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 - West Chilcotin Blog
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The Long Road Through January
have been trying to write this blog for nearly two weeks
without much success even though I know that lots of people
rely on this rather than the Facebook page for updates
on the area. Ive graduated from my hip acting
up to my back acting up and back again to the point that
I really cant sit in my office chair for more than
a couple of minutes at a time. I can usually get a Facebook
post up but thats been the extent of my attachment
to my computer. Im sorry about that folks. On the
good side, because I cant sit down for long, Ive
gotten other things accomplished in and out of the house
After acquiring the cross country classic and skate ski
trackers from guests this winter that kindly donated them,
weve been putting in some trail but it has been
one heck of a roller coaster ride of a winter so far and
has had an affect on doing that.
We have had some substantial dumps of snow at a
time taking days to dig out from under in a couple of
cases. Not only do we have decks, a yard, paths,
a quarter mile of driveway and the ice road to try to
keep clear, but Andy also has to devote some time to clearing
neighbours driveways, cleaning up the parking over
at the restaurant, and most importantly, we have to clear
the snow off the roofs of many of our buildings. Particularly
when shortly after a two foot snow fall the weatherman
is forecasting warmer air and rain which makes the weight
of the snow on the roof just too much to be safe for the
We did lose the canvas carport that we had moved
down near the snowmobile trailer this past summer.
It houses the old 33 and its new home also
meant we werent quite as on top of what was happening
to it as when it was in the yard. A lot of it was under
a massive spruce tree that should have protected it but
instead, unloaded a large amount of icy, heavy, snow onto
it, thus collapsing it. The whole white mess is
so frozen in that weve just left it as is until
spring when we can get in there and see what damage there
is. We put plywood on the roof under the canvas
which I had hoped would help stabilize and strengthen
it but Andy says it was the aluminum poles that bent under
the weight. Maybe we need to build a proper pole barn
after all. I was hoping to avoid one more large project.
We dont really need any more.
We have had a couple of Pineapple Expresses move
in this winter bringing warm air and rain, usually
after our large dumps of snow, but sometimes being the
cause of them as well. As I mentioned in the last blog
for December, the first rain was ideal because it melted
all the snow off of the ice on the lake, which meant no
overflow and the ice could grow.
Less than a week into January, it started to snow
and after a couple of days, we had nearly another two
feet of snow on top of what was already on the ground.
I dont know if you can tell from the photo on the
right, but the one day that it was really pouring the
snow down all day, I had cleared off one of the trucks
and moved it so that Andy could plow where it had been
parked. It was snowing so hard that in the time it was
parked there, another two inches of snow had accumulated
on the windshield and I had to clear the drivers
side enough just to that I could see to park it again
back in its regular spot. The same day I took the plow
truck down on the ice to try and get some of the snow
off the ice road but it was coming down so hard it was
a complete white out. Even with yellow glasses on
I couldnt see anything and I was literally bouncing
from the snow bank on one side to the bank on the other
until I had made a couple of passes and could start to
see where the ice road actually was. I kept plowing
until nearly dark when I got stuck and Andy had to come
and pull me out.
Then it rained all night, which formed a hard crust on
top of the snow, making it hard to shovel, hard to plow,
and even hard to run a snowmobile through without getting
stuck, which we did trying to break in the back trail
for walking and skiing. We spent a lot of time in the
plow truck trying to keep the ice road clear while the
snow came down. That was most important because any build
up of snow on the ice could potentially cause overflow,
which would pretty much put the ice road out of commission
for the rest of the winter. And once we knew rain
was coming on top of the snow, it meant busting our behinds
trying to get snow off of the boats, and roofs.
Andy bought one of those big 21 roof scrapers when
he was last in town which meant I could finally participate
in roof clearing. I cant do the heights to get up
there and clear snow, but I can clear a lot of it from
the ground now. Its wonderful and one of those things
that just surprises you when it actually does the job
its designed to do really, really well.
