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 - January, Week 1/2009
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of the Day.
had planned on riding to Hotnarko Falls today but the
morning dawned really grim looking with heavy,
low lying cloud so the guys decided to cancel. It turned
out to be a bit of a miscalculation because in the end,
we got one heck of an incredible day with temperatures
just above freezing and sunshine. It just took a little
while to get it there, that's all. However, by the time
it did in the early afternoon, both we and our riding
partners were occupied in other pursuits. In our case
a very boring, but necessary one.
We heat with wood and have cats in the house, so as a
result, dust can take over pretty fast. Especially
since we lost so many trees to beetle kill. Our
mini forest in the yard had helped to keep down the dust
but after all the trees went down and the stumps were
dug up, it's been nothing but a dust bowl around here,
even with the new lawn. Between that and the wood
stove, the dust bunnies can grow to a fearsome size!
So when you have wall to wall, large plate glass windows
to a ceiling 24 feet high, covered with blinds used to
cut down on the sun when it's really bright, you have
an all day, two person job cleaning both the windows and
blinds. Since we virtually had to take the living, dining
area apart to get to the windows, we couldn't really stop
in the middle of the job or we would have had to eat supper
off the floor. It really sucked to trade such a gorgeous
day out for such a miserable job, but since it was my
suggestion to tackle it in the first place, I have no
one to blame but myself. But at least it's done.
In the meanwhile, we'll aim for another nice day to take
our ride but I don't think it will be tomorrow. Looking
at the satellite and radar pictures tonight, we might
actually see some snow, and probably definitely
some wind, even if it is clear out there right now. Sunday
might work out okay, though.
So of course, after such a gorgeous day, it was a major
surprise this evening to go from right around freezing
into a mercury free fall of 15 degrees in only a matter
of three hours. It's already down to -15C or 5F
and still dropping so it will be interesting to see where
it ends up by morning. I figured that cold weather north
of Prince George just might slide south but it shouldn't
last long. There's another Pineapple Express coming in
and it should bring warm air for several days. It also
looks to be packing some serious moisture and unless it
dumps it all on the North Coast where it's supposed to
land first, the folks down around Vancouver and the Island
are going to have to put their ducky boots back on again.
Actually, that would be better than the alternative.
So many areas down there are flooded now, including some
homes, that as Andy has mentioned, if it turned
cold now all that flood water would turn to solid ice.
Then what do you do?
I know that this should be the start of a new week but
this is going to be short again so I'll just tack this
on to the past week's articles. Besides, my mouse is still
acting up so until I can fix it, or it fixes itself, (which
has happened before) using it is awkward.
another rabbit, or more probably hare, met its fate on
the back trail sometime today. All three dogs
were showing a lot of interest in a set of coyote tracks
in fresh snow on the trail from the junction to the gun
range. Eventually we came across the place where the critter
had been murdered, leaving clumps of fur around. Then,
judging from the tracks, the coyote proceeded to cross
back and forth across the trail dragging his prize, which
most definitely did not help me to keep the dogs under
control. But all those smells gave them a thrill anyway,
probably akin to a pack of women scoring high priced Chanel
handbags at knock off prices.
Farther up the trail I found tracks where the rabbit had
been coming right down the middle of the trail, so
he was kind of a sitting duck since a coyote or
fox could move just as quickly on a packed trail as the
rabbit. Although the coyote had good cover behind some
spruce boughs that swept to the ground so he might have
ambushed the rabbit too. I'm not sure why the rabbits
are taking to following the trails so much but I've been
seeing their tracks for weeks now both there and on the
We got a fluffy snow yesterday and last night that
probably only amounted to about an inch and a half.
I know Andy came home from Anahim Lake madder than a scalded
cat today because they had received at least 8" of
snow. For that matter, Mary, just down at the other end
of the lake, reported at least three inches of the fresh
stuff so I don't know if we're just not holding our mouths
right or what. Even Williams Lake got about four inches
of snow so we seem to be the only ones getting bypassed.
