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Wilderness Adventures - July, Week One/2007

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' - just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.

07/07/2007 3:34 PM

Lucky Day

Everyone probably knows that today is considered a really lucky day for a lot of people. Today is the seventh day of the seventh month of the seventh year of this century. On the news they mentioned that it only happens once a century. However, if you like sevens, I should think all of the above in the year 2077 would be considered even luckier. But what do I know? Since my chances of seeing that decade are pretty slim, I'll take this one.
Apparently lots of people book their wedding day months and even years ahead based on these lucky dates. I suppose I should have held out to be married on this date as many others have, but it wouldn't have been so much for luck. It simply would have been a much easier date to remember my anniversary on. I was married on Thanksgiving Day in October and since they keep changing what day that is, I'm never too sure when my anniversary actually is. We really should have picked a different day and I most certainly would have had I realized what a problem it was going to be. We should have chosen Remembrance Day or Christmas. Maybe even New Year's Day. At least all those holidays fall on the same date. Probably the easiest thing to do would be to write down our wedding date and put it somewhere. However, I have lots of notes all over the place and can rarely find them when I need them.
We have a pretty warm day today at a little over 20C or about 75 degrees and some high cloud has moved in along with a bit of a breeze. It hasn't knocked off all the mosquitoes yet but hopefully soon. It got really cool last night and I had high hopes that it would freeze, but no such luck.
There are lots of planes buzzing in and out of the country with pilots coming in for the BCFA AGM and banquet. And a huge search and rescue helicopter came in from Comox for a few hours today with the crew on board scheduled to give a talk at the AGM. I expect that bird rattled up some dust when it landed!
There are lots of fishermen out on Nimpo Lake today and I've watched a few bring in fish. The Chinook salmon are running in the rivers down in the Bella Coola Valley so there are quite a few people heading down the 'Hill' with fishing poles in hand. I don't know how easy it will be to fish for them with the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers as high as they are but when the weekend is over I expect I'll find out from friends who went down today.
The float planes from Tweedsmuir Air have been taking off and landing on Nimpo Lake steadily today. If you're visiting the area this summer, you should seriously consider chartering a plane for a flightseeing trip. It's the best way to see our inaccessible but breathtakingly beautiful back country as well as the famous Hunlen Falls and Monarch Glacier in the Coast Range. Or you can charter a plane to take you to a fly in lake for fishing for the day or canoeing on the Turner Lake Chain. It's well worth it!

05/07/2007 12:10 PM

Is Summer Here?

I'm afraid to say so but it actually looks like it might be.
Happy Fourth of July yesterday to all our friends in the States. I always thought it was kind of neat that both countries celebrate their big day within four days of each other. I mean, heck, we're nearly a month out for celebrating Thanksgiving Day, so what are the chances?
That super wind we had the other day was remarkable for working in but it blew in about a million little, tiny, no see'um type bugs that plastered themselves against the doors and windows of the house. They were probably drawn to the lights so that when I went out late evening to get some firewood, I scurried back in and got the door shut as quickly as I could because it was just crawling. A few got in but the nice thing about those little ones is they die overnight. The deck and ground was littered with them the next morning.
While the Lower Mainland enjoys hot, sunny weather, we're still on the edge of the high pressure system. We're getting a mixture of clouds and sun but it is heating up today. We got up to 20C or 70 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday and we're already there today and it's only noon. That's a good thing!
We watched six pelicans out on Nimpo Lake just off the point last night. Boy, I'll tell you, those birds are some big! They must be darn near the size of small boats because they're easy to spot. We don't get a lot of Pelicans on Nimpo Lake but there's a huge number that hang out at Anahim Lake every summer.
The Bald Eagles have been fishing pretty vigorously lately and driving the loons nuts. While out fishing the other day we watched as twice, an Eagle scooped up a fish from the water and flew overhead to the far shore. I'm assuming he has a nest over there in the trees somewhere and is either feeding a sitting mate or babies. Andy was laughing at me because of course, I didn't have my camera with me and was highly PO'd about it.
There are a few fishing boats out today and as I understand it, the fishing is still pretty good. Everyone is commenting on how deep bodied or fat the trout are and what a great battle they're putting up. Small wonder. It's been a regular bug buffet out there for a month.
We should start seeing the planes come in for the BCFA meeting this weekend. Sometimes a few of the pilots like to get in a day or two early to do some fishing, visiting and sightseeing. It looks like the organizers have put together a Poker Run for Sunday, which might be kind of fun doing it with planes rather than with snowmobiles.
By golly, the wind is starting up which means I might be able to work outside so I'm off!

