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 - Jan., Week 3/2014
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The Amazing January Continues
off, I was reminded a couple of weeks ago that I should
mention the following and then proceeded to forget about
it, which is what happens when youre blonde, busy
and getting over the hill. Corey Price of Anahim
Lake has been named as second goal tender behind Roberto
Luongo for the mens Olympic Team going to Sochi
in February. Our congratulations go out to him.
He has every right to be proud of his accomplishment as
is this community. If nothing else, maybe the odd person
across Canada has looked up Anahim Lake on the map just
to see where it is.
Our incredible, amazing, glorious weather continues. If
I sound smug, I am. At first I felt really, really sorry
for the people in Ontario for the way they have been whacked
this winter with repeated winter blasts of cold, wind,
snow and freezing rain. But then I remembered
was them rubbing our noses in it when they were golfing
in 20 degree temperatures midwinter a couple of years
ago while we dug out from under snowfall after
snowfall and were constantly hit with minus 30 temps.
What goes round comes round, people!
On the other hand, I do feel terrible for the folks on
the eastern seaboard both in Canada and the US. The poor
people in the Atlantic provinces have just been brutalized
by the weather this winter, particularly with their wild
winds and major snowfalls. Nobody deserves that. And then
of course, those poor buggers down in the south that rarely
see freezing temperatures much less snowfall are just
way out of their element. In fact, it said on the
news tonight that every single state in the US had a city
that was below freezing. Im assuming that
didnt include Hawaii. Thats a little chilly
for folks in the southern states like Louisiana and Texas,
although Texas has been getting a bit of a butt kicking
in the last few years when it comes to winter weather
so who knows, those folks might be used to it by now.
It comes down to this. We had better all get used to weather
extremes. Climatologists have been saying for some
time that climate change means more extreme weather events,
whether cold or hot, which may increase exponentially
over this next century, or next decade, for that matter.
Scary, but totally fascinating. To me, anyway. Im
sure not everyone would agree.
I still cant get over the display of natural history
in the BC Royal Museum in Victoria. Even though we saw
it last year, I still pulled Andy into the room for a
few moments that shows the climate timeline for earth.
There have only been two periods in earths
history since critters (including dinosaurs) walked the
earth that were as cool or colder than our mean temperature
now. 10,000 years ago when we had the last ice
age, and about 4000 years ago the line dips slightly below
todays temperature line. Otherwise, the temperature
line soars way above our modern temperature line. To explain
it better, there is a line along the length of one whole
wall and wraps around another wall that indicates our
modern average temperature. Then there is another
line that indicates real temperatures from millions of
years ago to now. That line rides well above our
own along the entire wall except for the two points that
I mentioned above when the temperature was either slightly
below or well below our present day temps. That means
that earths surface has been steamy jungle for most
of millennia and that humans and animals evolved in a
much warmer environment. There is no question that humans
can be blamed for wiping out or nearly wiping out numerous
species either through greed or ignorance. Whales and
prairie bison come to mind. But I have read that many
species are going extinct every day and scientists dont
know why in many cases. Is it maybe because its
just too cold for them? It makes sense that you would
have a far more diverse species in warm tropical like
climes than in temperate right from the smallest plant
cell or insect to the largest mammal. Are we actually
in the most barren stage of Earths life cycles because
of our climate?
I know that everyone on earth seems worried about the
increasing temperatures that many are trying to blame
on man. Some of it probably can be but every time I see
those two lines on the wall of that museum, I really have
to wonder what the natural state of earths surface
We have a friend whos daughter seems suddenly to
have developed a deep and unforgiving hatred for big oil.
I dont have a problem with that, but turn that hatred
into something productive. Railing against everyone for
using oil isnt going to help. Joining the conversation
for sustainable energy would be far more productive and
useful. Our girl uses social media extensively to
rail on about the environmental impacts of oil, but doesnt
seem to realize that the very instruments she uses to
do that, her computer, her tablet, her android/iphone
appliances are all by products of the oil or natural gas
refining process. I know she drives her vehicle
as little as possible but I dont see her giving
up texting on her hand held devices, or her hair blower,
or toaster, or anything else, for that matter. I dont
see anyone giving up electricity even though many power
plants in the states still use massive quantities of coal.
Everyone sounds so concerned and bitter about humans having
been a major contributor to Earths slow rise in
temperature, but no one is giving up their creature comforts
to change that, and no one that I can see, is about to
Making other people aware of the effects of pollution
caused by our chosen lifestyle is all well and good except
that I think everyone knows already. Bitching about it
on social media doesnt help. Exploring different
concepts, different ideas, and bouncing those around until
someone creative grabs one of those ideas and says, hey,
I think I can invent something here! That seems a lot
more productive to me.
In the meanwhile, Im inclined to trust Mother Earth
to do a lot more butt kicking than we will ever be capable
of. In the big picture, I really wonder how much
of an impact we actually can have on our atmosphere when
that bag lady can let one big old volcano blow and boom!....Were
in the dark for a few years with sun being reflected back
into the atmosphere by volcanic dust particles, temperatures
plummeting, numerous plant material wiped out by sulphur
dioxide that turns into acid rain, not to mention the
immediate effects of massive tsunamis and pyroclastic
flows. This has happened on a regular basis in the past
few centuries but most notably in 1815 when Mount Tambora
in Indonesia blew and caused worldwide crop failure and
starvation in the summer of 1816. Krakatoa in 1883 was
also thought to have had a similar though not so devastating
effect. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the
Phillipines caused a world wide drop in temperature for
several years even though by some standards, it
wasnt that big a volcano. And hey, I still remember
seeing ash accumulate on my vehicle windshield from hundreds
of miles away after Mt. St. Helens blew in 1980 and I
drove through eastern Washington a few months later only
to see miles of fields buried deep in ash and that was
a much smaller event. According to scientists, there are
several super volcanoes located around the world including
at least three in the US that have the potential to change
life on the planet forever when they blow again. And in
fact, the Siberian Traps which are thought to have been
the cause of a massive extinction event 251 million years
ago, are blamed for wiping out 90% of all living species
on earth. Im really not sure how we can compete
with that. In fact we humans and our pollution look kind
of inconsequential in comparison.
