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 2/2011
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.
The Bella Coola Hill Story
have no new information about the deceased fellow found
in his pickup over the side of the Bella Coola Hill nearly
two weeks ago, other than one item that I came across
that indicated the man was in his mid-forties and was
from British Columbia. That information contradicts what
I had heard earlier, so you've got me. Then again,
I haven't been out and about to hear anything, so I guess
it's my fault I don't 'know' anything.
The weather has finally turned the corner, I think, and
we might actually be getting away from that early spring
stuff. We had a good rain a couple of days ago but otherwise,
it's been dry and we've had a few sunny days. It's been
cool at night, though with only a couple of degrees showing
above freezing on our thermometer and I understand it
was white on everything with frost down at the north end
of the lake this morning. It's been disappointing in that
the days often cloud over while it clears off at night.
It would be nice if that was reversed!
The mosquitoes have finally come in droves.
This week I spent as much time outside as I could trying
to get things done because it was surprisingly nice, especially
in the mornings. Maybe it was just too cool for the mosquitoes
to be too bad. We had a couple of nasty evenings last
week when we had to put the dogs in to get them out of
the bugs, but then it got really good.
That changed. Today we got up to 20C or 68F after it clouded
over and the bugs just loved it! The mosquitoes and black
flies all decided to come out and party at once.
We had company stop by for a few minutes and we were all
doing the Chilcotin wave. I was doing that as
well on the lawnmower over at the neighbours today, trying
to drive it and wave the black flies away with both hands.
I finally gave up and went to do things that didn't necessarily
include bugs. Andy held out a little longer but he finally
got driven in by them this afternoon. We always seem to
get that two week period where they're really bad even
in midday. Hopefully we'll see some hot weather and that
will drive them back into the grass, until evening comes
The water in Nimpo Lake has gone down really fast.
Even now it's still dropping at a rate of over an inch
a day. We're probably only a foot above our regular to
high water level, so that's a relief. I would love to
see things get back to normal. Our neighbour's driveway
dried out yesterday and we can reach all our docks via
dry land now. There's still a lot of water lying around
the country with ponds and meadows still full to the brim
and loaded with ducks, but at least there are no more
road closures, or highway blowouts. Not for us, anyway.
Water has been crossing the road east of Tatla Lake on
Highway 20 for a couple of weeks and now it's down to
one-lane traffic so I've posted what highway information
I have below.
Check out the bear pic that Logan sent me from the Hill
the other day. It's up on the right and on Picture
of the Day.
Road Information. See below.
Highway 20 Both directions - Water Pooling 45 km east
of Tatla Lake. The road is reduced to single lane alternating
traffic. Updated Thu Jun 16 at 4:35 pm.
Highway 20 Westbound - Bridge Maintenance 30 km west of
Anahim Lake 8:00 am to 5:30 pm daily through Jun 17. The
road is reduced to single lane alternating traffic with
up to 30 minutes delay. Updated on Mon Jun 13 at 7:49
is the start of a new week/month so you'll find last month's
blog at June
Death on the Bella Coola Hill
appears to be a tragedy that occurred on the Bella Coola
Hill either last fall or deep winter of this year. I knew
a few days ago but I didn't want to pass anything along
as I wasn't sure if the information was to be let out.
However, I found out today that everyone in the area is
talking about it with rumours flying thick and fast so
keeping it quiet seems pointless. Who knows how much is
true or just conjecture, or just made up to make the story
better. What we do know is that someone was killed
on the Bella Coola Hill sometime this past year but no
one knew it until now.
As you've noted at the bottom of the past couple of blogs,
there have been road closures on the Hill because of work
being done on the narrow part of the road. While the openings
were only very early in the morning and at supper time,
the flag girls have had to be there the entire day to
prevent traffic from going through when it wasn't supposed
One of the flag girls noticed that a grizzly bear
crossed the road near her and went down over the steep
embankment at about the same place and the same time every
day. She happened to mention it to some of the
guys working the Hill during a break and they decided
to investigate. (The last thing you want is to have your
flag person located near a grizzly kill!) They walked
the edge of the road looking over the steep drop off about
where the bear would cross every day, until someone noticed
a portion of a vehicle way down below. Looking from that
distance, they could just see that it was a fairly new
pickup so they notified police.
I'm not sure how police got in there although I've heard
by helicopter, but they discovered a man dead in
the pickup, that there were Alberta plates on the truck,
and that they judged the man had been there through this
past winter. Now from there, the facts go sideways.
I heard from a couple of ladies today that his hips were
broken and he had shot himself. Conjecture is that upon
discovering he couldn't get out of the pickup, either
because he knew he would never be found in time or because
of pain, he chose to take his own life. I can tell you
now, I have no idea if this is true. I'm sure the truth
of the story will come out eventually, but the police
tend to keep things pretty close to the vest until family
members have been notified and forensics have been done.
So.... what happened?
Well, some of it we can figure out for ourselves even
with little information. If it occurred last fall, it
makes sense that the man had a firearm with him if he
was on a hunting trip. If it happened in winter, then
not quite as likely, but not that rare either. Or perhaps
there was no firearm involved at all, and there was none
in the vehicle. However, this is funny country. While
the good storytellers tend to exaggeration, there's usually
a grain of truth in what you hear, even if just a tiny
grain, so you would think there would be some
basis for a firearm in the vehicle, but not necessarily
that the man shot himself. In the first place, unless
it was patently obvious, even seeing a gunshot wound under
the circumstances seems highly unlikely. This is mid June.
