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Wilderness Adventures - January 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.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.


09/01/2010 2:38 PM

The Warming

Hallelujah! We're finally seeing a warming trend. It's sitting just half a degree below freezing at the back in the shade. The sun was shining this morning and that was a really nice change. But by this afternoon snow clouds have moved in and I see that it looks like it's snowing over Charlotte Lake way. Otherwise, I think it might have made it well above freezing today. Maybe tomorrow.
With a warm front coming in from the south west and running into the cold front that's been sitting over the central interior of the province, we've had some strange weather. On Thursday night after midnight the temperature came up from -10C or 15F to -9C. I had gone out to get some wood to bank the fire and heard a strange noise. I thought.... that sounds like rain? I went back upstairs, turned on the outside light and sure enough, there was a mix of rain and sleet hitting the front windows. Now at that temperature, that's just strange. I can only assume that there was an inversion with warm air moving over the top of cold air, causing freezing rain. It didn't last for long but the same thing happened yesterday evening.
I was headed up to the coffee shop after supper when it started to snow, then rained, then turned to snow again. There was an informal jam session up at The Bean Out West. Tracey opened her coffee shop up to people that wanted to come up and play music or sing. For those of us that are so non musical it's pathetic, we got to buy a specialty coffee (I saluted the newly warmed weather with an iced chai tea) and sat and listened to the music makers. There was someone on keyboard, someone on drums, and five guitars playing, so it was actually pretty rich sounding. It was a great opportunity to visit with people that you don't get to see very often, and although I had to leave early for another date, it was really nice. This was the first Friday for this event but I guess there will be get togethers two Fridays out of the month. Actually, first and third Fridays as well but that is for practice while the second and fourth Friday is for the public.
It's really good to see something happening in Nimpo Lake again. It's been too quiet for too long. At one time when Cindy was operating Chilcotin's Gate, she would often have special monthly suppers for the community with music from her band. Once the motel burned down, the Gate was forced to close its doors as a restaurant. There just wasn't enough local business to support it through the winters. So the loss of both businesses was a hard hit for our little community. It's wonderful that Tracey has stepped up to the plate and opened her coffee shop next to the post office. It gives community members from Nimpo and Charlotte Lake a meeting place again when folks come in for their mail. They just have to become more used to taking advantage of the facility so that we can keep Tracey in business. Keep that in mind folks when you're going by The Bean Out West. Stop and grab a specialty tea or coffee on your way! I know her lattes are far superior to any I've ever had in other towns or cities.
Hey! I just checked the thermometer and it made it above freezing without the sun. It's got to be because of a warm south wind that we have right now. I would have to go back and check other blogs but it's been weeks since we got above freezing, (and then it was for just one day) especially without any sun. Sure looks like it's going to snow, though. Or rain. They were calling for freezing rain throughout the Cariboo today.
Just to let you all know, this is probably my last post until the end of January. I'm going to leave for the States this coming Tuesday and I'll be gone a little over two weeks. Since security in the airports is so tight now, I'm not going to take my laptop with me, so no way of posting blogs. I probably won't even take a camera with me so no pictures of where I've been, either.
Have a wonderful January, folks!

