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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week 4/2009

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.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.


29/11/2009 5:49 PM

The Loon

On Thursday night I was outside getting wood for the stove when I heard a loon call from out on the lake. It wasn't just a single call either. He wound right up and went on with a long call that you usually only hear in spring or during the summer, but rarely in the fall and certainly not this late. I told him he needed to get his butt out of here because he's got two more weeks of open water at most!
We were over at the neighbour's for diinner last night and she knew the loon I was talking about. Apparently another neighbour figures there's something wrong with its wings or shoulders. They're guessing they've somehow been damaged or injured and the bird simply can't fly. It's really too bad that loons are such terrors when captured. Otherwise you could hope to catch it, put it into a carrier and haul it down to Bella Coola where there will be open water all winter. But from everything I've heard, if they don't beat you to death when you try to capture them, they'll just about beat themselves to death in a cage.
So unfortunately, this loon will probably meet his end when the lake freezes over and either an eagle, fox, or coyote gets him. I don't think they eat much of anything besides fish and without open water....
It was a pretty nice day yesterday, with a little sunshine and temperatures that actually got to a couple of degrees above freezing. However, it rained most of last night and all this morning, and then this afternoon it started snowing. Apparently we're supposed to get about four inches of snow, which means nothing since the weathermen rarely forecast for our area. We could get very little snow or we could get ten inches of it. It doesn't matter one way or another to me. Once you have snow on the ground, more doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
Henry, one of our snowmobiling buddies, called Thursday night and mentioned that there was between three and four feet of snow above kilometer 24. The guys were all going to take a ride up on sleds today to check it out, but the rain this morning pretty much put the kibosh on that idea. It's a bit too early for snowmobiling anyway. This rain and then a hard freeze will develop a good base for sledding but at this point in time, I think you risk hitting rocks and stumps under the snow because there's no bottom. There's a real cold spell predicted for next week after this warm up, and that will freeze the snow hard.
We've got quite a bunch crowding around the bird feeder on the deck every day now. There's a small Downie woodpecker, and then a big one with a long beak more like a Pileated woodpecker than a Hairy one. A few grosbeaks have arrived, along with some nondescript birds a little smaller than the chickadees. The Whiskey Jacks are hoarding the suet, and I saw a scrubby looking squirrel on the feeder Friday morning. I like most of the visitors but the Whiskey Jacks and the squirrel could definitely take a powder. We never used to have the jays hang around here before but I think neighbouring visitors started feeding them and now we're stuck with them. It doesn't take Camp Robbers long to learn where the grub is. At least they're not as bad as magpies. On the prairies, we used to have to feed our dogs and cats in the house or else the animals had to fight the birds for their own supper. The rotten things are really, really smart too.
26/11/2009 2:57 PM

Rain???

I woke up at daybreak yesterday morning to the sound of snow sliding off the roof. I'm thinking, "Hmmm. Now that doesn't sound right." Then I realized it might be because we had gotten a whole bunch of snow overnight and I'm going, "No, no, no more snow, please." Andy's gone and I had to be up at Nimpo Lake for a workshop all day and did not feel like fighting snow to get there. So I drag my sorry behind out of bed and look out our bedroom door to the deck below. No snow. Cool! Back to bed I go and just start snoozing when another great crash and slide occurs just above my head. Even half asleep I guess that there is definitely something wrong with this picture. Finally, I realize I'm hearing the soft pitter patter of rain on the roof and about all you can do when you hear that in the middle of winter is roll over and cover your head with a pillow. There is nothing worse for driving than rain on snow because it will freeze eventually and driving or walking anywhere is most likely to be a hairy endeavor. Which of course, is exactly what happened.
I drove home very carefully from Nimpo Last night without mishap but walking on the road today was deadly. Even with my 'chains' on my boots, I was skating down the road. It actually paid to walk on the back trails in the woods. I might have been sinking through the crust formed on the skidoo trail, but at least it wasn't slippery and I wasn't taking a header every few minutes.
We actually had a really nice day today. The sun shone most of the time with only a few clouds moving through and it actually got to two degrees above freezing. It's supposed to be much warmer tomorrow but I'm not sure that's going to happen out here. It only dropped to just four degrees below freezing last night and still took a good while to warm up. This evening it's already at -7C or 19F and dropping fast so who knows if it will make it above freezing tomorrow. Another sunny day would be nice though.
I heard my first burble from the lake ice tonight! The Main Arm still hasn't frozen over, although the water was so still today that it was like a mirror. But with temperatures dropping quickly after the sun warmed the surface of the bay ice all day, it's bound to start making some noise.
I'm afraid I have to keep this short tonight because I've work to do, but I did want to wish all of our American friends a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving.
Have a great weekend everyone!
24/11/2009 11:44 AM

