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 3/2008
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
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.
It's been threatening to all day and by this evening we
watched a curtain of snow come across the lake and hit
around dark. It's only flurries so probably won't amount
to much...still, I'm not really ready for it. I
would like three months of summer first, please?
A blog reader and contributor from last spring has weighed
in with his opinion on hunting with a chef. It's the same
thought I have. I always thought I put on a pretty good
table in hunt camp but I've got nothing on Chef Joe. I
want to go hunting with that guy! John has kicked in with
a story from his past that melds with that thought, as
well as a really funny story some of you may have heard
"HUNTING WITH A CHEF
Jehezzzzus H. I wanna go hunting with Michael and Chef
I remember when as a youngster I prepared to go hunting
with my Mentor and Eldest brother Slim. In those days
Slim had a little ranch up around Alexis Lake and the
hunting was usually pretty good. 'Specially way back when.
Could be a little tough in the summer time when it was
warm but that only meant you had to go to the high country
for your meat. The Queen provided for most of the people
back in those days if you get my drift. Come about the
end of March those corn fed ducks 'n geese were real tasty
too. The occasional swan sometimes became part of the
Menu for some people as I recall.
Now my Big Brother had a theory and one I subscribe to
this day. I don't hunt anymore by the way. Don't really
need to but would in a second if I had a need. Took a
cravin' to Alberta Beef.
There was no eatin' before you went hunting with my brother
Slim. No Siree! His theory was that; "You ain't huntin'
if you ain't hungry". "Full belly just makes you lazy
and takes the edge off". Christ I was always hungry!!
Saddle the horses, grab your scabbard and rifle and off
you go. We might pack a little dry macaroni in our shirt
pockets in case we were gone for a day or two. I would
try to sneak a little something else of anything I could
find around the Ranch which was usually Pretty slim pickin's.
That's why we had to go huntin'.
Now I can honestly tell you I have eaten squirrels and
even the occasional robin when desperate.
Damn….. would I like to have met and hunted with Michael
and Chef Joe!
Now I gotta tell you about an incident that landed a friend
of mine in Court for huntin' out of season and shooting
a protected species. Back a decade or two ago people lived
off the land for the most part and it was pretty well
an accepted practice. But this guy was literally starvin'
and in real desperate need.
He was observed by a Conservation Office to shoot a Bald
Eagle and was in the process of pluckin' and preparing
the bird for the skillet when he got busted by the Fish
Cop. He had to go to Williams Lake for Court about a month
later. This in itself created a hardship for people back
Anyways…. This guy goes to Court and the Crown enters
their case against him. The Judge is more than a little
perturbed and is ready to throw the book at this hard
luck and desperate Chilcotin resident. He pointedly asked
this Ole' Cowboy what he had to say for himself and wanted
to know what justification or excuse he had for shooting
such a rare and magnificent Bird of Prey.
Well the Ole Cowboy goes into his hard luck story and
tells the judge how he had not eaten in days and that
he had traveled for days after being lost in the bush,
yadda, yadda, yadda. He was literally starving to death
and the eagle was the only food he had chance to encounter
in about a week. He would not normally shoot such a magnificent
Bird but pure desperation drove him to it.
The Judge mellowed by the story of survival found the
Ole Cowboy "Not Guilty" by reason of necessity and dismissed
the case. Now the Ole Cowboy was about to leave and get
back home and on his way out of the Court House when the
Judge asked the old Timer one last question. "Tell me
Ole' Timer; just what does a Bald Eagle taste like?" Without
missing a beat the Ole Cowboy responds, "Kinda in between
a Spotted Owl and a Whooping Crane."
Now most of the above is true so help me Christ. I may
have fudged a little about some folks eatin' swans!
Have a great day.
John D. BRECKNOCK" -
John! John tells me Diana Phillips, Pan Phillips' daughter,
is coming out with a book this fall called 'Beyond
the Chilcotin'. It might be a good read for you
folks interested in such.
