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 - March, Week 2/2010
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of the Day.
Mother Nature's Little Sideways Slam
weather has just changed. Yeech.
We woke up to a little snow yesterday and pretty overcast
skies. Then the wind started and boy, did it ever. It
was a blizzard a good part of the day, not so much from
snow coming down as from snow being moved around by the
There were crazy snow devils out on the lake all day and
you could even see these snow tornadoes on the Hooch way
over the hill on the other side of the lake. I thought
sure we might lose some trees in some of those gusts but
I think the blowind snow made it seem worse than it was.
At least it settled down by yesterday evening but then
it cleared off.
This morning it was -22.2C or -8F and was a nice,
cold little surprise for everyone, including our dogs
and the wild birds. While Andy got up before dawn
and rescued the dogs by bringing them into the porch,
the birds were another matter. Some of them must have
been wondering what the heck they were doing here this
early in spring! I'll bet some poor bird leader was getting
the third degree this morning!
It warmed up to just under freezing today but that was
without the help of any sun. It tried to peek through
the thick overcast but just couldn't do it or else I think
it would have warmed up quite a bit more than it did.
It isn't unusual at all for us to get a good blast
of winter in March, or in April for that matter.
It's just that we got such a nice taste of spring that
being jerked back into reality is never any fun. I don't
think the Vancouverites much cared for it either. A few
places down on the Lower Mainland got snow and Vancouver
Island took a good hit on the north end while Victoria
basked in warmth and blooms. Oh well, it was my New Year's
Resolution to not envy those that can grow stuff for five
months out of the year longer than I can. So I'm
trying hard to not be smug when the 'others' get whacked
with Old Man Winter when they least expect it.
There's one silver lining and the very one I look forward
to every spring. This weekend is change the clock time,
and boy, am I looking forward to it! Of course if you've
followed this blog at all over the past few years you
know that my other half and I have very different biological
clocks, me being the night person, my partner being the
early morning person. Last fall he took it upon himself
to tease me unmercifully about the soon to be shorter
day, shorter on the evening end, that is. One must fight
fire with fire so I have taken great pleasure the last
couple of weeks in pointing out that the shoe will be
on the other foot Sunday morning, much to his chagrin.
He's already mourning the loss of his mornings
lit by bright light and sometimes sunshine. Too
bad. I get bright afternoons and evenings. Yaaaay!!!
Even with heavy overcast this evening and any sunset over
the mountains well hidden by high altitude snow storms,
it was still a little light out at a quarter to seven.
By this time Sunday night, it will be a quarter to eight.
Make my day!!!! Sadly, Andy will be eating his breakfast
in the dark..... snuffle.... smirk....(Sorry hon :-) the
devil made me do it.)
Have a good weekend everyone. Enjoy the Paralympics and
the time change!
The Little Spring Break
certainly caught a break from winter weather for the last
while. Although that may be ending now.
Last week was pretty darn nice overall with warm,
sunny days and even at night it didn't get all that cold
until the last couple. But then when it dropped,
it dropped, getting within sniffing distance of -20C or
4F last night and never got much above freezing today.
You could tell that there was a sudden, vast, temperature
difference because we could hear the ice on Nimpo Lake
rumbling last night when we haven't heard a peep from
it in months.
Saturday was clear, sunny, and gorgeous. Unfortunately,
a snowmobile ride had been planned for Sunday which was
predicted to be nasty. It was. It was about -5C
when we got home from a wiener roast on Saturday night,
but as the night wore on, the temperature climbed, so
that by Sunday morning it was actually above freezing.
Shortly after everyone left for the ride it started to
hail and then snow and the temperature just slowly slid
the rest of the day. The wind was switching in the morning
but it had definitely decided to be a north wind by noon
and could chill you to the bone. Andy was pretty sure
that it was warmer and nicer up on the mountain than it
was down here. I don't doubt that. The hail was probably
a good indicator of an inversion layer.
The weather forecasters are calling for cooler temperatures
over the next few days and a series of big systems rolling
in from the Pacific. The one coming next is swinging
down from the Alaskan Panhandle, so the air is bound to
be a lot colder. It's been a while since we've
seen the systems coming out of the north instead of the
south. That southerly air can come back any time it wants
to, although I suppose Olympic organizers are breathing
a sigh of relief over the cooler weather. I'm not sure
some of those venues were going to last for the Paralympics
at the rate things were going.
