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 4/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - 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.
More Cabin Fever
again folks! This time John Brecknock weighs in on cabin
- "Read Floyd's bit on cabin fever which sparked
a bit of recall back when. When working for D'Arcy CHRISTENSEN
way back when out at Corckscrew Creek. My sister Judy,
D'Arcy's wife, was having some difficulty with a pregnancy
and had to be taken out to Bella Coola. She was prego
with daughter Cary as I recall.
Anyways....Here we were. Just D'Arcy and I at the ranch
for a couple of weeks in the middle of haying season.
We both worked a different area of the various meadows
we hayed and usually met for lunch somewhere or another.
We would work to just about dark and then head home to
the ranch where we would chow down on a lovely bowl of
cornflakes for supper. This was typical in those days.
We usually ate a huge breakfast, huge lunch, more at coffee
time and then ate our cornflakes for dinner and off to
bed to start all over again.
Powdered milk, brown sugar....yummy!!
Anyways...after a couple of weeks of this continuum, some
cabin fever began to set in. I was too young to recognize
the symptoms but D'Arcy sure knew. We were both at the
table devouring our cornflakes and completely silent.
At some point in time our eyes kind of met and we began
to laugh and quite hysterically. No reason...just broke
down into a fit of raging laughter to the point we were
on the floor and literally rolling. Laughing so hard it
hurt. Could not stop for a long time. Next day.... off
to Anahim and Bella Coola for a day or two of visiting
I guess that is what it takes.
I also recall an old fella that lived way further up country
and close to Pan. He lived all alone and tried to raise
a few cows. I recall a story where a native family stopped
in to see him and he had all his beef killed, butchered
and hanging in his cabin. Middle of summer mind you. The
RCMP, almost annually had to go in and check on him and
frequently took him out for some treatment. Got kind of
spooky and more than one neighbour had their gates belled
to warn them if he was coming and under what circumstance."
John also suggested I get hold of Floyd to relate stories
about D'Arcy, who used to fly all over the back country
buying fur and delivering groceries. I'm hoping he will.
It hit -30C or -22F last night and took a long time to
warm up this morning because the sun was hidden behind
cloud. Once the sun made an appearance it warmed right
up. It even made it to to -4C or 25F for a few minutes.
I suspect that's why Prince George's temperatures are
still showing so cold. They probably aren't seeing any
sun up there to warm things up during the day. Poor sods.
That ice jam is nearly 20 miles long now and if things
warm up there sure is going to be a mess.
The Lower Mainland is expecting freezing rain in the Fraser
Valley tonight because of a bit of a warm front sliding
in over that arctic air mass. We must be right on the
edge of the front because we're only at -6C right now
whereas it had already dropped another 19 degrees by this
time last night. A breeze has come up too so maybe something's
They said on the news tonight that the Asia Pacific
long range forecast to April has come in now.
It indicates that we can continue to expect the same kind
of weather as we've been having, and Vancouver can continue
to expect to have snow for a few more months. I wouldn't
mind seeing a warm up for February but it's hard to say.
La Nina is definitely kicking some heinie this year!
Floyd's Indian Stories - Cabin Fever
oh boy, you guys are some lucky folks! Floyd sent me a
good little story, tonight. I didn't have anything for
you but this is very appropriate and the timing fits our
cold weather. It's about cabin fever.
- "Cabin fever was a curse that plagued people
that lived in the bush far away from outside activities.
I think it struck women more than men maybe because during
the long winter months they were forced to spend more
time inside. In the winter the days are short, and the
kids hardly ever get out of the house. I know that almost
all people that live deep in the bush were superstitious,
some almost to the point of being unbelievable. Pan and
Betty Philips, who lived at the Home Ranch in the Blackwater
would never start anything on a Friday, and on Friday
the 13th they wouldn't even leave the house. Cabin fever
would strike when you least expected it. The first thing
you noticed was that your wife was crying, and wouldn't
tell you why. The Indians seemed to be immune from it
even though they spent all winter shut up in a 12' by
20' cabin. The Indians had a different conception of time,
and never seemed to worry if someone didn't show up or
if they were supposed to be picked up, and if you were
three days late it didn't seem to matter.
I think that the real problem with cabin fever was that
women couldn't put into words what the problem was for
lack of knowing themselves. Once, old Norsky Morton Casperson
told me, "Well dis contray wit eets dark forests,
and long nights it yist makes dem wemon crazy yah? De
gremlins take de holt and day speak dat yibberish."
An Indian could sit in a cabin for three months with nothing
to read, no radio, and no company, and be happy as a coon
in an apple orchard. The Indian was a happy person in
the bush, until the Department of Indian Affairs talked
them all into moving into town. They were clean honest,
and good friends, and in tune with their way of life.
After they were moved to town, and taken off their trap
lines, they found it very hard to stay out of trouble.
I had many good friends that were stick Indians."