Michael still has another article for me about the colours
of the Chilcotin and I'll post it tomorrow if I can. It's
nice getting outside stories to post on occasion
because I don't have much to report here. Since I'm glued
to the computer all day I don't get out much other than
we picked up three slings of lumber today that had to
be hand bombed off the trailer. Even then I froze my butt
We had a hard frost last night and it went down to about
-8C or 17F. It never got much above 3C or 37F today, hence
the snow. It looks like the south coast is going to get
some really nice weather tomorrow and it looks like we're
in for some serious crud. We'll see, I guess.
Coming To Nimpo
delighted to reprint Michael's tale of his vacation in
Nimpo Lake this fall, including his culinary adventures.
"Taking a private chef with you on holidays has its
pluses and its drawbacks.
Drawback no. 1: For several weeks prior to the holiday
have to keep adjusting the daily menus. This takes some
time thinking about all the great food you're going to
Plus 1: Well, as many know, hunting means getting up early
in the morning, so having Joe the Chef (this is not a
take off on Joe the Plumber from the US Presidential debates),
soft shake you awake at 4:45 A.M. has its merit. Then
there is the realization as you wake; the heat is on,
there is a smell of fresh coffee, a hint of bacon or ham
or sausages in the air. Your clothes and or boots, which
were wet from the previous day, were all hung and dry,
kinda like Stockings by the Chimney. A cheery greeting
as I stumbled into the cabin after starting the little
Sammi. She needs time to warm up, just like real women.
There on the well set table was whatever I could think
of or ask for.
The second drawback is having to make a decision at 4:50
A.M. as to what I wanted for lunch before I even had my
Plus 2: My choices were endless. Every kind of European
sausage or cold meat, and of the vital leftovers from
the night before. Every kind of bread known to this man.
A spice selection that would make any merchant envious.
I now know why we have to tow the little Sammi fully loaded.
I mean Chef Joe had four large coolers and five cardboard
boxes of supplies for the two of us for four weeks. Little
did I know at that time while loading all these supplies
that we or he was planning on some guests.
I thought it best to know the weight of what I was towing
before entering the famous Fraser Canyon, so I drove over
the commercial truck scale at Hope BC. My vehicle is licensed
for towing 5500 pounds. The little Sammi, she weighs 2200
pounds dressed as she is and light on fuel. This time
she gained 1900 pounds! Still within my legal limit. My
comment to Joe was, "Are we carrying wood to Nimpo?!"
But I digress and am getting away from the food.
Well after an 11 hour leisurely drive to Nimpo, Chef Joe
agreed to let me treat him to a lovely dinner at the Dean.
Sorry Donn, short of the BC Lions games and your wonderful
large Gin and Tonics you did not see me again this trip!
After we were settled into the cottage our dinner menu
consisted of; (And not in any order. Sorry folks my mind
was not into recording each culinary delight.) We had,
Pork tenderloin, beef tenderloins, roast prime rib, roast
lamb, crown pork roast, fresh BC wild Salmon, fresh trout,
lobster, pheasant, wild duck, venison, moose, and for
a pre Thanksgiving we had turkey.
That night Chef Joe served 8 people in the little cabin.
Well, even with a small propane range our Thanksgiving
dinner consisted of hot, fresh, French bread, wild smoked
salmon with onions, capers, and cream cheese, Caesar and
bean salad, mashed potatoes, carrots, cooked and raw,
fresh peas, stuffing, and turkey. I did not think there
would be any room for dessert, but little did I know that
Doris had made two kinds of desserts. So the pressure
was on in more ways than one!
Surprisingly, I only gained 2 pounds in 4 weeks. Guess
it was all that fresh air and endless trails looking for
my 2008 moose. Wore off all that fantastic food.
I need to give a little credit to Josie, Joe's wife of
many years. She made the most fancy desserts. Special
walnut torte cakes with powerful icings. I do not suggest
driving after eating any of this cake!
