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 - October Week 2
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
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at the bottom of this page.
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
all the way.... It has been snowing since this morning.
It started out overcast with a slow drizzle but just before
noon it changed to a mix of rain and snow and then to
snow. Great, big, sloppy snowflakes that have fallen
fairly steadily all afternoon. Because of the
temperature of the surface of the ground and vegetation,
it took a few hours before the snow started sticking,
but once it did, we probably accumulated a good 2"
before dark. It's melting almost, but not quite as fast
as it falls, so the build up is pretty slow. It won't
take much to melt it off tomorrow. An hour of sun would
do it, but we have two more huge systems off the
Pacific Coast coming in so I'm sure we'll get
more. This time of year gets a little messy because you
usually have several snowfalls that in turn melt and make
the ground pretty sloppy until freeze up. Progressive
snow falls help to cool the soil and the lake water. Cold
air off the lake in turn chills the surrounding land.
Up until now the warming influence from Nimpo Lake
held off frost in September and minimized frost
the last few weeks but that warming influence will start
to wane as the water chills. I've been in this area in
the late '80s and early '90's when it wasn't that
unusual to be caught right at this time in October with
an overnight snow of 1' to 2 1/2' feet of snow on the
ground. If you didn't get it now, you were nearly
guaranteed to get a good snowfall on Halloween. I'm thinking
I would be jumping the gun if I pulled out the cross country
skis right now, but I sure wouldn't mind getting some
more fishing in before too much snow means the boat has
to be pulled out of the water.
Goodbye Planes, Goodbye...
last of Tweedsmuir Air's floatplanes went out today.
The DeHavilland Beaver took off of Nimpo Lake this
afternoon and headed to the south east, a normally
unusual direction for the charter planes and a straight
line to Williams Lake so I assume he was headed home.
It's that time of year now.
On the one hand I'll miss the roar of the planes taking
off and watching them follow each other off the lake,
or hearing the thrum of engines through the fog
of a misty summer morning as the floatplanes make their
way over to another lodge for pickup. On the other
hand, it'll be nice for sleeping in. That's the beauty
of having such distinct seasons in this region. Just about
the time you get tired of seeing boats on the lake or
hearing floatplanes take off, the planes leave,
then the loons, and then Nimpo Lake freezes up for the
winter. Just about the time you get really tired
of ice and snow, boom, the ice goes out about the time
the first loon arrives, and not long after that, the first
floatplane arrives back on the lake.
The planes don't disappear completely of course. There
are still a few private planes around on floats that will
change over to skiis and wheels once Anahim and Nimpo
Lake ice over. Since an ice road is usually plowed
onto Nimpo Lake if the snows are heavy, there is only
a short time during which a plane cannot be landed on
the lake. Late fall when the lake is in the process
of freezing up, and spring when the ice is in the process
of breaking up.
Nothing nicer in winter than a hard run on cross country
skiis in clear crisp weather on Nimpo Lake and having
a plane waggle his wings at you to say hello.
The Day After
another Thanksgiving gone by yesterday. For those
of you that don't know, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving
Day in October. In our house, we observe both
Canadian and American since we're from both countries.
We went out fishing for an hour just before supper yesterday
because the fish were jumping like crazy. We got
three, one of them good sized and a real beauty! Today
was our anniversary so we had the big one for dinner brushed
with a wine sauce and grilled on the barbeque. It just
doesn't get any better!
We're getting pretty breezy weather right now but I'm
hoping it'll settle down this week. I would really
like to get out there and catch a few more fish now before
freeze up or it gets too cold. I would like to
have a friend smoke a bunch for me for canning. Fishing
on Nimpo Lake is just phenomenal right now and
I don't think we got more than 300 yards from the front
of our house while out fishing last night. We just trolled
back and forth a few feet off of our point with fish jumping
and rolling all around us. They're really, really firm
right now and fat! Lots of feed for them this year
but they're still willing to take a fly at the drop of
a pin. They are strange this time of year though.
Normally you would have a real battle on your hands
against rainbow trout in this lake. But yesterday
they would jump just after you hooked them, then after
that, they made like a shark. All you see is a fin circling
in the water. Steady pressure keeps them coming in. Close
to the boat they go deep but just twitching to shake the
hook. It isn't until you try to shorten up the line enough
to net the fish that they really start to fight. Still
fun to catch though and the hook seems to be setting quite
firmly this time of year so if you hook one, you'll probably
land it. Of course there's always the exception. I
tagged a big one but it leaped into the air, shook the
hook and took my bait with it. You can't win'em
all but it sure is fun trying!
