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/2009
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BCFA AGM and Other Stuff
Folks. I know it's been awhile. Unfortunately, tonight's
post will probably be the last for another few days but
I figured everyone would like an update on what's happening
and Andy keeps looking sideways at me every morning when
he discovers there's no new blog on his computer.
Our weather in the past week has been mixed. We had a
few >warm, humid days but a breeze has come up in the
past two days so it's not as hot. Our temperature has
ranged upward to 20C with it a little cooler today under
threatening thunderheads. Still no rain though.
We lost our baby loon in the back bay this past
week to some sort of predator. We noticed when
he went missing and then Andy found a pile of feathers
over by the boat launch a day or two later. While I suppose
it's possible for a fox or coyote to get the bird if it
swam too close to shore, it's more likely to have been
a bald eagle. The feathers were peeled off in a circle
the way I've seen in winter when a bird has been killed
by another, and that's all there was left of the baby.
It's sure a shame. That pair in the back bay just doesn't
have good luck with keeping their babies from being killed.
I think it's because the bay is so protected and surrounded
by high trees. It may be difficult, if not impossible
because of the light sometimes, for the loons to see an
eagle swooping in.
The BC Floatplane Association Annual General Meeting
is happening down at the other end of the lake tomorrow.
Andy has been gone most of the week helping down there
to get a new 200 foot dock in, ramps built and placed,
and tires attached to the side of it. Which is good. It
means he's gaining lots of experience for when we finally
build our own floatplane dock. :-) Said project having
been on the list of projects for quite some time.
The sound of floatplanes has filled the air all
day today, coming in for the AGM and dance and
the pancake breakfast on Sunday. Then I think quite a
few of the pilots go out and do clean up in different
areas of Tweedsmuir Park for that day. We've had the pleasure
of the good company of a couple of guys up for the meeting
over the weekend.
The Lower Mainland and southern BC is enjoying a high
pressure system that's bringing lots of sunshine and hot
temperatures to those regions. That same high has
pushed a low pressure system over the central coast that's
brought us a lot of rain clouds overhead and heavy winds
the last two days. That has actually helped to
push out all that smoke we've had coming in from a fire
I don't know what it's supposed to do for weather next
week, but I sure would like to see some of these skeeters
burned off. On the other hand, cloudy weather cuts back
on the watering chores substantially. Most of the snow
is gone off the mountains and our lake level is really
low, so we could actually use some rain. I'm really surprised
at how quickly it has dried out since that last rain.
Have a good week, folks!
week was definitely an interesting one weather wise. We
received about another inch of rain throughout the week
and Andy bailed another six and a half gallons of water
out of his boat. It rained off and on for most of Wednesday
but yesterday was pretty good. Today was a different matter.
While our temperatures were fairly cool during the week,
they started heating up a bit yesterday, resulting
in one heck of a thunderstorm in the afternoon.
The sky was blacker than sin and I figured it was going
to dump on us again but it mostly cleared out by late
evening. What I didn't realize was how much smoke came
in on the new air.
I called Andy down from the bedroom last night to see
the moon rising. It was pretty orange but other than to
comment on the color, we didn't think much of it. This
morning was really, really foggy and after the fog finally
lifted, we understood why. There was quite a bit
of smoke in the air that just got heavier as the day wore
on. By early this afternoon we were blanketed
and the mountains were no longer visible. I had so many
people ask me where it was coming from that I finally
called the Cariboo Fire Center to see if there was any
fire in the Chilcotin. I kind of doubted it because we
couldn't smell smoke and the smoke covered most of the
Chilcotin Plateau from Puntzi on and got progressively
worse the farther west you came. Apparently down around
Firvale in the Bella Coola Valley, visibility was virtually
The girl at the Fire Center said they didn't have a record
of any fire that they knew of but she could only speak
for the Cariboo District, so that probably means
we're getting smoke from elsewhere and that could be from
any large fire from California to Alaska. It looks
like we have an inversion layer and that would also hold
the smoke down, and with no wind, it probably won't move
out any time soon. It's hard to see clouds through it
but it does look like thunderheads are starting to build.
I wasn't home for the hottest part of the afternoon but
we were up to 24C or 75F before I left. That's warm for
us. The worst part was the humidity today which was twice
as high as it normally is. That's something else we don't
normally get here but we've certainly seen our share in
the past week. I can take a lot of heat but I'm not so
good when it's humid. You're huffing and puffing just
crossing the yard because the air is so heavy and you
can't seem to get your breath. Not my favorite thing
but it sure is a favorite of the mosquitoes. Yikes!
