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The Dean on Nimpo is the starting point for numerous activities in the West Chilcotin
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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week Two/2009

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' about the Lakesounds just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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13/11/2009 7:28 PM

Klinkers

Yesterday morning I got up to ice frozen out from our shoreline at least 20 or 30 feet. It was -14C 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit when Andy got up and was still -12C when I got up. Heavy frost had coated the ice pure white and mist was rising up from the surface of the lake. The open water near the ice was moving very slowly the way oil does because the temperature of the water was so cold. Eventually a breeze came up later in the morning and I got to listen to the klinkers all day. That's the musical sound made by chunks of ice broken up by the wind klinking against each other. It's a really pretty sound similar to certain wind chimes. It was probably fortunate all the ice from the shore in front broke up by today because my other half needed to jack up the section of dock connected to the shore to get the barrels out of the water. That way once the lake freezes over, the dock won't sustain any damage when the ice begins to move in the spring. Had it been yesterday, he would have had a lot tougher time than just climbing into the water with chest waders. He would have to have broken up the ice around the dock first, and that might not have been easy. One chunk of ice that broke off the ice shelf in front of the house yesterday was well over an inch thick. That's pretty mighty for just one night of hard freezing.
This constant freezing of different sections of the lake, and breaking up of the ice which then melts, all serves to cool the lake water down just that much faster. All it would take is a few more nights like the last couple, and a good bit of Nimpo Lake would be frozen over. It's already -8C or 17F this evening and it's supposed to get quite cold tonight. However, there's a Pineapple Express building out in the Pacific that just may bring some warmer temperatures. It's also supposed to bring a whole pile of rain and snow to most of British Columbia.
Won't that be special....
Today was a good day to be outside getting things done. The sun was shining and though the breeze was cold, it wasn't that unpleasant outside. Besides, it was the first day I could spare away from the computer because I'm betwixt and between on calendar work at the moment, so I'm taking advantage of it, believe you me!
Aside from the dock raised, we got my composter emptied and moved back up close to the house and in full sunshine so it will work through the winter. It's a real heat sink where I had it down by the greenhouse in the summer, but the sun no longer goes high enough this time of year to clear the trees in front of the greenhouse, so very little sun hits the composter. It's amazing how noticeable the sun's track is compared to even a month ago. It's not that high above the horizon right now, and we still have another five weeks to get through before it's at its lowest point in the sky at noon and then starts climbing again.
We split a little firewood as well, mainly because I wanted a refresher course on the log splitter because Andy's going to be driving truck down in Bella Coola for a few days. If it gets cold I can split wood instead of using up our stacked wood and the hydraulic splitter makes it pretty easy now. Boy, that's a great investment and worth its weight in gold! If you heat a lot with wood, it's well worth the money to get an automatic splitter and a huge savings on your shoulders when you don't have to wield an ax or splitting maul every day.
Our last chore was to do a little clean up outside the basement door where the radial arm saw is located. We still had lots of pieces of two by four left over from building the greenhouse and whatever other projects we were on this summer. So those got cut up for firewood and the area cleared out a bit. We're eyeing up the space for a small hot tub. We were going to put one outside our bedroom door upstairs, but if we're going to get a hot tub this winter, it's already wired for one downstairs and would be easier to install there than up on the porch roof in the middle of winter. We just need to source some patio doors so we can close the area in to keep it warm while we're in the tub, but that we can open up for ventilation the rest of the time. I think we would both benefit from taking a dip now and then. Or our poor, beat up old bones would, anyway. Other than that, most of the pre-winter chores are pretty much done. Now it's just the usual stuff, like clearing snow off the decks whenever we get some, as we did this morning.
The birds have gone into full winter mode too. The chickadees don't even bother to look for seeds in the wild to eat now. They just spend all day raiding the feeder for sunflower seeds. I've got a new buddy now. A little woodpecker that comes several times a day for seeds. He must have decided that it was way less work to get seeds at the feeder than to look for bugs under tree bark. The chickadees weren't too sure what to make of him at first, but they seem to have gotten used to him now and he's become a regular fixture throughout the day.
The immature loon I've seen off and on lately is still around. You can see from the picture up on the right that it's an immature from its coloring. It's still grey and white and just starting to develop its black and white spots of maturity.
The last couple evenings the view in the dark has been interesting. Merritt torched some monster piles of slash over on the Hooch Wednesday and yesterday that are large enough, you can see the red glow of the flames from here at night. It's really eerie looking. And the numerous smoke plumes during the day have been reminiscent of this summer's forest fire season.
It looks like we made it through another Friday the Thirteenth again. I hope you all did as well. Have a good weekend, everyone!
10/11/2009 8:52 PM