03/07/2007 7:59 PM

Yoo Hoo!!! No Bugs!

No bugs today because the wind has been howling like a banshee. It was an absolute delight to be able to work outside today. That doesn't mean you still didn't have to dodge in the door as quickly as possible to prevent a horde following you into the calm indoors. Nor was it a good idea to stay long in a sheltered spot. But in the wind? Glorious!
Of course the roof may be ripped off the house and several trees may fall over but who cares? No bugs! Even the dogs are in seventh heaven and able to spend a few hours outdoors for a change.
I'm sure most people just shake their heads at us. First we're complaining vociferously all winter and spring about the wind. Bitter cold, miserable, biting.....grumble, grumble. Now we're deliriously happy because we've got gale force winds out there. Well, what can I say? It's beautiful country and you like things to be perfect. Bearable would be nice too.
Actually, it was my theory that it was the last really big wind we had that brought all the bugs to our place. I'm hoping this wind will blow them right to Kingdom ...... I know, I'll try to be nice.
Actually, Andy's sister sent an interesting little tidbit about bugs the other day.
".... It was about the effects of such a rainy June, and there were the usual things- umbrella sales up 50%, bike rentals down 40%, etc. But apparently the entomologists who are monitoring mosquitoes for West Nile virus are finding that the number of bugs caught in their traps is hugely up this year- by 390% in Thompson-Nicola, and by 489% in the East Kootenay." (Thanks Barb!)
I'm willing to put money down that the numbers in our area would run at about 1000% but I could be wrong. At least we're not the only region in British Columbia suffering from the mosquito onslaught. Sadly, that makes me feel much better.
There's a pretty big high building on the coast and it's supposed to bring much warmer temperatures and straight sunshine to the southern half of the province and rain to the north coast. I'm hoping we'll be in that southern part but I don't think so. From the looks of the satellite map, we're going to be right on the edge of the high and low pressure systems which may be what's causing our high winds. We've definitely seen some sun today and it's clearing out really well this evening so maybe we'll get some of the good stuff. I would just really like to see a few days of hot weather to burn off some of these bugs. Or the wind can keep blowing. Either one would be a good thing.
Our temperatures topped out at 20C or ranged from 60F to 70F today. Although it's gotten down pretty close to freezing a couple of times, the last couple of nights have stayed warm with 4C or around 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest because we've had heavy cloud cover.
I noticed only one boat going out on Nimpo Lake this evening. The heavy chop has probably kept most people from venturing out. The float planes have been buzzing in and out all day and with these winds, are they ever getting into the air fast! You only hear them running up on the lake for a moment and then they're gone. None of the usual long takeoff trying to break the floats free of the surface of the lake. The nose of that plane is pointed to the sky before you know it.
It feels like this wind is going to bring a change of weather. Cross your fingers for us. The British Columbia Floatplane Association fly in is this weekend and we need good weather for the pilots to get in and out of the region. The Anahim Lake Stampede is also on and it would be really nice to see the rodeo riders and spectators get some good weather.

02/07/2007 7:54 PM

Fishing Day

We wanted to get outside today but due to the bugs, the only way to do that was to go out into the middle of Nimpo Lake. That meant we were going to have to go fishing. Ah....gee. Now that's a hardship! We went out this afternoon scurrying away from shore in order to get rid of the mosquitoes that had taken up residence on the boat.
Shortly after we got our fly lines out, we were getting fish and in the end, we lost four and brought home four big fat rainbows, one of which landed on the barbeque for supper.
I lost one fish after doing some battle with him for awhile. I don't know what his size was but he sure was strong! I finally got him pretty close to the boat and decided I wasn't fooling around anymore, he was coming in. Apparently not. Just a few inches from the net there was a little flip and he was gone. No surprise really. He'd done some serious head jerking farther out and I had let him run out and down a few times. I probably left it too long and he finally shook the hook loose.
The problem with these fish now is they've got so much good food in them and are so strong that you can't yard them in the way you could even two weeks ago. At least Andy is better than I am at playing fish and managed to get in a really big one in as we headed for home.
Our weather was the usual today. Some sun but then the heavy grey rainclouds moved in making the air heavy and sultry and perfect for the bugs. Rain spotted the ground off and on so nothing to speak of and temperatures are still cool. However! And this is a big however. The weather people are promising a big high over the southern part of the province for the next week bringing lots of sun and high temperatures. We can only hope that we get some of that.