Are they bad!!
I transplanted some small plants today and as usual, my
face was near the dirt and I had to water. Boy, did they
love that. I'm thinking I should buy shares in Muskoil
stock because I'm reasonably sure folks in the Chilcotin
can drive up their profits to astronomical heights for
three months out of the year, myself included.
I had to meet a friend this afternoon on business and
I don't think anything was more welcome than sitting in
a cool coffee shop with no mosquitoes sipping on an iced
chai. Not normally my thing but man...... it was heaven!
I didn't want to leave. You can tell everyone is bothered
by them lately. In May and for the most of June everyone
commented that, "The bugs aren't nearly as bad as
they were this time last year." But in the
past ten days or so, most people's comments about the
mosquitoes can't be reprinted here. We emptied
out our Mosquito Magnet on Wednesday, and it needs emptying
out again already. Normally it's emptied every couple
of weeks. I think we're going to have to start selling
our lunch Baggies full of dead mosquitoes as souvenirs
up at the store. How to attract visitors.... well, maybe
not. Hopefully the bug situation will improve in the next
couple of weeks as it usually does. I keep trying to look
on the bright side. The fish in Nimpo will be getting
big and fat on all that feed.
It's still pretty warm tonight with a very orange sun
going down in the smoke haze. Tomorrow is supposed to
be warmer yet so I think we can expect some good thunderstorms
by tomorrow evening. At least the woods still seem to
be pretty wet so a lightning strike shouldn't do much
finally got a what can only be termed an Hallelujah Rain.
It started sprinkling just before supper time last night
and then turned into a good solid rain that alternately
increased in tempo, then lightened up again all through
the night. In only a little more than 12 hours, my rain
gauge says we received over 75mm of rain, or about three
inches. It would make me doubt the accuracy of my rain
gauge except that I've never seen that much water in it
at one time before. All of the dog's dishes were over
half full of water and Andy just finished bailing
over 27 gallons of water out of his boat. It's
a good thing a wind didn't come up or the boat would have
sunk right there at the dock.
I don't think there's much to worry about in the way of
forest fires after that lightning storm on Sunday now.
Most fires will have been drowned in this rain since all
of the Cariboo Chilcotin was supposed to get hit with
this weather system. While the Protection Branch website
shows 10 new lightning caused fire starts for yesterday,
that will probably have been before this rain started
last night. Right now I think you would have a tough time
starting a fire anywhere in the woods. The firefighters
have to be breathing a big sigh of relief, as are we.
This kind of moisture will keep the woods in good shape
for at least a couple of weeks, even in hot, dry weather.
We don't normally get a good soaking like this but it
couldn't have happened at a better time.
I had great plans for working outside today, especially
after the formation of a brand new and very large rock
garden. However, walking outside right now is kind of
like walking on slippery snot and it's still sprinkling
off and on. That means working inside today but it's hard
to get motivated after spending the last few weeks outside.
The upside of all this rain is that I don't have to worry
about watering lawns or gardens for some time now. Just
The neighbour called this evening asking if we knew
of a deer that had been killed because his dog
brought home the head of a small doe. The neck had been
cut cleanly so he knew it was human caused and not animal.
We told him about the bits of deer that I had found on
another neighbour's driveway and since it's not far from
this guy's place, his dog could easily have found where
other parts of the carcass had been disposed of. I still
find it to be a damned shame and would very much like
to know who's responsible.
Worse yet, Andy was just reading in a magazine that our
Conservation Officers have been cut back even more and
that the government doesn't want them to respond to any
more calls after their shifts are over. It won't
take the poachers long to find out that they can shoot
game illegally after four in the afternoon without fear
of getting caught unless the general public starts policing
surrounding lands. Add that to the environmentalists
who've won a ban on hunting grizzly and black bears in
yet a larger area on the north and central coast. Both
are predators that prey heavily on wildlife in BC. and
these extremists are advocating a complete ban on hunting
grizzly bear in British Columbia. How I would love
to see a few of these greenies like Gwen Barlee of the
Western Canada Wilderness Committee be eaten by a grizzly
bear. In fact, that's exactly what it's going
to take is more people's lives down on the Lower Mainland
and Island to be endangered by bears before the extremists
will back off. Just tonight on the news it showed a woman
with a baby and small child in Gibson's Landing threatened
in her home by a black bear that walked into her house.
These city people just love to see the cute, cuddly little
bears out in the wild. They should try living with
them as we have to and deal with them as the local ranchers
have to. The majority of townies tend to support
letting the bears overpopulate the 'wilderness' because
they're in cities and towns and know damned well that
for the most part, they're in no danger from bears. And
selfishly, they could care less about people who don't
want to live in the cities and do have to deal with bears.
