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Wilderness Adventures - Oct., Week One/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.


04/10/2009 10:20 PM

Mexican Standoff With A Grizzly

This story is not about me and am I ever glad. It's actually something that happened to a visitor to Nimpo Lake this fall. Mike is from Delta and he was the fellow that helped our community association out a lot last winter and spring by paying for, picking up, and storing the new chairs for our hall over winter until local folks (and Miriam) could bring a few up at a time as they were able.
Mike was up hunting this fall with his son and I actually just heard he got a moose this week and only by the skin of his teeth. The end of the hunt was coming up pretty quickly but it was worth the wait because the bull was a real beauty! He just sent me the following email about an event that occurred between him, his son, a grizzly sow and cub, and a wolf, of all things! As I said, I'm glad it was him and not me.

"My son Tim, (Colleen's son too) and I attended our first hunting trip together in the Chilcotin last month. Sans Colleen.
I am 62 and Tim is 27, we have hunted small Vancouver Island deer many times but this was Tim's first Moose trip. I go each year. Opening day, September 10, 2009 Tim and I were at a ten acre lake (a pond) about 25 kilometers up a logging road behind Towdystan. I wanted to show this secluded lake to Tim, as a couple of years ago, I watched 7 wolves chase and try to kill a cow moose there. They did not as we intervened with one shot in the water.
We stood by this little lake listening, waiting for about 25 mins with no sign of any game. So being it was close to lunch time, and the temperature was rising unusually high, I suggested that we return to Nimpo Lake for lunch. We were about 400 meters from our small 4x4 Samurai. The trail was in very open pine tree forest and along this trail was a small, perhaps 300 foot by 300 foot, grass meadow before another 50 meters of forest and then the reforested area of an old clear cut, and 100 remaining meters to our soft top Samurai.
Tim and I, were one behind the other on this trail, when across the trail dashed a small animal. Small as in indistinguishable, because it was so quick. I only saw the motion it was so quick. Tim, who was in front, quickly dashed to our right about 50 meters. During this time while Tim was dashing to my right, another animal crossed the trail. A tiny small bear. A cub! Unusual, and my mind was saying, "So tiny, why? They should have been bigger, now being about 7 to 9 months old?" My mind was focusing on this small image it had seen, while my legs were still propelling me forward to this small meadow. My son called out to me and said, "It's a wolf dad!" I said, "No son, it's a small bear. Leave him alone." Tim also stepped into the same meadow as I, but about 50 meters to my right and about 10 meters ahead of me. There in this meadow was a full grown wolf, a very small bear, and one very large mother Grizzly!
My camera was in my vest pocket. No, I did not reach for it! But, there were 5 very concerned participants within a 50 meter circle with the cub between my son, the wolf and the cub's mother!. All of us were frozen in time for a few seconds. A real Mexican Standoff?
I spoke quickly to my son and told him to back step and move back without turning away from the mother grizzly. "Do not raise your gun but remove your safety, you will have 1, maybe 2 seconds to shoot if necessary." I stepped into the meadow further so the sow would clearly see and smell me. Tim, was a touch down wind of her but at the distance he was, she knew exactly where Tim and the wolf were. She too was frozen. Gauging this situation? Clearly, either the wolf had been tracking the cub or she may have been teaching the cub to hunt, or we all just met in this tiny meadow at that point in time? I don't know. I knew that I wanted to be out of this situation quickly and alive! As I stepped further into the meadow, I raised my Browning 7mm magnum semi automatic rifle, outfitted with a 3 to 9 power Khales scope, as high as I could above my head in both hands. This was to show her a larger size? My safety was off. I feared deeply for my son for he has the same calibre rifle, but bolt action, also fitted with a Leopold scope. Neither gun was good for this type of close situation. If she charged or attacked, Tim, was going to have 1 shot, one bullet, and zero time to aim. I might have two. I had never taught Tim, a point and shoot method of firing and now was no time to begin such a lesson. Scopes at this distance would take time to sight and time we did not have! This sow ,would need only 1 maybe 2 seconds to reach Tim. 3 or 4 to reach me.
As I moved into the meadow, my voice in a loud clear manner said the words, "Hey!" over and over again. The sow now fully realized there were three targets. She made a short sound, almost like a woof, and the cub was, within a second, under her. The cub was no longer between Tim and her. She turned her head to my direction. At once, immediately, the wolf seeing her eyes shift off him and Tim, darted into some small buck brush at the end of the meadow. Leaving 4 participants.
I continued to position myself to shoot her if necessary. I did not want to. For whatever reason, the cub went into the same buck brush but not in the same direction as the wolf, leaving three in the meadow to resolve this Mexican standoff. The sow made a small woof sound and took two strides away from us. Turning her powerful body towards us but she was also backing away. A couple of more steps and she too was following her cub into the bushes. She stopped twice to stand up and look back at us. Her massive head raised high, her nose clearly smelling the air, her front paws clearly visible above the buck brush. She stood an honest 8 feet tall. I returned to this spot later in my month there, to measure the buck brush. Tim and I made our way the remaining 100 meters to our truck very, very determinedly. We did not run but walked with great purpose.
Next time I'll take pictures!
Regards Michael Owen