We finally also have lots of shovels this year, which
helps. I had an ergonomic push shovel that Andy gave me
for Christmas last year but it didnt work that great
for anything but pushing and he had been patching our
other two shovels up for years to keep them going. My
plastic grain shovel was from 1990 was on its last legs
and is not only badly sun damaged but has been used brutally
for years summer and winter. So I picked up a
shovel from Costco down in the Okanagan this past November
and Andy got me a new grain shovel and a push shovel for
Christmas, so at least we had the weapons we needed to
tackle all the snow this year! However, I guess we could
have just waited like the road maintenance crews in Williams
Lake does for the warmer weather and rain to come and
save ourselves a lot of trouble.
A week later we started to finally see some sunshine for
the first time in weeks and we could see that there had
been an inversion higher up because a lot of the mountains
were black, probably the same inversion that cleared the
snow off of ski hills down in the Lower Mainland. By
mid-January, temperatures were starting to reach the freezing
mark and we were seeing a lot more sun, enough
to keep from packing up and going to Mexico, anyway. Everyone
had been grousing around here for a month because of the
lack of sunshine so I wasnt the only one complaining
about it, but my other half and the animals were starting
to run for the hills about the time I got up in the morning.
Even my SAD light wasnt doing the trick and not
being able to get out and walk or get any exercise due
to weather, snow and old hip and back injuries was not
helping a bit. So I cant tell you how nice it has
been to see some sunshine and warmer temperatures in the
past two weeks. It has made all the difference in the
Andy and I got out on our snow machines and started
breaking out trails so that I could walk with the dog
and set some tracks. He dragged the big skate
ski tracker to widen and smooth the back trail and I followed
with the classic tracker on one side of it. As soon as
the tracks were set I had posts painted and ready to set
in next to the ski tracks so that anyone following the
trail on snowmobile could see where the ski trail was
and hopefully not obliterate it as had happened before
Christmas. Its been in for over two weeks now and
not a single snowmobiler has run over it which is marvelous!
Thanks to Leah up at the store for letting everyone know
that the trail is there.
We got about a week of very warm weather toward
the end of this month with temperatures as high as 9C
or 48F one day which did a lot to melt out the
ski tracks. But it also took the snow down by two thirds.
We still have snow up to our knees but its far less
than it would have been had we not gotten the big melt.
All that snow created brutal overflow conditions on the
lake but the ice road held up because we kept it clear
the whole time. Lots of people were ice fishing
off our point for the whole month of January because the
fishing has been terrific this year, but much
of the time they were standing in up to a foot of water.
After a couple of cooler nights Andy and I decided to
run down onto the lake with our machines after coming
back from breaking some trail and see if there was overflow.
I could see water coming up behind his machine as it lugged
down and just about that time I could feel mine start
to work hard so I kicked up the throttle and got the heck
out of there while he made a big circle as well and we
raced back in and off the lake. It was clearer to understand
why three does and two fawns that I watched cross the
lake the day before took such a long time and looked to
be having a real struggle getting across. It would have
been hard slogging for them in that overflow.
We have since had about a week of cold nights and cooler
days so I expect it has frozen up again now. We heard
snowmobiles for the first time in ages on the other side
of the lake the day before yesterday so maybe it is okay
As welcome as the melt was for all of us, it also
caused some serious problems. The resulting ice
everywhere has been really, really dangerous. You take
your own life into your hands every time you try to walk
anywhere that the snow was first packed, and then melted,
like in our yard, down our driveway, and in every parking
spot up in Nimpo. I wont go anywhere without points
strapped onto my boots but Andy doesnt use them.
So after we got a skiff of snow on the ice the other morning
he went out to feed the dogs and took a pretty nasty fall
that wrenched his shoulder badly. Enough so that I've
been praying we don't get a big dump of snow so that he
doesn't have to run the Bobcat for a few days, or at least
until his shoulder has some time to heal up a bit. Weve
gotten a little more snow since that is starting to pack
and create a less dangerous surface to walk on but you
still have to walk pretty carefully.
Still, even taking into account that this has been
a bit of a rough winter, we have it really, really easy
compared to eastern Canada and the US. Actually,
most of the time weve had it better than all
of Canada because the prairies have been suffering some
pretty deadly cold weather off and on all winter while
the rest of Canada has been cold and loaded down with
one snow storm after another. So as much as we might like
to complain here, we should probably be counting our blessings
last blog is at December
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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!