If you're thinking of a late season holiday and would
like cool crisp nights with a little solitude and some
great fishing, this is the vacation place
to be. Take a spin around the Resorts
as well as the Transportation
page to check out your options for getting here and accommodations
once you arrive. You might get some pretty good deals
this time of year and you won't be sorry you came!
said it before, I'll say it again. We are so lucky
to have the weather and geographical location we do.
We might moan about a rainy summer and fall and it's a
catastrophe for us, but really, compared to the rest of
the world, we should be very, very happy.
I've been watching National Geographic's Extreme Weather
Week on television the last couple of nights because I'm
fascinated by storms. Last night was about hurricanes
and tonite was about tornadoes. Absolutely unbelievable
film footage showing damage and devastation to homes and
towns. We just do not experience that severe type
of weather in this area and never will. No other
country in the world spawns the numbers and severity of
tornados that the United States does and I can't
really imagine living in Tornado Alley. Hurricanes are
also very severe in the US and will continue to become
even more so as the high ocean temperatures in the Gulf
increase every summer.
Mudslides and flooding from the hurricane in Haiti, the
very recent earthquake in Pakistan and last year's Tsunami
in the Indonesias just brings home how safe we are here.
Our biggest worry might be a good dump of snow in
one day or really cold temperatures in winter, but that's
about it. I do miss the thunderstorms living here.
On the prairies you could see a thunderstorm coming for
miles and they could get pretty wild. Of course they've
been known to have their plow winds and tornadoes there
too. Maybe it was because you could see for such long
distances that you could truly view the power of the storm
with lightening flashing on several fronts and
monsterous tumultuous clouds billowing thousands of feet
into the sky and flattening out into huge hammerheads
on top. Sickly orange or green would seem to envelope
the air around you and your ears would pop with the pressure.
If there was a storm, you would find me out on the porch
for hours watching it.
Nimpo Lake's geographical location just east of
the mountains pretty much precludes severe thunderstorms.
We are directly east of the huge Coastal Mountain
Range which forces air up its west flank and over
or pushes storms to the south. Moisture laden air masses
dump rain on the western side of the range as they climb
over the mountains leaving us fairly dry on the eastern
side. It's a couple hundred miles before air moving east
picks up enough moisture to start building big storm cells
over Williams Lake, Prince George and points east. Or
that's usually the case. It hasn't been this year
but that's the exception. The result, sadly for
me, is that thunder and lightening is not common here
and when you do get a storm, it's generally pretty subdued.
The Perceived Tall Tale
of the moose article yesterday, I am reminded
of an unusual day in a small southeastern state back in
the '80s. My brother, a friend and I were down visiting
family in a small college town in that state when we decided
to stop into a little pub that I think was called the
Fireside Inn. Since it was a rainy miserable day and there
wasn't much else to do, we dropped into the empty tavern
to have a few beers.
Some college kids came in a while after us and once
they discovered we were from Canada, they started asking
questions while we played pool. They seemed
surprised that we could speak english, although they
did comment that we sounded like folks from New York.
And we did have to assure them that we really didn't
have to use dog sleds to get everywhere in Canada.
Now beer drinking was a favorite pasttime for all three
of us and we were used to drinking Canadian beer. But
this state only allowed an alcohol content of less than
half of what we were used to and it wasn't long before
we were building pyramids of empty cans on our table
but not feeling much affect other than a lot of trips
to the loo. The bar maid would periodically come by
to scoot the cans into a large garbage bag and maybe
this contributed to the doubt in our honesty on the
part of the locals.
As the evening progressed and the topic got on hunting
they started asking about the wildlife where we lived
and whether we had bears and deer and wolves. Well of
course we did! We had black bears and grizzlies
and coyotes and wolves and deer and elk and caribou
and who knows what else.
One girl declared there was no way we could have grizzlies
because they only existed in the Arctic. And black
bears were almost extinct said another. Well,
my brother and I hooted at this because we had killed
bears in our dump pit on the ranch right up to three
years before and eaten bear meat as youngsters. We had
a bear hide from a blonde bear my mother had been
forced to shoot because it was nose to nose with our
milk cow one morning, and more than once I or
another would have to pack a rifle while packing out
meat to keep the bears from getting it first.
