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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week One/2012

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.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.


03/05/2012 1:30 PM

Still Trudging

We're still trudging out to the trucks when we need to go anywhere, or if we have to get water or groceries out of the truck, we use the ATV. In both cases when I got back from Williams Lake two weeks ago and when Andy got back last week, we had a pretty good load of groceries and supplies in the truck. In my case it took a couple of trips with the ATV and trailer to haul everything home past the mud hole.
Today the highways guys are supposed to be working on the main road into the north end of Nimpo Lake to try and open up one lane using geo tech material or mats. It's good that they're doing that end down there first because everyone there has a way longer walk to get out to their vehicles. Our main road is still passable, albeit in a shaky way. On a couple of holes you have a choice of going around on one side or the other without falling into the ditch, which must be a little hair raising for the larger vehicles. We've widened the road by default as a result so it's not too bad, other than being bumpy.
Our own mud hole is its usual happy self and slowly healing up but we've still got one stubborn spot that's really soft so we're still not driving over it. Nor is our only other neighbour right now and fortunately, no one else is in. You do, however, always have idiots. The other day while Andy was in Williams Lake I discovered while walking the dogs that some numbskull had decided to try the mud hole. Fortunately, they backed out once they started sinking so they didn't tear up the road too badly, but Andy still had to spend quite a bit of time the next morning ditching and filling in their tracks. I'm not sure what part of a large, orange, triangular highway sign on the road that says 'Road Closed' that people don't understand, but apparently English comprehension of school graduates in Canada is much worse than I previously thought.
Yesterday morning someone drove across it and up to the boat launch where they turned around and went back but since they didn't sink any more than six inches through the mud, we figured they probably came in on the frost and that was probably highways guys checking the state of the road. Hopefully they'll get a chance to come fix our road next week and we can start driving on it again without worrying about wrecking it.
Everything is drying up more slowly than it should just because we've had so much cold weather lately. All of British Columbia is below normal temperatures and on top of that we're not seeing a lot of sun during the day, so things are just really cool. We saw much warmer weather a month ago in March, but that's probably just as well. All of our local snow is gone now but higher up there will still be some and a slower melt is a good way to keep down the flooding.
The level of the water in Nimpo Lake is actually starting to go down now. It was climbing fast there for a while with the higher temperatures and crazy melting but Andy's been keeping a close check with his marked post, and it's gone down nearly two inches in just the last couple of days. Most of the wild water rushing into the lake has subsided and while it's still pretty red from all the swamp and pine needle runoff, the water's not nearly as murky as it was last year.
Peaks in the Coast Mountain Range are still pretty round with snow and the Itchas are still looking bright white, which doesn't bode well for either Bella Coola or Corkscrew Creek which flows into Anahim Lake. We keep getting little snow or hail storms nearly every day. Often the mountains are blanketed with the tell tale white squall lines of a snowstorm and every time the clouds clear and you can see the peaks, there's fresh snow up there.
Nimpo Lake is finally, finally starting to melt. Yaaaay!!! We've got open water about 10 to 15 feet out from shore in places and one little pond of open water in our reed bed has grown to join another pond in a reed bed in front of our neighbour's to at least give us an idea of what open water will look like. It even has a resident buffle head pair and a merganser while our bit of open water off our shore has a pair of black and whites. I heard a loon call from the open water that runs between the point and the big island this evening so things are finally becoming normal. It seems that the bird life is really late showing up this year, but then again, it was probably pointless them flying here just to be on ice.
I truly look forward to blue water soon. I don't know when the ice will go out but I think I missed the first date that I chose on the Ice Out pool. I guessed for tomorrow and there is no way the ice is going to be gone tomorrow, although Andy thinks that it will just suddenly fade away and there's lots of evidence to support that. We noticed a week ago that even though the ice was still quite thick near the shore, it had all candled its full thickness. There's been a lot of warm runoff running into the lake and under that ice so if it's candled all the way out into the Main Arm, then one day it will just suddenly disappear. Unless the wind moves it first, of course. But there has been no grumbling at all from the ice so it's probably just rotten.
We've seen an otter right around supper time a couple of times now. He's been going from the big island to the small one with his funny humping, running, slide way of transport. It may be an awkward way of getting around on the ice but they can sure cover a lot of ground that way! After seeing the otter at that distance the first time I realized that a creature I saw on my way to Anahim one day a month ago had to have been a wolverine. I saw it across a meadow at almost the same distance coming down out of some trees and it was big with a pretty big tail. Much bushier than an otter's I realized later. It was too far away to see any of the striping you often see on a wolverine but I can tell you it was one cautious dude. Even at that distance of probably over 600 yards, it realized that my vehicle was on the highway and slowing down. He stopped, watched me for a split second, then turned tail and disappeared back into the woods. If it was a wolverine it's small wonder they're so rarely seen if they're that cautious.
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last month's posts at April Week Two
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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!
Open water in the ice.
 
Water, ice, trees.
 
Duck sitting on melting ice.
 
Male duck sitting in just melted water.
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