If the truck had been found at the top of Heckman where
the snow has only just gone, then I think the person and
his wounds would be very identifiable, but that
truck went down into a much lower elevation than here,
and it's been plenty warm enough for considerable decay
here much less down there, so I can't imagine that there
was much left of this person, particularly if a grizzly
made it into the truck, and I don't know of any regular
vehicle that can stop a grizzly unless the truck was simply
crushed too much. So the state of body or vehicle is all
We can only wonder at how he ended up over the bank. Was
it during that terrible rainfall last fall that caused
all the flooding? The Hill would have been deadly before
it washed out in several places, stopping all traffic
for weeks. Was the pickup washed over the edge by a mudslide
or avalanche? Or did the man go through in winter
and simply slide over the edge when it was icy or during
a snowstorm? Without knowing from his family or
friends when he left home, there's no way of knowing when
it happened and if it was snowing at the time, no one
would have noticed tracks going over the edge. I know
it's something everyone keeps an eye on, including the
road maintenance guys.
I think that it will be a good thing for his family to
know that he's been found. It must be very hard
on everyone for a family member to disappear, but you
never actually know what happened to them.
The same thing happened to that couple that got lost near
Elko, Nevada this past winter. She survived for 49 days
in the van in winter eating trail mix and snow. Three
days after they got stuck, he left in the wrong direction
to get help and has never been seen since. While Andy
and a few other people think the circumstances are suspicious,
I don't think they are. I think two reasonably smart people
made some very bad decisions, not least of which was for
him to walk in a new direction rather than back track.
Even if it had taken him days to follow the track back,
if he didn't freeze to death, he would have reached civilization,
but now? His bones will be scattered to the winds.
I suppose the same thing would have happened to
this fellow on the Hill. Had there not been rock
drillers and other contractors working on building the
road wider at the time, something that is not commonly
done, and a very observant flag person, then it's doubtful
anyone would ever have known that truck was down there.
It also makes me think that green is the last color I
would ever have if I buy a new vehicle. Not that it might
have helped much but aircraft do fly over the Valley floor
and it's always possible that one might have picked up
on a brightly colored vehicle. But would they know
to report it?
(Information from another source
has indicated the vehicle was a four year old silver Toyoto
pickup with canopy and Alberta plates with Veteran tags.
I can't verify this information either.)
In any case, the Bella Coola Hill seems to have lost its
perfect driving record in the last ten years or so that
it held for the fifty years prior to that, but then we've
been getting much stranger weather conditions which may
contribute to that. Photos up on the right show some of
the conditions that can be present on the Hill but the
kicker is probably the photo on Picture
of the Day.
Fog. My least favorite. The only good thing is that you
can't see to the bottom so easily.
Our water has gone down as quickly as it came up, by inches
every day. It has gone down at least a foot in depth if
not more in this past week and we can walk to one dock,
anyway, without waders on. The neighbour's driveway
is drying up fast although I saw one determined duck today
still standing in the water on the road. I'm inclined
to believe that he and his mate have a nest nearby and
they don't want to leave it. I figured we might lose a
lot of goslings, ducklings and other babies because of
the problems with the water this year, and if the large
egg Andy found yesterday is any example, that has been
We've had a pair of loons cruising back and forth in front
of our place all spring and I wasn't seeing any sign that
they were going to nest, but Andy figured it was because
they were confused about the high water. It looks like
they may finally have made a choice, though. I noticed
just one cruising around all day instead of the pair,
so perhaps one is finally sitting.
Marie had her dance recital last night and apparently,
it was quite spectacular as usual. I was stuck
in a tourism AGM all day and didn't go past the community
hall on my way home until the time it was to be over,
so there was no point in stopping in. But the parking
lot was full which means the hall will have been jam packed
with community members and parents out to see the impressive
performance always put on by Marie's pupils.
Our weather has been kind of funny for the past few days.
We'll get sun but we're getting a lot of cloud and a lot
of humidity with it, both of which just whips my heinie
and of course, the mosquitoes love it. The odd time it
spits rain but it doesn't get serious about it, which
is a good thing. But typical of this country, it won't
take long for it to dry out. If we get the hot summer
predicted for the rest of Canada, then we'll go from flood
to forest fires. For myself, I kind of doubt the
hot summer will arrive. I would love to have one, don't
get me wrong! But so far the weather forecasters have
been batting zero for zero and we've had two good hot
ones in a row, so it would seem we're due for a cooler,
wetter summer. But I will take the alternative with open
arms should it come our way, trust me.
Just to let you know, the road closure schedule
for the Bella Coola Hill has changed. See below.
Maintenance 77 km east of Bella
Coola to 36 km west of Anahim Lake (32.9 km), through
Sun Jun 12 at 11:59 pm. The road is reduced to single
lane alternating traffic. Updated on Sun Jun 12 at 9:43
is the start of a new week/month so you'll find last month's
blog at June
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!