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Wilderness Adventures - July, Week Two/2012

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 some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.


11/07/2012 10:30 AM

The Long Hot

For the past full week we've been experiencing pretty hot temperatures, for this region anyway. Day time temperatures in the shade have reached between 26 and 29C or 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. For those folks that have been burning up in the eastern and mid western states, or even in southern BC that probably seems quite comfortable but for us it's hot because we rarely get temperatures like that unless it's a forest fire year.
I expect we would have been much warmer yet had it not been for that smoke from Siberia rolling in on Friday causing a yellow haze that helped to block the sun and provide a comfortable environment for the mosquitoes throughout the days. The air has been still for the past week but a wind finally came up on Monday and so yesterday morning was the first time we could see the mountains. The smoke has finally cleared out completely by this morning and it's nice to see blue sky and the Coast Range again. It made quite a difference to the mosquitoes as well. Yesterday was cooler at 25C but because of full sun, we could actually work outside all day without being mauled by thousands of mosquitoes, at least until we started weed-eating in thick underbrush and grass. I had Andy go in below my greenhouse with the Bobcat and rip a bunch of brush and aspen out right to the tree line along the shore of the lake. Maybe it will cut back on bug habitat a bit and make it a little more comfortable to work around my vegetable boxes.
It's sad that the bugs are so bad again this year but it was inevitable with the high standing water and cool, wet spring again. All the water holes and swamps are full, the ground is saturated and there are ponds everywhere that either never existed before or would have been dry long before this. Numerous young pine along our road are turning orange and will probably die this summer because their feet have been wet for too long. Everywhere you see aspen that have fallen over, roots and all, because the ground is so wet and cannot hold the roots. If this year follows last year it will be mid August before the mozzies are gone but since we've got this hot spell with yet another week of it expected, it just might knock them back and dry them up a lot sooner.
In all our travels across three provinces and into a fourth this past month, we ran into few bugs in comparison. They were there, especially in campgrounds with a lot of greenery and particularly in the mornings when Andy would take the dogs for a walk, as well as the evenings when we both might take a turn with them. They were there, but they weren't intolerable. What we did run into were a heck of a lot of ticks across Saskatchewan and in Manitoba. I guess it was a bad year for them in both provinces and not only did Andy pick two off himself but also picked them off the cat and both dogs right up until we got home.
The prairie provinces got a lot of rain this spring and we were shocked to see so much water laying in the fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan. While in BC lots of rain translated into high streams and rivers, it was easier to see the effects on the prairies. An early spring allowed most of the farmers to get their crops in before the deluge began but after the seedlings came up, they just sat there in the cool wet. It was common to see deep ruts in the fields from the sprayers trying to spray the soggy fields. Some of the fields were turning yellow from being wet for too long as you can see from the photo up on the top right where our dog had her first exposure to prairie gopher hunting. Many of the fields probably only had another week or two before being beyond recovery unless it got hot in a hurry, which it actually did in a rather blazing manner.
When we first hit Saskatoon to visit with friends, we were tucked away in a highly shady campground in the city, perfect for hot weather. Unfortunately it did nothing but rain for those several days so it was just cold and muddy. We moved north to Blaine Lake to visit other old friends and the weather was mediocre at best with quite a few mosquitoes out in the evenings because of all the standing water. We continued to Manitoba where we encountered rain showers but it wasn't too bad overall. However, when we got back to just south and east of Saskatoon to visit a close friend of mine and park at her place, it decided to get hot. We had to run into the city one day and the truck thermometer registered 31C or 88F. I thought I was going to die in the sweltering heat, mainly because it's so muggy there. We're very fortunate here in the Chilcotin because we normally have pretty low humidity throughout the year, so cold in the winter doesn't feel nearly so raw as it does in the Okanagan or on the coast, and the same goes for hot in the summer. Saskatchewan can get damned muggy in the summer and it's even more unbearable when there's water standing on every field and in every ditch and you have temperatures like that. It also builds ferocious storms and we were unfortunate enough to get caught in one that delayed our return home.
We had pulled into our friend's yard on Sunday evening and she and her partner had us park next to a long 40 or 50 foot garage that had previously been a shop at a military base. It turned out to be a thankful manoeuvre when a wild and vicious thunderstorm with high winds swept through two evenings later. The arms of our awning on the trailer were bent up pretty badly and we both got soaked to the skin within seconds in a downpour of hurricane proportions trying to save the whole apparatus. The 60 mile an hour winds died down that night but the next morning the trailer was rocking while I was still in bed and I thought Andy must be moving around an unusual amount. I got up in time to see the power go out and realized it was the wind that was shivering the trailer. It started to come up again and we're pretty sure it exceeded the wind speeds reported the night before. It knocked down a monster aspen behind us that took out a power line and upturned every ancient tree but two by their roots over in the little community park between nine and ten that morning. Numerous branches were broken from neighbourhood trees and many blew throughout people's yards. The same thing happened in the cities of Saskatoon and Prince Albert as well as a number of towns and caused extensive power outages. Several twisters were spotted and filmed. A couple of semi trucks blew over on the highway from Saskatoon to Regina so it was a good decision to stay put rather than pull out for BC that day with our a 30' very lightweight trailer as we had planned. I'm very thankful that we were parked so close to the long garage because it protected us from the brunt of the wind and flying branches. I have no idea what would have happened to the trailer had it been parked in an RV park exposed to the wind or giant hail reported across two provinces. I'm thinking it would not have been pretty. Even less so had we driven down the highway and it had been blown over.
The weatherman just confirmed on the news that we should see another week of hot weather. Now we shall see if he's right. I think we'll start hearing of forest fires throughout BC in the near future and I expect the campfire bans will go on. It's been really quiet for fires so far this year with the fire danger being moderate throughout the province but that will change quickly now with this heat. Especially once thunderheads start forming and we start getting lightning.
We went fishing today to get away from bugs and the heat. The trout are starting to fatten up a bit but they're not easy to keep on a fly. Both Andy and I lost fish but we still managed to bring home three for the smoker. I think it's going to be another great fall for fishing!
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's blog at July Week One
.


Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.




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!
 
A man, three pets and gorgeous bridal veil waterfall.
 
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