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 4/2008
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of the Day.
you all had a great long weekend. I know that Canada
Day isn't actually until tomorrow but I know that
many people chose to take today off instead in order to
extend their weekend. Most people around the province
couldn't have asked for a nicer holiday weekend, although
my Sister-in-law just said that stepping out the door
in the Okanagan right now is like stepping into a blast
It was up to 23C or 70F by 10:30 this morning and was
at 27C or 80F at one point this afternoon and is still
70 degrees right now. That's pretty toasty for this area.
Our only problem has been the high overcast and we've
been getting lots of it! It's hot enough to kill off some
bugs if we had some sunshine to really help dry things
up, but unfortunately those clouds are keeping up the
We had an adventure getting down to the dock, into
the boat and away from shore this morning before
getting carried away by the mozzies. Once away from shore
and all the mosquitoes waved away from the boat, we had
two blessed hours of fishing without being eaten alive.
That's the first time in six weeks, aside from the week
in Saskatchewan, that we have been outside and there's
been no bugs. Not only that, but we got fish.
I got three into the boat and lost two while Andy got
one. None of them were huge but they all qualified as
pan fry size and bigger. That means a couple to go on
the grill tomorrow and two in the freezer for smoking
at a later date. The lake was beautiful and nearly flat
calm and all you could hear were fish splashing and plopping
on the water all over the lake. There were loads of loons
on the lake as well today and it may have finally been
warm enough that both loons in a pair could leave their
We were lucky to get an invite to supper over at our friend
Heidy's and Daniel's place on Charlotte Lake. They operate
Atnarko Retreat B&B on their own private bay that
looks right out over the lake at the Coast Mountain Range,
and those mountains seem close enough to reach
out and touch. It's a beautiful spot and if you
ever get a chance to go over and stay, you'll be glad
you did! We certainly enjoyed the fact that there are
far fewer mosquitoes there than on Nimpo. It's probably
due to several reasons. They're higher, it's much drier
with lots of rock and sand in the area, and the vegetation
isn't nearly as thick right where they are as it is here.
There are some big thunderheads building to the East and
South and I suspect Williams Lake will be getting some
boomers tonight. It usually does happen in this country
that you'll only get a few hot days and then the thunderheads
start building and you get storms. Right now we've got
a pretty solid looking black mass over our heads, but
we're not likely to see rain. It certainly has created
a magnificent sunset though.
Happy Canada Day to everyone tomorrow!
Our heat wave Cometh!
was clear blue sky over the mountains and a high haze
over us, but by early afternoon, it all cleared out and
our heat wave officially started.
We got up to about 27C or 80 degrees Fahrenheit
today but Williams Lake broke records at 32C or around
90F for this date. It's supposed to be even hotter
tomorrow and I look forward to it. While it might be unpleasant
working outside in a heat we aren't used to, it's equally
unpleasant for the mosquitoes. By this afternoon, as long
as you stayed in the sun, you weren't plagued too badly
by them, even with the sprinklers going. But if you stepped
into the shade at all....yikes! This evening was horrendous
because it cooled down just enough that when I bent over
to move a sprinkler, I must have had 30 mosquitoes on
my face immediately. But that's okay, because this heat
will definitely help to burn the little buggers off. Of
course I'm not sure what will happen once it starts cooling
back down toward the end of next week but every little
Nimpo Lake was flat calm for a good part of the
morning and you could see fish jumping all over the place
both last night and today. Then a pretty good breeze kicked
up later this afternoon but you could still see the odd
fish splashing around here and there. Fishing is pretty
good right now and I would certainly like to get out there
sometime in the next couple of days. In fact, if it gets
really hot, out on the lake might just be the perfect
place to be.
You can sure tell everyone's craving some sunshine.
We watched the news tonight and the newscasters and weather
people on both channels were almost giddy while people
they interviewed on the street were pretty smiley. It's
the first real splash of summer for most of British Columbia
and it couldn't have happened at a better time because
this is a long weekend for a lot of Canadians. As long
as it doesn't last to the extent that we end up in the
same position as California, we're laughing. Boy, they've
got some serious hardship! 15,000 Firefighters on the
ground. Can you imagine? It said on the news that 41 States
have contributed firefighters, but although there was
no mention of it, so has Canada. Our Martin Mars,
the largest amphib in the world that is still flying is
down there as well, dumping an experimental retardant
on the fires.
While it might be our turn in the near future, for right
now I'm enjoying a hummingbird at the feeder outside my
office window, the fact that it's still 70 degrees outside
and the sun is shining on my windows at 9:00 at night,
and there aren't nearly as many mosquitoes plastered all
over the screen door as there was last night. Life is
took a tiny, tiny, minuscule holiday this
week that actually wasn't. Well, it was....from the bugs,
anyway, but it didn't really qualify as a holiday other
than we took our holiday trailer with us.
