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 - June, Week One/2007
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
finally got a dry day today, in Nimpo Lake anyway.
The water level sat right on 5 cm this morning so we got
two inches of rain over two days. Today turned out to
be a really nice one with few clouds in the sky, very
cool temps. and a brisk enough wind to help keep the bugs
down, although not entirely by any means. We had to go
heavy on the bug dope today and a few of the rotten buggers
still got me. Even the dogs were begging
for their rub down of Repellent.
The ground is well saturated right now but around here,
it doesn't take long for the surface to dry out so you
usually aren't dealing with mud for too long. As a result,
we each managed to accomplish another one or two things
on the 'to do' list outside.
The lake level is definitely still going down and although
a few 'away' folks are concerned with flooding I can't
imagine it being a worry here.
I watched an interesting occurrence at the nesting
house today. We haven't been sure whether it's
chickadees or tree swallows nesting in it this year because
both are hanging around it. Normally, the tree swallows
have it and by this time, one of them would be inside
nearly all the time, with only its head peaking out on
occasion or when the 'sitter' trades places with the 'feeder'.
But we noticed early on this year that the chickadees
are often in and out of it and I've seen a few arguments
between the two species on several occasions.
Usually the chickadee is on the offensive teasing the
heck out of the tree swallows. But ever since Andy said
he can hear little chirps coming from the house, we've
noticed that the chickadee seems a lot more possessive
than usual. Today, there was a tree swallow hanging onto
the front of the house looking in through the little hole
for the longest time. Suddenly, the chickadee arrived
from somewhere and went after the swallow in a lot more
serious manner than usual. You can see the tree swallow
up on the right peeking around the side of the nest house
where the chickadee has just arrived. There was quite
an aerial display and although the tree swallows normally
seem the more aggressive of the two types of birds, the
swallow was definitely on the short end of the stick this
I don't understand why chickadees would nest in the house
in the first place (it's built to spec for tree swallows)
and I definitely don't understand why the swallows haven't
taken over. I wonder if it's because we've had to cut
down so many trees and lost so many nests that local chickadees
have decided to try out something new. The only other
thing we can figure is that both are nesting in there
at the same time. I don't know if that's possible or not
but I guess if you're a bird, an egg is an egg is an egg.
It looks like the Fraser River is going to come
up by three feet less than was previously expected,
probably because of the substantially cooler weather.
I was watching the weather tonight and the temperatures
are way lower than the record high temperatures seen in
1948 for this date. That leaves the Lower Mainland in
not too bad a shape. Smithers and Terrace are still flooding,
and will continue to do so for some time as the Smithers
area still has 70% of the snowpack to melt.
Nothing else new around here so I'm off like a herd of
Raining, And Raining, And Raining
not getting hard downpours today, or even a steady drizzle,
but it has been dripping all day. The rain
gauge has inched up to nearly 4 cm, or 1 and 3/4 cm more
but still less rain than we got yesterday. A rain
warning for the Chilcotin was issued for today and as
usual, the weatherman is a day late and a dollar short.
But hey, at least he seems to know where the Chilcotin
is! That's a good sign. Some of the rivers to the east
of us also feed into the Fraser so eventually the Lower
Mainland will get our rain, one way or another.
It's starting to get a little mucky around here as the
ground becomes more saturated. The plants are liking the
rain though, and I figure we can use it. Not so for the
flood areas. It's raining to the north where Smithers
and Terrace are being flooded out. Smithers will
face flooding for weeks to come because they really got
hit with a huge amount of snow last fall and winter.
Sadly, two people were caught in the slide that closed
the highway going into Terrace last week. At the time
of the huge mudslide, estimated to be the largest to close
a highway since the Hope slide in the 60's, authorities
had been fairly sure that no one had been caught in it.
But on Monday they were informed that two people on holiday
were overdue for their return to Williams Lake from Terrace.
At the time of the report I looked over at Andy and said,
"Man, that is not where I would want to be.