Are we messing up the earth? Perhaps. Can Mother
Nature do a whole lot better job of it? You betcha!
In the meanwhile, I think Ill just continue enjoying
what Mother Nature has thrown our way these past few weeks.
A winter thats memorable in a good way for a change.
Yesterday the temperature hit 8.9C or 48F and today
I saw it at 7.6C or 46F but the max on our thermometer
showed a high of 9C. By the way, the sensor for
our thermometer is located at the back of our garage where
it never, ever gets sun except very, very early in the
morning at the height of summer. So I cant imagine
what the temperature was in the sun but yesterday I took
the dogs for a walk in my short sleeved T shirt and today
we got wood and I was wearing the same, even in the shade.
On Thursday I skied down the lake and at one point it
was bloody hot out on that ice!
I borrowed our neighbours track setter and ran it
down the lake late in the afternoon earlier in the week.
Because it was so late I didn't travel as slowly as I
probably should have so the track wasnt the greatest,
but it was getting dark and I didnt have a lot of
time. I hit some nasty overflow at the other end of the
lake and Ill tell you, coming back through it at
one point I wasnt sure I was going to make it. The
weight of that track setter was really bogging it down
and it was probably fortunate that I was wearing a helmet
because otherwise everyone on the lake would have
heard me screaming, Cmon baby, you can make
it! Cmon! Cmon! You can do it! Freaky.
Damn I hate overflow. It just sucks the life right out
of your machine. Because of it, I can ski most of the
way down the lake and back but not all the way into our
friends place. You get that mush stuck on the bottom
of your skis and youre going down. It just freezes
Down at the north end of the lake seems to be the
only place that the overflow is bad now, anyway.
Little spots of it show up here and there but nothing
major. Im hoping we dont get snow anytime
soon because the skiing is just wonderful. Its a
little rough on snow machines though. What snow there
is left on the ice is pretty crusty. Andy hit something
coming back a few days ago and he bailed off his machine
when it flipped end for end. He bruised himself up pretty
good but he bruised the snowmobile even more. He got most
of it repaired but he had to use the Bobcat to bend the
rear end of the machine back into place lined up over
the track where it was supposed to be instead of several
inches off center.
The ice was doing a lot of grumbling when I was
skiing out on the lake the other day, mainly because it
has been really cold at night and at least 20 degrees
warmer during the day. Its been pretty quiet
this winter up to now but last night I was out getting
wood when I heard a great whumpf just off our shoreline
and ran across several huge cracks in the ice out on the
lake. Actually, I heard a coyote howling at the same time
last night so that was kind of cool.
Weve had yet another strange bird event here
this winter besides the duck down on the Dean.
About six days ago we looked out and there was a Trumpeter
Swan sitting on the ice in our bay. I ran into him again
when I went skiing that afternoon, this time out on the
Main Arm. My skis were making an atrocious amount of noise
on the crusty snow but he still let me get to within about
100 feet of him before he couldnt handle it anymore
and he took off down to the bay in front of Wilderness
Rim. He never rose more than three feet above the
ice so I dont know if he was injured or just flying
low for safety but he cannot possibly last long by himself.
With no other Swans to help keep watch, he could never
sleep for long before something would get him. I saw a
fox on the ice the next day and a coyote the day after
so his chances of surviving for long would be slim. I
can only assume he stopped for a rest but where the heck
was he going? This is way too early for Swans to be here.
Admittedly theyre usually the first birds in but
thats two months from now.
Things sure are strange this winter and getting stranger.
Out on walks Im not seeing hardly anything for tracks.
No big game, little squirrel sign, and not a single rabbit
track all winter. Just fox and probably coyote. Theres
a fox screeching out there tonight fairly close in, so
it must be breeding season. I think the foxes have cleaned
up on all the small critters because otherwise, as warm
as it is, there should just be an explosion of sign everywhere
if there was anything around to make tracks.
Right now our mountains are the blackest I have
ever seen them before June of any year caused
by the crazy weather inversion that we have enjoyed for
most of the winter and that's been giving us much higher
temperatures than places like Williams Lake or the Okanagan
Valley. However, all good things come to an end. There
is a weather change coming and while this next week temperatures
are supposed to remain mild, by next Friday were
going to see a significant drop into the negative during
the day and double digit minuses at night. Thats
okay. The good stuff couldnt last forever but it
has lasted long enough to shorten this winter considerably.
The days are noticeably longer and this afternoon was
the first day that I saw the sun in my office window before
it set. Yahoo!
As you have probably noticed, this is one long blog post.
Im up to my neck in work right now and will be for
a little while so Ive decided to take the time out
to do longer posts but not as often. Im sorry about
that but I will try to continue to update the Facebook
page on a regular basis.
Last week's blog is at January
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!