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Wilderness Adventures - June, Week One/2013

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.


12/06/2013 11:30 AM

Today is Blog Day

I just looked at the blog from two weeks ago and realized that not a lot has changed with the weather. That's pretty bad....
Today is a blog day because even though we have continued working through the rain showers we've had in the past two weeks, as of yesterday afternoon, it pretty much became impossible. For us weenies that aren't used to rain, anyway. I'm sure people from down on the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island would laugh at us, but hey, I'm made of sugar and might melt. :-)
The last two weeks haven't actually been that bad for rain. It's been mixed sun and cloud with rain showers popping up every day, sometimes several times a day. Often when it has only been spitting we haven't even bothered to quit what we're doing so I guess it just goes to show you that you can become acclimatized to pretty much anything.... except downpours like yesterday's....
When I got up yesterday morning Andy told me that the weather guy on TV said that the Chilcotin was under a rain warning. Seriously? It’s not often that the people on the news even know where the Chilcotin is and even rarer that they can pronounce it, but I guess we were the only exciting weather event to be happening so the weatherman put some effort in.
I already had yesterday’s work plans laid out so this was kind of a disaster. We had gotten a couple of truck loads and a trailer load of manure from a lady rancher over the weekend that Andy had gone up and loaded with the Bobcat and then we hand shoveled it off down here. (It was funny because I had to hand bomb manure in the morning, get cleaned up and get down to Tatlayoko for a tourism AGM in the afternoon so the day was a whole lot more structured than most of our days are.) Coincidentally, on the same day a dump truck arrived with a load of aged manure from another ranch that we had ordered a couple of months before. Andy was busy with Charlotte Lake and town stuff until Monday night so Tuesday was the soonest he could get to spreading all that manure for the new lawn.
I roared outside and raced around the existing lawn on the ride ‘em like a madman because it was already meadow height and if it was going to rain a lot, I needed to get it cut now. I also wanted the grass as short as possible so that I could throw some manure on the winter killed spots and rake it in. Then I got out Freddy Kruger Junior and cut down all the fireweed coming up in front of the cabin in preparation of new soil going in there. In the meanwhile, Andy got started spreading all our beautiful black gold for the new lawn area down our circle drive around by the cabin and all in front of the cabin before the rain came. He was only about half done when the downpour came and we finally gave up and came inside. A little while later it had stopped enough that we went back at it but again had to give up because another rainstorm came in accompanied by thunder and lightning. The manure had turned to gumbo by this time and Andy wasn’t having a lot of success getting what he had spread smoothed out so it was time to do other things, like go to Anahim Lake on a chore run.
I had to drop some stuff off down at the cabin fridge when we came back so we just drove on down there on our return and damned near slid into a tree along the driveway to the cabin. The wet manure had turned our previously stable guest cabin driveway into a slippery mess. Andy had to go get the Bobcat and remove all the manure behind the truck before we could back on out of there. It can stay off of there too. The last thing we need is to have our poor guests slide over the bank trying to get to the cabin. We’ll plant grass in the existing soil or put gravel on it but we’ll definitely skip the new soil idea!
So yesterday’s plans kind of went awry and raking that muck out there today in order to seed it is out of the question. I don’t know how many days of drying it will take before the new soil dries out enough to fluff up and be raked out, but it might be awhile. This is one of those times when you go, “Gosh, if we could only have gotten on it a day sooner….” but we couldn't because as soon as Andy got back from Charlotte Lake on Sunday we built the new deck on the front of the guest cabin and as I mentioned, he had to go get a trailer load of stuff in Williams Lake on Monday so timing just wasn’t in our favour. The deck HAD to built on Sunday because the stairs up to the door had already been removed. I have guests coming and since it’s awkward to ask paying guests to crawl up on a plastic milk carton carrier to get into the cabin, the deck was a priority. We still have to build a step up to the deck but we can get that done pretty quickly.....I hope.
