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 4/2009
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The Weather Change
we had some wild and woolly winds! It rock and rolled
all day and didn't calm down until around supper time.
I thought sure we were going to lose some more trees.
We made out okay, but the rear rope on the boat broke
loose from the dock and swung the boat around to the front
of the dock rather than along side. That put force on
the dock all day until a nut loosened off the bolt on
one side holding one section of the dock to the next.
We were having a late supper after Andy got back from
Williams Lake and probably wouldn't have noticed it if
Cat hadn't started barking. She was out on the front deck
and saw the boat where it wasn't supposed to be. I looked
out the window and went, "Whoa!!! The boat's loose!"
and we roared down to the dock. Andy got everything put
back together again but had the wind lasted much longer,
we would have lost half the dock and the
It sure was a nasty one and the wind made it way too miserable
to work outside. The neighbour was telling me today that
he only lost one tree but a lot of the trees have
cracks in the soil around the base and some roots have
broken free. I guess I should check around the
base of some of our trees as well. If we didn't have trees
with a permanent bend in them before, we certainly do
I couldn't believe my ears when I heard an airplane engine
rumbling somewhere in the back bay. I thought, "Man,
anyone taking off in this is going to be airborne in a
hurry but is it ever going to be a rough ride!"
Sure enough, a small floatplane went shooting by our
point into the wind and was in the air immediately,
but he was getting rocked side to side pretty badly until
he got up quite high. First you would see one wing dip
drastically, then the other. I'm sure glad I wasn't a
passenger or I would have been wearing my lunch.
I saw a couple of bigger boats out on Nimpo Lake yesterday
morning but I think they skedaddled off the lake in hurry
once the winds really got going. We had some pretty good
waves coming in and it was not a day for
fishing. By contrast, today was perfect for it. We did
have a wind start up midday but it settled down into little
more than a breeze. Our skies were a pure blue and you
could just about see plants and grass growing with all
the sunshine and warm temperatures. Even the leaves
on the aspen and arctic willow are popping out like crazy.
It's still freezing at night which may be what is slowing
down the mosquitoes. They're still almost non existent
but that wind yesterday sure brought in a horde of black
flies. I haven't seen one prior to today, and suddenly
we're inundated with them. Especially if you're around
water of any kind. They really seem to be drawn to sprinklers
and such. The only nice thing about them is that they
vanish as soon as you're in a breeze or wind, but they
can sure be an annoyance buzzing around your face when
there is no breeze.
Our temperatures were up to 17C or 63F today.
They may have been much higher but I wasn't in the house
until late afternoon and forgot to look at the thermometer.
It's still 14C out there at 8:30 at night, which is amazing
for May, except that the sun doesn't go down now until
well after 9:00. I know the thermometer in the greenhouse
read 47C or 117F in the sun at one point this afternoon,
and that was with the screen window at the back and the
automatic window at the front both open. We may have to
get a fan in there sooner than expected.
There is a high pressure system building that is supposed
to bring really nice weather to the whole province for
the next four days at least. I very much look forward
to that. I'm hoping we don't have high winds with it so
that I can get lots of work done outside. We haven't had
a really good stretch of sunny, warm weather for some
time so I'm pretty excited about it. Now we just
have to see if the weather forecasters are right or wrong.
weather today has been very iffy. It's been pretty overcast
most of the day although the sky has lightened up a few
times so that you could feel the sun's heat. Not often
though. For the most part it's been windy and although
it was up to 14C or 57F this afternoon, that wind still
has a real chill and it's just plain nasty when it blows.
However, the few times it's stopped, the mosquitoes make
an appearance, so it's just as well.
It was a couple of degrees below freezing again
last night and I think that, as much as anything, has
helped to keep the mosquitos down. There's still
very few on the property but they're definitely noticeable
in the woods where it's fairly still. I finally had time
to go for a walk for the first time in a week and the
faces on both black dogs ended up covered in mozzies.
So far it's a far cry from last year when were inundated
by both black flies and mosquitoes by the middle of May.