So it won't hurt my feelings at all if a few bears want
to move in on the townies. We'll see then how precious
they think these bears are. Apparently not very. The one
that walked into the woman's home was shot.
weather has finally taken a complete about face. Yesterday's
hot, humid temperatures are at a cool, refreshing number
today. Yesterday evening it dropped six degrees
in less than an hour from 21C to 15C when some cool air
rode in on the thunderstorms coming from the east.
While I don't think it dropped much below 10C or 50F overnight,
it didn't warm up that much today, either. We've had pretty
good cloud cover all day and then just before supper time
it socked in low and grey and has been sprinkling rain
ever since. While we got a bit of a sprinkle yesterday
evening, it didn't amount to much. However, most of central
BC is under a heavy rainfall warning and the Chilcotin
was included in that warning. It looks like a hellacious
system is spiraling in from Washington State and it doesn't
make me the least bit unhappy to see some rain. We can
sure use it!
Andy and I were both working outside all day getting rocks
for my rock garden and I was surprised that the mosquitoes
were actually not that bad. Certainly not as horrendous
as they were on Sunday when we had our steamy jungle conditions.
Normally the bugs seem to like the cool, cloudy weather
as well but they backed it off a bit for today, which
First thing today, Andy had me download the pictures off
of the camera so I could take a look at what he snapped
at about 6:30 this morning. He looked out the front window
shortly after getting up this morning at one of the twin
deer we've been sure were Whitetail, standing on our shore.
I might add that our so called watch dogs didn't
make a peep. Probably didn't even know she was
there, and certainly she had no fear of all the dog scent
The next time Andy looked out the little deer was down
by our dock and getting into the water. She swam clear
across the lake and hopefully will now stay in the new
area. It's far less accessible to people hunting the roads
illegally and out of season so perhaps she'll see a little
longer life than her sister did. I would still like
to know who shot the other little deer this past week.
If anyone knows anything, the information would be much
appreciated. At least if we knew who shot the deer we
could keep an eye out for their vehicle if we ever catch
it on our road again.
More fires cropped up today, probably because of
that series of thunderstorms that rolled through the entire
Cariboo Fire region yesterday afternoon. I think
they were reporting on fire 169 around supper time yesterday
and were on fire 300 by early this afternoon, so they've
seen some action. Reporting on the Cariboo Region's fire
starts for Saturday were two lightning started fires and
one human started fire. Stats for Sunday showed 26 new
fires that were started by lightning and no human starts.
That was before the spate of fires noticed
since then and I expect those numbers will be on their
website by tomorrow morning. Isn't it funny how the statistical
data in reality just does not match what
the various information officers for Forestry and Protection
Branch state to be true when it comes to lightning and
human starts in our area. It would seem that holds true
for the number of fires reported by the lookouts as well.
From what dispatch said to Alex Grahame around noon today,
that lookout had just reported yet another smoke. So that's
two fires spotted by each lookout in less than 24 hours
that I know of. That means that each lookout
only has to spot one more fire, if they haven't
already, and they've met the criteria for the
year as laid out by the Cariboo Fire Center. Which in
turn means there is no reason in the world why we shouldn't
have a lookout stationed here. Nor any more excuses. It's
a shame the other two lookouts in the Chilcotin weren't
also manned during that flurry of thunderstorms yesterday,
or I'm sure they would have met their criteria for spotting
fires as well. They weren't given that opportunity, though.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next
few days. If we get quite a bit of rain this week, it
may put out any fires started by lightning but not noticed
by forestry. However, if we only have a small amount of
moisture it may only serve to keep a lightning strike
fire damped down until it warms up again. That's happened
more than once in the past!
I was just sitting here rereading what I had written when
I had to laugh to myself. Truly, what a joke it
is to push the Canadian Lightning Detection Network on
us as being the 'Be All, End All' of technological 'magic'.
I wonder if these 'townies' think that everyone that lives
in the boondocks is an idiot.
Yesterday, everyone in the Cariboo Chilcotin knew where
the storms were and where the lightning was. Just look
up. Of course the lookouts were advising the Fire Center
when they were seeing thunderstorm activity within their
area. And no doubt the Detection Network was doing its
job and reporting its 70% of strikes to the Fire Center.