Oh, and Chef Joe does not stay in the cabin while the
hunters go off into the woods. He comes along, hunts,
cleans, packs, finds time to serve wonderful tailgate
lunches, and still gets home in time to make and serve
Drawback number 3: Chef Joe is a back seat driver sitting
in the front passenger seat equipped with a 7mm semi automatic
He even helps with the dishes, but that job is mostly
left up to Frank and I. My main job is to drive and serve
drinks. Other than that "Cottage on Nimpo" isn't a bad
place to stay when you're with the 'guys'.
Regards, Micheal" -
come I never have a cook like that around when I go hunting??
Oh, yeah.....I am the cook.....and
chief bottle washer...
I have more from Michael, to be posted in the near future.
It was a mixed bag weather wise today. It never dropped
much last night and it actually got up to about 7C or
45 degrees Fahrenheit today with a very cool breeze. Still,
when the sun did shine it was quite pleasant
outside if you were working. We had a couple of squalls
come over, one of which consisted of some wicked hail,
but for the most part the storms hung around the mountain
tops. At least we haven't gotten the snow I was
continue Mike's story about his trip to Nimpo Lake this
fall in tomorrow's blog. Today, I'm going to zip through
the local weather updates and such.
We had a hard freeze again last night with it dropping
to -8C or 17F but it was a jaw dropping night for stars.
We were coming home from a Toy House Party at Charlotte
Lake last night and it was beautiful and clear out.
Toy House Party you ask? Yes...so did I.
Our hosts had just completed a ham radio building this
year as well as a Quonset. Daniel's shop is huge with
plenty of room for all of his toys and ours too, for that
matter. Hence the name Toy House. And what better
reason to have a housewarming party than to celebrate
the dry storage of a man's toys? I sure can't
think of any. The company was great, and the potluck fabulous,
but it sure gets dark early! We all headed for home because
it felt so late but it was still actually early evening.
Still, it was a super party and it was nice to see the
Charlotte Lake bunch again. (I know, it sounds lake a
gang, but really, they're not. :-)
We started out with a pretty day this morning and worked
at getting some wood in but it kind of went down hill
with the clouds moving in and a high of 4.4C or 40F. By
this afternoon while out walking the dogs, I started to
boogie as fast as possible where I was out in the open
on the road because the wind was cold and my butt was
freezing! In the woods it wasn't too bad other than the
freeze thaw cycle after that last rain has made walking
a pretty slimy affair. I was slip-sliding all over the
trail in places.
Yesterday was a super day and had I not been busy inside,
we would have gone fishing. It was fantastic yesterday
from what we've heard from two sets of neighbours. There
was a new hatch on so anyone using a fly was doing well.
I had someone up at Nimpo phone me and ask if I had a
boat in front of my place. "Yes," I answered
as I went to the front window and picked up my binoculars.
"And the guy in it has a fish on at this very
moment!" The caller had been concerned because
from where she lives, she couldn't see anyone in the boat
and was afraid there was someone overboard. I assured
her that the owner of the boat was doing just winningly
as I noticed the tip of his other fishing pole twanging
toward the water as he worked to get the first fish in.
I'd have paid anything to be out there right at that moment.
I jealously watched big fish do slow rolls and little
fish do high jumps for most of the afternoon and figured
that with all the activity, there must have been some
sort of new hatch of bugs.
The weather is looking a little ominous both outside and
on the satellite picture on the TV tonight. I think
we might be in for snow tomorrow. The temperature
is supposed to stay pretty low and we've got a nasty,
moisture filled low pressure system swinging in from the
Pacific. Oh, joy. It's just as well, we've both got a
huge chore list for the next couple of days but it's supposed
to get nice Wednesday so maybe we can plan on fishing
then. Unless Andy and the guys get a chance to go out
fourwheeling then. Andy brought a quad home that he purchased
from his brother and since it looks like new, I
think he's eager to put some scratches and some mud on
his new toy. I have to admit, it is a pretty thing
and I look forward to sneaking it out for a ride sometime.