The Mixed Weather

I'm really, really sorry for not writing, folks. I just have not had time to write. I probably still wouldn't except that I was trying to make a deadline for a shipment to go out tomorrow but it turns out it's a holiday and I can't ship anything to Williams Lake for cutting until Friday. I had forgotten about that. So I'm taking time out to write a quick update on what's happening in the Chilcotin, and for the most part, that would be weather.
I've mentioned this before, but really, if we didn't have weather to talk about, I'm not sure what would be discussed between people greeting each other in passing. We must drive people from other cultures crazy. Think about it. There's a lot of old cultures out there where the people have long since accepted that there isn't a damned thing they can do about the weather. Not us North Americans, and Canadians in particular. For some reason, we must think we can affect change on Mother Nature just by talking about it or we wouldn't do it so much.
We've had a real mixed bag for the past few days varying from rain to heavy frost to snow, to fog and cold. It's been dropping down as low as -8C or 17F at night but most days it's made it up above freezing, although it's often been a long slow climb, and a short time there before dropping again. Actually, I shouldn't say that. It got up over 3C yesterday and turned out to be a really beautiful day by late afternoon, but by then I had a meeting to go to. Up until then, it alternated between snow flurries and all out blizzard right from before daybreak. We ended up with a couple of inches of snow on the ground and the ground is frozen pretty hard now, finally.
The lake is starting to freeze up. Just a few days ago there was only about four feet of ice out from the shore in the back bay where it's protected, but this morning the bay was frozen over and all the docks are frozen in for the winter. The waves beat the ice back a bit by this afternoon, but that's exactly what will cool the lake water down is that melting ice. The Dean River is also frozen on the surface in both directions after it exits Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake froze over completely on Sunday. That seemed awfully early to me but someone I was talking to in Anahim that has been in this country for a long time recollected it being frozen over much sooner back when. It's true, our falls started earlier and were much cooler 20 years ago than they are now. We had leaves on the trees well into October this year and that's unbelievable when you consider I've seen years out here when the aspen leaves had turned brown and dropped off or been blown off by wind in the first week of September. In any case, our lake is in no danger of freezing up any time soon unless we get a drastic drop in temperature like we did in 2006 and 2007.
I'm really hoping we get a slow freeze on the lake this year. I thought I saw something frozen into the overnight ice in the back bay this morning when walking the babysit dog, but it was too far for me to tell what it was. I didn't have the heart to go back and get binoculars because I really didn't want to know. The sight of that loon that was frozen in overnight a couple of years ago still haunts me. I wish now that we had just shot it.
Today there were a pair of muskrats playing around in the water right in front of the house with a duck in the water and a dog on shore. The presence of others didn't seem to faze these two at all. They acted like it was spring time! I snuck down to the shore line to make sure that neither were beaver and of course once I got close enough, it was obvious what they were. One guy would just lay still in the water and sun himself while the other cruised around through the reeds, then they would start chasing one another. The fat one would tire of that pretty quickly and go back to sunbathing. They must have one heck of a warm winter coat on them!
There's still at least one loon hanging around yet. I've seen him off and on between here and the island for the past couple of weeks, and again today. He's getting bigger so hopefully he'll have the size and strength he needs to head south before freeze up and the bald eagles won't get him. There aren't as many eagles around now as there was in summer, but as evidenced by the neighbour's picture up on the right, there's the odd one. We even had a cheeky one hovering in front of our place the other day.
A long line of geese went over heading south early yesterday morning and I watched three Trumpeter Swans cruising around the lake trying to decide whether they wanted to land and stay here for awhile before heading down to Lonesome Lake and their wintering grounds. 'Tis the season, I guess.
Sometimes I'm glad that this is one of my busiest times of year. I used to really hate fall because it meant winter was coming. Since moving out into this part of the country 20 years ago I developed a liking for winters that I never expected to, only because it really is beautiful out here. Often almighty cold, but usually clear and sunny, with fresh, white snow reflecting a million shiny, sparkly diamonds back at you. But before you get to that point, you have to get through November. Throughout the month, you just never know what to expect and the weather changes from day to day, often to extremes. This November looks like its starting out with its usual goodie bag of surprises and that's why I don't mind being stuck inside on the computer for a month or two. If I get the time and the weather like I did today to take the dogs down the road for a mile or so, great. If not, I can usually blame it on the weather and just get back to work.
It looks like quite a few places around BC are getting their bang for the buck this week of November. Mountains around Whistler have received three feet of snow which is getting the ski and snowboard buffs all fired up. But drivers through many of BC's mountain passes can't be happy with the system that dropped the snow on Whistler. My favorite meteorologist, Mark, was on the news tonight (Thank heavens the other yappy loser is gone for a week and we get a break from him.) showing pictures from weather cams on some of the passes including the Coke.Yeeech.... not the nicest looking driving conditions with snow on the road and nearly a whiteout with the snow coming down.
Weather wise, we're supposed to catch a break for one day, and then another low pressure system barrels in, this one from the Alaskan Panhandle, which means it will probably be cold as well. It was bound to happen because eastern Canada, and even the prairies, have sunshine and way above average temperatures. When the east gets good weather, we get poor to bad weather and when they get bad or cold weather, ours is generally warm and nice. While it doesn't always hold true, it seems to the majority of the time summer and winter. I know Andy would argue the theory, but see for yourself. Watch the weather in general across Canada and you'll find that east and west are often opposite, particularly when it comes to temperature.
It's Remembrance Day tomorrow, folks, so even if you never had a friend or relative in the armed forces, the best way to support those that have given us the freedoms we enjoy, is to remember. My Dad was US career Army while Andy's Dad was Canadian Air Force and I have a brother in Iraq right now. As a result, we might be inclined to attach more importance to Remembrance Day than other people might, but every one of us that live in Canada and the US enjoy more freedoms than most countries in the world. And we have our armed forces to thank for it.
It's the start of a new week, so you can find last week's articles, such as they are, at
November Week One.





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!
Woodpecker eating sunflower seeds.
 
Young November loon.
 
Bald Eagle on a branch.
 
Duck in a snow storm.
 
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