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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week 3/2010

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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31/05/2010 8:12 PM

May Lion or Wimp?

I haven't yet decided if May is going out like a lion or a lamb. Or does that saying only apply to April? I'm pretty sure it has spit rain every day for the past week, and I mean spit. We're rarely getting rain that amounts to much, just rain of inconvenience. You know, you're outside wrist deep in dirt or in the middle of a job or even conversation out in the driveway with a neighbour, and it starts spitting on your head.
We haven't seen much sun lately, but it's been quite warm during the day and super muggy. We haven't actually gotten a whole lot of wind in the past few days so that's probably why.
I thought I was down east there for a little while today with all that mugginess, and then late this afternoon a breeze kicked up and wow, what a difference. Suddenly the air just felt fresher and cleaner. It helped to put the run on the bugs too.

June 1,
I didn't get this finished off last night so I guess I'm into a new month whether I want to be or not. :-)
The temperature actually dropped to just a couple of degrees above freezing last night, and that's the first time in ages. As a result, there was heavy, heavy fog this morning but it has cleared out to reveal bright sunshine behind it. We'll see how long that lasts.... usually only for a couple of hours in the morning and then clouds start rolling in.
I've finally managed to finish planting out about a gazillion tomato plants in both the neighbors' greenhouse and my own. So if any of them set, I'll be up to my eyeballs in fruit this fall. I've given away over a dozen plants and still have at least that many sitting in pots. Fortunately, I got a call from a neighbour down the lake that heard I had plants and she'll take most of the rest today. I don't know why all my seeds decided to germinate. Of course I didn't have the heart to pinch off all but the strongest seedling like you're supposed to, so I just kept dividing and transplanting to bigger and bigger pots. As a result, I'm overrun with the things and there's no room in two greenhouses for much of anything else.
We'll see if I have any better success this year than I did last with tomato plants in the greenhouse. Since my dearest partner bought me a book on greenhouse growing for Christmas and I bought myself one this spring on tomatoes, I shouldn't have any excuse now. I just have to remember to be cruel and vicious. According to the books, I've gotta strip those leaves off and pinch the tops off before the plants get to 12 feet high and I can't reach the tops anymore. At least until they start growing back down again. (Which they did last year.) So we'll see how that all goes.
I understand the morel mushrooms are out now. It seems awfully early yet to me but apparently people have been bringing them in by the bucket load to the buyers since that last rain. I roared out onto the back trail last evening when I heard but saw nary a one. I was really looking forward to going out and getting a bunch this year because we had so many forest fires last year and they like to grow on fresh burns. But I've only two days left and a lot of things to do before I leave for the Okanagan on Thursday so it will be tough to squeeze a mushroom hunt in before then.
Which brings me to giving notice that I won't be writing for about two weeks at least. I'm going down to the chiropractor for a good length of time to see if I can get this hip thing sorted out. It's interfering with my summer work. :-) So enjoy your first two weeks of June blog free, folks!

30/05/2010 7:20 PM

Today's Work Party

I would have to call the work party at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall today a great success. Loads of people showed up and quite a lot got accomplished actually. Len brought his excavator down so that meant the risers could be put on the sewer caps and the dirt built up around them by nearly two feet. That should solve the problem we've had with the sewer freezing up in winters that we don't get a big snow load, which insulates the caps from cold air. That was a job that needed doing a long time ago and thankfully it's now done.
The door was repaired on the outhouse (for those that prefer the old fashioned way) and Andy repaired the hole in the roof created by the chimney that fell over in the snow winter before last. (You notice things don't always get done quickly around here. :-) Lots of people raked and carried stuff and old wood left behind after all the beetle kill was knocked down by the processor a couple of winters ago and piled it on the fire. It was a little difficult to keep the fire down to size but most of it had burned up by the time I left and Len was going to dig a hole and bury what was left of the coals before leaving tonight. The area around the hall is much improved in looks now.
We had a good barbecue lunch with hot dogs and burgers, salads and cake and then poof.... everyone was gone. Everyone was done within an hour and a half of arriving and decided to head home forgetting that there was supposed to be a Directors meeting today. Or maybe they're smart and they didn't forget about it but I certainly did and the new Chairman did until after everybody left. It was kind of funny actually. It wasn't that important I guess but I wanted board approval to pick up new tables for the Hall when I go to Prince George in a couple of weeks.
The only thing that didn't get done today that was fairly important was we needed new screen mesh over the holes in the soffit because the existing screen has all been drilled out by Flickers. But since we had bug screen but not stucco mesh, that didn't get done today. It will as soon as the latter is picked up in town by someone.
It's been overcast every day with some hazy sun on occasion, but it's been really, really warm and muggy. As a result, after that little rain we had a couple of days ago, the bugs have finally arrived in earnest. It was nice because they were a little later this year than last but I think they're going to make up for it. There aren't that many mosquitoes yet but the black flies are vicious, so that's going to be the end of yard work for a few weeks. Maybe that's why everyone pulled out of the community hall so fast. They couldn't stand the bugs any longer. I know they were driving me crazy so I imagine they were everyone else as well. That's the problem with those darned little black flies. Bug repellent deters them not at all. It wouldn't be so bad if they would just land on you but they circle around your head and eyes and get caught in your hair. Then you have to listen to this frantic bzzzzg in your ear while it's there. At least their season is a lot shorter than the mosquito season! Still, I wonder if that was the hatch that the fish were after today. Just before I left for the Hall the fish were feeding like crazy on the lake. Not jumping. Just feeding. And the surface of the lake was covered with water rings. Two sets of our neighbours went out fishing today and caught fish, but it's still not quite as fast and furious as it will be in another couple of weeks.