Funny, but I'm just reading another book called the Legend
of Pan Phillips which is more of a biography than a story,
and it says much the same in there about what good friends
the Natives were, and how much many of the ranchers and
others relied on them. Of course it also mentioned Friday
the 13th. in there and Floyd is absolutely right. According
to that book the Phillips family absolutely refused to
start a cattle drive or travel anywhere on a Friday and
the 13th. was the worst of all.
Make sure you check out Floyd's pictures included
with his note above. I'll post them here and at
least one on Picture
of the Day.
The weather like what we have now with the cold, was often
as good a reason as any for cabin fever to strike. I was
always lucky as a kid when we were raised out in the boonies
for a few years, maybe because ours was a large family
and the house seemed full of people. Even when it was
cold and you were stuck inside for most of the day, you
still had to get bundled up and outside to carry water
to the animals and keep the ice busted off of it through
the day. Animals had to be fed, the cow milked, eggs gathered
and wood brought in. Invariably a sow would choose
to have piglets during the coldest month of the year
and you had to fight to save the piglets from freezing.
And it was more than once that we had calves in the house
next to the wood stove that had to be hand fed from a
little suckling bucket.
Us kids were home schooled for the first few years, so
there was school work to be done during the coldest months.
As a result I don't remember having cabin fever then.
But I'll be my Mom did with just my Dad for company and
a houseful of hillbilly children.
However, once living in my own little cabin with only
my company, I've had it more than once. Especially when
the mill I worked at burned down and I didn't have work
to go to every day, nor could I afford to go anywhere.
I rented my cabin from the owner of a resort on Nimpo
and she was pretty much my only company. You start
going a little stir crazy after awhile since I
had no television or radio reception and you can only
read so many books. I finally ordered myself a course
to take by correspondence to keep me busy and I picked
up a second hand workout machine to stay in shape until
the mill started up again about eight months later.
If you read some of the books about folks in the Chilcotin,
they placed a high value on visiting and
being visited, especially in winter because they were
so desperate for company.
In the book I mentioned above, it tells about a
joke played on Pan Phillips by Floyd Vaughan and John
Blackwell one winter. Pan was sitting in his living
room one day when he could hear snowmachines. He jumped
up and ran outside into the cold without a hat or coat
and watched as the snowmachines went right on by as though
to cut through to the Pan Trail. They didn't seem to see
Pan at all but he recognized the riders and waved and
screamed and bounced up and down until he was hoarse hoping
to get the riders' attention. It's doubtful he could have
heard them over the drone of the machines but I'm sure
both men were howling with glee before they finally relented
and turned around to come back to Pan's place, having
played a royally good joke on the now shivering master
It didn't warm up a lot today but neither did it drop
as much last night as we expected it to. It hit around
-25C or -13F but it clouded over and started snowing so
it never did get colder than that. The temperature is
sitting at -25C now as well so it might chill down more
tonight because it's cleared off. It looks like the Lower
Mainland got hit pretty badly in spots with up to 30cm
of snow and it's bone chilling cold across the rest
of Canada with temperatures expected to get down to -55C
again in some places when the wind chill is factored
It doesn't matter much to me. We've lots of wood and propane,
the cats are downstairs lounging before the wood stove,
the dogs are in the porch with River hogging the heater
from poor Mocha, Andy's been hanging off the scaffolding
in the living room putting tongue and groove on the ceiling,
and I've got lots of computer work to do. Darn it! We're
too damned busy to get cabin fever!
starting to get a little chilly in these parts with that
Arctic Front that's moved in. It was -34.5C or 30
degrees below zero Fahrenheit this morning. There
was a warning issued for -40 degrees with arctic outflow
winds for the Chilcotin and although we had a breeze last
night that really chilled things down, it isn't too bad
today. Our wind speed indicator must be frozen though,
because every once in a while the flags lift their tails
in the breeze but it's not showing anything on the gauge.
We're finally up to -25C or -13F at noon now while Puntzi
Mountain is reporting -28C with a wind-chill of -34C or
-29F, they're actually not that much colder than we are.
It's probably close to that in Anahim Lake too since they're
often a little colder than we are here in Nimpo. There's
a lot of warmth in that sun now compared to a month ago
and as long as it stays clear, our temperatures climb
pretty decently during the day, which helps a lot.
We were watching a woodpecker trying to push a Whiskey
Jack off of the tallow below the bird feeder this morning.
Nothing doing. The Whiskey Jack was going to get his fill
and really didn't care that the woodpecker might be hungry
and cold too. The Whiskey Jack was fluffed up about
twice his normal size from the cold and with feathers
sticking out all over he looked like someone had put him
in the dryer for awhile without throwing an anti-static
sheet in with him. I feel sorry for the woodpeckers when
they come because they're so shy even a tiny chickadee
can move them off of the fat, and they don't seem to have
the feathers to fluff up in the cold like the other birds.