But the Fire Center still had to rely on
the lookouts, Bird Dogs and other resources in the air,
to spot smoke as well as send CIFAC crews here and there
to check on reports of fires. One CIFAC crew was on their
way to check out a reported smoke when they came across
at least one more fire, but I'm pretty sure they said
there were two unreported ones, that were near Redstone
and Chezecut. In the end, what it comes down to
is that their detection network does absolutely no good
unless you go check out those locations to see if a fire
started. I mentioned this in previous blogs that
they were putting way too much weight on the detection
service in their media relations. Yesterday's fire starts
proved it doesn't mean much. You still have to expend
the resources to check it out!
been lots happening in the past week. I'm sure it's been
a mixed up one for folks with the holiday in both Canada
and the US. Happy Canada or Dominion Day to the Canadians
and Happy Independence Day to you American folks.
We've had quite a mixed bag for weather this past week
with it being hot and dry for the most part tossing
in some humidity to make the bugs happy, and boy, are
We had super weather for a little Canada Day celebration
at the neighbour's across the lake where a bunch of us
enjoyed a fire, great food, super company and a really
nice day. Like people from down at the other end of the
lake, we attended via boat wearing life jackets. It's
just a lot simpler to pop across to a party by boat than
endure a half hour drive the long way around. Just make
sure to install your life jacket before
clambering into a boat after imbibing a few party drinks.
Thank heavens Andy doesn't drink!
The day after that, we enjoyed a wonderful meal with a
couple from Texas that I met through the blog years ago
and who bought a cabin over on Anahim Lake three years
or more ago. We had a wonderful pasta dish sporting
local morel mushrooms and it's just a sample of what you
can do with the wild mushrooms. These folks pick
and dry them when they come up, put them in jars and give
them as gifts to friends back home because I guess they're
pretty expensive to buy. I had no idea they were that
pricey and here we just take them for granted and often
ignore that culinary delight in our own back yard.
Besides having the vegetative goodies in our woods, we
also have animals which can provide food for families
during hunting season. Unfortunately, I came across evidence
this week that someone had shot and butchered an animal
in the driveway of an absent neighbour. When coming across
the gut bag and blood from a bleed out of an animal this
time of year, I might normally assume it was a bear, coyotes,
or wolves that killed an animal. But last time I
checked none of the above find it necessary to leave behind
blue rubber gloves after bleeding out and gutting an animal,
nor do those predators leave tire tracks backing up and
turning around at the scene. For that matter, none of
the animals would have left behind intestines, etc. intact
either. No, this was human work. I'm guessing that those
twin deer we saw are no longer twins. I expect to see
only one the next time. It's a shame that people find
it necessary to kill animals out of season. I guess I
wouldn't mind if it was a family that really needed it
but I don't think that's the case here. And while natives
can get away with 'subsistence' hunting, I've never seen
them use rubber gloves to gut an animal. You only do that
when you don't want people to see blood on your hands.
We've finally been successful in our push to have
Kappan Forestry lookout manned during hot weather.
I think we can thank Donna Barnett, the new MLA for that.
Once a few of us got to talk to her about the problem,
she picked up the ball and ran with it. Aside from contacting
the Ministry of Forests, and paying a little visit to
the Cariboo Fire Center, I'm not too sure what steps she
took to shake things up, but she definitely did. As
of Friday we had a Fire Lookout manning Kappan tower,
and one at Alex Grahame, which is necessary since
it's the only one with a land line to the Fire Center,
so it provides a safety net for the other radio-only lookouts.
We also had an Initial Attack crew stationed here over
the weekend. Cariboo Fire Center will have been only too
aware that hot weather was predicted for the area as it
was for most of BC. And the Anahim Lake Stampede was on
so an IA crew is always handy in case of campers with
careless fires. However, campfires were not a worry this
weekend so much as dry lightning.
With the hot, sticky weather of the past week, we've
been waiting for a major thunderstorm to break out and
it finally did today. There has been nothing in
the way of moisture for some time and maybe that's why
it took so long for thunderheads to build. We've been
seeing temperatures to 25C or 77F, which is quite warm
for our area, and clouds have built by afternoon every
day, but they didn't develop into thunderheads, even with
the warm nights.
By yesterday you could see the haze in the air that makes
it feel heavy and stifling, but it cooled off yesterday
evening and the air cleared. Today a high haze moved in
but you could tell the UV index was still high. The air
got so thick it was almost hard to get a full breath and
going for a walk was hot, sticky, and pure misery. Even
the dogs didn't seem all that enthused about the idea
and slouched along the whole way with their tongues dragging
on the ground, so I cut the walk short. Even so,
it didn't seem to me that the clouds were building up
for a thunder storm the way they did before, but I was
By supper time the thunder and lightning was rocking and
rolling all around us. We were having supper when
we saw a smoke to the south on the Hooch, a spotter
circling above it, and a bomber dropping a load on it
shortly after. You can see the two planes in the picture
up on the right. Kappan lookout had just called in a second
smoke up Morrison Meadows way that the spotters in the
air couldn't see. This is unusual as I did receive a letter
from someone that spots and carries IA crews for the Cariboo
Fire Center who pointed out that the spotters often see
fires that the lookouts cannot, usually because of geography.