The Hunting Story
Nimpo hunting story continued.
was not until the next day when again I was on a favourite
little road near Lillie Lake when I saw a man walking
towards me. He was about 800 yards away on the side of
a road where new growth pine trees were. This was my hunting
partner, I thought, as I drove slowly towards him. We
were going to rendezvous for lunch. Well this man turned
out to be a black wolf. He was sitting and then just turned
and went into the woods. I then realized that I wasn't
800 yards from him but about 200 as the curvature of the
road accented his size against the skyline. This wolf
was full grown and very large. I measured some of the
trees where he stepped into the woods and his head was
at least 4.5 feet from the ground.
I saw one more black wolf, also in the Lillie Lake area
a week later. Smaller, but still of good size. By then
I had learned from some local ranchers who were moving
cattle to winter near their homes, that they had lost
about 8% of their cattle this summer.
A week later while driving another small old logging road,
I saw what I thought was a small black bear. It was early
in the morning and the sun had not yet risen. I thought
that maybe this was a cub or small young bear. When I
drove closer what I did not realize is this bear was in
a depression near the edge of the road and all I was seeing
was its head, and shoulders. Well the bear heard my vehicle
and was curious, so it sauntered up onto the road. I stopped!
Face to face about 80 yards this bear decided to stand
up and "see" what was coming. This bear balanced itself
on its two hind feet and smelled the air, and I presume
was gauging my "size". He was much taller than my Samurai.
Much taller! I began to think about changing my convertible
for a hard top. This bear just sauntered a few steps into
Later that same morning I came upon a small lake off of
the Towdystan where there were at least 60 Canada Geese.
Man were they ever spooky. I was deep in the forest in
soft terrain and had not made any sound. I was just watching
them when all of a sudden their honking and wings filled
the air and they were gone. I never did see or hear what
spooked them. Two days later I was on the Holtry road
and again at a small lake over 1.5 miles by GPs from the
road and the geese on this lake were gone before they
would even give me a chance to raise my camera. I was
so surprised to see their spookyness. I think the wolves
have been preying on them too.
I had 4 wonderful weeks there. Most of it spent at my
friend's cottage. He used to own CrazyBearLodge. But I
stayed a few nights away at Stewart's as well. The hospitality
of Duncan and Richard, the Stewart's chef, was again above
many of the 5 star places I have stayed. It was nice to
meet up with Tony and his wife from Washington State,
both are avid fishers.
The weather was superb. Too hot really for hunting. While
we did have a couple of cool mornings and one morning
of snow at the 4500 foot level and above. It was more
like summer. One day in particular around the 16th of
September it was 108F in the sun on the porch. I had just
returned from a days hunt near Tatla and was having heat
exhaustion problems. Hunting without a shirt on and wool
pants, I thought to myself, "I need to book Tee times
in the future." I could not believe the thermometer
on the porch at Nimpo. The one at the back of the cabin
in the shade said 90F.
Swimming was in order and the water was refreshing. And
One evening while sitting listening to the last of the
BC Lions football game on my truck radio, maybe 10 o'clock
at night, I heard what I thought were immature snow geese
calls. Now I was sitting on a small knoll about three
kilometers in on the Caribou Flats road, as I had been
there during the afternoon to scan for moose and or deer.
I reached into my gun box and pulled out my snow goose
caller. I tried a few soft calls and to my surprise the
heaven opened up. For the next 30 minutes the sounds of
thousands of Snow Geese passing overhead at high altitudes
was quite a thing to hear. Today in Delta where I live
there is about 30,000 of them having arrived and over
the next few weeks the flock will peak at about 75,000.
They winter here and in the Skagit Valley. Others carry
on to the Sacramento Valley in California.
Fishing was unbelievable. Trout all day long on Nimpo
lake. Smoked Trout is a gourmet's delight. Kappan Lake
again was a lovely scenic lake to hunt around. But alas
no game there. The road into the Precipice, was nicely
maintained but same thing. No game.
Well after 4 weeks of hunting and with our little Sammi
in tow we left Nimpo. I came home with one lovely deer,
several trout, grouse, and many, many wonderful memories.
My wallet some $1600 dollars lighter, but oh so worth
it. I think I'll invest in Richard's well stocked store.
See you in May!
Regards Michael" -
Mike! More coming on Michael's trip folks.