Surprisingly, just watching the weather on television,
Prince George is still at -29C but as Andy just
mentioned, it's probably under cloud. Both PG and Quesnel
are down in the valley along the river so it gets cold,
and then cloud traps the cold in the valley and without
sun, the temperatures just don't come up. And it sure
isn't looking good for the north tomorrow. They can expect
temperatures ranging between 40 and 49 below zero. It
looks like it's supposed to start warming up for the Lower
Mainland as the week wears on but I don't know if that
applies to the Interior or not.
There is supposed to be something categorized as 'an
intense frontal system' from the north coast approaching
the south coast tonight that's supposed to bring a lot
of snow into the Lower Mainland. More accidents and higher
insurance rates coming to a place near you!
Speaking of bad roads, our ice road is kind of shot for
the moment. Our neighbour went out for the weekend and
we missed his plow. Several inches of nice fluffy stuff
accumulated over the weekend and we got a vicious
little wind that kept switching direction out on the lake.
As a result, the ice road drifted in from both directions
with both old snow and new snow, making it like cement
is some places. I had to go up to Nimpo a couple of times
Saturday and broke a trail through to the boat ramp, but
packing it like that may only have made it harder now
for Rob to clear. I'm hoping not.
The Planer at the mill was supposed to start up this morning
for the first time in months, but I'm not sure if that
could happen or not. My experience working at the mill
was that after -30 degree temperatures, the hydraulics
just don't want to work properly and when it gets much
colder than that, metal becomes brittle and can break.
Add to that the fact that those parts haven't been moving
for a long time, and then try to make them move
at the coldest time of year.....? Good luck with
I told the manager at the mill that I would bring this
to everyone's attention on the blog now, and perhaps a
reminder closer to the date. West Chilcotin Forest
Products has signed a deal with Pristine Power to install
a biomass power generating facility at the mill site.
It is supposed to use all mill waste and it's proposed
that cut waste from logging blocks can also be hauled
in as fuel. In addition to that, we've got a whole lot
of red trees! The facility is expected to generate clean
power for the Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake communities as
well as for the mill, eliminating the diesel generators
used to produce our electricity at present. Excess power
generated will be sold to BC Hydro. It's also hoped that
eventually a dry kiln could be built and make use of the
generated power, speeding up the drying process for the
wood and eliminating the big drying blocks required now.
More information can be found on the wcforestproducts
There will be a public information meeting to answer
any questions from the public on Monday, February 11,
2008 at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall at 7:00.
I apologize for the long absence from article
writing the last few days, but as I mentioned before,
I'm pretty busy right now so unless someone else sends
in a story or something out of the ordinary occurs, I
probably won't be posting a blog very much in the near
The Rest Of Floyd's Story
ran out of space yesterday and decided to post the rest
of Floyd's story today. Hey, how did you like the moose
story yesterday? Pretty cool, eh?
Floyd weighs in on Caribou, Loons, and Wild Horses:
- "There were lots of caribou in the Rainbow,
Ilgatcho, and Itcha Mountains where they stayed the year
around until in the 90's when they started to move down
into the lower country in the winter.
When caribou run they look so awkward with legs that look
like they were made out of rubber. They remind me of pictures
I have seen of a camel trying to run. Most of the time
caribou are real curious, and if you see them in the distance,
and wave your hat at them they will work their way over
to you to see what you are. I never liked the meat much
unless you were real hungry.
The Lake down the Dean River they call Poison Lake has
hundreds of caribou horns laying on the bottom in about
20 feet of water. I think what happened was a large herd
of caribou went out on the lake to drink water from the
overflow, and went through the ice in one big bunch. One
time Clesspocket Ranch lost over 50 head of cattle the
Loons are the signature bird of the wilderness, but I
never had much use for the fish eating S.O.B.s. They always
seem to show up at the lake on the day that there is enough
open water for them to land. Usually there is only one
pair to a lake unless it is a large lake.
The male and female look alike, and nest within a few
feet of the water because they can't walk on land. They
normally hatch out several chicks, but the eagles catch
most of them because they can't dive until they get older.
After there is only one or two left they can hide under
their mother's wing or ride on her back. One time a kid
had a radio controlled boat down at the dock, and was
chasing the loons with it, until the mother loon attacked
it and sunk the foot long boat.
When we first moved to Moose Lake I was duck hunting and
shot this loon because I thought it was just another duck.
We tried to cook it, and I figured out that the best way
to cook a loon was to boil it in a pot with a rock for
about ten hours then throw the loon out, and eat the rock.
There were quite a few wild horses around Anahim, and
the Chezicut area, and there still are some that show
the Lester Dorsey strain of large work horses that he
turned loose. Mostly he would turn loose large black studs,
either Clyde or Percheron. I think the main reason he
did it was so he could go chase them in the winter. Hunting
for horses, and looking for horses was two completely
different things, but both were mostly just a reason to
go riding. One could write a whole book on Lester Dorsey
and his horses." -
I don't know about you guys but I want to hear more about
Lester Dorsey's horses. Actually, Lester was a well known
member of the community. Not much ever happened, especially
the interesting stuff, without his name invariably coming
My stuff isn't nearly so interesting as Floyd's but I'll
give you a quick weather update, anyway. Yesterday was
a beauty and it warmed up to just below freezing in the
middle of the day. It didn't chill down nearly so much
last night but it didn't warm up above -8C or 18F today.