We must have sounded sincere enough because the college
kids decided to give us the benefit of the doubt. "You
said you've seen wolves?" Asked another of higher
learning. Of course we said. It isn't common to see
them, but we do on occasion. They asked about colors
and sizes and definitely seemed doubtful of us now.
We continued to imbibe on the watered down beer and
they continued to ask questions as the college crowd
grew. Most seemed genuinely interested in learning about
another country but you could tell they were starting
to think we were pulling their legs when we talked about
the snowcapped mountains, the long winters and cold
temperatures and the animals. We actually weren't.
We were telling the truth every step of the way. But
the barmaid coming to clear another pyramid of empty
beer cans off our table wasn't helping our cause a bit.
The final straw that broke the back on this fine
academic group was moose. One of us made the mistake
of mentioning moose and these young people wanted to know
what that was. We were pretty incredulous because we thought
surely everyone knew what a moose was, and they were even
more incredulous because they were sure none of them had
ever heard of one. So we tried to describe one. You
don't realize how strange a moose is until you actually
try to describe one. Bigger than a horse and standing
much taller with a large hairy hump on its shoulders,
a dewlap or bell hanging down, really, really long legs,
unable to run but can go for miles in a day, jump over
fences with ease, and crawl under logs ( I know this,
I've hunted them. They can and they do.) They have really
long faces with ears like a donkey and really big noses.
Oh, and the antlers on the bulls are palmated and unlike
any other animal's and can be this big (arms outstretched
as far as you can reach) and bigger.
Well, you should have seen the looks on their
faces. I don't know how else you would describe
a moose but you would have thought we just described
a dragon or a unicorn, and everyone knows
they don't exist! If we had been back a couple of centuries
we would have been stoned to death. We had just lost
all credibility in their eyes and now they didn't believe
anything we had said prior to that and certainly nothing
We shut down that tavern after cleaning them out of
most of their beer supplies still trying to convince
these young people that there really is a world out
there and it does have things besides possums and coons
To this day, the most remarkable thing to me is that
these people were going to a large, local college that
serviced a huge part of the state! Surely they had read
books, seen pictures, developed the open mind that generally
accompanies advanced learning.
I think that the Internet is a blessing in that
it opens the whole world up to all of us. We can
see that the unbelievable is not only believable but exists.
That truth, especially in nature, can be stranger than
fiction and there are images only a click away to prove
By the way, how would you describe a moose
to someone who has never heard of one?
Moose Are Coming Out of Hiding
more moose to be seen now. This is getting right into
the middle of their rut, or mating season and the
bulls tend to start getting foolish and a whole lot less
cautious. It's that love thing you know.
The guys working up on Highway 20 going toward Bella Coola
before the top of the 'Hill' have been seeing at
least two nice big bulls a day right along the
road or crossing it.
Although many people insist that the rut doesn't start
until well into the first week of October, I beg to differ.
They can be called in from the third week of September
on. There's no doubt that around the second week of October
is probably right in the middle of mating season but not
always. The moose mating season, like most ungulates,
is controlled by several factors. Although there
are some givens such as length of day that are always
static, the temperature and phase of the moon also have
a major effect on the time of the rut. Colder temperatures
earlier in the fall will bring on a rut sooner as well
as a long period of overcast days. It takes longer to
lighten up in the mornings and gets dark sooner if it's
heavily overcast. That translates into less sunlight hours
in a day and that can contribute to an earlier mating
season. There is also more than one cycle for the cows,
and the timing of that is effected by both the factors
above, the age of the cow, what kind of shape she is in,
and how many calves she had and supported through the
summer. The cows can be bred on an early cycle in September,
during the main rut, or on a late cycle in November. Some
people insist that the animals sense one year ahead what
the following winter and spring will be like and
instinct causes them to breed accordingly. In other words,
if it's going to be a hard winter and late, cold spring,
the cows will breed later in the fall to increase their
calf's chance survival. Although some chalk this
up as a wive's tale, as the owner and breeder
of Whitetail deer, I have to admit that both my partner
in that venture and myself have seen what amounts to control
by the female animal over when she will fawn. And we've
seen a wide variation in breeding times, so who knows?
Maybe the animals know way more about what Mother
Nature is going to bring on than our weathermen.
After all, they've had a few more thousands and millions
of years to develop an instinct for predicting weather
than we've had satellites up in space.
This is the start of a new week, so if you would like
to know what's been happening for the first week of October,
you can go to October
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!