It hung right around freezing or just above all last night
and hovered between 1 and 2 degrees above freezing all
day. For that matter, the temperature still isn't moving
much even though a pretty good wind has started howling
out there.We're actually warmer than the Cariboo
inland so we must just be riding the jet stream right
now. Suits me. I don't mind being warm at all.
It's a nice change to be able to take my jacket off while
walking or just go outside in a T-shirt to shovel or sweep
snow instead of having to bundle up in a bajillion layers
before venturing outside.
Boy, did the southern half of BC ever get hit today. Mudslides,
avalanches, flooding, and rivers and streams still rising,
closing major highways and roads. Talk about messy!
I guess things are supposed to continue that way for the
Lower Mainland, Island, Fraser Valley and north to Hope
until tomorrow. Hope got 7.5 inches of rain today. Can
you believe that? Wow!
I finally saw someone with a pickup travel down
the Main Arm of Nimpo Lake today for the first time.
Others may have come down it but I haven't seen them.
I know that the ice is plenty good enough but it just
hasn't been plowed out so it might be a bit messy with
drifts and such.
Friends from across the lake were kind enough to send
over some pictures of our party at the Hall on New Year's
Eve, the bonfire, and of the only short little fireworks
things we had. Her pictures inside the hall were at least
better than mine, which were completely blurry. Not too
sure what I did there to screw that up. Unfortunately,
their fireworks pictures were as disappointing as mine.
There must be some trick to taking pictures of them.
Uh oh. I was just going to post them but
my computer is acting up. I've already had to shut it
off and restart it several times, as well as change out
the keyboard to get it working. But I see my mouse is
going wonky again so I'll skip the pictures and pic of
the day and get this posted to the Internet right away.
finally getting some snow! It's not amounting
to much, even though it's been peppering it down for most
of the day and evening and is dry and fluffy. But we might
get up to an inch and since it's actually warming up this
evening, we just might get some bigger, fatter flakes.
Right now it's sitting dead on freezing, while it sat
around -1C for most of the day. Since it's warming up
this evening when it should be cooling down, I can only
assume we will warm up through the night into tomorrow.
Looking at the satellite pictures on TV tonight, it looks
like we can expect more snow tomorrow but Thursday looks
like it will be a glorious day so I think that's the one
we'll choose to ride to Hotnarko Falls.
The rest of BC is not looking so hot. The
Lower Mainland is expecting between 100 and 150mm or up
to 6 inches of rain over the next 36 hours. Holy Cow!!!
That's a lot of rain on top of all that snow. All I can
say is, "Get the sand bags out folks!"
Many rivers are expected to crest at 3 to 10 feet above
normal levels in the next 36 hours and there's already
some extensive flooding starting where storm drains are
frozen over or plugged up with slush.
As expected, a few roofs have collapsed on houses
and yet they're advising anyone against climbing on their
roof to clear it off because of the danger of sliding
off. You know, if I feared my roof could collapse under
the weight of wet snow and couldn't wait until some contractor
made it around to clear it for me, then I guess I would
be figuring out how to do it myself one way or another.
And I'm not too hot with heights. The way I look
at it, it costs a whole lot less to mend a broken bone
than it does to replace your entire roofing system.
Besides, if you're shoveling that much snow off of your
roof, you're going to have a pretty padded fall, especially
since there doesn't seem to be a lot of steep roofed houses
The Okanagan has also been hit with a lot of snow with
accidents both up on the Connector and down in the city
itself. Actually, the streets just looked to be a bloody
mess. I can't imagine having to fight my way around that
city with that much snow on the ground. It's hard enough
to get around in when it's high summer and with dry pavement!
There are snow warnings out for most of BC right
to north of Prince George so I guess everyone is going
to get hit. Except us..... although I did go for
a walk in a mini blizzard today. Other than hitting the
wind when I came out on the road, it was a delightful
walk. But then we're used to slipping and sliding and
wading through snow around here.
Oh, hey! I just noticed that we made it above freezing.
We're at a balmy half degree above, and I think that the
last time the mercury made it above freezing was on December
9th. That's nearly 30 days ago. Woo Hoo!!!! We're
in Hawaii now!
the sounds of the weather forecasters on the news, Vancouver
is finally going to be thawing out but it's going
to be a long, dirty process in the meanwhile.
