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Wilderness Adventures - July, Week 3/2012

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.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.


16/07/2012 10:30 AM

Fire Season Begins

I think I mentioned in the last blog that I fully expected us to start seeing smoke from lightning strikes and sure enough....
From everything that I hear, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Nechako and surrounding areas got a wicked thunderstorm on Saturday night. Apparently some places received just a deluge on a Biblical scale, but some places where lightning struck did not receive much of anything in the way of rain. The result of course was that smoke rolled in yesterday when the wind switched and came out of the north from the direction of the fires. We heard the first reports coming in over the radio from helicopter spotters that called in the fires, the most prevalent and probably the smokiest for us being at Bald Face Mountain. However, the wind did switch at one point coming out of the southeast and we were still getting smoke. According to one report, there was also a small fire at Redstone so smoke from there might also have impacted us.
After supper we attempted to go for a walk with the dogs in spite of the bugs and just at the end of our driveway I could hear an air tanker making circles. Andy came along behind me but by that time, all he could hear was a helicopter in the distance, also making circles. We couldn't see them but judged from the noise where they might be. We jumped in the truck and drove down to Two Mile at Anahim Lake because if there's a fire in the Itcha's or Illgatchuz range, you can usually see it from there. There was a lot of smoke lying over the mountains but no different from any other horizon and no large plumes rising above. We listened to the radio on the way there and could tell that a fire was being actioned by a water bomber, but it wasn't where we could see it so the smoke must have just rolled in over the Itcha Range. By the time we left to return home, most of the helicopters were headed to their home bases.
We woke up to smoke and fog this morning and Andy said it was quite dense when he first got up. I could smell the smoke when I got up though it wasn't as strong as it had been on Sunday but it was thick enough that it obscured the mountains all day. The mosquitoes sure love that smoke haze and were out in force today, even though it got up over 28C or 82F down here on the lake. I expect it was 30 or 31C or up to 88F up away from the lake and you would think that kind of heat would fry the little buggers, but my attempts to weed and water today were short lived and I had to duck back into the house again.
Our neighbour was over yesterday and he told Andy that in the 40 years he has been coming up to Nimpo in summer, he has never seen mosquitoes this bad. That's what everyone said last year and the year before too. And yet they really do seem to be getting worse and worse. I've certainly never seen them this bad at the hottest time of the day in blazing sun. Tough little suckers.
At least we finally got a little break from the heat on Sunday. Saturday was a furnace; bad for me because I had to cook for guests in the cabin and was trying every possible thing to keep it slightly cooler than a blast furnace in here, including setting up a high tech swamp cooler in the kitchen using a bowl of ice and a fan. Surprisingly, it helped. I like the heat but not when I have to cook in it and we're simply not used to it anymore. Arizona is a long way in the past for me and though Andy is from the Okanagan, even he isn't used to the heat anymore and since it's so unusual here to have a long stretch of hot weather, it takes a little to get used to it. Although being in two hot provinces for three weeks prior to this certainly helped to get us accustomed to it. Clouds and nine degrees cooler temps yesterday certainly made for a very pleasant day. It gave the house a chance to finally cool off a bit after over a week of heating up and gave everyone a break.
Tomorrow is supposed to be another barn burner and then it looks like showers and clouds on Wednesday and Thursday for most of the province. I think most people will enjoy that before it begins heating up again on the weekend.
The sun's little blow out on Friday and Saturday resulted in some amazing northern lights on Saturday night. I had hoped our guests would stay up long enough to see them but I think they crashed pretty early, as did Andy. I finally remembered to check for them at about midnight it was a glorious sight to behold! There was a great arc of green swirling right over top of us with a separate and equally brilliant curtain of green to the north of us. It just looked like the base was pinking through red to purple but then the mosquitoes found me so I had to slip back inside again. I watched them off and on for the next couple of hours from the porch window and could see great beams like laser lights playing in the sky, but I couldn't see as well as I would have liked. Much as I love northern lights I like my skin intact and all my blood left inside my skin much better. It certainly was a treat to see the lights again and I'm hoping that we'll be building up to them in this next year so that they're as spectacular as they were in 2002 and 2003. I wish there was a way to build a little glass roofed observatory where a person could sit inside out of the bugs, maybe with a little heater for winter viewing, and look through a clear dome at northern lights. Yeah.... we'll just put that on the list of things to do.... it should be at about chore item number 7,462.
You can see up on the right the contrast in our view from smoke on the horizon as compared to when the air cleared out last week after the Siberian smoke. The wild sunset was the same night as Williams Lake and Quesnel had their massive thunderstorms. I had never seen fingers of cloud go up like that before and I'll post a larger photo on
Picture of the Day so that you can see it in detail.
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's blog at July Week Two
.


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!
Forest fire smoke obscures the mountains.
 
 
 
Orange cloud reaches into the altitude.
 
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