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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week Two/2010

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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19/05/2010 8:03 PM

Mixed Weather Blues

Our fabulous weather has become a little less fabulous lately. While our temperatures have stayed quite warm, we've seen less of the sun with cloud varying from heavy grey to light thunderheads mixed with sun. We've also had gusting wind lately but nothing like what the Lower Mainland has been getting and will get tonight.
There was a thunder and lightning storm warning for the Okanagan yesterday and the central Cariboo saw some of that as well. I guess the power was out up at Fort St. James last night because of a lightning strike.
We're still too chilly for such things but we've had our share of sudden violent rain squalls that don't even cover that much area. On Monday I came home from Nimpo to see that our road was wet and our neighbour said that quite a little rainstorm had passed through while there was nothing at Nimpo. Yesterday I was up there and a major rainstorm driving sideways came through and lasted for some time. I came home to find our road nearly dry and next to nothing for rain had fallen. So 'localized rainstorm' would be an understatement here.
Many nights it doesn't even go below freezing now which is really nice. It's certainly helped to pop the leaf buds out on the aspen. We might actually have full leaf a week or two early this year. It's sure gonna be nice to see some green. Although I shouldn't say much. The lawn needs mowing already. It's really gone to town in the past week with the warmer weather and these little spring rains.
This has to be the absolute best time of year. The bugs haven't come out yet but the temperature is warm. All the birds are cooing and singing to each other. Every night you can listen to the loons laughing all up and down the lake while during the day they cry warnings to each other if a bald eagle is around, or dance threateningly on the water when one pair encroaches on the territory of another.
Two fat ducks have taken to sitting on our dock in the sun, the male bobbing his head in a steady mating ritual. Or maybe he just has an ear infection. :-)
There are grouse galore right now so this must be an up cycle year for them. Everywhere you go you see grouse and most of the time they refuse to move off of the road if you're driving toward them. They're pretty much dumb as posts but they sure are good eating!
It sure is nice to see everything on the move, including the sun, which is setting farther and farther to the north now.
My Mom was cleaning out her office and brought a little something interesting when we met for lunch today. She found a copy of a poem written years ago about one of our more famous and skilled pilots. I don't know where to find the author to ask permission to reprint it here so I'm going to take a chance and hope she doesn't get mad at me.
The author is Judy Bingaman with edits by Swede Gano and the poem is called.... wait for it.... THE BALLAD OF FLAT-ASSED FLOYD. Geez, now that I think of it, I hope he doesn't get mad at me too but it's just too good to not pass on.

At the grey break of dawn with his coffee half gone
gazing into the heavenly void,
in his old cowboy boots not givin' two hoots,
stands the bush pilot we call, Flat-Assed Floyd.
A mashed Stetson sits there where he once had some hair
and his shoulders hunch loose in their sockets.
He stands lank and lean in his faded blue jeans,
his hands are shoved deep in his pockets.
An' I followed his stare, as he gazed in the air
an' I read his mind like a book.
In no man I've seen, has that fly-fever gleamed,
as it does in that bush pilot's look.
Flat-Assed is well known by the folks he has flown
all over this wild, endless land.
He flies hunters and dudes (buzzed sunbathin' nudes),
he knows every cow by its brand.
He flies not by chance, but by the seat of his pants
in the fog and the rain and the snow.
And from the hours spent there on his ass in the air,
comes the name which we've all come to know.
Now, Flat-Ass he has, two loves in his life
which sometimes may cause him great strife;
for the choice between is sometimes real mean
'twixt that airplane and Lora, his wife.
So as he steps to the Beaver
God, how he hates to leave her,
But his mistress is queen for that day,
and as he climbs in the sky and the jackpine whiz by,
he laughs like a boy at his play.
Mountains and lakes - and rivers like snakes,
the critters, the secrets of things;
all are seen by his eye as he drones through the sky,
and the world slips under his wings.
There are missions of life and missions of death,
he flies 'em all with a smirk.
He is steady and cool and nobody's fool;
"Hell," he says, "it's all in the normal day's work.
Oh, the sky will be rent when his life's finally spent,
with the song of his comrades in flight;
for they fly with him too, in the heavenly blue,
though mostly they're just out of sight.
Yes, those angels came bright in my dream last night,
and they told me how they too enjoyed
winging along - saying let us all sing this song,
The Ballad of Flat-Assed Floyd.