The jet stream decided to take a detour away from
where it was before and has now included all of British
Columbia in the cold, because most of it loops
way out into the Pacific. The temperature started dropping
pretty fast tonight and is already down to -21.5C or -6F.
The guys were planning on going out snowmobiling in the
morning but unless the sun is shining, I don't know how
that's going to go. It could get pretty cold tonight!
folks got lucky because I have an article for today. Floyd
has weighed in with some of his cool stories about moose
in the West Chilcotin.
"Moose are the ghosts of the forest and are the most
amazing animal I have ever encountered. The first time
I was up close to one I couldn't believe how big it was.
It was upside down in a hole with all four feet sticking
up in the air and as big as a large workhorse. It took
some engineering to figure out how to get it butchered,
and packed back to camp.
I have seen moose move through thick underbrush with three
inches of wet snow on it and not knock the snow off, even
when they are as big as a horse, and I would be knocking
the snow off and down my neck. Most of the time hunting
them they don't seem very smart, or that hard to kill
even with a small rifle. At one time the Anahim Lake area
was one of the most densely populated moose habitats on
the continent. With the swamps, willows, and mountains
it was made to order for an animal that lived on willow
tops, swamp birch, buck brush, poplar bark and small limbs.
For years they provided the main source of protein for
people living in the area.
The Indians didn't have a name for moose in their own
language because the moose didn't move into the Chilcotin
until around the 1920s. One old Indian told me the first
moose he ever saw was in 1914, but by 1920 there were
thousands of them. There were so many of them that people
packed rifles more for protection from the moose than
In the spring the cows were the most danger, but in early
September the bulls leave their feeding grounds and go
to solitary hideouts in inaccessible and harsh terrain.
They stop eating, and show up in about 20 days with a
huge chest and bulging shoulders tapering off into a shrunken
belly. He is then a red eyed monster ready to charge any
object that attracts his attention.
Mostly they attack trees and brush, but one time I was
at Moose Lake up at the upper meadow with Jim, and Anna.
I had taken some equipment up to the meadow, and had unhooked
the team to lead them back home about two miles. I had
a saddle horse so I put Jim on one work horse and Anna
on the other, and tailed them together. We had just started
out when we saw this big bull moose over across the meadow,
and Anna started hollering at it. I told her to shut up
and we took off, but couldn't outrun the moose. I didn't
have a gun so when the moose caught up with us he was
trying to mount the horse that Anna was on, and the horses
were bucking and all tangled in the ropes. I had a quirt
so all I could do was whip it over the head, and hope
for the best. I guess with the kids screaming, horses
kicking, and me beating it over the head it finally gave
up and left, but not before one horse was hooked pretty
I think that he had been beaten off by a bigger bull because
he was all bloody, and had some busted ribs, and big holes
in his hind quarters. His eyes were blood red, and the
hair on his neck was sticking up like porcupine quills.
A moose during the rut is the ugly side of nature, and
if you haven't watched a bull fight it is an awe-inspiring
sight. One time Wayne Escott and I decided we wanted some
moose meat so we took the Beaver and flew north up by
Segutlet Lake. We were flying along and saw two big bulls
in a meadow within 100 yards of a little lake so landed
to get one of them. We climbed up this little hill, and
there they were just 30 yards away just looking at each
other. Wayne was getting ready to shoot, and I said, "Wait
a bit here and lets see what happens."
It was early in the morning and the mist was rising off
the meadow just like you might see in a picture post card.
About then they charged each other, and the fight was
one of the most brutal I had ever seen for about five
minutes then they backed off and looked at each other
with their heads down and standing sideways to each other,
and great clouds of steam coming from their nostrils.
In about three minutes they went at it again for another
five minutes, and this went on for about an hour. The
bigger bull had a hind leg broken so after a while he
gave up and left. Wayne said, "Do you want one of
them?" and I said, "Not a chance!" and
he said he didn't want one either so we let them both
I don't think the loser would have survived the winter,
but I have seen moose with broken legs that were healed
up, and able to travel on them.
When Debby Chakuskey was tracking the caribou with radio
Collars they collared 10 cow moose to try and see how
far they traveled during the year. We would check on them
every 15 days for about three years, and found out that
as long as nothing bothered them they wouldn't move more
than a mile or two in the whole year. One old cow that
the wolves were after left Corkscrew in August, and traveled
down the Kleena Kleene to Schilling Lake more than 50
miles then came back to the same place after about two
Moose meat is the best meat I have ever eaten if it is
killed in August or early September, and taken care of
If it isn't taken care of right it isn't fit to eat, and
if it was killed in the middle of the rut you can't even
stick a fork in the gravy!
