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/2012
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The Long Hot
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
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
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!