They got another dump of snow because it didn't warm up
as quickly as predicted. The roof on a recreation centre
collapsed, and judging from the snow you can see on the
houses, a lot more roofs are going to collapse because
of the coming rain. There's a big system sweeping up from
Hawaii toward the Alaskan gulf, which will then bring
winds and warmer temperatures from the northwest onto
the coast, and it's packing a lot of moisture!
There are predictions of upwards of a 100mm of rain over
the next two days. I think that translates to about 4
inches of rain on top of all that snow. They think they
have problems now? I think it's going to be one
unholy mess over the next two days because streets
and yards will flood, and that probably means the basements
in a few homes will as well. Selfishly, I'm so glad I
don't live there!
In the meanwhile, those warmer temperatures are bringing
a wonderful reprieve to the Chilcotin. While it did
drop to -14C last night, it warmed up to a welcome two
degrees above freezing this afternoon, although admittedly,
the sun may have been shining on the digital thermometer
out back a bit. It wasn't melting out and the wind was
raw, but it was still nice with sunshine for most of the
day and the warmest temperatures we've seen in many, many
Radar pictures on the weather tonight show moisture headed
our way for tomorrow but whether that materializes or
not is yet to be seen. It was down to -4.5C at supper
time and it's up to -2C now, so it's definitely warming
up and there's a high haze over the moon and heavy cloud
to the west. That might mean snow for us.
On a personal level, I don't really care. There's enough
snow on the ice and back trails to ski on and ride with
a snowmobile, and since we've a nicely packed trail for
walking, I would rather not see much snow. We're getting
just enough drifting or skiffs of snow to detect the new
tracks of critters on the back trail, so don't need any
more, but the snowmobile enthusiasts love that deep powder!
There were lots of fresh rabbit tracks around today and
the pup scrounged up half a frozen rabbit carcass from
under the snow yesterday. I fell on my face about four
times trying to chase the dog down and take the carcass
away from her. I didn't succeed of course other than to
end up covered in snow and get soaking wet. I'm pretty
sure she's still laughing at me. That's the problem
with a hound dog. They seem to be able to smell stuff
that even coyotes and foxes can't. It's probably
a great year for predators to eat and I won't be surprised
if I start running across some lynx tracks soon. We scared
a grouse and a couple of ptarmigan up today, so there's
still lots of them around as well.
I'm keeping this short tonight. I'm in the middle of a
project I'm working on and just got my PST form in the
mail today, so I have to get started on my taxes. Oh joy.
gotten a big switcheroo in our weather today.
The weathermen have been forecasting a warm up for most
of BC except for the north for a couple of days now and
it finally arrived. It looks like it's only going to last
for a couple of days before temperatures start dropping
again, but it's a welcome break in the meanwhile.
It was only -8C or 17F at midnight last night and has
slowly warmed up to just below zero at only one degree
below Vancouver's reported temperature right now, which
is highly unusual. It was snowing sideways to beat the
band today when I went for a walk, and visibility was
pretty poor. Not long after I got back a vicious wind
started up and has blowing ever since. Snow was swirling
all over the lake and it's pretty unpleasant outside.
I guess there are blizzard warnings for the Cariboo,
Prince George, and 100 Mile area, which probably includes
us to some extent, although it will be much worse
east of us with wetter snow and more of it.
There are wind warnings for the south, central and north
coast of BC for winds up to 50 miles an hour, and snow
warnings for the whole south coast. It's kind of bizarre
to see Vancouver getting weather we should be getting....that
everyone around here has been praying for, anyway. I'm
sure most Vancouverites and the Islanders would be very
happy to see us take the nasty white stuff away for them,
but it doesn't look like it's meant to be. We only ended
up with a skiff of snow today while it looks like they'll
be shovelling the stuff again. Although not for long.
It's supposed to warm up to 7C or 45 degrees Fahrenheit
tonight and rain tomorrow so then they'll have a real
mess on their hands!