The Queen's beef made it so the people of the West Chilcotin
could make a living by providing food, jobs, and recreation
for everyone. In the 60's, 70's and 80's, guiding American
and European hunters brought many thousands of much needed
dollars into the economy of the West Chilcotin, and all
of British Columbia." -
Because this has taken up a good bit of space, I'll leave
his opinion on caribou and loons of the West Chilcotin
Market Bloodbath? Has The Recession Begun?
was actually written Monday, January 21) Today is a holiday
in the States, which in view of the cold weather, is probably
quite a relief for a lot of people that don't have to
commute to work today. I suspect it's also quite a relief
for the stock markets as well since as one newscaster
put it, they're expecting a bit of a bloodbath when
trading starts tomorrow. That isn't necessarily
something that makes me happy since we've a lot of investments,
but they're pretty conservative because we expected this.
Actually, I've been predicting it for two years now.
When you have a massive war debt, a lot of your manufacturing
has gone to China, Mexico and India, and China owns you,
eventually something has to give. Add into that the collapse
of the housing market and higher fuel prices, and you
have what is now being termed as the perfect storm. According
to my newsletters that I read to keep up on new search
engine algorithms, the terms 'economic recession'
and 'recession' have spiked sharply in searches done on
the Internet in the past week. Yep, the word that
everyone's been avoiding is now out there.
While my partner and I have been discussing this for two
years and quietly shifting investments for the past one
year, everyone has blithely been ignoring all the economic
signs, especially the dumbass Canadian news commentators
and so called economists. "We have such a strong
economy compared to the States, our housing market is
booming, our dollar is up....yada, yada, yada." That
is not worth a plugged nickel when our largest trading
partner is the US and 80% of our goods are marketed across
the border. If they're in trouble, we're in trouble.
That's the short and sweet of it. And you could tell they
were going to be in trouble between two and three years
In that period of time I have been telling every single
person I know to, "Pull in your horns, shift your
investments and get ready to ride because the shit is
going to hit the fan." About the only person I know
of that listened was my brother who was going to buy a
house in Reno this time last year. I think I mentioned
in a blog before that I was only down there for
a day when I smelled a rat. Then spending time
with the Realtor and loans officer made it worse. Actually,
it had nothing to do with them other than they were giving
me stats and since I've been a Realtor, it didn't take
long for me to catch on that the housing market was in
the process of slowing down if not taking a dive.
But the really, really scary part was the mortgage papers
my brother asked me to read. He had been shopping around
for the best rates and wasn't sure how to interpret the
paperwork he was getting back and the finance companies
weren't giving him any clarification. I tried to read
them and was just getting shivers up my back. This
looked so wrong....however, American Real Estate
and mortgages are quite different from Canadian, so perhaps
that's why I wasn't understanding any of what I was reading.
In fact, it looked illegal to me, or would be in
Canada. So, I emailed the information to Andy
who has been a Real Estate Agent, which requires a whole
lot more smarts than Realtor does. As he said,
he was thinking maybe he was ready for the loony bin because
those numbers were just not making sense to him. We advised
my brother against buying a house, especially
if borrowing from the companies he had been talking to.
The exception was the loans officer that went around with
us and the Realtor to look at houses one Saturday. She
was with a really big finance company in the US and seemed
pretty transparent in her willingness to disclose how
the mortgage she was offering worked but although
she explained it several times, it still didn't make sense
as to why you would do it that way. But at least
it seemed far more above board than the other companies
who's offerings would definitely be illegal in Canada.
Now, of course, it's obvious what was going on in the
housing market in the US, hence the collapse. Which in
the end, means this won't be just a burp on the world
market, but that the US will take the rest of the world
with it into recession.
My father used to have a saying. "History repeats
itself. Always." Go back to the Roman Empire
and follow history all the way up. People and civilizations
can learn from past mistakes. They just don't bother to.
I've mentioned in the blog before about the recession
of 1980. I pick that year arbitrarily because in fact
it started sooner than that and had long lasting effects
for years. And the dates for Canada are going to be different
than for the States. Canada usually lags at least
a year behind whatever is happening in the States,
whether flagging economy, booming economy or
fashion, for that matter.
For the past four years we have been slowly building up
to exactly the same scenario as we were in the late 70's
with one exception. Rather than interest rates climbing
through the roof as they did then because inflation was
so much higher, they've stayed low, encouraging
everybody and their dog to enter the housing market and
max out their credit cards and lines of credit.
Otherwise, it's been pretty much the same. Massive debt,
booming economy, gas guzzling vehicles with rising fuel
costs, a rocking stock market, no shortage of jobs, low
unemployment rates, a housing market on fire, etc., etc.
Then the crunch came. Federal banks forced interest rates
up to try and slow inflation. Mortgages became too expensive,
things spiraled out of control, jobs were lost, and then
people started handing their house keys over to their
Fast forward 2007-2008. This time the banks
chose a different route to try to keep the economy rocking,
keeping interest rates down. Which is really too bad because
our investments would really look much better with the
1980 scenario than now, but so be it. So the housing market
didn't collapse under the weight of high interest rates.
