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 - July, Week One/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
howling winds that gave such a good opportunity to go
for a walk without bugs also knocked out our power
Saturday afternoon, which was one reason why there
was no blog. A couple of trees came down on the neighbour's
property down the road and took both lines to the ground.
For some reason it also kicked the fuse out on the main
road, so that meant no one on our road had power. The
Hydro guys finally got it back on around nine so that
meant figuring out how to broil the cheese and crostini
on our onion soup using the rotisserie burner on my new
barbecue. Worked like a hot darn!
Yep, I finally broke down and used my new Christmas
present for the first time this week. It was hard
to do because it was so shiny and new and I really wanted
to keep it that way. But Andy threatened to give my new
barbecue away if I didn't use it. So I guess the other
poor old barbecue is going to be relegated to the cabin
for use by our guests.
Today was a good day. I was outside all day and for the
first half of it I saw nary a mosquito, probably
because it dropped to 5C or 40F last night and it was
too cold for the rotten little beggars. By this
afternoon it got pretty humid and they were a pain in
some spots on the property, but for the most part, I got
lots done for a change with minimum bites. Even the dogs
were able to spend the day outside instead of all three
being crammed into our little porch to keep them away
from the bugs.
We even rigged up a screen door for River's dog house
which he was not pleased with. Every time
we convinced him to go in while we parted the screen,
he'd come right back out. Until Andy started up the truck
and put the other two in the back for a ride to Nimpo,
that is. Then he high tailed it to his dog house, tail
and ears down and went straight in. "Hmm.....Which
do I hate most? Car sickness or a newfangled screen door?"
From talking to people it sounds like the fishing
on Nimpo Lake is still excellent and there has
been more than one brave soul out there in a boat even
with the winds. At least until it got extreme enough that
we actually had whitecaps and rollers coming in to our
bay where we're normally pretty protected. I don't think
the water has warmed up that much yet, which is probably
why the fish are taking bait great guns. And fighters!
Wow. Our neighbours commented last night on the very thing
we noticed when we went fishing. Every time you
get a fish you think it's going to be huge from the way
it fights, and then all you bring in is a pan fry.
I don't think you could keep a two or three pounder on
a line right now.
The same neighbours went to the barrel racing Saturday
and were really impressed with the girls wearing Stetsons
and hair just a flying as they went around the barrels.
No helmets! Nope, not in this country. This is cowboy
country. You would probably be laughed out of the
Stampede if you showed up on your horse wearing a helmet.
We were talking about how parents are so overprotective
nowadays and how we're all so over regulated by government.
I know I just about fell over when I first saw a television
program with kids riding horses wearing helmets until
I realized that they were disabled. Okay....that makes
a lot of sense. Then the next time I saw the same thing,
it was kids that were learning how to ride horses, and
they were not disabled. You kind of think,
"What the heck?" But you put it down to maybe
the riding stables don't want the liability and do everything
they can to protect themselves. Well.....I suppose....
Then you see people of all ages riding horses wearing
a bloody helmet. You've got to be kidding me!
First of all, the cowboy hat was actually developed hundreds
of years ago, first by the Mexicans and then 'redesigned'
by the American cowboy. Aside from keeping the sun off
their heads, with a high, stiff crown, it's primary purpose
was to protect a cowboy's noggin if he got
bucked off. That's why they had straps. Of course
the American cowboy didn't consider the straps too cool
and most did away with them, and rolled and shaped
the hat so that when it rained, the water would stream
off the front or to the back and away from the back of
their neck. But technically, if you have a good fitting
hat, it will protect your head if you come off of your
horse. But apparently not everyone thinks so.
I suppose if I were a kid nowadays both me and my
siblings would have been taken away from our parents
and they accused of bad parenting. But back then as an
eleven year old, I thought nothing of climbing on my horse
bareback and riding for miles up on the mountain. When
I was a little older, those rides were often in the middle
of the night. In fact for a couple of years, since we
had no water source for the horses, every day we had to
jump on them and ride them for about a mile to the nearest
pond to water them. I think I was about twelve when summer
work allowed me to purchase a cow horse that was about
as stubborn and muley, as....well...a mule. If she
was feeling particularly snarky in a day, she generally
bucked. Most of the time I could stay on, but
not always since I usually rode bareback. Sliding off
usually didn't cause much injury to anything but my pride
but if she was running and decided to use an overhanging
branch to brush me off, a favorite trick of hers, then
I usually got smacked up a bit harder. That usually cost
her because I would be madder than a wet hen. I would
cut a switch and catch up to her. Finally I got in the
habit of carrying one every time I got on her and that
pretty much solved the problem. Most of the time....And
no, I didn't wear a helmet. Actually, I rarely even wore
a cowboy hat.