Everyone went snowmobiling up to Trumpeter today,
or at least attempted to. I guess that wicked
wind we got this afternoon was blowing up at 24 kilometer
from this morning on, driving the snow around so badly
that Andy said there was almost zero visibility on the
Autobahn. He couldn't see either the tracks or the guy
running ahead of him and I guess once they topped out
through Goat Pass, conditions were so bad that they chose
to come back down on the old trail through the woods,
and stayed down around Charlotte Lake after that. I was
supposed to go but ended up unable to sleep all night
and decided to take a pass and get some work done here
instead. Boy, was I glad! Watching conditions all
day I was only too grateful to not have to be out in that
miserable weather trying to find a trail while hunched
behind the windshield on a snowmobile. After all,
snowmobiling is supposed to be fun! At least down here,
bad weather effects the back trail very little for walking.
You've got to feel for other parts of Canada. Northern
BC has been in the deep freeze, for so long they probably
don't remember when they last saw the mercury come up
to the freezing mark.
Right now, the prairies have wind warnings out, with Saskatoon
at 40 below zero but with the wind chill, they're at -53C.
That's 63.4 degrees below zero Fahrenheit folks!
Winnipeg is set to get it tomorrow and Ontario is getting
ready for a big baddy swirling in over the great lakes
which is then set to move on east and lay some more snow
on those poor buggers on the Atlantic Coast. Heck, they're
still digging out from under the last four
snowfalls! And eventually, all of these places across
Canada are going to flood when it warms up. Boy, I have
to admit that there are times when I'm really, really
glad that I don't live anywhere but here. In any case,
with that wind roaring around out there, I wouldn't want
to bet on our power remaining on for long so I had better
get this posted.
The Cold Returns
not back in the deep freeze, it's still pretty darned
cold. The temperature started dropping pretty
fast yesterday evening and hit -20C (-4F) and then oddly,
started to rise again in the middle of the night. It was
four degrees warmer by the time I went to bed and we figured
some clouds must have rolled in but when Andy checked
the temperature at five, it was back down to -24C or -11F
and at dawn, it had dropped another couple of degrees
to nearly -27C or 17 degrees below F. He said a heavy
fog rolled in this morning, probably from Charlotte Lake,
and by the time I got up, there was bright sunshine
and a thick rime of frost on everything. The trees
look beautiful when it's like that!
You could tell that we were starting to get some extreme
temperature differences last night from day time highs,
because the lake ice really started booming last night.
It grumbled through most of the night and now with the
sun on the snow, it's booming some more. Growing thicker!
The temperature still hasn't managed to climb above -18.3C
today so I think a walk or ski is out of the question.
Yes... I know. Other people go out in that weather. I
don't. Severe frost bite that I sustained years ago while
working at the mill years ago means I freeze up pretty
fast. Call me chicken but I'm not a fan of being
out in really cold weather. I don't mind looking
out at it from inside a nice warm house, though!
So I thought I would try doing something fun. I don't
know if it will work for everyone because for me, the
following files open in Real Player, but I'm hoping if
you click on them, you will get a sense of some of the
fireworks we had. Unfortunately, I didn't record them
all, or even the nicest ones because I was trying to take
pictures at first and that just wasn't working, so I switched
to video. However, since we were all standing too close
to the fireworks, they were actually right over us. That
meant it was a lot harder to get them all in. I
think next time we'll try to set them off a little farther
away so that we can see them better, and we're less likely
to be bombarded by sparks. I haven't checked the
jacket I was wearing yet, but probably should to see how
many holes are in it. In any case, perhaps you can get
a sense of how much fun we were having. Just a word of
warning. Most of the videos, even though short, run between
1.4 and 2.5 MB so they will be slow to download on anything
but high speed and probably not worth the effort or time
if you have anything but high speed Internet, which is
why I only uploaded the smaller files rather than the
better ones. Unfortunately, I don't have the time today
to do any video editing to shorten them up, but for those
of you on high speed, enjoy!