Here we're almost to the end of the month and they're
not bad at all. I'm sure that will change when it warms
It's still pretty dry out there, even after that snow
last week. I noticed today that the moss in the woods
is back to being very crunchy, a bad sign when it comes
to forest fire danger. And of course the high winds we've
been getting dry things out in a hurry.
It's official. Now I'm certain that Vancouver has
stolen our weather. They had a gorgeous day today
and will have for the next few days, while as usual, we've
another nasty system coming in from the Pacific bringing
more high winds and possibly rain. I'm starting to get
a little P.O.d with Mother Nature and I know the grass
and plants would sure appreciate some warmer temperatures,
as would the fishermen. While several floatplanes took
off and landed today, there sure weren't many boats out
on Nimpo Lake. There were some pretty good waves rolling
in with the wind today and I expect the air would be just
plain raw out there.
It sure is nice to see and hear the charter planes
again. We've a new service on the lake that is
just using a single plane right now but presumably they
plan to grow. I just hope there's enough tourism business
this season for both businesses to make it. It will be
a tough year for all the operators.
I have to make a correction to the story below.
I had written that there had been a moratorium throughout
B.C. on Grizzly bears. I had completely forgotten that
there were limited entry hunts for them in other parts
of the province in the Synopsis last year as well as this
year. But there's still no season here where we need it
and I really don't know why. The following excerpt from
an article in the Globe and Mail a year ago is telling.
The article is against trophy hunting grizzly bears and
talks about a poll being done at random of people 18 years
and older, and I'm willing to bet over 90% polled,
lived in cities. This was pushed by bear viewing
companies. Obviously it's in their best interest to have
huge populations of bears to show tourists.... more money
in their pockets. But most of those in favor of the return
of a moratorium on hunting grizzly bears do not live in
the bush so they could care less about the threat to wildlife
populations and livestock, pets and people. Here's the
year, approximately 430 grizzlies were killed in B.C.,
with about 300 of them taken by sports hunters and the
rest killed as problem bears. The B.C. government has
argued the hunt is sustainable. But the poll found that
just 18 per cent of British Columbians find such assertions
credible, while 73 per cent said they agree with scientists
who say the hunt should be stopped because of a lack of
reliable population data."
First of all, look at the numbers. Of 430 grizzlies killed,
nearly one third were problem bears. That's
unheard of when you consider that grizzly bears rarely
wander into cities and towns the way black bears do. As
to the last sentence.... British Columbians are trusting
the 'scientists', assuming that the biologists don't have
their own agenda. Sorry, but they do. We've run into that
time and time again out here where Tweedsmuir Park
biologists call it 'their' park and as far as they're
concerned, they would prefer that people not even be allowed
in the park. They're also the ones who have tried
to close most of the country to us for recreational use
to preserve the Caribou herds, which in fact, are thriving.
I find it hard to believe that the 'scientists' can't
get reliable population data for grizzly bears. They have
it for every other animal in this region, they know exactly
how many grizzly bears are in the Atnarko River system,
so how is it they can't get those figures for the rest
of B.C.???? Mmmmm. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
So you close down all grizzly bear hunting. That
means the population increases so one has to assume that
there'll be an increase in the number of problem bears
that have to be shot. After large populations
of grizzly bears have wiped out wildlife herds, (They've
already done a pretty good job of it.) where do you suppose
they'll go for food then? Salmon runs are down and the
bears need a high fat, high protein diet before they can
den up in the fall. How do you suppose they'll sustain
that diet? Well if they went into the cities and
ate a few tree hugger's pets, then I wouldn't mind at
all. But instead, they'll continue to prey on
livestock and decimate wildlife herds. But there's only
so much food to go around and when you have no natural
predators, and the game herds are smaller than they were
a hundred years ago, what do you suppose will be the end
result? Hungry bears means more problem bears, which means
more shot, and the bears will start to die from disease
and starvation. As I mentioned yesterday, the local economy
does not benefit at all from that result. In fact, no
one benefits, including the bears.