That was only one of the things for which I'm sure nowadays
my parents would have gotten in loads of trouble. No
helmet???? Bad parents!!!! Of course they would
also have gotten into trouble for giving me a glass cutting
kit one Christmas that me and my brothers would use to
cut open .22 shells for the powder, and make little bombs.
Which my parents didn't know about. Or,
Horrors! For sure we would have been taken away
and put into a foster home because I was my Dad's powder
monkey when we were blowing stumps and I usually
got to carry either the caps or dynamite, while my brothers
drilled and tamped. I was all of eleven or twelve, they
all younger. When we first moved to Canada back into the
bush, from the time I was seven, we kids used to wander
miles from home in search of interesting frogs and what
not, with only our whistles around our necks and matches
in our pockets with the strong orders. "If you ever
get lost, sit down, light a big fire, and don't move!"
We never got lost and learned our stretch of the woods
better than most kids know their own city block. Surprise,
surprise, we all survived with a sense of independence
and self sufficiency I don't see in kids today
where natural curiosity is dampened by overprotective
mothers. Where kids are fat rather than strong and wouldn't
know the meaning of work ethic if you hit them in the
head with it.
We saw that back even when we were kids and had moved
from back in the bush to a place a little less isolated
and nearer to town. Overloaded with chores and long hard
summers full of work to do on our homestead, whenever
kids stopped in and asked if we could come out to play,
they shied away quickly when we suggested their help with
our chores would mean we could join them all the sooner.
One boy always felt particularly hard done by because
he was expected to take the garbage out once a week in
exchange for his allowance. Just as most of them
did not have work ethic in their vocabulary, we didn't
have allowance in ours. In exchange for our work, we got
pretty darned good meals and most of us grew up to be
strapping big kids that could out work and
out eat most adults. Never mind allowance. Or helmets
for that matter....Helmets....Sheesh!
Happy Independence Day America
July 4th to our American friends. Boy, it's going
to be a wild old Friday night in the States tonight!
How lucky can you get having a holiday like the Fourth
of July on a Friday? Most people will be able to barbeque,
watch fireworks and celebrate to their heart's content
because they won't have to go to work tomorrow. If you
can't avoid a hangover, it sure is nice if you can avoid
We had a blustery day today and was it nice!!!
No bugs! I was outside off and on all day and didn't see
more than a couple of mosquitoes. It alternated between
sun and cloud with mostly sun, and although it didn't
get super warm, it was still great to be able to mow the
lawn and use the weedeater without being mauled for my
We sure had a strange night last night, though.
Around midnight right out of the blue, it started to hail
really hard, then it would stop and rain softly for a
few minutes, and then hail, then rain, then hail, and
so on. It was strange how it would let up and then suddenly
there would be fierce drumming on the roof again. It was
great in a way because although it didn't put a huge amount
of moisture down, it wet the new lawn enough that I didn't
have to run any water today. And that, I
suspect, had as much to do as the wind, for the lack of
I have a new property going up on the sale page
that some of you folks might be interested in. It's on
the north end of Nimpo Lake in it's own little bay while
the house sits almost on the lake itself. There aren't
too many steps between the deck that overlooks the lake,
and the dock, making it a nice short distance to carry
all those fish you'll catch, straight from the boat to
the house. Although not winterized, it makes for a great
summer retreat and is plenty cozy sporting a beautiful
antique wood cook stove to keep you warm on those chilly
fall mornings. You can contact the owner at a number in
Nimpo or if he's travelling, you can reach him on his
cell phone. You'll find all the info you need on the Properties
for sale page.
Have a good weekend everyone and Happy July Fourth!
