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, 2010
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of the Day.
The Long June
maybe it's been a short June. All I know is that it has
flown by so unbelievably fast that I have no idea where
the days have gone. Although I was away for about two
weeks there so that makes the time go fast. Then, as I'm
sure you all know, when you leave, you leave work behind.
So that when you come back, you have the usual
work load plus two weeks worth to catch up on.
And this time of year there's a lot to catch up on!
It didn't help that on my last trip out I came back with
about fifty or sixty plants from a nursery up in Quesnel.
That meant those had to be planted out in the rock garden
as soon as possible. Never mind that I had to bust my
heinie trying to get all the tomato plants put in the
greenhouses before I left. I didn't manage
to get the cucumbers and zucchini planted until just a
couple of days ago though. For that matter, I only just
got my beet and spinach seed in. Yeah, I know, I'm waaay
I had to transplant about eighty delphinium and columbine
plants that had self seeded in my garden about a week
ago so that they can go into town tomorrow to my sister's
and that set me back about a day. But I need a spot for
one of my newly purchased rose bushes. I splurged
on new plants this year since the mice had such a heyday
through the winter under the snow. Destructive little
I still have a bunch of plants potted up and sitting out
in front of the porch that I have to do something with.
I scavenged some maple seedlings (some of them Japanese
Maple) out of my friend's rock garden down in Kelowna,
potted them up and brought them back up with me. Now I
have to decide what to do with them since it's readily
apparent that they're going to survive. I know that the
Japanese Maples won't survive our winters outside, so
I have to get them into pots that can be left outside
over summer but still be taken inside in winter. The rest
of the maples I have to find nursery beds for until they
So far so good on the tomato plants. I gave away loads
of them this spring because I didn't have the heart to
thin them out but I still have enough to fill two greenhouses
and I already have both cherry tomatoes and larger ones
setting fruit. So far I'm not having the dreaded mold
problem in my greenhouse that I had last year when we
went to the Yukon, but I'm keeping the house pretty dry
and I'm stripping a lot of leaves off the tomato plants
It's pretty darned dry outside as well.
We're dragging a lot of hoses around to try and keep everything
watered around here, and while our temperatures are very
pleasant, it is by no means as hot as it was last summer
yet. Since the snow melted we've only gotten slightly
less than 1 1/2 inches of rain. And we haven't seen anything
at all in the past two weeks. Little spits here
and there like today, but it doesn't add up to anything.
We took last Sunday off for my birthday and went on the
fourwheelers to look for morel mushrooms for the day.
There was no worry of finding them in this area. Everywhere
we went in the woods, walking on the lichen and moss was
like walking on corn flakes. The woods are deadly dry.
We found three large morels up in last year's burn near
Charlotte, but they were already dried out. We tried climbing
much higher but the bugs just got too wicked for us because
there was a lot of snow melt higher up.
People were bringing in morels by the bucket loads from
around the Anahim Lake area and about 1 1/2 tons of mushrooms
were being shipped out every week. But I think they've
gotten more rain over their way this spring than we have.
We're in deadly shape for forest fires right now,
so we're just keeping our place nice and green.
We went down to Bella Coola this past week and I
finally got good pictures of Grizzly bears. They
were all on this side of Heckman Pass between the top
of the Hill and the Beef Trail near Anahim Lake. We kind
of wondered what we were going to see because we kept
seeing very large piles of scat along with small piles
every few hundred feet along the road. Finally we came
on a Grizzly sow with two cubs feeding on the edge of
the road. They crossed the highway in front of us and
then proceeded to eat on the other side. I was really,
really surprised at how nonchalant she was about her cubs,
although they were last year's so perhaps she wasn't nearly
as edgy as she might have been with young ones. And she
sure wasn't bothered by people or traffic at all. It was
really cool to see, although her coat was a bit rough
looking, they were all in good shape. Strikingly, all
three had an off white stripe just behind their shoulders
and that distinction will come up again in a moment.