Hump Day folks! For those of you stuck inside at work,
you may have missed a pretty nice day depending on where
you live, particularly those in BC. I think the Lower
Mainland has been getting some pretty nice weather, although
since I missed the news tonight, I'm not sure. I know
the weather forecasters are sure showing a lot of sunshine
for the coast for the next week while central and north
coast are seeing low pressure systems coming in from the
Pacific. I'm reasonably sure that Vancouver has
somehow stolen our weather for the last three or four
years. We usually see nothing but sunshine in
this country, winter and summer, but the
Lower Mainland seems to be getting our share while we're
getting a lot more of the weather they used to get.
Neither yesterday or today were bad days here except for
the wind. We've had mostly sun both days but today the
wind was out of the north and it had a real chill to it.
In fact, if you could get out of the wind and stay in
the sun yesterday, it was almost too hot while today it
was just barely pleasant. Step into the shade and
you suddenly had an arctic chill. I don't know
where the cold came from but it dropped to a couple of
degrees below freezing last night and took its own sweet
time warming up today. I think it made it to 10C or 50F
on the thermometer but that may have been in the sun since
it was this afternoon before I thought to look at it.
Andy and the guys went quadding up the mountain today,
or I should say, tried to. They only got part way up on
our sled trail before running into snow and one of them
got stuck, so they meandered around the countryside checking
things out. Andy said it was the same up there as it was
down here, bloody cold if you were in the wind. He
also said they ran across a monstrous grizzly track over
on the Telegraph and a smaller track at the head of the
Atnarko valley. I can see the latter because the
Atnarko River valley is a straight shot down into the
Bella Coola Valley and is a well known grizzly corridor
with approximately 75 of them claiming that territory.
I don't much like hearing of them closer though, especially
a really big one. We seem to be plagued with the things
suddenly. A big grizzly was spotted on a walking trail
behind Dean River Place at the other end of the lake,
and there's one down around Towdystan causing problems,
and apparently it's not afraid of much, including
I get thoroughly tired of hearing the tree huggers talk
about how the provincial government has to keep the moratorium
against grizzly hunts in place rather than reviewing and
removing it after several years. The grizzly bear has
no natural enemies in North America. It's at the
top of the food chain and the only species capable of
keeping the numbers down is human. The BC Government
has for years, prior to the moratorium, had very strict
regulations and quotas on the number of grizzly taken
on hunts so it's not like there was ever a wholesale slaughter
of the animal. Now they have become so overpopulated that
they're moving into human habitat (and it's not like there's
a lot of that around here). They are causing serious problems
in Bella Coola arriving in back yards where kids play
as well as killing each other, and up here on the plateau
they're wiping out the game population as well as slaughtering
livestock. I would like to see every tree hugger that
wants to 'Save the Grizzly', which I assure
you does not need saving, walk in the woods
and stay in a tent in grizzly country for about a week,
and we get to take bets on whether or not they become
I think that if the grizzly population continues to grow,
you may see people in the region forced to take matters
into their own hands like the ranchers used to way back
when. Which is unfortunate, because it's against the law
to shoot a grizzly in BC, the shooter is going to end
up getting nailed just for attempting to protect their
livestock, pets, yard, or person. It makes more
sense to have limited entry hunts for the bear to keep
the population within reasonable bounds. It brings
revenue to our area every time a bear hunter comes in
which helps the local economy, and it keeps the guide
outfitters operating, as well as making our residential
areas safer. Instead, in the end, there will be bears
shot and dumped in the woods, with the hide wasted and
the local economy gets no benefit. Obviously the tree
huggers haven't taken that into consideration, but then
I've met few tree huggers that have a realistic view of
The Canoe Race
Folks. I apologize for the long stretch between blogs
but it's been a busy week. I worked up at the car wash
planting on Thursday, had a meeting all day Friday, and
it was Andy's birthday on Saturday which required a feast
to be prepared. He nearly went into the canoe races when
Richard thought he might be short a partner but it turned
out he didn't have to. I think he might be planning on
it next year, even if it is crazy.
