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 - Feb., Week 3/2014
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of the Day.
The Freddy Flintstone Mobile
far our weather has been holding with nothing for snow
yet. We have had sunshine for the past few days but cloud
often moves in by afternoon. There seems to be one system
after another coming in from the Pacific affecting the
Lower Mainland and higher mountain passes throughout BC
but thankfully, they have been missing us other than for
The Coquihalla has been closed off and on for the
past week due to high snow levels and avalanche danger.
It is open now but highways recommends no one travel it.
I saw one of the photos of the highway and Im not
sure how you could travel it. And of course,
the TransCanada highway near Revelstoke has been closed
on several occasions for the past six weeks because of
avalanche, the last just a couple of days ago.
Im actually surprised at the massive snow
loads on the Coquihalla this year. The area gets
a lot of snow most winters but the snow received in just
the past couple of days amounted to nearly six feet if
our conversion from metric to standard is correct. Thats
a lot of white stuff! There has also been numerous accidents
in the past month on that highway so I think Im
glad we havent had any reason to travel it. I wouldnt
anyway as bad as its been.
We went out for a little snowmobile ride and wiener
roast yesterday with interesting results. We had
a friend up from California that purchased his own machine
two winters ago to keep in Nimpo, but he brought two friends
of his own up for the week this time as well. They borrowed
machines from the resort owner across the way and I
think were all in shock and awe that these poor
sleds are still even moving because Im pretty sure
that one of them predates Moses. I know that they
have been pushed and pulled up many hills going to Trumpeter
in years past so it was a relief to know we were only
going for a short, easy day ride east of the highway.
Our friend Dawn knew of a great little trail that we could
go on toward Lilly Lake where we could all stop for a
wiener roast and play around in the snow in the meadow.
We packed up the necessities and off we went with another
friend from down the lake who is an experienced rider.
Dawn took a wrong turn and ended up following a well packed
trail that wound around a few little tight spots before
she realized she was on a trail that hadnt been
there last week. One of our new riders was getting stuck
a lot so I was a little hesitant about turning around
in the sugar snow, but Dawn and myself took the turn to
pack a trail as did one of the new riders with no problem.
Then came the fella that was getting stuck and
sure enough, he did again, and again, and again on the
same turn. It didnt make any sense because
he was doing everything right but he had two very experienced
riders and his friend behind him to make sure he kept
coming, so once he was out we continued on our way. I
stopped quite a way up the trail when I realized I only
had one rider behind me and we waited for a while. Finally,
I sent him on ahead to tell Dawn something seemed to be
up while I walked back to see what was what. I came
down a hill and around the bend to see the new fellows
old borrowed machine on the operating table. Apparently,
the reason why he was getting stuck was his ski was turning
circles. In other words, unbeknownst to everyone, the
piece of metal that keeps the ski pointing forward was
broken so there was no way he could turn or even control
his machine. No one realized it until the final time they
were trying to get him unstuck they tried to find his
ski under the snow to pull on it and realized it was pointing
the wrong way. Poor man. And here all this time he thought
it was him.
By the time I arrived the guys had cut and notched a sapling
on both ends to fit between the ski members, then tied
the skis tightly together using the sapling as a spacer.
It looked like a Freddy Flintstone mobile but it
worked like a hot darn. Thanks
for letting us take your photos, Mike! Andy actually rode
it home with our neighbour following him to make sure
he made it, and brought one of our own machines back up
while the rest of us continued on our way. As our neighbour
mentioned, theres nothing like having to MacGyver
something to make the day a good one.
We ended up out on a meadow near Lilly Lake ranch but
the wind was blowing pretty wildly so we retreated back
to the edge of the trees where we were still in the sun
but out of the wind and started our fire thanks to Dawn
packing up dry wood in her skimmer. We had a great
wiener roast, told stories, took a little tour around
the area, spotted some trails I would like to investigate
some day, and then headed home. It wasnt
a long day but our inexperienced fellows wouldnt
have found a long day pleasant. I think theyd had
enough exertion for one day. For that matter, even Andy
and I could feel the ride a bit because neither of us
have been out yet this year. I dont think tracking
ski and walking trails really counts as riding.