Finally getting good pictures of Grizzly bears just
made my day and we continued on down the Hill and on to
Bella Coola. All of the water down in the Valley
was running high and fast and many stream beds that are
often dry when we go down were full to the brim. One river
that we stopped at had flooded way up into the trees and
left mud in its wake. We have to go back down again this
week and I want to take our gold pans. That's a glacial
river and if there was any gold up in the mountains, it
would show up in that silt. When I came back from Williams
Lake a week or so ago, the rivers were all up along Highway
20 as well. The McClinchey at Kleena Kleene was just rushing
along while the Klinaklini was as high as I think I've
ever seen it - up in the bushes in many places. The Chilko
was really high as well, and just about topping its banks.
Surprisingly, though, the Fraser River wasn't unusually
high at all. But the mountains it drains are a lot higher
and there often isn't a major melt until into July. In
any case, there were lots of waterfalls and rushing rivers
and streams down in the Valley as well.
We stopped down at the Bella Coola harbour after a bite
to eat and Andy spotted a seal that was pulling himself
up onto a dock. He lolled around in the sun the whole
time we were there. I didn't even know we had seals!
On the way back up the Hill we talked to one trucker
who commented on the Grizzly sow and her cubs that were
hanging around Green River and their distinctive white
stripe. So she's been hanging around the area
for some time. The trucker said he hadn't had a chance
to get a picture yet of the bears but would sure like
to. I was keeping an eye out for the male Grizzly that's
been hanging around the gravel pit east of the Pass and
who I just missed getting a picture of last time. Sure
enough, there he was on the edge of the road ahead of
us just chewing away at the grass, clover and dandelions.
I didn't get many pictures of him with his head up because
he was so determined to keep on eating, but at least we
were able to warn the trucker behind us that the griz
was on the side of the road so that he could stop in time
to take pictures. Four Grizzlies in one day! Imagine
that? It was a great day!
It wasn't until I got home and started looking at the
pictures that I realized the male grizzly also had a white
stripe behind the shoulder. So he's either an older offspring
of the sow or her father. Funny that they would stay in
the same area. It seems more likely that he's a son of
We also saw a red fox at the top of the Hill on our way
home. He started to run away and then came back toward
us when we slowed down. So we stopped and he just kept
coming closer. He was losing his winter coat and was a
scrawny looking thing. We didn't have much to give him
but had some potato chips open in the truck and threw
him a few. He was pretty happy about that. I don't imagine
the salt on those things would be good for an animal,
but if he needed the food maybe the potato and fat part
will help. I'm not in the habit of feeding wild animals
but this little guy looked like he could really use a
helping hand. That or else he's pulled that ploy on all
the motorists going along the highway. If he has, good
Our bugs have finally arrived. And they have come
in force! Surprisingly, they didn't come until
just a week ago. Prior to that it wasn't bad at all except
in certain places where it was swampy and without a breeze.
But the water levels must finally have dropped enough
to start exposing mosquito eggs for hatching. If you stay
out in the sun where there's a breeze midday, it's still
not too bad, but put your head near the dirt to garden,
especially where there's no breeze, and you will be swarmed.
Still, I'm pretty happy. We got bugs a month later this
year than last year and we shouldn't get them much past
the middle of July, particularly if it stays this dry.
I think having such a dry forest fire year last year helped
that a lot. One more dry summer and it will knock
the bugs back for a couple of years.
Okay, onward ho. I've got loads of stuff to do and I'm
still playing catch up outside and on the computer so
this may be my last post for a little while. But I had
to put something up. My other half has been complaining
bitterly that, "How can I keep up on what's
going on in the Chilcotin when there's no blog to read?"
You really have to stop and think about that one, folks,
especially since we do most everything together. So you'll
find the last posts (I know. A month ago. I have been
reminded repeatedly, let me tell you. And yes, I know
it's never been a month before. Stuff happens, honey.)
Week Three and I can only thank you
for your patience.
Oh, and another thing. A fellow named Bill Laws
that worked at Rimarko Ranch when it was operating years
ago sent me some wonderful pictures that I'm going
to try to post here and on Picture of the day along with
the bears, so enjoy. That's Bill below haying on Rimarko
Ranch I'm assuming around 1972. As he noted, the truck
you see is the one on the Wilderness-AdventuresSep3-08
blog and was still running then. That's the Morses and
their son on the beach up top, and Mrs Morse and her daughter
running bar at the ranch second down from the top. Thank
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!