Good, eh?
Thank you Judy, wherever you are, and I hope you don't take offense at us all enjoying your terrific sense of humour!
One last thing. I just want to thank some really generous Nimpo people for their donations toward prizes for participants in the annual canoe race.
Bryan and Tabby Reid who donated on behalf of Wilderness Rim Resort and Pioneer Log Homes.
Len from the Nimpo Lake Carwash.
Cathy Simon from Chilcotin's Waterfront Resort & Motel,
and Richard and Leah Simon from the Nimpo Lake General Store.
Thank you!!
Also, a big thank you to those Nimpo folks that helped to organize and track canoeists from checkpoints on this end while they paddled down the Dean. We even roped our new neighbours into helping out since they come equipped with radios. So thanks guys.
Oh, wait a minute. One last, last thing. There are two sets of lots on Nimpo Lake coming up for sale on this site soon. There are two lots on our road, both five acres, and I think one comes with a cabin and well. I'll have it listed as soon as the owners get some pictures for me. The other set of lots are on the south end of Nimpo near the little mini-subdivision down there. The owners want to clean up the lane way into the one lot and do some brushing before they take pictures and list the lots but I'll have them loaded up here as soon as that's done.
Oh yeah, one other thing in case I don't get a chance to write before the weekend. Don't forget the fishing derby on Nimpo Lake this coming long weekend!!!

15/05/2010 9:30 PM

The Canoe Race

Wow. I didn't realize it had been ten days since I last wrote, and it isn't even because I didn't have anything to write about. It's just that it has been so spectacular for the past week or so that I have been outside enjoying the weather for the most part during the day, and trying to keep up on computer stuff some evenings, when we haven't had company, that is. Our neighbours have come in and it's been a pleasure to catch up with them and their projects over the winter. My Mother has also been in for the first time in a while so I've been able to visit with her for a change.
It certainly has taken a long time to come out from under winter. It seemed to snow nearly every day for two weeks, either spitting or flurries. Most of the time it didn't stay on the ground but it made it unpleasant to be outside a good bit of the time, with cold temperatures and a cold damp wind. I think we were all getting fed up with that state of affairs, believe you me!
The ice officially came off of Nimpo Lake on May 6, the day we were in town, so we missed it. But we could see that it was disappearing fast early that morning before we left. The night before we had watched one ice sheet after another surge past our place at a pretty good rate being pushed by a wind out of the east. Then when the wind shifted, you would see it coming back much reduced in size after being crushed on the shore. That's what will suddenly break up ice that looks like it will last forever. It's just too bad we had to go to town on ice off day.
Going to Williams Lake was a bit of a weather shock because it was hot and muggy for part of the day. Then a system rolled in and the temperature dropped to just above freezing and remained so until we got around Tatla Lake coming back. We hit a good bit of slushy snow around Caribou Flats and then it cleared off and got really pretty as we neared home.
A few people had reported seeing caribou south of Nimpo and wondered why they hadn't gone back up into the mountains yet. Well, it was no surprise considering the weather. You couldn't blame them for not wanting to go to higher elevations where it would be even colder and a whole lot of fresh snow had just fallen. We saw the same group of caribou on our way into Williams Lake, but we also saw a bear coming back home so they've finally come out of their dens.
We finally caught a break in the weather a week or so ago and it's been fabulous! Warm, sunny days with the temperature going up as high as 18C or 65F and often not dropping much below freezing if at all. There hasn't been that much wind most days and no bugs yet so working outside has been both pleasant and possible.
We went out fishing one day this past week hoping to be the first on the lake after ice off but we got beat out by a couple of days by some visitors on the east end of the lake who were out the very day after the ice went out. Fishing was a little slow and Andy had to throw back some spawners. I got a couple of fish but mostly just nibbles after that while he caught and lost a real doozy that spit the hook out as it neared the boat. We didn't stay out much more than an hour when it became apparent that we were catching mostly spawning fish when we did catch something, and since we don't want to damage them any more than necessary, I think we'll wait until next weekend before going out again. Hopefully we can participate in the fishing derby set for the long weekend on Nimpo Lake. It's for all three days with weigh in at 8:00 p.m. at Wilderness Rim. Sign up is also there. It's $5 to enter and prizes will be based on closest to hidden weight with half the proceeds going to the Nimpo Lake Community Association.
Today was our first dull day with a high haze obscuring the sun, although it was still warm. I was heartily glad because I was stuck in a meeting all day and would have resented missing a really nice, sunny day. The canoe races were also on for today and fortunately Andy was willing to take pictures for me since I couldn't be there. I wish I could have been, though. Andy tells me that the extremely high water in the Dean made for an interesting trip for all the participants and that there was a three foot high beaver dam at one of the bridges that caused more than one canoe to tip as the paddlers tried to negotiate their way over it. I'm assuming there were a few wet people arriving at the finish line. I don't know who won, the last canoe hadn't come in yet when I went by everyone at the Anahim Lake Stampede grounds, but I know that a lot of people that participated last year weren't able to this year (due to marriages, injuries, etc.) so the numbers were down. Still, hopefully everyone had fun.
This is a new week so you'll find articles for the first week of May at May Week One.

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!
A canoeist holds out a paddle for balance going over rapids.
Canoe comes toward rapids caused by a beaver dam.
Canoeists fall into the water at the base of the beaver dam.
Front paddler leans back when he sees the rapids.
Two men fish their canoe out of the water as a result of going over the rapids.
The view of Nimpo Lake after the ice goes out.
Spring black bear.
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