Most notable about it all was the tremendous echo
set off by the fireworks around the lake and countryside,
probably because it's so quiet around here at night. The
other thing was the screamers, or the little curly-que
things in some of the fireworks that look like a pig's
tail flying into the air and squeal something awful! You
sure wouldn't want to set off those fireworks as a full
time job without ear protection!
The New Year 2009
New Year 2009 all. Wow....we made it!
Don't you kind of look around at the end of the year and
wonder where the past year went? And I think the old saying
is right, the older you get the faster time flies. I'm
not too sure where 2008 went to but I was just starting
to get used to writing that number on my cheques, invoices,
and so on. Now I have to start all over again with a new
We had our New Year's Party last night but the numbers
were a little disappointing. We had about half the people
that we did last year, but there was a bonfire party in
Anahim Lake and a small ice party on Nimpo Lake that drew
some people away. Although a few did make an effort
to hit all three, some stopping in at the Hall for a little
while for the fireworks and a bite to eat or a drink.
It probably didn't help much either if word got out that
our sewer was frozen up and many people weren't sure that
did come by if it was working or not.
Still, those that did come had a pretty good time, I think,
and the fireworks were fabulous as usual. Thanks
to Richard and Leah for those. I also want to
thank those people that couldn't come to the party but
that bought tickets anyway to support the community association,
or threw some extra money in the pot. I would love to
mention your names here but I would feel really badly
if I missed someone. However, you know who you are.
Thank you! I also want to thank those people that
contributed either food or their help in decorating, bar
tending, etc. Our core of volunteers is small but super!
A few of us got the Hall cleaned up today. It was supposed
to be left until tomorrow because everyone was going out
riding today, but since we had to shut things down, it
was pretty late before our heads hit the pillow. We decided
to pass on the snowmobiling and go sort things out instead
with the help of some other people that didn't go out.
So that's another job done for the year. Or at least until
we have another function.
Today turned out to be a a spectacular one, although
it never did make it above -6C or 21F today, but
it was clear as a bell everywhere except over the mountains
and even there you could only see the odd little poufy
cloud. I'm sure everyone will have had a fabulous ride
up the mountain today with this weather, although it looked
like someone might have blown a belt out on the lake just
before dark coming back in. We saw a couple of guys working
on a machine but they had it fixed in short order from
the look of it so Andy didn't see a need to go out there.
As usual, there were a few people out on the lake
today either snowmobiling, walking, or skiing.
It's sure nice to have it warm enough so that people can
enjoy outdoor activities, and to see a little action on
Nimpo. I skipped a ski on the lake today, namely because
there were people out there and it's just easier with
the pup to avoid others and walk the back trails instead.
There were loads more tracks of all sorts on the trail
again today, easy to see with that last little skiff of
snow we had. Not much in the way of big game animals though,
but that may be because there isn't that much snow around
and they may not have been forced down to lower elevations
yet. Or there aren't any around because of wolf and bear
It dropped to -16C or 3 degrees Fahrenheit last night
and judging from how slowly things warmed up today, I'm
guessing we're in for another cold snap. I caught
only a bit on the weather yesterday but it sounds like
temperatures will be dropping for Friday. I'm not really
looking forward to going back into the deep freeze again
already. I was just starting to enjoy getting back outside
walking or skiing, but at least we're not facing the sheer
misery in the form of bad weather that the rest of BC
and Canada are. We're actually pretty lucky so I guess
I'll stop whining and take what I get.
On the day we were decorating the hall, friends gave me
a cassette tape with interviews with Lester Dorsey
from way back and about a few other notables of the area
including Pan Phillips. Obviously, with everything
that has been going on I haven't had a chance to listen
to it yet but I very much look forward to doing so. If
I can get permission from the historical society in Bella
Coola that created the tape, I look forward to sharing
some of those stories with you. I just have to track the
society down first, or see if it even still exists.
This is the start of a new week and a new
year, so if you look at the navigation on the left, you
will see that the past years are color coded links with
2008 being in yellow. As for last week's articles, you
can find them at December
Week Four. Happy New Year everyone
and best wishes to you and yours for the year 2009!
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!