We had given up on the idea of going to the Okanagan as
previously planned simply because it would have used up
too many days. Something I would dearly have loved in
view of the bugs, but it wouldn't work with new lawn coming
up. However, we were still in dire need of a few things,
including my driver's license renewed, so we still had
to go somewhere!
We hadn't been able to find the ceramic tile we needed
for under the wood stove in the cabin in Williams Lake,
and we knew we were going to need an entire chimney system
for that same stove, that we also were not going to buy
in Williams Lake. So we decided to go to Prince George.
PG has grown by leaps and bounds since I last lived there
in the mid 90's and Highway 16 is lined with huge box
stores including Home Depot where we hoped to purchase
all of the cabin items. Alas, we must have looked
pretty disappointed in the aisle housing Home Depot's
chimney offerings while discussing the matter,
because a guy stopped us outside as we left and told us
he'd overheard us. He said he used to be from Bella Coola
and gave us the name and address of a plumbing and heating
place. Funny how open and friendly folks from this
part of the country are. It was too late to get
downtown until the next morning but we got everything
we needed and it all turned out perfectly.
We had hoped to at least have a relaxing two days while
away from home by leaving Tuesday evening and camping
down at the Stampede grounds in Williams Lake. Unfortunately,
we blew a wheel seal on the dually coming down
Sheep Creek Hill and that meant five hours spent fixing
the truck on Wednesday. We had to try to have
it done and our holiday trailer moved out of its spot
at the Stampede grounds by noon because of course, all
the camping spots were booked for the Williams Lake Stampede.
Don't ask me how I forgot about the Stampede. Normally
I would never go near that town during Stampede
week because it gets so congested, but I guess I was assuming
the rodeo wasn't on until next week.
We finally got out of there by about one in the afternoon
and headed north. Losing that much time on the truck repairs
meant that much less time to shop in Prince George, which
is really too bad because we don't get an opportunity
to look around big stores very often. As a result, we
were on a dead run to fill our list and it was a pretty
late evening again. I should point out that
even though some of the salespeople we talked to in both
towns complained that the bugs were the worst they had
ever seen, I walked our dogs in tall grass near
our campsite in both Williams Lake and PG and saw nary
a mosquito. I did the same thing the next day
after a hard rain, and still no mosquitoes. I couldn't
believe it! Just being away from the bugs for a
couple of days was a holiday in itself.
Since we had a nearly three hour drive back to Williams
Lake we finished some business up and headed back south
again because we had to pick the new pup up from the vet's
before they closed, so we chose to not do our grocery
shopping in PG. Boy, was that dumb! Somehow
we both managed to forget yet again that
it was the beginning of Stampede in Willy's Puddle and
the beginning of the first long weekend of the summer.
Call us both blonde I guess. Not only did we miss out
on a much bigger and better selection of groceries available
to us in Prince George, by the time we hit the store in
Williams Lake, grocery stocks had been drastically
depleted and there were a few things we had to do without.
Such is life. We'll have to see if we can get what we
need out here, although selection is severely limited
here. The stores just can't afford to bring in the selection
that is available in bigger city centers simply because
of our tiny population.
Our trip, albeit much shorter than I had hoped earlier
this month, was still a mini holiday, even if we didn't
actually do any holiday stuff. We just got away, and sometimes
that's enough. It sure was a shocker coming back,
though. When we called our neighbours to see if
they needed anything from town, they warned us that the
bugs were even worse than before. I didn't think it possible,
but boy, were they right! We landed late yesterday evening
and had to unload and get everything into the house on
a dead run. I don't think I've seen anything like it!
Many old timers said that last year was the worst they
had ever seen the mosquitoes, and now they all admit the
bugs are even worse this year, and that's saying something!
Today I had to keep changing sprinklers for the lawn and
had to develop a method for doing so. First, you
dive out the porch door past the mosquito coil taking
care to let as few bugs into the porch as possible,
wearing a long sleeved jean shirt saturated with mosquito
dope, kerchief and cap. Stop long enough to spray down
with a Deet product walking forward as you do so to keep
from breathing too much of the deadly fumes. Roar down
and unplug the water pump. Run to the sprinkler and start
moving it, taking care to get your face back up from the
ground as soon as possible because otherwise it will be
covered in mozzies. Run back and plug in the pump, then
check to see that the water is covering the area you want
all the while staying on the move. If you stop, the bugs
will swarm you in a matter of seconds. Move as quickly
as possible back to the porch swatting mosquitoes away
from the door, dive in taking care to not step
on the poor dogs shut in away from the bugs, close the
door as quickly as you can, and then kill all mosquitoes
that came in with you before entering the house. Do that
at least ten times in an afternoon. It's just a bloody
ridiculous exercise in frustration. No wonder people and
animals in the bush used to go mad from the bugs. And
they had no bug spray back then!