It rained all night last night but it dawned pretty, sunny
and reasonably warm this morning. There's been mixed sun
and cloud for most of the day but what breeze there is
out there is warm and not unpleasant at all. Now if we
could just have a few more months of this....lol.
Doesn't begin to describe our weather today. I know the
weathermen forecast this but it's still nasty. Heavy cloud
this morning with a brisk and very cold wind. By noon
it had started spitting and right now we're in the midst
of a full blown rainstorm. So much for a walk today.
A visitor to Nimpo Lake this September has sent me a full
report of his hunting trip here. It makes far more interesting
reading than my whining about the weather with wolves
and moose and all kinds of good stuff. Enjoy!
"Dear Editor, well finally home and unpacked and
all the dirty laundry done. So I figured I'd tell you
about my 4 weeks at Nimpo.
Arrived September 8 with my moose permit in hand, all
ready for the opening on the 10th. Saw two moose on the
way in so figured this was my year! Day one, opening season,
our little white Suzuki Samurai was all clean, fueled
and ready to go. So up the Towdystan we went. Visited
all the little nooks and crannies that we normally do
on the first day to see if there is any sign. Was truly
amazed at how little sign there was.
Stopped at the end of one of my favourite little roads
and walked into a small lake. Sat and listened. Maybe
30 minutes and nothing, not a grunt, groan or call. Was
a warm day, too warm I figured. So I started to walk around
the little lake, which is about 2 kilometers in circumference.
Thought I would see if any game had been frequenting the
area. Had gone about 1/3rd the way around, when I saw
the flash of the body of a moose, but it was strange,
there was something black "hanging"underneath her. But
it was hard for my eyes and brain to comprehend what I
I instantly heard what sounded like horses' hooves on
a paved cobblestone road. Loud and fast. I stepped out
from behind a small knoll to see the cow moose run into
the lake. Behind her were 4 adult wolves and three smaller,
younger ones. The sight was like from a Walt Disney movie.
The one wolf returned to the three younger ones and the
other three swam after the moose. The second wolf returned
to shore and ran along the shore of the lake right adjacent
to the forest. Trying to stay out of sight of the moose,
the two remaining wolves stayed in the water. As the moose
pulled ahead of the wolves in the swimming department,
the two remaining wolves also went ashore. They let the
moose swim farther along the lake, and then they too began
to run along the shore and disappeared into the forest.
When the moose got to the end of the lake she went into
the forest. Well the excitement was over I thought. But
no, she was right back into the water at full speed with
the three wolves behind her. Watching this made me loose
track of the single wolf with the three little ones. So
I slowly made my way back 250 yards to where I had first
seen the moose and wolf.
They still had not realized that Joe and I were there.
Joe could only see the three wolves as he was much farther
down the lake.
I set my rifle down and with my binoculars began to watch
the three wolves swim again after the moose. By now she
was puffing some and one could hear the water in her lungs
or throat. Two of the wolves went back to shore and set
up positions near the edges of the lake. The other one
and the three youngsters lay in ambush at the east end.
The White lead wolf as I'll refer to him/her just kept
the swimming pressure on the moose. Well, the lake has
no shore line. It drops into deep water almost immediately.
She could not stand and rest.
Not knowing about the wolves and the predation problem
in the Nimpo area, and tempered by, "This is Mother
Nature I am watching," I still had not taken any
action to make my presence known to the wolves. But as
I could clearly see the cow moose tire, I finally fired
one shot into the water in the direction of the white
wolf. Now I am no Davey Crockett, and the wolf was about
600 yards away, But the sound of the rifle and the column
of water from the bullet sent a clear message, for immediately
all the wolves looked at each other and were in full flight
into the woods.
The cow moose stood as far as she could in the water from
shore, a distance of about 500 yards from me and about
10 yards from shore. There she stood for a good 20 minutes
before she carefully stepped into the forest and disappeared.
Michael Owen" -
Great story! There's more to the letter sent to me folks
but I'll continue Michael's story tomorrow.
I've started a new week so you'll find last week's efforts
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!