28/05/2010 8:40 PM

The Bears

We went down to Bella Coola Wednesday and broke our old record for bear sightings with nine. We saw a big old brown black bear going down the Bella Coola Hill in the morning and again going up the Hill in the evening, so technically, we only saw eight different bears. Still, we've only seen eight in the same day once before and we don't know how many of those we saw twice.
The brown bear was not in the least bit afraid of anyone, that's for sure. He was sauntering up the Hill toward us as we came down and stopped to take pictures. He meandered over to the ditch opposite us to partake of some luscious dandelions and only moved up the side of the hill a little when a car came up the road, stopped beside him and the occupants proceeded to take pictures as well. He was farther up the road when we came back up in late afternoon and no less hungry for dandelions than he had been in the morning. He definitely wasn't shy in any way, shape or manner which may have explained why he was so fat. He just never bothered to run anywhere. A friend driving ahead of us said he saw a sow black bear with two brown cubs not far from there that morning so I'm wondering if the big boy we saw was the daddy.
We didn't see any more bears going on into Bella Coola but Andy got some pictures of a gorgeous buck up in the rocks at the bottom of the Hill. The rest of the bears we saw coming back from Bella Coola that afternoon, all black bears with the exception of a grizzly between Heckman Pass and Anahim Lake. Unfortunately, he deked off the road as we came up on him and all I got were fuzzy pictures of him through the buckbrush. I would dearly have loved to have gotten as clear a pictures of him as I did of the other bears.
The day we were in Bella Coola was probably the nicest day we've seen in a long, long time. The weather has been disappointing to say the least and we're all whining about it. We're getting a lot of overcast, a lot of wind, and not a whole lot of sun. The only good thing I guess is that it hasn't gotten particularly cold at night, but you still need a fire because it's cool and damp.
After that warm spell we had weeks ago when everything really started popping, everything kind of went dormant again. The leaves on the aspens have been the same size for ages now. They just stopped developing until the last day or so, and that was because we finally got rain. I don't mind grey overcast days if you have something to show for it. But that wind has just sucked the moisture out of everything and there hasn't been anything to replace it. Yesterday morning started out with some soft spitting and it eventually turned into an all day rain. We probably accumulated a good 3/4 of an inch, or so says the rain gauge. Everything just started greening up immediately and the aspen leaves have finally started growing again.
Today it spit off and on and it remained overcast all day but at least the wind wasn't blowing for a change. The jet stream is way south of us and doing some really wonky things. As a result, up in the Yukon hundreds of miles north of us, it's really warm while the rest of the province has way below normal temperatures. In the east, they're under heat wave warnings and lightning strikes have started numerous forest fires in Quebec overnight. It would be nice if the east shared a little of that hot weather with us. Although I'm sure Alberta would appreciate it even more. They got a whack of snow yesterday in Calgary.
I haven't checked with the guy that organized the fishing derby last weekend yet to see how many people turned out for it, but we and our neighbour went fishing on Sunday. The morning started out beautiful but as is the case with most of our mornings, it rapidly deteriorated to a cold wind and spitting rain. Still, it was fun getting out on the water. We didn't do all that well because we kept catching little guys or spawners, all of which had to be thrown back. But we got four between the three of us and though not the fatties the trout will be by September, they were still respectable. The lake level is still quite high so we were able to take the big boat out for a nice comfortable change in ride. Normally we can't put it into the water because our dock is in water that's too shallow through the summer. But Andy has just finished a plum dock on the north side of our property that is in much deeper water. That will allow us to keep the big boat in all summer and be able to tie up floatplanes.
You'll find previous articles at May Week Two. And yes, I know, I can't say last week's blog because I completely missed last week. When the weather has been really rotten I've been trying to tie up loose ends in my office so that the summer will be my own and the rest of the time I've been trying to get stuff done outside before the bugs come. Right now I've got tomato plants on the window sill that threaten to strangle anyone that sits at our dining room table so the next couple of days will be tied up trying to get those planted into ours and our neighbours' greenhouse. The growing season is upon is even if summer isn't. So I'm sorry folks, but the blogs will probably continue to be as irregular as they have been this spring.
For you locals. There's going to be a clean up party and barbecue at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall on Sunday at 2:00. See you there!

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!
American Pelican in flight.
A brown black bear eats flowers.
A buck in velvet stares down from rocks above.
Long freefalling waterfall.
Shiny black bear.
Black bear with white on chest.
Face on view to a brown colored black bear.
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