Small wonder that we saw next to nothing for wildlife
along the highway either going out or coming back in this
week. We did see a big black bear cross the highway
in front of all the traffic near the big box stores in
Prince George, but it's probably been forced into
town by the lack of food due to the cold, wet spring.
I know the Vancouver area has been having the same problem
with their bears. Other than that, though, most animals
are probably hiding from the bugs.
The weather has most definitely not been on our side but
that may soon change. There was a light misting rain this
morning and really muggy temperatures with quite a bit
of cloud that made life perfect for the mosquitoes. However,
we're supposed to be getting a high pressure system
building in off the coast that's expected to bring high
temperatures. I am so hoping that
the weather forecasters are right for a change, because
we really need to heat up under clear skies. That will
help to burn off the bugs a bit and although they might
still be bad in the early mornings and evenings, maybe
we can at least get outside during the day. It got up
to 20C today and has only gone down two degrees this evening.
If it gets up to 25 or 27 tomorrow and even hotter Sunday,
that would be a great help. It will be tough on everyone
around here because we haven't seen hot temperatures but
I'll take anything I can get right now. Other spots
in the province are expected to go into the 30's
while the hot spots such as the Okanagan and Kootenays
are expected to go high 30's and possibly into the 40's.
That's in the 100's on the old Fahrenheit scale and will
make for a great long weekend for everyone. Well.....except
for the Cariboo Fire Center. We noticed coming back through
Alexis Creek yesterday evening that the fire danger rating
has been raised to extreme. I expect there will be quite
a few forest fires by the time the weekend is over.
A Tiny Touch of Green
were going to head to the Okanagan this week on business,
but our lawn is finally growing! Actually, that might be
a bit of an overstatement. There are some tiny, tiny,
minuscule blades of green showing up here and there
in our pile of dirt so small that you almost need a magnifying
glass to see them. We have finally had warm
enough temperatures for the past two days to encourage those
grass seeds to sprout. Unfortunately, I've been playing
around with timers we borrowed from our neighbours and I
just can't seem to get enough water pressure through them
to operate the sprinklers we need to keep the lawn moist.
Now that the seed is finally doing something after all this
time, it would be a shame to let the grass that has
germinated die while we're gone. We have terrific
neighbours and they have all generously offered to water
the new lawn, but the sprinklers have to be switched around
so much that it's just not fair to ask them to do that.
I really didn't want to go away anyway. The only reason
I was into it was to get away from the bugs for a few days.
But friends of ours came back this weekend after traveling
around BC for a couple of weeks, and they found that coming
from someplace where they didn't see one mosquito, back
to bug heaven, was not an experience they want to repeat
anytime soon. Bit of shock to the system I suppose,
and no wonder. I stopped by their motorhome to visit for
awhile and you could barely get through their screen door
without letting about a million bugs in. Probably because
it was on the protected side of the motorhome and out of
I didn't get this blog up last night so I'll just continue
We actually had a pretty decent day today.
It got up to 20C for a little while and then dropped back
down to 16C for most of the day but it was mixed sun and
cloud. We were spreading peat moss all over our new lawn
this morning and as long as the breeze stayed up, the bugs
weren't bad, but once it dropped......!
I know I have several bites to show for my efforts.
It's funny, but no one else in the province seems to be
having the problems with the mosquitoes and black flies
in other regions that we are. A lot of people in our area,
including pilots flying over, have commented on how much
water there is puddled up in the woods, and the meadows
are level full of water. I think it's a combination of lots
of snow last winter, lots of rain this spring, cool temperatures
and not as many pine trees to suck up the water that has
left so much of it about. That, of course, means mosquito
heaven, and not a thing we can do about it! Maybe it'll
get hot. Here's hoping!
There are more boats out on Nimpo Lake today than
I've seen all spring and it looks like people are
catching fish. Our neighbours went out the other day and
said they got a couple of nice rainbow. We have to get our
boat back into the water so we can do some fishing of our
own. We just have to get past our long list of projects
You will probably have noticed the gorgeous photos
up on the right. I'm afraid I can't take credit
for those. Heidy Lenz was kind enough to give me a bunch
of photos to use on this site and the local tourism site
and they sure are refreshing! The top one is fog rising
off of Anahim Lake. The next one down is my favorite because
it looks like a watercolor painting, the colors are so delicate.
That's the view of Charlotte Lake and the Coast Mountain
Range from Heidy's house. Some view, eh? Are we
lucky in this country or what?!!
The beautiful red flowers on the third picture are Indian
Paintbrush in front of reflective water along a walking
trail up in the Rainbow Mountains. Doesn't it make you want
to go hiking?
I've started a new week so last week's articles can be found
Week Three .
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!