We have another beautiful day today with temperatures
at nearly freezing already but high wind again, as usual.
I have no idea why were getting our March winds
in February but I guess theres a reason. Our temperature
didnt even get that cold last night, probably because
it didnt clear off until well after midnight. It
sounds like we missed some great northern lights a couple
of nights ago. I usually take a quick glance out the window
before going to bed but I went to bed early that night
and missed it all. Bummer. Were sure not getting
them over this part of BC much this year. Andy has an
app on his iPad that shows where they usually are and
most of the time, they are north and east of us more often
in eastern Canada or over northern Russia and Norway.
We just arent holding our mouths right, I guess.
I miss seeing them, though.
We have an arborist up from Bella Coola to top a
couple of trees in our yard. We were lucky to
have heard about him from our neighbour who also needed
a tree done so he came on down here after finishing there.
We have a big old swamp spruce in the yard near the waters
edge that we normally wouldnt bother about except
that after that big wind storm back in 2008 it, the roots
came up and it started a dangerous lean toward my newly
built greenhouse. Andy has had it cinched back to the
tree behind it with a come-a-long for years now, which
helped to bring the roots back down but we dont
know if the roots could reattach themselves sufficiently
to save the tree in a high wind. We figure if we
get it topped, we wont have to worry. The wind wont
effect it nearly so much without a heavy, branch laden
top on it, and it wont hit the greenhouse if it
does come down. Theres a big old pine next
to it, one of the few that escaped the pine beetle attack
in 2006, that we would like topped as well. It has a schoolmarm
halfway up and another near the top, so if even half of
the top one was taken out, whats left shouldnt
be affected too much by the wind. If it is, I think it
will still take out the greenhouse but cutting it lower
will probably kill it. Old pines dont seem to react
as well to being cut as spruce does. Spruce usually just
gets thicker provided this one isnt cut too low
Just got back inside and our arborist just did a
terrific job of both trees. I especially like how the
spruce looks. I think it will thicken right up
but shouldnt cause any danger to the greenhouse
now. The pine was big and scraggly looking, starved of
light for years by the spruces behind it, so it doesnt
look great cut, but the arborist did leave the smaller
part of the schoolmarm, so it will continue to grow and
will probably thicken right up eventually. In the meanwhile,
its bigger sister is now on the ground and only feet away
from the greenhouse. So thats another one we no
longer have to worry about. Not to mention the light it
lets into the yard. Man, I am really pleased with how
things look now.
For anyone out in this area that needs one, this
arborist is from Bella Coola and owns Bear Claw Contracting.
Hes an experienced feller and licensed arborist
and does an awesome job so if you need someone locally,
this is your man. If you want his contact information
just give me a call or drop an email.
A mini-blizzard moved in about the time the arborist was
just finishing up, then it cleared and the sun was shining,
and now as I am ready to post this, theres a nasty,
cold wind, the clouds have moved in, the temperature is
dropping and it looks like it wants to snow again. Its
going to be really hard to make myself go out there for
a walk today
The Snow Still Hasn't Come
here we are, still waiting for that snow that forecasters
have been calling for in the past week. We still havent
gotten much other than a skiff here and there and Im
okay with that. Im sure snowmobilers would like
to see more but theres lots for sledding if you
dont get off the trail into the stumps and such.
I guess theres about four feet of snow on
the trail up to Goat Pass but apparently the pass itself
is impassable. I guess warm weather and these
winds have swept the pass clear of snow so you cant
get in over the rocks. That pretty much closes off the
entire Trumpeter drainage for snowmobiling unless you
have machines that can break trail up the back side and
I dont know anyone that wants to be stuck that much.
Instead, were going to do a little trail riding
elsewhere this week and have a little old fashioned wiener
roast with friends when we do it.