Settling In For Winter

It doesn't look like our snow is going to melt so I guess we're settling in for the winter. Yesterday there were several snow squalls on the horizon but we didn't get any more than a little skiff, and the sun peeked out from the clouds off and on until late afternoon when it cleared right off. Last night was magnificent with a clear, cold moon and every star in the sky twinkling away. It was chilly, though. It was already down to -15C or 5F when I went to bed and still hasn't made it above -4C or 25 so far.
I'm hoping the sun will make it out from behind some pretty heavy cloud today so I can venture out on a walk with the dogs today. Otherwise, with the cruel little breeze out there right now, with no sun it's a bit chilly for walking. I went out yesterday and decided to check out the trail a neighbour and then Andy had run with snowmobiles. It hadn't settled yet so it was a tough slog through the soft snow. Good exercise I guess but I was definitely doing the huff and puff while the dogs bounded through the snow thinking this was all great fun. Lots of new smells and coyote and fox tracks to follow as well as squirrel and rabbit. They were having a ball while I struggled along behind them.
On another front, JD Brecknock sent me a story the other day about the Woman Turned to Stone. It's pretty cool. Enjoy.


"WOMAN TURNED TO STONE" As a young fellow growing up in the Chilcotin I spent a good part of my time hunting, fishing, chasing horses and exploring the various nooks and crannies of that which formed my back yard.
Part of the mystique the Chilcotin is the Native Lore, Tradition and History that makes it the wonderful place it is. It certainly cast its spell on me at a very early age. Nine years of age to be exact. My family moved to the Chilcotin in 1956. There are a number of very sacred places in the Chilcotin that native people still cling to and honor to this day. I am familiar with some of them and also cling to and honor these sacred places. I tend to gravitate to one or more of these places on my annual or semiannual visits back to the Chilcotin each year.
"WOMAN TURNED TO STONE" has been a symbol of Traditional Chilcotin Native Culture for God knows how long and certainly long before the "May-dah" (phonetic term meaning white men) came to the Chilcotin. I have never paid a visit to this site when there was not clear evidence that it is still revered in the hearts and minds of the Chilcotin people around Alexis Creek. It is a place that is still frequently visited by a good many of the Chilcotin people and a few "May-dah". Offerings and tributes are still evident and have been ongoing since I was just a "wee nipper" and certainly over the 50 years I have been visiting the site.
I had forgotten the legend/lore with respect to the site over the years and simply recall that she was called the "Woman Turned to Stone". My interest was piqued and I felt compelled to learn the "Lore" as it pertains to this Sacred Site. I relied on my resident Eldest Brother's knowledge of the Valley and his friends and contacts to try to once again learn about the "Woman Turned to Stone".
Legend is that this woman had gone down to the River with her husband for one thing or another and both were assaulted by unknowns. The woman was reportedly raped by the trespassers. She began walking back up the hill and sat down crying and humiliated. At that point and time, shamed and disgraced, she simply turned into stone. Native people have visited this site and left offerings and tributes at this most sacred of all sacred places for eons.
Some peoples believe that the "Woman Turned to Stone" has healing qualities and that if you leave something in her care that might have touched that part of you that is afflicted; you will be cured. Some also believe that the Healing of Spirit is obtainable by paying homage to the "Woman Turned to Stone" Good Luck is also attainable by paying homage and tribute.
I have been unable to escape the lure and mystique of this Historic and Sacred site. Each and every time I have paid a visit, I too leave an offering. The entire Chilcotin in itself is somewhat of a sacred place to me and many other people as well. She brings real focus to Native Spirituality.
On Mother's Day 2008, my Family paid a visit to the site once again. My brother Slim was quick to caution young family members that this was indeed a very sacred site and that it is to be treated and respected as such. Such was the case then; is today and I hope forever.
The Stone is honored with a variety of offerings and gifts and has included everything imaginable. Rifle shells and casings, rosary beads, coin, cloth & clothing; just about everything you could imagine. I obtained a few photos of the "The Lady" but I am reluctant to identify the exact location. Her location is known to many and is not necessarily a secret. However, I trust that those who may seek her whereabouts respect and honor her presence, location and treat the site with the dignity she deserves.
John D. Brecknock

John was also kind enough to send some photos that I'll post here. It is a most interesting stone and I can understand why the natives pay tribute to it.
My neighbour sent me more pictures of the muskrat family at the bridge which I'll also post here.
And we're back to a new week again. Last week's paltry two articles can be found at November Week Three.







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!
Two people with a rock shaped like a woman's face.
 
A stone on a hillside called Woman turned to stone.
 
Gifts of cloth and coins left for the Woman turned to Stone as tribute.
 
Children crowd around the stone woman.
 
A muskrat swims through the water.
 
Muskrat on Dean River ice eating a reed.
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