I concur completely, which would indicate that a combination
of spotters or Bird Dogs and lookouts are
most effective for proactive prevention of widespread
forest fires in this area. And both have been used effectively
together in the past. However, the fire on the east side
of the highway above Morrison Meadow does indicate that
the lookouts can spot fires that even the planes
In about a two hour period tonight I knew of two fires
that the Kappan lookout reported and one that Alex Grahame
lookout reported. That's exactly half the number of fires
that are required to be reported by lookouts in one year
to meet the Cariboo Fire Center's criteria. Remember
their 'criteria' I wrote about before? Well, two
hours...... and half that criteria has been met already.
I expect the other half got met this evening or will by
daylight tomorrow because it's a major rumble out there,
even now after midnight I can still hear the thunder rolling,
and only an hour ago there was steady sheet lightning
on our southern horizon. Prior to that Andy and I sat
outside and watched lightning bolts hit the ground all
to the south of us and played the kid's game of counting
the seconds. Andy was cutting cantaloupe inside the house
while I counted the storm down from 35 miles away to five
and eight miles away by the time he got out on the deck
with his dessert.
I'm really, really glad we got the lookout manned but
I'm sorry we weren't able to get the rest manned throughout
the Cariboo. Forestry personnel that was out this
weekend told us to take down our signs warning the public
that we had no lookouts as our tower was manned as of
July 3rd. but did say it would only be manned
during hot weather this weekend and probably not if it
rained. That's okay with me and everyone else, I'm sure.
I have no problem with a lookout being pulled if it's
raining. I'm sure ours were bored to death if they were
up there during our dreadfully rainy spring and summer
of the last two years. But I expected them to be manned
throughout the last of May and first couple of weeks of
June when we had that hot spell, and I expect them
to be manned any time in the future when those conditions
occur. I'm also happy to see the IA crew here.
No, I don't expect them to be based here if the weather
doesn't warrant it, but I do expect to see
them here when it does. So I guess we'll just see how
all this plays out.
In the meanwhile, we did get a little rain shower with
that thunderstorm this evening. It wasn't a lot of moisture
but if it helps to dampen down the woods at all, then
it's appreciated. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before,
we aren't the only ones appreciating the recent humidity
and I'm sure the mosquitoes will be dancing in the grass
at the most recent moisture. While the bugs have
been quite bearable for most of this spring and summer,
they've been absolutely rotten for the past few days.
This hot weather brought hatches on and the mosquitoes,
black flies, and horse flies are wicked! Particularly
the mosquitoes. They're just plain nasty, and especially
if you have your face anywhere near dirt (transplanting)
or if you're anywhere near water, which is all the time
for me because I water lawns and flowers here constantly,
and change water over at the neighbours' everyday.
I wanted to be outside the other evening but the bugs
were so bad you couldn't stand still out there, so we
decided to go fishing on Nimpo to get away from them.
Poor Andy must have been bitten a hundred times just trying
to get the electric motor hooked up on the boat prior
to going out. But once we got out on the water, it was
great and we even caught a couple of nice trout for last
night's supper. By all reports, fishing is terrific
on all the local lakes right now, but it's really going
to town on this lake and the trout are definitely getting
fat on all those mozzy's. One rainbow trout pulled
out just a week or so ago weighed in at four pounds. That's
a lot of mosquitoes!
This is the start of a new week so June's articles can
be found at June
Week Two. Like this past month, blogs
may be few and far between. It depends on the weather
but for the most part when it's nice, I'm outside working
and most definitely not on the computer, so unless I deem
something critical that needs to be written about, you'll
find me a lot less consistent with blogs in the summer.
For example, I scored some asparagus seedlings from a
neighbour so I need to kick some plants out of the greenhouse
into an outside bed to make room. But that's not quite
as simple as it sounds, so..... a wasted day doing that
means no blog. Besides, everyone should be outside
enjoying their own gardens or preferred summer recreation
now, not sitting inside reading a blog! That's
what I tell my husband, anyway. Mainly because he gives
me grief every day for not having one written so that
he can go on his computer and read it. Do we need a life,
Have a good week, everyone!
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!