Andy and I went snowshoeing in the back woods yesterday
and trust me, theres lots of snow if you dont
need to do a bunch of hill climbing with your sled!
Im still trying to break a new trail for cross country
skiing but even with snow shoes, its a tough slog,
especially uphill. Andys snowshoes are the original
kind like trappers have used for hundreds of years and
he stayed right on top of the snow. Mine are the new kind,
a type of bear paw, and they sink much farther into the
snow, creating a little more work. Boy, if you want
a work out, thats definitely the way to go.
Its right up there with breaking trail cross country
Staying in the woods is about all you can do now if you
dont like the wind, and I dont. Our wind was
howling again today from just before noon until later
this afternoon when it calmed down a bit. It doesnt
seem to slow a lot of people down though, like it does
The pilots from Springhouse were in again today. They
made a sharp little landing into the wind in front of
our place, parked and walked up to Nimpo again,
presumably for lunch. A few guys crossed in front of our
place on snow machines headed out for some trailriding
today, and we even had a few locals park down on the ice
near Oscars skating rink park, start a fire, set
up some chairs and enjoy the afternoon with their kids.
Yesterday we had three fellows stop by on snowshoes heading
toward Wilderness Rim where everyone at the resort was
doing their annual mid-February ice cutting. I really
enjoy seeing people move around at this time of year on
blue sky days. If that wind wasnt blowing Im
sure there would be more!
At least we havent received the damage from
the wind that they have down on the Lower Mainland and
over on the Island. We were lucky to have that
big windstorm in the fall of 2008 I think, because it
took down every tree that was likely to come down, green
and dead alike, but the Coast hasnt been so lucky.
I saw on the news tonight that about 25,000 people were
without power, lots of trees came down on buildings and
cars, and there were a lot of delayed sailings for BC
The worst thing that has happened here is the ice road
drifting over and Andy having to go out and re-plow it
a few times. I havent even tried to go skiing out
on the lake. Any trail I cut would be drifted over in
minutes so it would be pointless, not to mention miserable.
As I said, Im a wimp when it comes to wind.
It just hate it so the most Ill go out in it is
to walk the dogs on our route and try to arrange it so
that when Im in the open I have my back to the wind.
It seems awfully early this year for our spring winds
so Im not sure whats up. Im just glad
we dont have more than a couple of inches of fresh
snow for that wind to move around or things would be a
real mess. Then we would look like Saskatchewan! :-)
A few more critters are starting to move around
now. I saw where an otter had crossed our property
in that fresh snow the other day. We have a really steep
hill off our roadside down to the lake and they really
seem to like sliding down it. Im seeing lots of
squirrel tracks now as well as fox and coyote but I havent
seen any more wolf tracks. Still no rabbit tracks but
River did manage to dig an old dried up carcass of one
out of the snow when we were snowshoeing. Maybe that was
the last rabbit of the year. We must be at the very lowest
point in their life cycle. It sure must be hard on the
lynx right now, anyway.
Our friend Dawn sent me some photos that she took a few
days back and has been trying to email to me ever since.
It seems after all this time Im still having problems
with my email client. She liked the looks of Andy plowing
the ice road at the same as that plane came into land
the other day so much that she hopped on her snowmobile,
left her ice fishing hole on the lake, and came out to
take photos. She also sent me a couple of a little
red fox she has hanging around her place. I watched it
hunting in her yard one day as I got into my pickup to
leave. I couldnt believe my eyes. It could have
cared less if I was there or not, it was so intent on
hunting a mouse it had cornered. In any case, Ill
post the photos up on the right. Enjoy. And thanks, Dawn!
We are supposed to see another storm move in tonight
according to the weather forecasters, and its bringing
snow. I just dont know if well actually
get it here. It looks like it on the radar but so far
I guess as usual, we'll see when we get up in the morning.
Last week's blog is at February
Lake Highway cam looking West.
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!