if I touch him, and even Andy on occasion.
So now, hopefully, the computer is fixed and I no longer have to don doctor gloves to plug in. You can imagine what a special sight that was! It caused raised eyebrows.
As we drove up the Connector Friday we had really nice weather but once we got onto Highway 97 heading north to Williams Lake we got under a fog layer that made the rest of the drive very dreary. But as soon as we headed west out of Willy's Puddle, we got back into sunshine. Apparently this super high pressure system that has moved in over the province has created an inversion layer smothering central BC in fog. The poor buggers haven't seen the sun in ages and aren't expected to for another day or so at least.
We are close enough to the coast that all we've experienced since we've gotten home is glorious sunshine, clear skies, and warm temperatures. Except at night when it really drops down. Actually, I guess it was like that most of last week but at least we caught some of the good weather and should for another day or so. Today it got up to 9C or nearly 50F in the shade but it was fabulous in the sun. You just didn't want to come inside, or I didn't want to anyway. Not that there's much you can do outside with still nearly two feet of snow on the ground but you can just stand in the sun if nothing else. I tried to go for a walk again today but had to shorten it up considerably again until I can get this contracted muscle sorted out. It's too bad. The last two days would have been wonderful for wandering around in the woods and seeing what new tracks are in the snow. I wanted to see if the baby moose was still around as well.
I've noticed that our side roads are starting to break up now wherever some dirt has been exposed to the sun. The highway is developing new frost heaves every day and I expect the road restrictions for heavy trucks will go on soon unless we get a cold spell.
You can sure tell it's nearing the end of February. There's a terrific amount of heat in that sun now, much to the Olympic committee's dismay. It's a shame that the warm weather has made conditions so difficult for athletes at several of the venues, but then why Vancouver was awarded the winter Olympics is beyond me. Practices and regular events have had to be canceled because of fog. Now event times are being changed to evening in order to save the snow. Poor snow and slippery conditions has caused injuries and falls..... I don't know who thought this was going to work but they must have forgotten to take the annual temperature averages for the past 50 years before bidding on the Olympics. I just hope no one ends up seriously injured because of the conditions and we don't end up with a black eye internationally. That won't help our tourism in BC at all.
Other than that, the Canadian athletes are doing well and I hope that continues for their sake. They've worked really hard and there's been a lot of pressure put on them by Vanoc with this "Own the Podium" schlep but already they're doing much better in many events than they ever have before.
I am, as usual, backed up with work, particularly now after losing yet another week because of the sick computer. So, I may not be writing much this coming week. For the guys that requested pictures of Stewart's Lodge in winter, I apologize for not getting them up before. I had broken down my computer for transport before I remembered them.
Sadly, I didn't take my camera with me on this trip or I would have gotten pictures of what I consider to be an amazing sight. There were ducks on the river near Redstone on our way down. The black and white kind with the fat head. Ducks! In the middle of February! I couldn't believe it. Most of the river is frozen over so there isn't an abundance of open water. I don't know if they've just come in now or if they overwintered there, but if that's the case, I don't know how they made it through that cold spell we had for two months before Christmas. I'm sure there wouldn't have been any open water at all unless they were more successful at keeping it open than our poor loons were when the lake froze over. There were several so I suppose it's possible. I suppose they may also simply have flown in this year but it's way early for ducks by a couple of months. Or maybe the birds know something we don't? Perhaps this glorious weather will continue and we won't have any more winter. But then some say pigs can fly.....
This is the start of a new week so the last one can be found at February Week One

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!
Colors of a winter sunset.
Two grosbeaks flying in the air at each other.
Lodge across the lake under a mantle of snow.
A line of cabins in winter.
Cabin in snow.
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