05/01/2010 1:16 PM

January Quiet

Compared to over the holidays, it's been awfully quiet around the lake since New Year's Eve. Many people have gone home while others have spent the last few days nursing the holiday hangover of too much food, liquid refreshment, and company. Many are also still nursing that virulent cold that ripped through our communities.
While you still see the odd snow machine on the lake, there aren't nearly the number of people that there was during the holidays and things have returned to their peaceful nature around here.
Our weather has been absolutely dreary, but for a change, that's a good thing. The heavy cloud cover we've been experiencing has protected us from the cold front that has moved down over the center of the province. While our temperatures have ranged from -5C or 23F to -9C or 17F, Williams Lake and Prince George have been experiencing temperatures at least 10 degrees colder. That's highly unusual because it's usually the other way around, but I'll take it. Today was the first day we saw the sun. It got up to -5C in the shade and up to freezing in the sun, which made it really nice once the clouds cleared out around noon. It probably also means that we'll turn cold now too, but at least we caught a break from really cold weather for a few days.
We're certainly doing better than the rest of the country, or the province for that matter. Vancouver has been getting rain while I understand the Okanagan has been getting heavy, wet snow. And the east coast! Wow, have they ever been getting whacked. High tides, storm surge, and several feet of snow have knocked out power and slowed things to a standstill there. They can keep it 'cause we don't want it!
I finally went out for a walk in the backwoods for the first time in a while. Between holiday busy, nursing my cold, and chilly temperatures, I haven't been in some time. The snowmachine tracks in the woods have hardened up enough to make it possible to walk, while the main road has been plowed and makes for great trudging with the dogs.
There was some coyote and fox sign around and lots of old moose sign. But it looks like the moose have moved on elsewhere or I wouldn't even mention it here. Otherwise it will become a bloody hunting ground for the natives It's their favorite time to hunt because they can run the animals down using snowmachines, while the moose are at a disadvantage in deep snow.
Surprisingly, I haven't seen a lot of rabbit sign around this year. I saw only one set of tracks on the whole walk today so this must be a real down part of their cycle right now. That, or we have too many foxes and coyotes around
My neighbour sent me some more snowmobile pics of he and his daughter playing around in Gus' Meadow yesterday. She bought herself a modified M7 for Christmas and had to check it out, while the young seven or eight year old son of another neighbour also went out with them to practice on his sled.