Bella Coola Break
had to drop down to Bella Coola today, something
we were actually quite looking forward to since we had
heard there were no bugs down there. That was pretty much
true too. Both coming and going we stopped for breaks
at the rest area at the bottom of the 'Hill' and might
have seen all of three mosquitoes.
We let the dogs run for a few minutes down at the Clayton
Falls recreational area, which is really beautiful by
the way, and nary a mosquito to been seen there or anywhere
else we stopped. Since it rained off and on while we were
down there, that was remarkable! It sure was a nice break!
The water in the Atnarko, and Bella Coola Rivers
is way up, probably from the warmer than usual
weather the last few days up in the mountains. Apparently
the salmon fishing isn't very good right now and whether
that's from high water, or fewer numbers of fish is hard
to say. As we understand it the natives have nets across
the entrances of the rivers where they enter the inlet,
and until they get their quota of salmon trying to get
up river, no fish will get through until they do. But
I don't know how easy it would be to catch a salmon in
such high water anyway.
As usual, it's a real pleasure to see everyone's
yards with colorful flowers, blooming shrubs,
and huge trees along the highway and through Hagensborg.
I admire that the folks down there can grow so much and
keep their yards so tidy. Especially in view of the fact
that it must take a lot of work to battle back the vegetation
every year, since they are in rain forest
Apparently there aren't as many bears, either black
or grizzly, this year, which was evidenced by
the fact that we saw not one going either way. Unusual
to say the least, since about the same time last year
we saw eight black bears alone between the foot of the
Hill and Hagensborg. One Bella Coola native who knows
the country well said that in hunting and fishing, he
and others have come across a number of bear carcasses
in the bush. He conjectures that there were so
many bears that they literally culled themselves. At one
point, grizzlies were killing black bears and eating them,
which I know does happen, but then a lot
of the grizzly disappeared as well. Since they're a very
territorial animal, it seems possible that
some may have been pushed into a stronger animal's territory.
I know that the massive Lonesome Lake fire in 2004 pushed
a lot of bears out of the burned over area. Migration
down the Atnarko River valley toward Bella Coola would
have been a natural progression and would certainly have
resulted in an overpopulation of bears. Eventually
a natural culling process would have to have taken place,
whether by disease or aggression so perhaps the
apparent lack of bears just means a stabilized population
now. Or maybe there just aren't enough fish for them to
eat and they've moved on elsewhere.
The famous, or rather 'infamous' Anahim Lake Stampede
is on this weekend, vying with the Calgary Stampede.
I haven't had an opportunity to look at any posters to
see what and when events start, but I'll try to remember
to check that out tomorrow. I know that there's usually
a parade on Saturday but I'm not sure when the bull riding
is. I wouldn't mind checking it out this year and take
a few pictures, but we'll see what the weather and mosquitoes
the very day that the forecasters previously said it was
going to get cloudy, we finally had a pretty clear
day with the temperatures nearing 30C or almost 85 degrees
and a little less humidity. It sure seemed hot
anyway! It's been hot enough for long enough that it's
becoming progressively more difficult to cool the house
off in the evenings now.
It used to be really nice to have that pine forest stand
on the west side of the house which helped to keep the
siding and roof cool for the last four or five hours during
the height of summer. Since we had to cut nearly
all of those beetle killed trees down, there's
been a substantial difference in heat and sun coming through
the windows to the west. Something we're definitely going
to have to address sometime in the near future. It wasn't
really necessary last year because it rained or was cloudy
for most of the summer but should we get a hot spell later
in July or in August, it might get a little miserable.
We ended up with a good dry breeze kicking up this afternoon
and it's clouding over here and there. Of course it did
that last night too. There were some monster thunderheads
building to the east and word has it that they resulted
in some fires. There's supposed to be a huge forest
fire over in the Itcha Ulgatchuz Range and there
was a smoke trail in the Rainbows.
When Andy came home from picking up the mail and told
me, we turned on the scanner and I kept an ear out through
the afternoon. New fire locations were still being
called in and it sounded like there were quite
a few around the Blackwater. The Nazko/Kluskas area, west
of Quesnel, always seems to blow up first when thunderstorms
start building up and when I watched the news, there were
some major storm cells blooming on the radar maps around
Prince George and Quesnel. Weather forecasters said the
PG area was under severe thunderstorm watch but they're
expecting thunderstorms all over the province.
