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 Two/2011
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of the Day.
The Bella Coola Hill Slides
It's still cool and wet and the weather is definitely
causing problems on the Bella Coola Hill. Last week
a huge rock longer and taller than a pickup truck fell
on the Hill just this side of where the two Cats met while
building the road in 1953. Every time something
like that happens, the GeoTech engineers have to be called
in before anything can be done to assess the danger to
anyone trying to remove debris from the road. This time
it took a little longer than usual because the engineer
decided to sleep in that morning after coming in the day
before. Nothing like having a highway shut down, and traffic
stopped dead over a 300 mile stretch because the important
guy that everyone is waiting on is catching some extra
zzz's until nine in the morning. That might be taking
Chilcotin time just a little too far. :-)
It was decided that the rock had to be blasted rather
than pushed over the road because if they tried to push
it off, it would probably take part of the road with it.
They also had to assess how much damage the rock may have
done under the road bed itself. That's a lot of weight
to be hitting with any force and it sounds like it came
from a ways up the mountain. The road is really narrow
there so that's a very small band taking the full force
of the impact, unlike wider roadways where the force would
be distributed more.
It took a few days of the Hill being closed before the
rock was blasted and cleared and it hadn't been
open for long when there was a slide that brought a lot
more rock down. I don't know if it was in the
same place or not but I was told that a lot of rock on
the face above the road had been loosened when that big
boulder came down so maybe that was it. On Saturday
another huge slide came down with an estimated 100 truck
loads of rock and debris and it's been closed since.
Estimated time of opening is tonight with a 'moderate'
confidence level so who knows?
It sure has played hell with folks visiting this part
of the country. A number of visitors trying to reach Bella
Coola and keep their ferry reservations have been trapped
here and in Anahim Lake while several people that were
on their way up here are stuck in Bella Coola. Everyone
is being pretty patient about it and besides, what are
you going to do, go after Mother Nature? We've been caught
in the same situation, once when we were on our way to
the Yukon and the Dease Lake Road washed out. There isn't
much you can do about it except perhaps sit and wait and
try to enjoy the country you're in while you wait.
It's no surprise that the Hill is experiencing slides
right now. It usually does when we have a lot of rain
and we've certainly had more than our share. We
had a couple of inches in two days late last week with
some sprinkles in between, but the north end of Nimpo
Lake got just whacked with a storm Sunday night. We had
thunder and lightning in that direction so we watched
for a while. I counted the seconds between the thunder
and the lightning as it moved away from us but then it
stalled over the north end of the lake as we watched.
My friend there said she was counting as it moved closer
and she barely got to one second before the house
shook, so she was right under it. They got one
heck of a downpour right after that and it washed gravel
out of the road and filled all the ponds.. On Sunday,
a pond that had been up to the edge of the road was a
little river washing across their road when I went down
yesterday. They got a lot of water!
A local pilot I was talking to yesterday said that every
depression and hole in this country is full of water and
you can see that even here locally. We no longer have
the big mature pine trees to soak up the standing water
that we used to and throw in a heavy snow year, no heat,
sun or wind for evaporation, and a pile of rain on top
of it, you're gonna get wet no matter where you go.
I feel so badly for people down in the States, particularly
Texas and Oklahoma, who have been suffering with high
temperatures and no rain for ages now. What I
wouldn't do to trade a little of our rain for a little
of their heat! My brother is down in Arkansas on military
gun training. He said the temperature is 115 degrees and
the humidity is near the top. Man, you could melt in that!
Well, enough complaining about the weather. I predicted
that we would get a rainy summer after two hot ones so
it's probably my fault anyway. I would take the blame
but I sure could do without the bugasaurs. They could
take a powder any time now and I wouldn't miss them a
bit. They don't seem to be letting up much yet. August
We had the annual BC Floatplane Association AGM
this weekend at Terry's hangar down on the north end of
the lake and it turned out better than we expected.
The weather was abominable both in Vancouver and Victoria
and no great shakes here over the Coast range, so a lot
of pilots just couldn't get through until Sunday or Monday.
That put them in too late for the AGM but they could still
meet up with other pilots in time to head on to the biannual
Yellowknife fly in. We still ended up with not too bad
a turn out for the meetings and a really large crowd for
the dinner on Saturday night with standing room only for
a while. Of course it didn't help that it was raining
so no one was doing any visiting outside.
This will be the last AGM held here for a few years.
The pilots are being encouraged to move the AGM elsewhere,
preferably closer to Victoria or Vancouver, not only to
give pilots in the Pacific Northwest an opportunity to
attend without having to travel so far and pilots an opportunity
to see different country, but also to give organizers
here a break. My Mom and Terry take the brunt of the work
on their shoulders right from shopping for and bringing
in the food and a lot of the silent auction and door prizes,
to set up and clean up before and after and a lot of the
cooking. I provide a few salads, Mary does some work on
it as do a couple of the other ladies down at that end
of the lake, but for the few that do the most, it's
a big, big job and they're tired of doing it.
They've been holding this AGM weekend fly in, lunch, dinner
and Sunday morning breakfast for fifteen years now and
it's time it went elsewhere. It would all have been much
easier if it had been kept to the BCFA members, but it
wasn't, so you're looking after a crowd three times larger
than you would normally and that takes a lot more work!
I realize that the same group of pilots that attend the
AGM in Nimpo Lake every year really like having it here,
and I'm sure local operators appreciate the addition to
the local economy, but sometimes you need a change.
Thanks to all the pilots that have attended in the
past and thanks to all the people that worked hard to
make things happen for the last fifteen years.
The photos of the two slides on the Bella Coola Hill were
taken from the Internet and sent to me by our coordinator.
I don't know who took them so forgive me for reproducing
them up here with author unknown, but if you took them,
then please contact me so that I can attach your photo
credit to them. Thank you!!!
is the start of a new week so you'll find last month's
blog at July
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!