Rather greed. On both sides. Illegal mortgages or mortgages
too complicated that house buyers didn't understand. What
the hey...you trust your banker, right? Sign on the dotted
The construction guys were making money, the Realtors,
the bankers, the lawyers, and people who had no business
buying a big, expensive house because there is no way
their income would support it, went for the gold ring
rather than a more affordable house or sticking to renting.
Why? Well, I was kind of thinking stupidity, but that's
actually not fair. If your financial institutions aren't
protecting your interests, how would you know?
I got an email the other day that was one of those happy,
yappy things about 'did you know?' and one of the things
it mentioned was that all teenagers were born after 1988.
I know it sounds obvious but frankly, it just wasn't something
I really thought about before. So that means that
the young people buying houses before the age of 35, either
weren't even born in the last recession, or were so young,
would not have understood what it was about anyway.
And if their parents didn't happen to mention to them
how they lost their ass or assets in the last recession,
then what would they know about it? Nothing. Because
we don't teach that stuff in our schools. When
I went to school they taught a lot of crap that I have
never, even to this day, found any use for
whatsoever, but they didn't teach a thing about finance
then either. It would have been nice to be taught the
basics like handling a check book and balancing your budget,
right up to economics and how it works. I actually did
have a bit of a jump on other people because I took an
economics class in high school at my father's urging,
but probably knew more than the teacher, since my
father had been pounding Adam Smith's theory of economics
into my head since shortly after I was born. Three
years later I promptly lost a lot of money on the purchase
of a home, (a cheap little old trailer that I paid cash
for but of course it halved in value in less than a year.)
because I bought high and then the bottom dropped out
of the housing market. So that goes to show you that education
will not necessarily save you, but on the other hand,
we hadn't had a recession that I know of since the Great
Depression. However, I did learn enough from my
parents who went through the Depression that borrowing
money was a bad thing if you couldn't really afford it.
So although I lost value on my initial investment, I didn't
lose my home to the bank. Since then, through hard work,
I managed to leverage my little bit into something a little
bigger over the years, but you can still get bit on the
butt if you're not paying attention.
In 2001 I finally received funds from selling a farm and
since I wanted to put some money away I had a friend who
was also a financial advisor invest it in mutual funds.
They had been doing pretty good and over the long term
should grow nicely for when I wanted to retire. I didn't
put much thought into it until I got my first statement.
I had invested the money three months before the sharp
drop in the markets in early 2001. So not only had I not
had any time to make some money from interest, I
had just lost a sizable chunk of my original investment
to the dot com collapse and continued to over
the course of that year. In fact I had still not recovered
my initial investment when I pulled it out a few years
later and invested in property instead.
That little kick in the shin reminded me of two things
that I had forgotten about. When it comes to money,
pay attention. And another one of my Old Man's
sayings when it comes to economics, "What goes
up, must come down."
After that, I started paying a little more attention to
what was happening with the American economy when the
Iraqi war looked like it was going to stretch out forever,
probably because newscasters in passing would mention
how much this or that military equipment was costing.
My brother was on a gun ship protecting Haliburton convoys
over in Iraq, so I had something of an idea as to what
the war was actually entailing. When your country is hemorrhaging
that kind of money, it's time to take stock of your economic
Well....Doc, it's not good.
A lot of the manufacturing has left for other countries
so you no longer have diddly for a manufacturing base.
All those wages and taxes are going to other countries
too. You have a huge illegal immigrant population that's
not paying taxes but they are using your
resources such as roads, medical facility and schools
without paying for them.
Throw in a few natural disasters like Katrina
where a large drilling and refining industry gets the
crap kicked out of it, as well as the cost of repairing
the mess hurricanes and tornadoes leave behind, and you
have to start wondering where the money is coming from?
Did I mention China before?
In the meanwhile, everything is booming but the word boom
always goes hand in hand with the word bust. Except that
no one is paying attention to that little fact. Actually,
no one seems to be paying attention to anything. Just
because things are going all out in the economy does not
mean that it will forever. There have been enough
market adjustments over the years for that to be a solid
fact. But no one seems to listen, or even think about
Actually, I like watching those shows, 'Til Debt Do Us
Part' and 'Maxed Out'. It's probably similar to most people
watching Bugs Bunny, Saturday Night Live, or The Simpsons.
It's my comedy relief. I watch these people on television
and I have to shake my head. And then on top of that,
many of them have kids! All I can ever think of is, "No,
No!!! When you're that dumb about money, you should NOT
be having kids! Get out of the pool! Everyone! Out of
the gene pool!"
Actually, most of these people seem nice enough. Just
not very smart about money. They're deep in debt but it's
okay to go out to restaurants or order in their meals
30 to 50% of the time. Or use their ATM machine numerous
times in a day, or week, or the month, racking up monster
bank service charges. Or I like this one. The check cashing
place. Paying a huge portion of your pay check to one
of these places for a cash advance is kind of like taking
a good portion of your money, slowly ripping up the bills,
and flushing them down the toilet. I've actually seen
those places popping up in Williams Lake now. They should
be made illegal. Or, you have big debts, you can't pay
your utility bill, but you're in the department store
shopping several times a month. No, no, no. That's a bad
thing. No, you do not deserve to treat yourself
because you're a good person. You can't afford
to treat yourself. Afford being the key word here.