Buried under tons of mud wondering how many minutes of
oxygen I had left." RCMP took highly sensitive
metal detectors to the slide area to try to locate the
vehicle. Yesterday they showed it being lifted onto a
truck, and thankfully, it was very, very flat. I don't
think the couple inside would even have known what hit
When you see the slide from the air on a long, lonely
stretch of highway that isn't even that busy at the end
of May, you have to wonder what the chances are of getting
caught in it. You know, there are numerous accidents
every day on BC's highways and the huge majority can be
attributed to speed, overdriving road conditions, drinking,
etc. But to be caught in something like that for
no reason at all.....had you overstayed by a few more
seconds at a rest area or taken a little longer to eat
at the last meal stop... that's just one nasty hit. I
really feel for the family of the folks lost.
People to the south are still sandbagging like crazy
to protect their homes along the river. Things
may not be as bad as previously predicted though. They're
saying now that the Fraser River may not hit the flood
levels they saw in 1948 and it would seem that with such
a good warning system in place, there have been a lot
more preparations for flood now than there was then. That,
and the really cool temperatures the last few days have
slowed the snow melt quite a bit. In fact, the ski hills
saw about a foot of fresh snow last night.
Alberta got nailed pretty hard though. A nasty rainstorm
quickly and furiously swelled the Bow River that runs
through Calgary last night, as well as numerous
streams. Hundreds of drivers caught off guard driving
home were stranded on flooded highways and streets. Over
there flooding seems to occur without warning, much like
the flash floods you see in desert areas like Arizona
and Nevada. Banff is expecting severe flooding from the
Bow when high water reaches their area. It's kind of wet
everywhere. Oh well, look at the bright side. Before
you know it we'll all be fighting forest fires.
The rain here made it a good day to burn and quite a few
people took advantage of it. I noticed smoke from fires
in quite a few places and Andy and our neighbour were
able to get 11 more beetle killed trees down today and
the brush burned. Same with the other neighbour. Burning
in this weather is pretty safe and it's nice to be able
to take advantage of it. The fewer dry brush piles around
when the weather heats up, or standing beetle
killed trees, the better.
It's unfortunate that BC Hydro hasn't gotten back
on track yet with removing trees next to the power lines
in this area. Our power went out Sunday morning
for a few hours because of maintenance on the generators,
but it's a reminder of what it's going to like around
here when those dead trees start blowing over.
Here I thought our sky was lifting a bit and the rain
slowing, but I just noticed that it's coming down pretty
good again and we're at 4 and 1/4 cm. We might make it
to 5 cm overnight and if so, that will put us at 2 inches
in two days. That's quite a bit for us.
Oh, I almost forgot. I have to add a correction. I wasn't
paying enough attention to Michael's email of yesterday
and added an 's' to his last name when crediting him with
the photo up on the right and yesterday's picture of the
day. I didn't notice the mistake until today. My apologies
Spring Green And Rain
rained for most of the day in both Nimpo Lake and Anahim
today, sometimes a drizzle but more often than
not it came pelting down pretty hard. It has amounted
to 2 and 1/4 cm or nearly an inch of rain, which is quite
a bit for us to get in one day. Personally, I'm really
happy to see it. A lot of people were grumbling about
the weather and it's true there's still a lot of water
around but the surface of the ground was getting really,
really crunchy, especially in sunny spots where the mosses
and low growing ground cover dry out fast. As far as I'm
concerned, a good rain like this buys us another week
forest fire free, so I'll take it. Besides, you
should see how green everything has gotten. Everything
has just popped! I don't know how leaves on trees and
shrubs just barely out can suddenly be completely out
and full sized in just a couple of days. And now with
this rain everything has that fresh, vibrant, spring green
look. You know? The color that looks natural in nature
but try putting it on a canvas and it looks dorky and
I had to start a fire tonight. It's nearly 10 degrees
cooler than it was two days ago and if you're standing
outside when that wind kicks up, you feel like you're
going backwards into winter rather than into summer. It's
downright chilly all over the province, registering 3
to 4 degrees cooler to the south and north while
the Central Interior is 7 to 8 degrees below normal temperatures.