Whew! I think it's probably a good thing that Mike seems pretty bush savvy and knows how to react when in such a dangerous situation, because in this case, things could have gone very badly. It's wonderful that it didn't, but what an experience. And to see a wolf in the same place as a sow and her cub is amazing. A once in a lifetime experience that probably only the rare conservation officer has ever seen, and then probably only on a kill.
Our weather yesterday and the day before can only be categorized as dreck, with yesterday being particularly dreadful. The fog started to lift Friday morning, got only so high above us, and then seemed to decide it was going to just stay there for the day. It was heavy, low, spit rain off and on, and was cold. Yesterday morning managed to beat that for ugly. We and our new neighbours decided to do some clean up on their property yesterday morning. The Hydro tree fallers had dropped a bunch of beetle kill near the power line, and as per Andy's instructions of earlier this summer, limbed it and let it lay where it was because Andy knew he would get to it this fall. So Andy cut firewood while Marilyn and I hauled in trailers full of wood pulled behind our ATV's and Ed cleaned up slash on the ground and limbed a hairy old beetle killed tree in preparation for falling it. In no time we had the area cleaned up and now have a bunch of firewood in the yard ready to be split.
This morning has dawned clear blue and glorious with a heavy rime of frost on everything. Actually, we had an early Thanksgiving dinner last night and by the time our company went home, there was a pretty heavy layer of frost on their truck windows that had to clear before they could leave.
There's the last remnant of mist rising from the lake and there's already fishermen out on the water. Small wonder. The fish are rolling like crazy out there, including a good sized one just out in front of the house. It would be nice to think we could get some fishing in today, but more likely it will be chores getting things ready for winter.

01/10/2009 7:04 PM

Hail Mary Hail

Wow, we had a hail storm at Nimpo Lake today that you would not believe! I heard it drumming on the roof while in my office and it just seemed to get louder and louder. I went out to the front room and there was some serious sized hail coming down and it did so for a while. The hail stones were large enough that they were really chopping up the water on the lake. Once it finally quit I had to actually shovel it off the back deck in the hopes that the water left behind would dry up before freezing tonight. We normally don't get a lot in the way of hail storms, so this was a bit of an unusual event for this time of year.
By the time the hail quit this afternoon there was quite a bit more fresh snow up on the mountains, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to wake up to snow tomorrow morning. If we make it past that, then it looks like we may have a few nice days coming our way. It certainly looks that way for the Lower Mainland, so hopefully the high pressure system that's building in will come up our way. I wouldn't mind another week of nice weather. It just makes going for a walk or working outside so much more pleasant, and we've still got some fishing to do. The trout have been rolling over at the surface like crazy lately.
I've still got one and a half greenhouses to put to bed and it would be nice to have some sun so that the remainder of the tomatoes ripen up, and be able to start clearing plants out. I've got a whole mess of Swiss Chard over in the neighbour's greenhouse that I have to do something with. I keep giving it away and we eat a lot of it, but it just keeps coming back and is still as tender as could be, so I guess I'll be freezing a bunch for winter. At least I can grow the easy stuff without messing up too badly.
I mentioned in a blog a little while back that after coming back from the Yukon that I had a real mold problem in the new greenhouse. So I'm looking for suggestions or ideas if anyone knows how to get rid of it. I figured bleach might work, but it may just damage all the good guys in the soil. I also figured I could dilute some 35% Hydrogen Peroxide down to 8 or 10% and spray everything in there, including the glass and soil. But I was talking to my sister yesterday and she suggested what many people have, pull out all of the soil and replace it. Unfortunately, that just isn't an option. I don't have any soil aged enough to put in there for vegetables. (I've mentioned before that we don't really have soil here. You have to get cow manure and then age it for at least a couple of years before moving it.) So I need a solution that will work with the existing soil. I didn't think it would be that critical but a lot of tomatoes that I've brought inside from the greenhouse that were close to ripe have in many cases, developed rotten or moldy spots on them, so the mold spores are definitely there. So I need some way of sterilizing the greenhouse without killing some small seedlings that I will be overwintering in the greenhouse. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, or has had the same problem, please let me know at ask@resortsbc.com. Any ideas or comments are always most welcome and would definitely be much appreciated in this case.
I've started a new week so you'll find last week's articles at September Week Two. And a final comment.... I want to thank a visitor to Nimpo Lake this summer for sending me an email today. He met Bob, the fellow from Texas that had stopped in before we went to the Yukon, while staying over at Stewart's Lodge and learned about this website from him. So, thank you Bob for letting folks know about the blog, and thanks to you John for your really great letter today.
We've got wood to get in this weekend, and I've an early Thanksgiving dinner to put on as well as putting on a portion of a meal for some tourist association people over at Charlotte Lake Tuesday, besides the usual chores. So I may not get a chance to write for a couple days or so. Have a good weekend, folks!






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!
Boat towing the first dock to the back bay this fall.
 
Nimpo Lake in autumn with sun shining on the water.
 
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