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 - Nov, Week 2/2006
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you
at the bottom of this page. Check out the
of the Day.
More Storm Warnings
day all. Much of British Columbia is under a storm
warning again of one sort or another. To the north,
it's a snowfall warning. To the south, rainfall. And many
of those points between including the Cariboo Chilcotin,
are under a severe wind warning with winds between 60
and 90km per hour or 40 to 50mph.
The winds were pretty wild this morning. There was a lot
of ice on the lake out from the back bay and off our point
as well as in the reeds this morning but after the wind
started up, it didn't take long for it to push the ice
into shore and break it up into noisy klinkers. We
watched the snow up on the Hooch and old Nimpo Lake airport
across the lake being funneled up into the sky while massive
amounts of snow blew out of the trees.
Our beetle killed pine don't rock gently in the wind anymore
as they did when they were still green. I don't know if
it's because the structural integrity of the roots has
changed or the tree is just less supple and limber because
it has dried out within the trunk. Now the trees seem
almost to 'jerk' slightly and the limbs with the dried
up old needles on them no longer sway but just kind of
shake. In fact they shake quite a pile of dead needles
into the eavestrough every time there's a breeze! We'll
see how well they survive the predicted winds tonight.
I'm just hoping they stay upright until we can get them
cut down this winter since most of them are pretty close
to the house.
This next storm coming in off the coast is actually
made up of two huge lows that look like they're on a collision
course. Even I'm starting to feel really sorry
for those poor sods to the south. Western Oregon, Washington
State and southern British Columbia are just getting pummeled
and they've got to be getting thoroughly sick of it. More
flood warnings for all of them and of course if you look
at some of the web cams up on the passes such as the Coq
and the Connector to Kelowna, the highways are in pretty
ugly condition there too. Lots of clips on the newscasts
with cars strewn all over highways and ditches.
We watched the American news out of Washington for a few
moments tonight. The DOT there is highly concerned about
three of their main highway bridges and say they'll probably
be closed for a while if the winds clock the speeds they're
predicted to. Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself
just how lucky we are with no possible flooding here and
rarely are we under deluge from rain. The most we
ever have to worry about is a big snowfall and just about
everyone around here is praying for just exactly that!
Our highway isn't great right now what with the compact
snow, so I'm assuming the maintenance boys are waiting
for it to warm up tonight and tomorrow before putting
sand on the highway. That would be a good time because
all the sand has to do is melt into the highway just enough
to give grit for traction. Then if it gets cold, as is
predicted, it'll be like driving on sandpaper. If
they don't get it sanded in the next 24 hours,
they'll have lost their opportunity and we'll all be driving
on sheer ice for the next while. Sand just blows off if
it's put on the highway when it's too cold. At least we
got our road plowed today and a good job they did of it
Okay folks, that's the update for today. Back to work
I go...as usual. I finally sent out the last parcels today
with fridge magnet calendars for my clients. I've held
off the folks that have ordered websites while I was doing
calendars, but the fun's over and I need to get on to
that next so I'm not too sure how things look for an article
tomorrow. But don't worry, if anything exciting happens,
Don't forget to check out the Picture
of the Day!
everyone. I hope you all had a good weekend and for those
of you that got the extra day because of Remembrance Day,
happy long weekend!
Last night it started snowing early in the evening and
other than slowing down a bit off and on, it didn't stop
all night. We woke up to five inches of snow this
morning, which is amazing since these were never
big, fat furry snowflakes. No sir. Itty bitty, tiny things
that you could barely see and still it managed
to build up. It's pretty dense too because it's so dry
and it fell over such a long period of time. When you
push a shovel full of this stuff, you've got a little
It never got that cold last night and stayed only a degree
or two below freezing all day except in the sun where
the snow melted slightly on the deck. The lake must
be really cold though. If you look at the picture
up on the right, in many places close to shore and out
in the reed beds, the snow is slushy on the surface of
the water and unless we get a breeze, will probably turn
to winter ice. As warm as the temperature of the water
was with the long, hot summer, you wouldn't think it would
have dropped to freezing farther out from shore and this
early in the year. It looks like freeze up will be on
time after all this year. Ice is extending well out into
the back bay now where all the docks are parked for the
winter as well.
Those crazy ducks are still diving for goodies in
that freezing water but they're no longer able
to come in close to shore among the reeds where all the
good grits are. They just can't break through that slushy
ice that has formed overnight. I expect they'll be leaving
soon. There definitely aren't as many around as there
We spoke to friends last night that had come in from Vancover,
as well as friends that drove the other way yesterday.
Snowing hard all the way from the top of the hill
at Sheep Creek just out of Williams Lake clear to home.
The other folks said they ran into a little of everything
on the way down through the Fraser Canyon including icy
roads, sleet, rain and snow.
Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are getting pounded by
rain again and there's another system coming in tonight.
According to the weather channel, it's going to be a little
nastier than last night's. It looks like we might get
a piece of it but that's okay. The snowmobiles are
ready and raring to go! Well, except that I have
a lot of work to do. But still....I wonder if anyone would
notice if I snuck away for a little ride....lol.
Wouldn't you know it, I've been diligent about carrying
my camera the last couple of days up to Nimpo and not
a sign of the hawk. Or anything else for that matter.
It seems Mother Nature may be conspiring against me. Watch,
next time I don't take the camera, I'll see a cougar or
saskquatch or something!
Okay folks, I'm sorry but I have to keep this little update
short. I'm back to work and hopefully will see you tomorrow.
Don't forget to check out the Picture
of the Day, I'm posting
one of Bill and Anita's pictures of a moose, but the even
more spectacular one of it running through the water will
be posted tomorrow.
The Eleventh Hour
the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month has passed by yet
Everyone has their own way of observing Remembrance
Day and since I'm not wont to public displays,
I prefer to observe it at home. The television generally
shows ceremonies from all across the country. Just pick
one. It doesn't matter which one I watch, it's going to
be personal and it's going to be sad. My father spent
a lot of years in the Army and fought in two wars, both
Korea and the Second World War and I have a brother that
just returned from Iraq last spring, as well as a long
tradition of family on boths sides that served in wars
clear back and beyond the beginning of American history.
Like my partner, who's father was also in the armed
forces, it doesn't matter which ceremony we watch,
I'm going to get choked up when they start playing the
bagpipes, whether "Amazing Grace" or the "Lament".
Today, Andy chose to go to the police station in Anahim
Lake where they held a Remembrance Day ceremony and as
he says, "They didn't do a half bad job of it."
No matter where or how you observe Remembrance Day, it's
important to do so and it's good to see so many young
people participating as well. Perhaps it's because it's
a lot closer to home now. Not something that occurred
in the far distant past and before many people were born,
but rather war is something that is occurring now, today.
So far, Canadian Forces have had the highest number
of casualties this year while in Afghanistan, second only
to the US, whom we all know to have taken monsterous losses
in Iraq. And yet if you listen to soldiers that
have been severely injured in either country, or parents
of soldiers killed, they all feel there's a need
for their presence in those countries. They point out
that the rest of Canadians do not understand
how deep that need is, or how important they feel their
A young man local to British Columbia, Shawn Hlookoff,
wrote an incredible song this past year called, "Soldier".
He made it into a video and had a lot of CD's made up
and shipped them to the Canadians based in Kandahar because
whether what they were doing was considered in future
to be right or wrong, he wanted to show the soldiers
there that he supports them and believes in them. His
words on his website are, "I wrote this song to
raise awareness about the men and women who are risking
their lives for their country and not receiving the respect
they deserve. I am moved to see that so many of you feel
the same way about this issue." There is no political
comment in this song, it doesn't take sides, it's just
about respect. The CD is in huge demand now and I can
see why. Hearing him today, and on the news yesterday
is some special experience....almost as good as the bagpipes.
Actually, his song was played while they showed the pictures
and name of each Canadian Soldier killed in the past year.
It was very fitting. You can listen to or download the
song for free at his website Hlookoff.com,
I think the reason why I feel so strongly about this is
because I, like many other people, fear that the Afghanistan
and Iraq wars will be the next 'Vietnam' and that our
soldiers will be treated much like veterans of Vietnam
when they returned home. No one deserves that. Blame the
government or the politicians if you will but never blame
A Day Late
a dollar short...again. I know I keep saying it but really,
I've got to start carrying my camera slung
around my neck, all the time. Someday, I'm
going to learn my lesson.
This morning I was driving down our road to Anahim Lake
and just around the one corner, here's this hawk
tearing chunks off of a bird carcass right on the edge
of the road. As I got closer the hawk tried to
lift up with the bird in his beak and couldn't so then
he started pulling the bird backwards trying to get it
off the road. Still too heavy and I was getting
closer. Finally, regretfully almost, he took flight
just as I started to pass him and his meal. I had pulled
over to the other side of the road but the vehicle still
scared him. It flew back and forth in front of me as I
drove slowly down the road and I kept hoping he would
veer off and go back to his dinnner. I saw no point
in him wasting this dinner and killing another just because
he was scared off of it.
I pulled over on one side of the road as far as I could
and he finally turned around and flew back past me to
the carcass, now about a hundred yards back. Other than
the fact that I could easily have gotten several terrific
pictures, first of this predator on his kill, and then
flying, it's the second hawk I've seen in a week. I don't
think I've seen two hawks out in this country twice in
a summer! Remarkably, this hawk wasn't colored at all
like the one hanging around our feeder. This one was snow
white with definite grey spots and markings on it. (And
no, it was not a snowy Owl, thank you.)