I've really enjoyed the nice weather but it's definitely
getting to the dangerous time of year for the four legged
wildlife. All the thawing and freezing of the past couple
of weeks has really formed a hardened crust on the snow.
I was watching the dogs today when I went out for a walk
and in many places they were able to run on top of the
snow where an animal like a moose or caribou would fall
I went for a trip to Willy's Puddle Thursday and came
back Friday and was shocked to see the lack of snow in
places. Tatla Lake has way less snow than we do.
Alexis Creek has very little in patches here and there
and Williams Lake has none. We must be the only
ones with a real abundance of snow and there's certainly
no fear of losing it any time soon. I stepped off the
back trail to ribbon a tree today and was in over my knees
immediately! It's going to take a whole lot more melting
before we need to worry about losing all of our snow.
I saw on the news tonight that places like Vancouver and
the Okanagan are expressing a lot of concern over the
lack of snow pack this year. Down 54% over a normal year!
Boy, if they don't get a rainy spring or summer, there's
going to be some big forest fires this year. Already the
Okanagan is talking about sprinkling restrictions going
Unless things change, we're building for another
2003-2004 duo when it comes to dry summers and forest
fires. While we have loads of snow and probably
will see a late spring unless it stays really warm for
the next two months, places like Alexis Creek are going
to be in serious trouble, as is Williams Lake and all
points south. But who knows? While forecasters are calling
for an unusually warm, dry spring, we could end up with
a rainy summer throughout the province.
The warm weather we've had for the past couple of weeks
has certainly fooled the birds. Besides the chickadees,
woodpeckers and grosbeaks we've had at the feeder all
winter, a swarm of little finches and redpolls have arrived
along with the juncos. I saw two starlings yesterday that
arrived with a couple of redwinged blackbirds. We ran
off the starlings but the blackbirds stuck around for
the day to sing their pretty song.
I checked out where that small moose died along
the back trail a while back. Still nothing for
critter tracks around the animal, although the birds,
probably ravens, have been to work on its jawbone. It
seems really strange that still the forest creatures aren't
making short work of the animal. Unfortunately, I didn't
see one single small moose track along the backtrail,
probably evidence that it was the baby moose that died.
And since no one else has seen it around for awhile....
I was surprised to see two moose right along the highway
on Thursday just outside of Nimpo Lake on my way to town.
It was right at nine in the morning and in broad daylight
and both were in a meadow close to the road. One had his
butt up in the air and face planted in the snow presumably
trying to get at the green bases of the meadow grass.
The other also had its head in the snow and I had to call
before it would look up. I took pictures and they
were so bothered about it all that they went back to eating,
ignoring me completely. The moose seem to be pretty
smart about hanging around human habitation this time
of year when the snow forms a crust putting them at danger
from the four legged predators. It's too bad they don't
know about the two legged predators that love to see them
that close to the road and the tailgate of their vehicle.
I would feel a lot more comfortable if the moose were
more shy of humans.
I haven't seen any sign of the caribou on Nimpo Lake this
year although I hear they were seen earlier in the winter.
I did hear today that our neighbour found the carcass
of one frozen in the snow at Gus Meadow so it appears
this has been a tough winter on the ungulates. It makes
sense. The snows came early this year and we had
some almighty cold there for a couple of months.
That heavy snow load has also had quite an effect on trees,
power lines, and houses. Our neighbours are going to be
without power or telephone when they first come up this
spring because of a couple snow laden trees that took
out the line when they snapped off.
A lot of people are going to have a problem with flooding
from the massive amount of snow that has come off of their
houses and outbuildings. Even we have a huge windrow of
snow parked in front of the basement entrance under our
deck. Not much can be done about it. You have to push
the snow off the deck and it has to go somewhere. We're
lucky. Because of the lay of the land we have little problem
with drainage, but not everyone is that fortunate.
It will be interesting to see how high Nimpo Lake
gets once the ice melts and the spring runoff starts.
Thanks to Ted Hlokoff for the snowmobile images on the
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's
articles at March
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!