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 - May, Week 3/2009
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Yet More May Snow
don't normally get a great dump of snow this late in May
but we most certainly did today.
The intermittent snow and rain we were getting yesterday
evening turned to straight snow and it came down steadily
until I went to bed. It was melting underneath while it
was snowing on top so it was settling quickly with snow
so heavy and saturated with water that it was hard to
shovel this morning. It had settled a great deal and there
looked to be only about four inches by the time I got
up, but Andy figures there was at least six inches on
the ground early, early this morning when he got up.
A little snow cap formed over the rain gauge last night
and I should have gone out and cleared it off so there
would have been a more accurate reading by this morning,
but even with that there was still two inches of
water in the gauge. It's good because we really,
really needed the moisture.
The beauty of snow is that it melts slowly and soaks into
the ground where a hard rain just runs off. But it sure
made everything mucky today. I was planting flowers up
at the car wash in ground that was just saturated and
I was sinking up to my ankles in mud. I came home
looking like I had been slopping around in a pig pen all
Our weather was not great today. It was clouded over a
lot, which for transplanting perennials is a really good
thing, but since my back was soaked from being under the
drip line of a gazebo roof while the snow melted off it,
more sunshine would have been much appreciated. I was
freezing my butt off.
The temperature right now is sitting at 8C or 46F but
I expect it to start dropping pretty quickly. They're
warning of frost in the Cariboo so we'll probably get
it too unless it stays clouded over. Last night
it sat just half a degree above freezing all night while
it snowed, but had it cleared off it would have chilled
right down. We've had one storm after another coming in
over the mountains today so it's hard to say what it's
going to do.
It would seem the Lower Mainland has been and will be
enjoying sunny weather and warm temperatures because of
a high pressure system moving in from the southwest. I
just don't know if it's going to move far enough north
to let us have some nice weather as well. It would certainly
be a welcome change getting some straight sunshine. Although
this chill has certainly kept the bugs down.
For anyone on North Nimpo Lake Road, I understand that
the closure for the bridge may be until noon tomorrow
and then the work should be done. I got lucky today when
I crossed at noon because they let me right through. But
I've gotta say, I was not thrilled crossing bridge
planking barely the width of a vehicle and with no railings.
It was so not cool! It may be my imagination
but I'm pretty sure that if Andy had taken his dually
across, at least one outer tire would have been hanging
over the edge.
a little late in May for it to snow off and on all day,
but it has. It's done just about everything else possible
The rain yesterday evening turned to snow at about one
a.m. just before I went to bed. It was still above freezing
but that didn't stop it from accumulating to about an
inch of wet, sloppy stuff on the ground this morning.
While it did get up to 7C today the ground has
chilled off enough now that there are still little snow
banks here and there where snow slid off the roof.
We had heavy, low cloud for most of the day, although
we got a few sunny breaks, along with sleet, hail, slush,
and more snow interspersed with the odd rain shower. It's
been quite a day of yuck.
Naturally, everything's pretty wet and mucky but it's
actually great to see the moisture, regardless of the
form it arrives in. I'm certain my perennials, which have
only just poked their heads out of the ground very recently,
have just about doubled in size overnight. The lawn, which
had been just a sorry looking mess of yellow grass with
a little green has turned a whole lot of green and I'm
pretty sure it's grown quite a bit in the last 24 hours.
Now if we could put just a little heat on all the growing
things, they would take right off.
Several people around the lake have taken great
advantage of the moisture to burn some slash piles.
We've three sets of neighbours up right now that are going
great guns taking down red trees and it's nice when they
can get rid of the slash right away instead of having
to wait until late next fall or until we can burn it for
them in the winter. Even better is that for every dead
and red pine they take down, they reduce the fire danger
to surrounding properties.
Our temperature this evening is already just barely above
freezing and Andy and I had to run another cord down to
the greenhouse and add another ceramic heater. One heater
might have held the temperature above freezing but we
have a high pressure system moving in so if it clears
off tonight, the temperature could easily plummet. No
point in losing all the plants I just put in there. At
least this will give them a fighting chance.