Many of these people actually do seem to do better after
going through all the exercises with the host of the show,
and some honestly do not seem to have known what they
were doing wrong. (Of course, who knows, maybe the shows
are actually staged, those aren't real people, and I actually
think they are. It's my little Reality. Leave me
to it please.) If that's the case, why not? How
come people don't know how to handle their finances? I'm
not saying I'm any great genius because I'm not. But there's
some basic economic principles that parents are not
teaching their kids and teachers are not
teaching in school. Pay your bills before
you do anything else. Do not buy anything
you honestly can't afford. In other words, don't buy a
$40,000 car if you can't afford it and a $19,000 car will
do you just as well. Don't buy a big fancy home if all
you can actually afford payments on is a trailer if your
job goes south. If your mortgage exceeds 37% percent of
your income, your house is too expensive. Downsize.
It's truly sad to see a woman with three kids and a low
paying job paying a mortgage on a house that she has been
sucked into by an unscrupulous Realtor and banker. On
the other hand, there's no excuse for not doing
your homework when you're talking about locking yourself
into a life long debt.
Sometime in our recent past, everyone in America decided
the new definition of the American Dream was that everyone
had the right and ability to own a home. It's a free country.
Everyone has the right to own a home but if you don't
have the ability to pay, you don't have any business signing
Welcome to the new American reality.
It's just too bad it's going to be Canada's as well.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008:
Well, what do you know. The markets rebounded today after
the emergency drop in interest rates by both American
Federal Reserves and the Bank of Canada. Not that Canada's
drop was much at only 1/4% but it was enough to give the
markets a boost. The American drop definitely helped markets
all around the world I think. Unfortunately, I realize
this sounds cynical, but it seems much like the little
Dutch boy putting his finger in a hole in the dike.
I don't think propping up the economy on the long term
is going to help because the fundamentals haven't changed,
but maybe it's just me.
The other thing that always helps of course is when the
markets drop like that, you start getting investors stepping
up to the plate and buying back in at basement bargain
prices. And many of them got really rich overnight if
they sold off last week when markets started to slide,
and bought back in at a low. If investors don't panic
and there isn't a massive sell off, and if investors decide
to buy in, then that will help the markets as much as
anything. For awhile. But we already saw last week
that investors can and do panic. If you're watching
your future, or your pension slide into the ocean, you're
probably going to move to save it.
I think we'll just have to wait for the long term to see
how things play out.
In the meanwhile, it was another clear, cold night last
night with temps. to -23C or -9.4F which is a little warmer
than it's been. It was another gorgeous, sunny day with
temperatures coming up to freezing in the sun but only
-6C in the shade. One more day like this and then
our weather is supposed to change. Snow maybe.
One other thing. I'm working on developing something new
in a website that I'm having to learn about, so hopefully
the massively long article above will occupy you folks
for awhile or perhaps someone will send in a story, because
I'm not going to have time to write for the next little
The Old Days on Snow Machines
sent me some pictures, mostly from the 1970's, of people
snowmobiling in the area. Check out the line up
of machines on the right! Those were the newest,
fanciest machines for the time, and what's scary, is I
remember that those were even too new and too fancy for
our family when I was a kid. All we had was an old Olympia
and an old Johnson or Johnsared. Don't remember which
but neither would have been nearly as fast as those little
hummers on the right.
The girl is sitting on an Arctic Cat Puma considered pretty
hot stuff at the time. Black and pink, they had
a faux leopard skin seat and I remember thinking they
were the cat's meow the first time I ever saw one.
I think Panther was another big name at the time because
they were really fast, (for the day) but they kept blowing
You'll all recognize the view from Trumpeter Mountain
on the right because I've posted more than one picture
here with varying sleds in the image. And then there's
the racing photos. Boy, we all thought those machines
were pretty hot stuff and they were light enough that
you could lift the skis off the ground relatively easily.
Perceptions are funny. Over the years when I've taken
pictures of the latest, greatest machines sitting on the
mountain or on the ice, all shiny and new with glossy
paint jobs and fancy stickers I've thought, "Wow,
those machines look really hot!" I wonder
who will be laughing at our machines in
30 years going, "Man, look at those old antiques!"