02/01/2010 5:27 PM

The New Year's Ice Party

Happy New Year's everyone! I had hoped to write yesterday but I had a fair bit of running around to do after the ice party. You know how it is. Clean up and then returning all the things I borrowed or collected for the party took a good bit of the day. The liquid refreshments or bad cold seemed to have gotten the better of most of the party goers so we were a little short on clean up crew. Actually there was only Donn, Richard and myself as Wendy had already been there earlier in the morning and did what she could and then thankfully our neighbours Alex and Iris arrived in time to help Richard load wood.
I think the party was a great success. Or certainly enough people told me so that night. I don't really know. I was a little busy running around, but all the lights on the trees surrounding the party area looked great, the curling stones made of aspen arrived to our little curling rink in the nick of time, the skating rink got scraped off in time and we got the bonfires started before people started arriving. Not that they wanted to burn well at first. The wood we cut up for them was old but wet so I had to go back home for some of our own firewood to get things going until another load was brought in.
We had a heck of a time getting the Swiss candles and ice candles lit. Even the tiki torches were a little slow to light. It had snowed lightly throughout the day after dropping about two inches of light fluff the night before. But right at party time Mother Nature decided to throw a real blizzard and a cold wind at us for a little while. So it was difficult to get matches, lighters, barbecue lighters, or even firestarter to work, but it happened eventually.
At least the blizzard didn't last for too long. Later in the evening it cleared off and the moon was shining so it was a lot easier to see but the temperature dropped fairly quickly too. It just meant people got a little cozier around the campfire. It may also explain why so many dove into the chili sitting on the barbecue. I didn't taste it after I thawed it out that day and it was much later that night before I had any. Either it cooked down enough to make it really, really spicy or it was like that all long and people burned their tongues. But at least it was guaranteed to warm you from the inside out. My apologies to anyone missing their taste buds after having a bowl of it!
Andy set his generator up in front of his truck to light the Christmas tree lights on the trees, the colored lights under the bar, the music system, and a big halogen light for the curling rink. We could have used a little more light over by the food but after all the running back and forth with my truck was done with, we parked it so that the lights shone on the food area and it worked out okay. The music and Andy's truck pretty much blocked the sound of the generator so that worked out as well.
The fireworks were terrific. Richard set some off at 8:00, some more around 9:30, and then put on a great show just before midnight. There were lots of kids there earlier on so at least they got to see some fireworks and have hotdogs and hot chocolate. We were going to have coffee but it was so cold that the water froze in the coffee pot before it could heat up and the whole thing kind of exploded. Sorry about that folks. But there was a great non-alcoholic punch thanks to Wendy, and though I kept checking it, no one ever did spike it, so that was kind of nice. That was not the case ten years ago at the Millennium ice party so I was keeping a close eye on it.
Wendy estimated that there were at least 200 people at the ice party. I never had time to count and it would have been impossible to do so. Many of the first bunch of people that arrived had children with them and the crowd quickly grew. But only a couple hours of later most of the kids and their parents were gone and a whole new set of people were there. Faces kept changing all night as snowmobiles, ATV's and vehicles arrived and left, but I think that she's quite right, there were at least that many people earlier on. Things thinned out after midnight but I was still there at three in the morning trying to wait out the party goers. Once it was down to a small bunch of young people around one fire, I packed up everything I could fit in the back of my truck that would not benefit from the cold, and came home.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera over until the night of the party and then I was actually too busy most of the time to take pictures. I panned some video during the fireworks but I didn't get much. I'm hoping someone has some pictures that they can send me. There were loads of people taking pictures of the ice bar so there must be some out there somewhere that I can post here.
The ice bar turned out the best. It looked great after John used the blow torch on it shortly after we built it the day before the party and then we set coins into the ice. It was like a sculpture that looked just as good the next day after we brushed the snow off. I went over today to try and get some pictures of it and it just doesn't look the same now. The ice has frosted over some and until we get the warm sun, it probably won't go as crystal clear as it was. Before it was like looking into this clear glass sculpture and particularly interesting was one block that arrived with a bit of floating seaweed type flora in it. The whole bar looked really amazing with a green and a red light lighting it up from underneath.
I want to thank everyone that helped with preparations for the party. Andy, Alex, Iris, John, Richard, Clint, Len, Ed, Wendy, and Leah. There were also some guys that helped us to build the ice bar but I don't know their names. I would really like to thank those folks from Charlotte Lake that brought some goodies for the party and anyone else that brought something that I may have missed, as well as Mrs. Walker for jumping in and grilling hotdogs when my hands were full. And thanks to Jeanette for allowing our party goers to use her outdoor biffy. (Ha! Bet you folks didn't think about that particular logistic, did you?) I hope I didn't miss anyone but if I did, thank you for your help.
Leah didn't get around to selling fifty fifty tickets the night of the party that we were going to put toward the fireworks. So if anyone feels like donating a little bit of money toward them, please see Richard or Leah up at the Nimpo Lake Store.
Also.... someone handed me a lens cover for a Canon camera early on in the party. If you're missing one, just call up to the store at 3333, or call me at 3724 and I'll get it to you.
Okay, I think that's it for lost and found.
The weather has been kind of bleah since the party although it did drop below -20C or -4F last night. It got up to nearly -5C or 23F today, and it's not dropping very fast tonight. Actually it dropped to -11C but it's climbing again. Probably because there's a system coming in from the Pacific. Vancouver was way above normal today so we're probably seeing a piece of that. And of course it was cloudy most of the day so it was a little warmer. Since I don't have a party to plan, dinners to go to, or relatives driving hundreds of miles to catch a plane in Vancouver or driving back into the States, I actually don't care what the weather does right now. Although a little warm up would be welcome. I'm just about over my cold and I would like to start walking the dogs out in the backwoods again, or go for a ski down the lake. Christmas is over and it's time to get moving again.
This is the start of a new year, so if you would like to read any of last year's articles you can click on the purple link for 2009 under Archives on the navigation, or go to December Week Two and once there you'll find all of last year's articles under the Archives heading on the left.
From my family to yours, here's wishing you all the very best in the new year. And may all your New Year's resolutions be easy to keep!!






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!
Bright colored snowmachine and rider.
 
Young boy on a yellow sled.
 
Block style ice bar.
 
Ice bar of blocks at night.
 
Fireworks behind a person.
 
People standing around a bonfire.
 
Skating on a rink at night.
 
Curling at night.
 
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