I was supposed to go do some planting or landscaping up
at the car wash for Len in exchange for a truck load of
manure he brought me a little while back. He called today
and said don't even bother coming because it was just
too mucky around there with the snow and to wait until
tomorrow instead. But the next couple of days is going
to be dicey for getting out of here because the
bridge over the Dean River on our road is being worked
on. There will be wait times up to two hours but
I don't think they have a set schedule for when that will
be. It would be nice if we knew. I don't relish trying
to head up to Nimpo, which is only five minutes a way,
and have to wait for two hours to get there. Normally
I could care less because there's usually nothing so pressing
in Nimpo that I have to get there, but I would really
like to get this job done. It's going to take a lot of
plants and several days to complete it.
So just to emphasize: For you folks on North Nimpo
Lake Road, there's a BRIDGE CLOSURE on the Waddington
Bridge across the Dean for the next two days.
The Fishing Derby & Quad Party
fishing derby put on by a young local turned out to be
successful. We didn't participate on Saturday because
of the quad party at Charlotte Lake that day. That was
a great party with a really good turnout and our hosts
have a great set up with bonfire and super food. Thanks
to Chris and Linda Mclean and Bob and Sherry Morrison
for the wonderful meal and awesome hospitality!
A few people came in on quads but most of us in our vehicles.
I would love to go out on a quad but then I would want
to tent overnight. It's a long way in there and it's just
too rough making your way home in dust or a rainstorm,
after dark, or if you've had anything to drink. Maybe
we'll figure out something for next year. I would love
to take our travel trailer in a couple of days ahead,
then quad in on that day and stay overnight in the trailer.
Unfortunately, lux accommodations like that might be percieved
as wimpy by those that rough it home in the evening on
their quads or that tent overnight. The ribbing
for the next year would be endless.
The weather was kind of off and on throughout Saturday.
It was actually quite warm and on occasion the sun even
made an appearance, but the wind gusted pretty wildly
at times. Our hosts had strung a huge tarp between the
lake and those of us sitting around the fire pit. It actually
protected us from the wind quite a bit until the wind
tore it down at one point. The guys got it tied back up
again but a couple of times when that wind was whipping
at it from the other side I figured if it came loose
it was going to wipe more than a few of us out.
It was just too bad that the Victoria long weekend was
a week early this year. I'm sure the weather would have
been just that much warmer. But even with the wind, it
still turned out well and I know everyone really enjoyed
themselves. I certainly did!
I had promised young Clint, who was organizing the fishing
derby on Nimpo Lake, that I would help him with it on
Sunday. I arrived over there at about 10:00 and after
he showed me how to weigh and keep track of the fish,
he skedaddled so he could go fishing with his family.
I hung around the boat launch for nine hours waiting for
people to come in and weigh their fish. There was mixed
sun and cloud and I ended up with a sunburn, but there
was a wind off the water and it was chilly. It was really
cold out on the lake, especially in the morning, because
poor Andy wasn't the only one to come to shore after a
couple of hours looking like an ice cube. Still,
remarkably, other visitors that came in thought it was
a beautiful day. Maybe they just don't know how
really beautiful it can be when Nimpo Lake is at its best.
We had a few teams that came in that had limited out but
the fish weren't big. They never are this time of year
after coming out of a cold winter under the ice. Many
only ranged between a pound and a pound and a half, some
under a pound. We definitely should have put the derby
on in the fall when the fish will have gained several
inches and at least another pound or more. They're better
fighters, their mouths aren't as soft, and we wouldn't
have to worry about spawners then. We might still try
to arrange another derby yet and I'm sure there will be
a better turnout.
Seven year old Jayden Walker in the kid's category
won for biggest fish. His fish actually beat out
any of the adults', which was kind of cool. So he got
cash and a prize, as did one of the guys that took both
best fish and combined weight in the adult class. Actually,
I think he got most of the prizes, because I think he
also got hidden weight. It was a decent turnout, but I
think that it would be a really great turn out later in
For the last three nights the temperature has not
dropped below freezing and I know that it was
still over 15C or 60F when I got home after seven last
night, but that's soon going to change. We've had overcast
for most of the day and some spotty rain showers, but
the temperature is really supposed to drop for tomorrow.