There are only two hawks in my bird book that even come
close to the one I saw today, (and one wasn't even a hawk)
making it much easier to identify than the other one.
Listed as a Northern Goshawk, "A rare to uncommon
hawk of the northern forests, large enough to prey on
grouse and squirrels. Recognized by its large size."
The one picture of the bird looked very little like the
one I saw, but another picture of it looked very similiar
to the bird. Strangely enough, the female has the coloring
of the one I saw today, but the male and
immature has the coloring of the one that's been hanging
around the house. Since I saw both birds within a half
mile of each other, are they mates? Or is
one the offspring of the big white and grey predator I
The other picture in my bird book that looked very much
like my bird of today was of a Gyrfalcon. Listed as, "An
Arctic bird, rarely wandering south of Canada. White phase
is in Greenland and black phase is in western Canada and
the more common grey phase is in between. Preys on birds
and rodents. Has a slow wingbeat and fast flight. Note
the large size and pale facial markings."
Well, we're in western Canada but this bird was most definitely
not in the 'black phase'. He also didn't look to be in
the 'white phase' according to the picture. He did, however,
look just like the bird in the illustration in the 'grey
phase' and I would definitely describe his flight as being
very fast but with a strangely slow wing beat. It
was really unusual looking, in fact.
Unfortunately, I'm not much of a birder and when I see
something as fantastic as that unfolding before me, while
I'm trying to negotiate an icy road, I tend not to think
to take note of things like the, "Broad white eye
strip," and, "Note also the fluffy white undertail
coverts often present." I'm actually not too sure
what a covert is. Underwear? Anyway, I do
try to work hard on taking note of as many details as
I can while attempting to identify something, but to be
honest, the pure fluid beauty of most animals and predatory
birds is just magical to me, and I'm just too busy 'watching'
to be taking down notes. Which is probably why National
Geographic has never called me to go on assignment for
I do have to say a sad goodbye to the grouse that lost
his life to the hawk (or falcon) today. I don't know how
many times I've nearly run over the silly fool this fall.
His blunt refusal to move off of the road on that
corner has been hilarious. Apparently dangerous
and eventually fatal as well. I'm never sure whether grouse
are just really, really dumb, or just plain
arrogant but I suspect the former. I've just never figured
out how they've lasted this long without evolving into
something just a little quicker, brighter, or something
besides good tasting.
I'm mystified as to why I'm suddenly seeing more hawks.
Is it because there are no longer lots of fat, green pine
needles on the trees now? Most of our lodgepole
pine is in the red stage after being destroyed by the
pine beetle. Although the needles are still there,
they're dehydrated now and every windstorm sweeps more
of them to the ground. Perhaps there isn't as good a cover
on the forest floor from the evergreen boughs overhead
that there once was. It would be much easier for predatory
birds to see their prey and if the pickings were good,
they might be sticking around rather than passing through.
Not only are we seeing an increase in woodpeckers,
including the uncommon Pileated woodpecker, but if we're
also seeing more hawks, what else has or will change?
I for one can't wait to see. On the other hand, I may
have just bored the heck out of 80% of the readers of
this blog. If so, I'm sorry.
A quick update on the weather for those of you coming
to the Chilcotin, leaving it, or with summer residences
here. It's a little colder and unsettled. In fact it was
downright grim looking out earlier this afternoon. We're
due to get snow for the next three days and it was definitely
snowing enough to have to clear the deck before I barbequed
tonight. The side roads are little icy and ice continues
to build on the calm parts of Nimpo Lake.
Most of the people that don't stick around for the winter
have either left already or will by this weekend. In a
way, I suppose it would be nice to go to warmer climes
for the winter. But I really like the distinct seasons
and the winter recreation. Maybe when I get older...
For anyone that hasn't noticed, I've started a new week.
Last week's articles can be found at November,
Week One and whatever you
do, don't forget to check out the Picture
of the Day . If you didn't
read last night's article I'll just let you know that
I've received some terrific pictures from around the Chilcotin
taken by Bill and Anita Miller this summer and trust me,
I will be posting as many as I can get away with each
day. The fantastic picture up on the right of Muir
Lake mirroring the mountains and sky near Chilko should
be a postcard.
Last and final note everyone. Tomorrow is Remembrance
Day and no matter what your views might be on war, we
should never forget. We enjoy the right to speak
the language we please, practice the religion or beliefs
we choose, and have the undeniable right to vote for our
representatives in government. A lot of good young
men have died in the past century to give us that right
and many men that did come home, came home changed forever.
We still have guys at war today and they should have our
support, no matter what.
See you tomorrow.
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!