Mother Nature has not been doing us a lot of favours lately, but do you know? We’ve still managed to get a heck of a lot done outside this spring regardless of the weather! For one thing, the bugasaurs have still not arrived by some miracle or another. Actually, we have Mother Nature to thank for that. The lake level has come up about a foot and the water in all of our swamps and ponds is much higher now than during the spring melt so I’m guessing that the mosquito larvae is still under water and until the water drops to that level and we get a bout of warm weather, we might escape bugs for a little while yet. However, once they do come, oh boy! I bet it’s going to be hell on wheels for a couple of weeks. I don’t think water levels will drop right away, though. In the past 24 hours we’ve received 20mm or three quarters of an inch of rain. That’s a little less than the rain warning called for but it’s enough to bring the water up even more everywhere and make a heck of a mess wherever you walk.
Temperatures have been cool for the past few weeks and in the past couple of days the heavy cloud cover has only allowed about a 3 degree difference between our coolest and warmest temperatures from about 6C or 43F to a little over 8C or 48F and my garden does not like it! I planted a bunch of raised boxes with seed and we got enough sun for them to sprout but now they’re just kind of sitting there. Even cool weather crops like the radishes and lettuces look wet and disgruntled and my tomatoes haven’t gained any size at all after being in the greenhouse for two weeks. My perennials came on like gangbusters during that hot spell over a month ago but have just kind of been sitting there since. Thank heavens for perennials like ‘Basket of Gold’ and Icelandic poppies that light up even the dullest of days!
We had to get into our swamp the other day with the ATV. It’s right next to the lake in our front bay and in fact, in the spring it’s part of the lake. We looked over just as we drove in and saw a loon sitting on a nest with her neck and head stretched out low over the water. I suspect she was trying to keep her profile as low as possible in the hope that we wouldn’t notice her. Finally it just got to be too much for her and she jumped in the water but stayed near the nest until we got out of there so as to disturb her as little as possible. When we drove out Andy could see two eggs in the nest but the interesting thing about it was that the nest was floating. It seems to be anchored either to the meadow grass behind it or reeds underneath or it would have washed away long ago but it bobbed up and down in the waves like crazy. This is the time of year when the nests are so sensitive because if someone with a really big boat comes by the wash will swamp the nest. I only hope that it isn’t too cold and wet for the eggs or the babies when they come out. Our losses are usually high with cold, wet springs.
We have had the same couple, (we think) nesting in this front bay for two years now. Many years ago a loon pair was nesting in about the same place as this couple but Andy’s black lab was finding the nest and gently fetching the eggs back to Andy. That’s not a good thing and the pair stopped building their nest there. Our present day dogs are tied up all the time and hate getting their feet wet anyway, so there’s no worry there for the present loon pair other than from a fox maybe, and if he goes after that nest right now, he is going to get thoroughly wet, not to mention what momma loon might do to him.
I have put a photo of her on the nest on
Picture of the Day but it's not a really good one. I didn't want to get too close to get a better photo because I didn't want to scare her off of the nest.
The long range forecast for BC from our famously wrong weathermen is supposed to be for a long, hot, dry summer. To do them credit, they did predict a long, cold, wet spring which we were all kind of laughing at back in April and May when we were having terrific July weather. The laugh is on us now because it would seem that they were right for the most part. I can only hope that they are right for their summer prediction as well. Although frankly, most of the province doesn’t seem to be doing all that badly weather wise for the most part. The rest of BC has had a whole lot more sun than we have including the Lower Mainland. For some reason the weather pattern has changed and the lows swinging in from the East or West are coming in right over us. While true climate change can only be determined over a period of many years, I have to admit that weather here in the past seven years is drastically different than in the previous 20 years.
You’ll find the last week's of blog at May Week Four.


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!
Loon eggs in a nest.
 
A Bobcat operator spreads soil.
 
Newly built deck on a cabin.
 
Bright yellow flowers in a rock garden light up the day.
 
Bright poppies in a rock garden.
 
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