There were eleven or twelve canoes, three of which
were manned by girls. One of theirs broke in half
part way down the river and they ended up walking to Anahim
Lake. Another pair that were in third place and going
strong and up with a hole in their canoe. Baling water
out of the canoe constantly slowed them right down until
they could get to a spot where the river came close to
the road and they could borrow a roll of duct tape. Since
they had to stop to duct tape the canoe up, they ended
up coming in seventh.
The only out of towners, a couple of guys from Bella Coola,
won after they and the second place contenders holed each
other's canoes. I guess the two pair were neck and neck
but after the holes, both were slowed down considerably.
I don't know if the Bella Coola guys carried theirs the
rest of the way or if their canoe wasn't leaking as badly,
but they made it in first. It's too bad. It's always nice
to see locals win, but then again, perhaps this will draw
more 'out of towners' next year.
It was sunny and hot yesterday. Perfect for a canoe race
because nearly everyone ends up in the water taking the
canoes over beaver dams and portaging short cuts, and
that water is cold! But a few of the competitors
ended up pretty dehydrated, which is to be expected when
you paddle as hard as you can for over three hours straight,
and don't take water with you. Well, I guess a few of
the competitors had refreshments, but certainly not the
kind I would consider refreshing when you're working hard
and sweating. Those canoes came last, of course, but I'm
sure the paddlers had fun in their own way. Gotta
like people that don't take a competition too seriously.
There was a terrific turnout of people watching the race.
I was amazed at the number of people over at the boat
ramp for the send off. I took pictures of the racers as
they swung down Nimpo Lake toward the bridge, swapped
lenses, and then handed off the camera to Andy, who drove
around by road to the bridge. He made it there in time
to take more pictures as the paddlers entered the Dean
River and then continued down the river to the next bridge.
He said it was absolutely amazing how many people had
turned out to watch and at one spot along the river, there
were so many vehicles parked along the highway that they
nearly blocked the road. I'm sure the awesome weather
had a lot to do with the great turnout, but it's
nice to see the spectators come out and support the racers
from both communities.
It's still been getting down a little at night temperature
wise, and in fact it's frozen a night or two this past
week so it's kept the mosquitoes down, but our day time
temps are great! Yesterday was warm and sunny all day
and you could sit outside in the sun quite comfortably
in the evening. Today I didn't get home until supper time
but it was still over 17C or 63F and that wasn't in the
sun. It was actually glorious for a good part of the day
but by this afternoon a high haze started moving in and
by supper, it was thick enough that there was no sun.
That's okay, though. It'll keep the air warm overnight
and I'll have to worry less about the plants in the greenhouse.
Speaking of which.....
Would anyone know why my cucumber plants might be dying?
I discovered Friday that midday it was 40C or 104F
in the greenhouse before I opened up the door, which may
explain why the cuc's are fading fast, but the
rest of the plants are looking marvelous and don't seem
to be affected by the heat at all. I hadn't been home
the two days before so I'm assuming it got nearly as hot
Thursday. The cucumber plants are definitely dying and
I don't know if it's the heat, they have too much water,
the soil is too rich, the sun is too bright, or if as
one dinner companion suggested last night, they should
have been planted in hills which provides for better drainage.
The plants are wilting badly and a few have turned yellow.
The stems and leaves just lay on the ground instead of
standing perked up as you would expect them to, and the
stems are flattened out, wrinkled, and translucent, just
where they leave the soil. If anyone has any suggestions
or ideas, please let me know! And here I was so looking
forward to our own cucumbers this summer. At least
I have one tiny zucchini coming, the Swiss chard is growing
nicely, and the tomato plants are just basking in the
heat. I don't think you can ever get it too hot for toms.
I think our weather is supposed to deteriorate a little
for the next two days because there's a cold front moving
in. That bodes well for the plants I still need to transplant
up at the car wash and a little cool down won't hurt my
feelings at all. But it is supposed to get really nice
again on Wednesday and right through the weekend and that's
great for the trees and lawn. The aspen and willows are
just starting to bud out so we should see some leaves
in the first week of June.
I don't guarantee that there'll be regular blogs here
for the next week or so because I've got a lot of work
on my plate coming up. Sorry about that folks!
This is the start of a new week so 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!