That's a good thing for slowing the snow melting in the
mountains, however, that cold front that's moved in has
run right smack dab into considerable moisture coming
in from the south. That's bringing some rain to
most of the province but there are rainfall warnings for
three areas that will be effected by rivers that are already
at flood stage.
Terrace, in the northern part of British Columbia, has
already been cut off by flooding on one side and the mud
slide on the other, so since the highways will be impassible,
plans are being made to fly in food and necessities to
the city. Smithers has started to evacuate a few homes
in low lying areas because the river there is already
above the highest levels ever recorded since record keeping
The Barriere area north of Kamloops has always been at
the mercy of the North Thompson when she floods, and since
some fields are already under water, people are
moving their animals and belongings to higher ground.
At the same time, while some homes in Prince George will
be flooded, the Fraser River is only expected to rise
another foot and a half before it peaks on Thursday in
that region. I think people there are feeling pretty optimistic
about what's happening there but things aren't so rosy
for the Lower Mainland.
Some residents in Maple Ridge are now on evacuation
alert and many are getting their belongings out
of their homes or up to a second story, while folks in
all low lying areas are sandbagging like
crazy around their homes where there is no protection
from dikes. It's back to that geography thing. Prince
George is on the upper end of the Fraser River. There
are a whole lot of swollen streams and rivers, not the
least of which is the Thompson River, feeding into the
Fraser between Prince George and the Fraser Valley several
hundred miles down river. As the guy in Prince
said on the news, the worst is probably over for them
but it's all weather dependent. I think that's even more
the case for the Lower Mainland, perhaps more than people
The Vancouver area is getting rain now but it's not heavy
by any means. However, they're supposed to get really
heavy rains over the weekend, just about the same time
as the Fraser River crests in their area. That doesn't
bode well for people there. Add backed up storm drains
from a downpour to flooding from the river and I think
their problems could be compounded mightily. I don't envy
them their location right now.
I got a note from a fellow down that way today that comes
up to the Nimpo area twice a year, and has been for many,
many years. He and his friend Joe like to come up BBA,
or "Before Bugs and After", as
he terms it, for one to two weeks in the spring and three
in the fall. Michael states that they love the streams,
lakes, river, mountains and especially the nice people
they've met through a friend of theirs that lives on Nimpo
Lake. Michael especially enjoys horseback riding with
Miriam Schilling over at Escott Bay, (You've all enjoyed
her pictures that I've showcased on Picture of the Day.)
and hopes to explore the mine up at Miner Lake this year.
Since he sent a nice picture of he and his friend
and one heck of a nice catch of rainbow trout out of Nimpo
Lake, he gets to be posted up on the right and
on the Picture of the Day.
The Water's Still Rising
Fraser River is still rising and although the
weatherman is now saying rains may not be as heavy over
the Central Interior as previously expected, no one has
dodged the flood bullet yet. Melting snow from the recent
hot spell is still bringing the rivers up and although
rains may not be as heavy, any rain at all on snow at
higher elevations that is right at the melting point will
add a lot more water to the river systems.
We had a laugh at the one weatherman's expense tonight.
He was saying that there wouldn't be as much rain in the
Central Interior as originally thought, so it wouldn't
bring up the levels of the Fraser River as much, but the
McGregor, McBride and Columbia areas could expect to see
very heavy rain. He must think that the Fraser River originates
north of Prince George and he obviously doesn't
realize that the river actually meanders through those
areas southeast of Prince George before passing through
the city to turn south again. In fact, imagine
that the Fraser forms an arrow shape covering a good area
of the province, with the point just north of Prince George.
Rains north of Prince George will have more effect on
rivers like the Nechako than the Fraser, while rains southeast
and south of Prince will effect the Fraser and the North
Thompson River, which, as Andy pointed out, eventually
flows into the Fraser River. And since the Nechako
River is a principal tributary of the Fraser, no matter
where it rains it's going to have an effect on the Fraser
River whether directly, or by speeding up snow melt. I
wonder if I should send a map to the weatherman?