The other super picture Floyd sent is of a family with
their sleigh hitched up behind their work horses. It's
a great picture but I'm probably going to have to do an
enlargement on picture of the day. There's a lot of people
in this country that relied heavily on their team to get
around in winter for years. They hauled hay to their animals,
and supplies in. And I still remember at Stampede time
in Williams Lake for days and sometimes weeks ahead you
could see the families coming in from Anahim, Nimpo, Tatla
Lakes, Alexis and Riske creeks, Nemiah, Taseko, and Chilko
area driving their horses and wagons, many with
the white canvas on top like the old wagon trains of the
west. Some attended by outriders made up of young family
members or cowboys. They would make their way down the
hill on Highway 20 into the Stampede Grounds and camp
there throughout the Stampede. Boy, that was something
Our neighbour called yesterday to let me know that
the ice road is all the way through to the other end of
Nimpo Lake now, but it's tricky. It was -27C or
-17F yesterday morning so Rob figured it would be a perfect
time to try pushing the road through the slush that had
been there previously. Surely it would be frozen! He started
from Mary's end (Nimpo Lake Resort) on the North Arm,
picking a route over the ice that he thought might be
the least wet. At the really bad spot where all the guys
had tried to compress the snow and slush with their machines
in the hopes it would freeze, it's pretty rough because
Mary had also been out the day before doing the same.
So Mary drove ahead of Rob and over that spot but there
was no way he could plow it. So he says that spot is pretty
rough and rutted up but you can drive over it. However,
at that end, stay on the ice road or he says you'll
be in the water. None of us can figure out why
the lake is so strange down at that end this year but
it's definitely different from the norm. Anyway, ice road
is in! Thanks Rob!
Like everyone else in the country, we're in the deep freeze.
As I said, it was lower than -27 yesterday morning and
while it warmed up in brilliant sunshine yesterday, we
watched the thermometer do a downhill plummet as soon
as the sun went down. It finally bottomed out at -26.7C
or 17 below zero Fahrenheit after midnight last night
and didn't move much off that until after the sun came
up this morning. Like the rest of the nation, it
looks like we're going to see the cold for the rest of
the week, but at least we don't have the wind
chill they're seeing in the Midwest or the lake effect
snow and ice that wiped out so many vehicles on the 400
in Ontario yesterday. Actually, aside from being chilly,
it's absolutely glorious out. For the last two days the
sky has been as clear blue as can be with very little
haze and the mountains are just gleaming with their white
mantles. It's a pretty clear, cold, moon at night though!
I was a little late posting the article below and these
two are going up pretty close together, so if you would
like to read about snow machine permits, etc., check it
return to the subject I brought up on Friday regarding
a long telephone conversation with the acting commander
of the Anahim Lake RCMP Detachment.
He had actually called after reading Floyd's story
about the original snow machine races that after many
years, was discontinued, mostly because of liability.
Constable James Spoor had been doing some research on
the Internet and found a site that had a lot of information
about liability, including regarding snow machine races,
recreational use of wilderness or backcountry and the
usefulness of a carefully written waiver. It would appear
that the general consensus that a waiver isn't worth the
paper it's written on is quite incorrect in Canada. It's
a very valuable contract, and Canadian courts will
usually find in favor of a waiver, except in the
case of a minor. Minors are not bound by waivers, or as
you probably know, by any contract.
I spent a few hours wading through all of the information
and I think I have a pretty decent understanding of what
we can, and cannot safely do when it comes to putting
on a snow machine race or poker run in the future. It
certainly looks like it's a go.
Constable Spoor also passed on the recommendation that
anyone who wishes to cross a highway or main road or use
their off road vehicle or snowmobile on any byway that
can be used by a vehicle should come into the Detachment
and get a permit. The permit is free. All you
need is the yellow registration tag and some ID. If I
have this right, you can then go purchase liability insurance
from ICBC for your snow machine that runs about $48. There
may also be an initial one time license plate and registration
fee. This will allow you to cross a highway. The only
thing to determine is if that price is based on belonging
to a snowmobile organization or if it applies to any individual.
Cst. Spoor would very much like to see more activities
in the area that community members can participate in
and would be all for seeing the snowmobile races started
We had a long conversation over the phone and I actually
really enjoyed the dialogue. I learned a lot about the
reasoning behind the present policing in the area. Unfortunately,
it does look like roadblocks are the new reality for us,
so we may as well get used to it. Apparently, they are
proving affective so they're not going away.
Cst. Spoor did point out that one of our
biggest bones of contention that the police were not attending
functions in civvies but in uniform was a case of being
on call, and unable to attend an event unless it's in
uniform. Also, in some cases, they have been made to feel
unwelcome or uncomfortable enough with the present community
mindset that in some cases, they and their families prefer
not to attend events. However, he did say that one of
his Members expressed a keen interest in attending a Poker
Run or snow machine race if we have one again this year.
Cst. Spoor indicated that there is a community policing
action group that meets about four times a year and he
would like to see more participation from all of the surrounding
communities. If you have ideas on where policing
might be more effective or helpful to the communities,
you are welcome to call the Detachment office and list
the subject and how much time you would need for your
presentation. He will be letting the paper and community
know when the next meeting will be.
I have started a new week a little early because Floyd
just sent me a bunch of great snow machine photos, mostly
from the 70's, that I want to post. Last week's stories,
including Floyd's account of the first snow machine races
can be found at January
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!