The rain is always nice after a hot spell but not if it
Lytton kind of got more than a kettle full of bad
luck yesterday. They've been dealing with the
smoke from a big fire at Jackass Mountain in the Fraser
Canyon. On top of that they got a catastrophic downpour
that caused mudslides, closed the highway, and caused
the derailment of a train with cars carrying a substance
not good for the major river in which the
cars landed in or hung up on the bank above.
We're still seeing heavy smoke over the Coast Mountain
Range to the south of us and at one point, it
was so thick and so white last night that you could barely
see the faint outline of mountains behind it. I spoke
to my Mom down on the Washington, Oregon coast and they
were blanketed by smoke from the California forest fires
yesterday. So I guess if the smoke can cross the northern
part of California and all of Oregon to Washington, it
can make it across one more state and half a province
if it follows the mountains up the coast. Who knows?
We just watched one of Mike King's helicopters from White
Saddle land over at The Dean. He'll be off loading
an Initial Attack crew before heading home to Bluff Lake.
Although if he's going back up he'll have to do it quickly.
If I recall from working for the Cariboo Fire Center,
they have to be back on the ground for the night only
so long after sunset and before full dusk. Or he may be
staying with the crew for the night in order to be at
the ready in case of fires from lightning strikes through
I just learned some sad news tonight and since it occurred
on June 20th. it goes to show how behind the times we
are. Ken Stranaghan from Bella Coola drowned
on that date while floating down the river, probably fishing.
He and his partner's craft got caught up in a log jam
and both were wearing waders. Sadly, Ken's waders filled
up with water before he or his partner could get them
off, and he drowned. Some of the grizzly bear pictures
on this site were given to me by Ken to use, which
was very much appreciated since pictures of grizzlies
aren't that easy to come by. However, Ken used to feed
them and then take photos of them. I actually always thought
that is how he would leave us. Happy Trails, Ken.
Canada Day folks! And what a sultry day it is! For us
anyway. A heavy haze rolled in over the mountains and
it was pretty blue this morning. While not as blue now,
I don't think there's any question but that it's
forest fire smoke.
There are a few fires burning around the province including
one down in the Fraser Canyon that may be the cause, or
who knows? Maybe we're getting smoke out of northern California.
420,000 acres burned so far down there with the highest
number of fires in June on record as well as the driest
March and April since they began keeping records in 1920.
That does not bode well for the state at
I took a look at the fire situation map for British
Columbia, and while the fire danger has increased in the
past week, including in our region, it's still
nothing to what Alberta and Saskatchewan are showing.
Complain as we might about our cool, wet spring in this
province, it has still reduced the fire danger substantially.
In any case, the haze and more high overcast as well as
some building thunderheads have all contributed to the
sultry, humid air outside. Linked to little breeze and
our continuous watering program, it is impossible to stay
outside for more than a few moments without going crazy.
I think we picked a bad year to put in lawn. While common
to see skeeters plastered all over the screens in the
evening, it's not so common to see it in
the middle of the day. Which is why I think I'll just
commit to working on the computer for the next few days.
This morning I noticed six loons all grouped together
and feeding on Nimpo Lake out between the two islands.
It seemed really odd because I didn't think loons would
have anything to do with others while nesting but Andy
says he noticed the same thing a couple of mornings ago
and we wondered if it's because of the change in weather.
I know that loons are ferociously territorial while
mating, often chasing each other all over the
lake until the most exhausted leaves the area defeated.
But maybe once they have eggs or little ones on the nest,
they aren't quite so antagonistic. Or perhaps this is
a group of bachelors from last year that haven't found
mates yet. There were definitely distinct differences
in their sizes.
I'm pleased to be able to showcase more incredible pictures
of this area taken by Heidy Lenz over at Atnarko B&B
on Charlotte Lake. Note the green ex-military four wheel
drive vehicle on top of Perkins Peak over on the right.
I believe Heidy said it was used as a radio truck by the
Swiss military. It's quite an interesting vehicle with
a loads of clearance and garners a lot of attention from
visitors to the area.
You will find the articles for the last week of June at
Week Four .
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!