In any case, some areas have already been put on emergency
alert and many farmers down in the Fraser Valley near
Vancouver are putting their cattle on trucks and moving
them out of low lying areas. I'm pleased to see
that the Provincial Government is actually picking up
the tab for transport and feed for the first time ever
and at approximately 10,000 dairy and non dairy cattle
to be moved, that's a substantial bill. That's the first
time I've seen tax money spent on something worthwhile
for quite awhile.
No flood danger for us. The water level in Nimpo Lake
continues to drop but was it ever a shock to see the mountains
today once the clouds cleared away! Lots of snow has gone
off in the last two days and there's more black showing
now than white, I think. I don't know what happened there
unless it was raining up high last night. It was raining
here early this morning but stayed dry the rest of the
Driving home from getting the mail at Nimpo today I was
struck by how many pine trees are turning color now after
the recent heat. At first I was just seeing the
odd tree turning yellow/red that the mountain beetle hit
last summer, but the more I looked, the more I saw.
The hit wasn't nearly as bad as the summer before, though.
Not by a long stretch, which is a really good sign. I'm
seeing some young trees turn, but thankfully, not all
As I drove past where the motel burned down last fall,
I could see a line of tulips in full color sitting on
the edge of the hole where the basement used to be. The
pretty pastel blooms stood like sad sentinels standing
at attention, guarding all that's left of the Country
Inn. Combine that with the deathly silence around the
old restaurant, and things are pretty quiet in the area.
People have been talking about a resident grizzly that's
been bumming around Anahim Lake this spring, but it turns
out we've a resident of our own this year. A big
Black Bear sow with cubs has been hanging around Nimpo
the last few weeks and has been spotted by several
people. Andy saw her today and said her head was so big
and flat that at first he thought she was a grizzly. Bouncing
along behind her were three tiny little black cubs. I
would like to have seen that! I may take my camera for
a drive tomorrow. Small wonder locals have been cautious
about going for a walk to the south lately. A sow and
cubs aren't something I would want to come on by surprise.
Still though, having her around will liven things up a
records for this time of year were broken throughout the
province today, some by 10 degrees. We didn't
get too hot today, although I did see it was at 26.9C
or about 80 degrees at some point. Our high on the thermometer
registered 32C but I think that was last night when the
sun came far enough around the side of the house to hit
the thermometer directly.
We actually had a lot of mixed cloud and sun today with
high winds, which kept the bugs down but the dust up.
We still don't have lawn in so everywhere that stumps
were dug out is a dust wallow and watering them down isn't
much help. Grass would be terrific but we still need to
get a line on some manure.
I noticed some evil looking thunderheads building
to the east and north of us this afternoon so
I expect the Central Interior will be seeing some lightning
strikes tomorrow. Just as long as we don't. Fire we don't
The Fraser River is still rising rapidly
and they're still predicting mid week and weekend cresting
from Prince George to the Fraser Valley. Most areas in
danger of flooding seem to have their emergency action
plans in place and I think everyone is aware they'll be
needing to get out their emergency kits and lifejackets.
That big low is still tracking in from the Pacific and
it's definitely a nasty looking thing. Right now our wind
is really warm but it's expected that temperatures will
cool considerably over the next few days.
I'm not sure if there's a fire in the area or not
but we're seeing a lot of smoke haze over the mountains
now. But with the air out here, it could be coming
in from several hundred miles away. Or further. I think
I mentioned how hazy it was weeks and weeks ago and someone
finally mentioned that severe dust storms in China were
what was causing it. I suppose that's possible since a
lot of our weather comes out of the west but that seems
a long ways for dust particles to be carried on the wind.