01/07/2007 7:37 PM

Happy Canada Day!

And happy first day of July. Hopefully this means summer is going to start soon. I'm still waiting.
Our weather has much improved over what we got while our guests were here from Saskatchewan up to a week ago. But it still isn't something you want to bet on, with the sun shining one moment and rain the next.
We took another Sunday drive out to Hotnarko Falls again in the hopes of getting some pictures while the sun was shining. It was this morning but by the time we headed out that way it had clouded over and was spitting rain. The Falls are going great guns yet with a terrific volume of water still tumbling down the cliff but the river is definitely down quite a bit. Where the two huge culverts carrying the river under the road had been submerged under a maelstrom of wild water and debris the last time we saw them, now they are half out of water.
The geology of the area absolutely fascinates me because something is wrong with the whole picture. I just can't figure out what it is. The steep cliffs surrounding the canyon into which the river falls all show evidence of falling water smoothing the rock (some of it basaltic pillars) that makes up the upper part of the canyon walls. The lower walls of the canyon slope more gently and are made up of rock that has busted out of the walls of the canyon through erosion. There's lots of evidence of glacial action in the area and you might, at first glance, suppose the walls of the canyon had been smoothed by glaciers or water flowing horizontally. But to me, it looks like the water that smoothed that rock was falling vertically. It would seem that the falls have been moving around the walls of this canyon for millennia, or a long, long time ago, this canyon had water falling from all its walls, and looked much like Niagara at one time. Did an ice dam created by a glacier form this flat topped chasm? Volcanic activity? Or was there an earthquake that created the escarpment? The Precipice nearby is also a fascinating geological feature and totally out of place for the region. It all kind of makes you want to hit the old high school earth science books again just to figure out what created all that grand landscape.
After I scored some more great rocks for the garden, (That's my idea of great Sunday shopping!) we took a drive farther up Kappan Road while I tried to figure out where I used to go hunting years ago when I first moved into the country. Along the way we saw very large bear sign and lots of it! It looks like Kappan Lake hasn't changed a bit in 20 years and still attracts more than its fair share of grizzly bear. I sure don't know why.
There is an advantage to having too many mosquitoes and black flies to work outside and it forces you to go for Sunday drives. It doesn't pay to step out of your vehicle for too long when the bugs are this bad, (You have between 15 and 30 seconds before the hordes find you.) but you can still see a lot of beautiful country by just driving the back roads. We get a kick out of studying the country for geological clues as well as for different routes to access areas with a snowmobile in winter.
If we don't get a hot spell soon to knock the bugs back, I guess we'll be going on a lot of drives out into the country. It does look like there's a big high building out over the Pacific Coast and will definitely bring the Lower Mainland nice weather this next week. Now as long as it pushes north of us, we should see decent weather as well. If not....well....all I can say is that Vancouver sure seems to be stealing our weather a lot lately.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a really nice person from Texas yesterday that has been reading these articles since she and her husband bought a cabin on Anahim Lake a couple of years ago. We've been corresponding by email for some time but this was my first opportunity to meet her because we were in Alaska last year while they were up for the summer. They're in the same awkward position as a lot of the part time residents on the area lakes right now, unable to find someone that can take out the beetle killed danger trees on their properties. Something that BC Hydro was supposed to do and instead, has completely failed in fulfilling their obligation.
I delight in meeting all the different folks that read these articles because it usually turns out that we have a lot in common. That's pretty cool. And I appreciate all of you folks that patiently hang in there for an article to come when we get busy or have company, and I don't get them written or posted with the regularity that they should be.
New month so new week. Last week's articles can be found at June, Week Three. Make sure you check out the link called Logan and the Three Bears on that page. It's well worth seeing!
Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians. Here's hoping you have great weather this weekend and the bugs don't carry you away!
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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!
Huge helicopter comes to the BCFA AGM.
A black river at the bottom of Hotnarko Falls canyon.
Water smoothed rock lines the Hotnarko canyon walls.
Flat topped escarpment surrounds the Hotnarko canyon.
Wild Dogwood blooms.
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