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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week One/2013

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.


23/11/2013 11:00 AM

The Ice Up

There is nothing like being able to step outside onto your deck at ten in the morning in a T-shirt, something we haven’t been able to do for a number of days.
Our cold spell has been pushed out and a little warm front has moved in so that it never got below -4C or 25 last night and at eleven this morning it has come up five degrees in the past hour to 4.6C or 40F above. We have a real rarity this time where our warm front is actually coming down from the north which means everyone south of us is colder. It also means that an inversion is setting up so that not only will everyone south of us probably remain colder while higher elevations will be warmer, but most valley communities in BC will probably also be under cloud or fog for the next few days and hopefully, we’ll stay in the sun. Although generally when cold meets warm, you get rain or snow so who knows? All I know is this is a far cry from the –20C temperatures we’ve had for a couple of nights and below freezing temps we’ve had during the day.
All in all, it hasn’t been a bad November. We got one dump of four inches of snow a couple of weeks ago and a couple of smaller snowfalls to total only about five inches, but most of that has settled in the sun or turned to sugar in the woods.
We came out a little better than Williams Lake who broke records for this time of year with a 22 inch snowfall. It did nothing to make the residents there happy, let me tell you! The worst part about it was that there were snowfall warnings out for the Prince George area but nothing south of that so what hit Williams Lake took everyone there by surprise. My sister’s husband is a logging truck driver and like most of the loggers, didn’t go out to work that day so they were standing at their living room window watching highway trucks go through town with chains on. Like he said, you know the roads are bad when the highway truckers chain up! That was one of those times when we Chilcotin types got to be smug. It’s rare so we have to take advantage of it when it happens. :-)
The cold spell also froze both our front and back bays over in a single night, right to the islands in front and clear down to the Dean outlet in the back, so the resort docks are now secure for another winter. You can see the progression of ice in the photos up on the right. The water is still open out on the Main Arm and probably will remain so now for a while with this warm weather, but it means if we don’t get snow that we should build some really good ice over the next few weeks for an ice road over to the boat ramp to go up to Nimpo.
I saw the two baby loons right up until the night the front bay froze over and there was a little area of open water in the middle of the bay the next morning where they like to hang out, so I wonder if they stayed there all night keeping the ice open. If they did, they would probably have ducked under the ice and swam to the Main Arm in the morning when they could see that it was open. Or they simply flew off. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely because when the young ones stay that long they usually stay too long, and get frozen in. But one can hope. At least nothing was frozen into the ice closer in so we didn’t have to watch the Eagles get it. These two never have learned to call very well, and certainly not loudly, so unlike other years, we won’t hear them and know whether they’re still here or not until the Main Arm freezes up.
Andy has been helping a neighbour down at the other end of the lake for weeks now but got one day off to get some wood in and to get the cabin dock moved over to its spot for the winter. He got it done just in time. The next morning the bay was frozen over hard and he would have had to break the ice all the way over to the other shore to get it moved. Or leave it and risk having it ripped to shreds by the ice when it broke up in the spring. Otherwise, everything else that needed to be done to get ready for winter is done, other than we need to get wood when he’s finished down at the north end. It’s not emergency. Our wood shed is still nearly full and we’ve got a few week's supply under the deck, but he likes to have everything brimming over with cut wood.
Up until this week when it got cold, we really didn’t need a lot of wood to keep the house warm. The sun has been shining for at least part of most days and the temperatures have been pretty reasonable. In fact, I’ve only missed a couple of days of walking in the past month because it’s been lots warm enough for it. An ATV went through on the back trail a couple of weeks ago after that four inch snow and until these last few little snows, the trail was excellent for walking. I just went out two days ago and drove over the trail again with our ATV with the wood trailer behind and it’s perfect for walking again.
I saw a flock of birds on my walk today that I’m sure were Cedar waxwings. All I could see was their silhouettes as they flew away from me up into a grove of trees farther from me. They looked like Pine Grosbeaks but I could see crests when they turned their heads against the light and grosbeaks definitely don’t have crests. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a whole flock of them before. Later this afternoon the dogs set up a ruckus as they always do when there’s a large bird like an eagle around, except this time they were just going ballistic so I went out to check on them. A large blue heron was sitting in the top of a tree in the yard but when he saw me he flew down the driveway and settled on top of a spruce there to nap for the rest of the day. They sure are huge birds!
With that, the Waxwings and that Rail that the cat brought into the basement, we’re definitely seeing an array of birds uncommon for around here. Fortunately, the cat hadn’t had a chance to hurt the Rail and Andy was able to catch it and turn it loose outside. We keep expecting to find a loon or duck in our basement one day because the cat has a real affinity for water and seems determined every year to catch a water bird. So far, he’s only succeeded in coming in dripping wet from falling into the lake. I think he gets so focused when he jumps at a bird swimming near the shore that he forgets that he’s going to land on water. Sadly, because of him, I no longer get to watch birds around the feeder which we took down. There was no point in providing the cat with an all you can eat easy buffet. I have a friend that has built a bunch of bluebird nesting boxes that she will be selling at the Christmas craft fair in Anahim Lake, and I would love to buy a couple to put out in the open area at the end of our driveway. Unfortunately, Trouble cruises that area and much farther afield so I would have to put them down at the T intersection a mile away for the birds to be safe from him.
Aside from feathered birds we also had an interesting mechanical bird doing some surveying in the past weeks carrying a large sensor on its tail and more on its wings. Yesterday the pilot seemed to be doing an east west grid over Nimpo Lake on a tight 30 minute turn around and even tighter grid pattern that was only 600 feet apart and only 300 feet off the ground. Apparently the government has started funding geological surveys in the area again, something that I don’t think they’ve done in a number of years. The question is, why? It makes lots of sense to me that large resource companies would do geotech surveys but the government? Hmmm. Here’s a totally outlandish guess. The feds are trying to get BC to stop fighting the northern pipeline. It doesn’t really benefit BC to have a pipeline going through the province putting oil on freighters that could potentially run aground and completely devastate BC’s coastline and of course, her tourism industry. But if they found something in BC to add to the pipeline that would benefit our economy and the people here in a big way, well then maybe BC residents would get on board with the pipeline running from Alberta to the coast. I know, it sounds way out to lunch. But I like conjecture. It’s good for the mind. :-)
I've had to stop writing here today and only just got back to this now after supper. I decided to write three more letters to government ministers about the Discovery Coast Circle Tour. BC Ferries has decided to shut down our summer run from Port Hardy to Bella Coola which will just kill our tourism industry. It’s one of the reasons that there was no blog this week. I have been manufacturing my calendars since October and I finished up for the last client, this past weekend. I actually started a blog last Monday when we heard the bad news so I’ve been writing letters and emails ever since. I don’t know how much good it will do but if I lend my voice to all the others in the business of providing accommodation in the Chilcotin and Cariboo, maybe it will do some good.
Hey, I just came across a link of four guys that went mountain biking into the southern Chilcotin. The guy that took these photos is one heck of a photographer and he did an amazing job of showing just how spectacular this country is. Follow the link at Four Chilcotins in the Chilcotins.
Last month's blog is at October Week Three.


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!
The bay is white with ice and a skiff of snow to the island.
 
Ice pans lie on the surface of Nimpo Lake.
 
Sunset over the lake just before freeze up.
 
A Great Blue Heron in a tree top.
 
A red and white and blue airplane flies over with sensor equipment attached.
 
About four inches of fresh snow covers everything.
 
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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