There were lots of fishing boats out on Nimpo Lake today,
even in those high winds that created a lot of chop. I
don't know how the fishing was but it was either very
good or there's a whole lot of very stubborn people out
I'm keeping this short tonight. I was working out in the
heat all day which kind of sucks the sap right out of
you, and I still need to get work done on the computer
tonight. Hope you all had a great weekend!
hot for us in Nimpo Lake, anyway. At one point
when I looked at the thermometer in the shade it registered
25.5C which probably puts it around 76 degrees Fahrenheit.
That may not seem very warm elsewhere, but it's blistering
for this area in the first week of June. That's also right
by the water and since we're often 5 degrees warmer or
cooler depending on the season, I expect it was a lot
closer to 80F away from the water.
It was as clear as a bell the whole day and fortunately
a breeze sprang up this afternoon or it would have been
unbearable both inside and out. Yesterday wasn't quite
as clear or pretty but it was really muggy, also unusual
for us. The bugs were loving it though.
I always thought the Chilcotin would be a great
place to train for marathons, especially for those who
walk. This time of year there's really no such
thing as taking a leisurely stroll through the woods.
You might start out that way but before long your pace
picks up faster and faster, arms swinging, in an effort
to out walk the mosquitoes. In my case, it doesn't help
much that my two walking buddies like running through
the bush and stirring up the mosquitoes so you can't even
sneak past the buggers. It also doesn't help that both
dogs are black, the mosquito's very favorite color.
Everywhere you go this time of year you'll see the
Chilcotin chicken dance. It's particularly vigorous
when standing still in one spot, or attempting to. What
would normally be a relaxed greeting and conversation
with someone in a vehicle who has parked to chat most
times of the year is an entirely different affair during
bug season. No casual leaning on the door of a vehicle
trading banter with the occupant, but rather a steady
shuffle of the feet and waving of the hands to repel mosquitoes,
while the driver waves at the bugs entering through his
window, impatient to get on his way. Conversation is direct,
to the point, and short!
I was watching some young people up at the store in Nimpo
last night who had just greeted a family member and friends
that came off of the school bus from Williams Lake. (High
school kids have to board in town through the week and
come home on weekends.) They were all smiling and
laughing, talking a mile a minute and all were waving
their hands wildly and prancing around in an unconscious
attempt to ward off the hordes of mosquitoes.
I wonder what aliens from another world would think? Would
they just think all the wild hand waving a part of the
conversation? Either way, the Chilcotin chicken dance
will continue, as it does every year, until a hot spell
hits that dries up the wet places. Or until a hard frost
kills the bugs. Since we can get those in July, the mosquitoes
are often gone, or fewer anyway, by then. August is a
great month because there usually aren't that many around
except in the cool of late evening. Maybe that's
why so many of us here like the winter.
Aside from increasing the bug population and the fire
danger, this warm spell effects us very little compared
to those in danger of flood this spring. High temperatures
in the Interior of British Columbia have significantly
increased the snow melt at higher elevations and
some rivers like the Fraser River are rising quickly.
It's expected to hit peak flood levels mid week for the
Prince George and Quesnel area, a day or so later for
Hope, and the Lower Mainland, Vancouver area can expect
to see peak flood levels next weekend.
There's a huge system coming in from the Pacific packing
a lot of moisture that's expected to stall over the province.
If that happens, and you add rain a lot of rain to the
flood equation, things might get a little harrowing for
some folks. In fact, some of the climate guys are
predicting that we may hit a record set in the 1800's
for flooding on the Fraser River. When you consider
that there were very few people along the Fraser 130 years
ago compared to the population now, there's certainly
potential for devastation. It sounds like the people in
most danger are those in outlying areas such as around
Kamloops, that are not protected by dikes, particularly
those folks with ranch land. The logistics of moving a
bunch of livestock on short notice because of flooding
isn't something I would care to take on.
At the same time, forest fire season is heating up with
the weather, particularly around the Kamloops and Okanagan
area, both in semiarid regions. Fire and flood,
all at the same time. We must be in Canada, eh?
We are now in the month of June so if you would like to
read last week's articles, you'll find them at May,
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!