Day time temps will come up for the rest of the week but
it looks like we'll see frost every night. There's a little
cold front in the west that is expected to move through
bringing snow at higher elevations and then sunshine after
that. I'm not too sure what that's going to mean for the
plants in the greenhouse. I just planted some more seedlings
in there today and threw their fates to Mother Nature,
with a little help from a tiny ceramic heater. We'll see
what happens over the next couple of days.
The Long Weekend
Day traditionally brings cruddy weather to the city, and
it's nice for us. This year the weather system coming
in from the Pacific is farther north than usual which
means north and central coast will get rain and some of
it has moved inland. I got up to rain drops on the window
and a dreary looking sky this morning. I suppose I should
be congratulating the Lower Mainland on a decent long
weekend, but I sure would like to have seen a nice day,
We're going over to Charlotte Lake this afternoon for
the annual 'End of Snowmobiling season and beginning
of Quadding Season' get-together at a friend's
place on the lake. They had quite a bunch of people last
year and I'm sure this year will be as good, but an improvement
in the weather would be much appreciated, especially for
those people that plan to tent overnight.
We debated taking our quads over rather than driving,
but we decided against it mainly because it's a
hoot to ATV over during the day, but not so nice trying
to find your way back over rough trails after dark.
Initially, Andy had an appointment in Vancouver this past
week and I'd planned on quadding over and tenting overnight
with friends while he was gone, but once he realized these
'ace' medical types had set the appointment right before
the first long weekend of the year, he changed the dates.
Probably a good thing since the highways and border crossing
looked like a real zoo yesterday.
Yesterday was an absolute stunner, for the first half,
anyway. It was completely still yesterday morning,
full sun, and warm. By noon a high haze started
to move in but it was still pretty nice until late afternoon
when it clouded over completely and a bit of a raw wind
started up. Still, the morning was so special that everyone
commented on it. We were both out early getting things
done in the yard when I mentioned to Andy that if we just
had one day like that a week, I would be one happy camper!
I was working in the greenhouse with the door open because
it was so warm in there when I realized I was going
to have a major problem. First I had to devise
a jar and lid system so that I could remove a very large
bumble bee beating itself up against the glass. Then I
had to catch and release a hummingbird. That turned out
to be easier than expected. The poor thing kept fluttering
against the glass trying to get out and I was afraid it
was going to hurt itself. It finally settled down on the
framework for a moment and I came up behind it and grabbed
it, half expecting it to be frightened off when I reached
for it. It ended up in my hands with a surprised
squeak and me just as surprised I'd caught it.
I took it outside where it could fly off and then I told
Andy I was going to have to leave the door shut until
we could get the screen on the open panel, which we did
right away. No more incidents.
After getting my irrigation system set up in the greenhouse,
I planted some of the cucumber plants and all the zucchini
plants I had started in the house to see how they would
do. We had to put a little heater in the greenhouse last
night and I see this morning that all the zucchini leaves
are pointing toward the heater rather than the light.
Weird plants, those. The cucumbers have
that 'circle the wagons and huddle up' look
to them, which is hardly surprising since I didn't even
harden them off and the temperature yesterday evening
was already down to 9C or 48F, which is considerably colder
than anything they've been used to in the house. It's
doubtful the chill will kill them. It will probably just
set them back a few weeks, is all.
If we had the kind of temperatures we did yesterday, at
least 15C or 59F, most days, it would make a huge difference,
but when you get cloudy, cool days like today, it's going
to cool down in the greenhouse as well. I should figure
out how to hook up some little wood stove set up in there.
Hope everyone is off having a great long weekend. I probably
won't write again for a couple of days. Just a reminder
about the fishing derby on Nimpo Lake this weekend, registration
at the boat ramp, and the canoe races on the Dean River
to Anahim Lake are next Saturday, takeoff from the public
boat ramp on Nimpo.
This is the start of a new week. You'll find last week's
articles at May
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!