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 - West Chilcotin Blog
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of the Day.
night we got a nice rain, and boy, was it ever welcome!
We ended up with a half inch, which is more than has registered
in the rain gauge in some time. Even so, when I walked
on the back trail today, you could tell it had rained,
but the trail wasn't all that wet. That dust just sucked
that moisture right up, as did the surrounding mosses,
lichens, and soil under the trees. The kinnickinick looked
decidedly happier and a brighter green, and other undergrowth
a little brighter and less dusty, but it will take
a lot more moisture than that for things to be back on
track. I expect that's coming though. On my way
back from the walk it tried very hard to snow, and although
I wasn't up early enough this morning to see it, apparently
it was snowing in earnest prior to dawn
this morning, but the ground is too warm yet for it to
stay for long.
The same can't be said for the mountains. Remember me
saying it's very unusual to not have any snow at all on
the mountains this time of year? Well, that changed last
night. It cleared off on my way out on the walk today
enough to see a fresh powder of snow on the mountains,
including the close ones. Some of it had melted by late
this afternoon, but there's no worry of that happening
on the higher mountains. They acquired a thick mantle
of snow last night that won't melt before spring now.
And even Goat Pass is sporting a thick mantle of white.
At least this probably heralds the end of fire season
now unless we get a really unusual blast of hot weather
in October. Any fool that thought it was over before this
is just exactly that. Mother Nature always has the last
say and she showed that in the past week or so with
fires that have been blowing up here and there, probably
stirred up by our fall winds. That's the problem
with a fire center that waits on snow to put the forest
fires out. Leave a little fire and it quite probably will
bite you on the butt in the long run.
I heard from the good folks at Batnuni today. They
took over the ranch homesteaded by Rich Hobson who ranched
in conjunction with Pan Phillips, and of course, wrote
the three books about it all. They've made great
strides in fixing things up and sent me a few pictures
and a short catch up on what they've been doing. Busy
people that they are, they've embarked on and completed
a number of projects with more in the works, one of which
was to build a chicken coop which turned out to be much
too large for that purpose and so it's now a guest cabin.
Of course they still had to build the chicken house, which
they did. Now they're asking for input on their idea of
starting up a bed and breakfast. Given the interest
on this blog in the past about Pan Phillips' and Rich
Hobson's great Chilcotin adventures and their
determination to build the largest cattle ranch in North
America during the Depression years, I think these great
folks have a lot of history backing their venture. They
have given their permission for me to print their email
address here so if you have any thoughts regarding their
idea of starting up a B&B on this historical ranch,
it would be most appreciated if you could send those thoughts
to Locke and Midge at email@example.com.
And don't hesitate, folks! They're looking for feedback
so please let them know what you think about the idea.
Personally, for those of you who have expressed an interest
in the historical aspect of this country, I think it's
a terrific idea!
Also... for those of you that are local to the Chilcotin,
the Downies have acquired two horses and are looking for
more. They have spoken with the SPCA and discussed the
idea of taking in animals as they have the acreage. So
if any of you are aware of folks in the area that are
looking for a good home, whether for horses, sheep, goats
etc., then they may be interested in taking them in.
weather has been cooling down steadily since Thursday
but yesterday morning brought quite a surprise. It
dropped to -6C or 20F leaving quite a heavy, frosty rime
on everything after a foggy start to the morning.
If it was that cold here I can't imagine how cold it got
up away from the lake.
The sun was trying to peek through the fog but by the
time that burned off, a streamer of cloud kept the sun
pretty weak for a couple of hours. I think that was the
only thing that saved a lot of my plants. They warmed
up quite slowly so that about all I lost in a major way
was a bunch of Russian sunflowers, which was okay. They
were kind of ugly, anyway. I think the frost may have
laid waste to the California poppies as well, but it's
kind of hard to tell. I'll know better in a couple of
more days. I was hoping that if everything could
get through that hard frost, stuff may be able to continue
growing for a while yet. It clouded over last
night and didn't freeze and we're supposed to have cloudy,
rainy weather until the weekend, so we may be okay until
then. Hopefully, the veggies in the greenhouse will have
ripened up enough by then that I can shut it down.
Even though it's the end of September, it's hard to say
good-bye to the flower garden. It's such a short growing
season here that you never seem to get enough of the flowers
before they're gone. Unlike other places where a lot of
gardeners are relieved that winter has finally come and
they get to take a rest from gardening for a little while.
I have to admit, I'm glad gardening is seasonal here,
but it would be nice if it was a little longer season.
Four months of growing and eight of snow doesn't seem
quite fair, but then again, I wouldn't trade where
I live for anything.
Today it tried to spit some rain and the temperature never
did make it above 7C or 45F and by this afternoon was
already back down to 5C. Still, it was much warmer than
it was at the top of the Bella Coola Hill. Andy's hauling
gravel for a friend that needed a truck driver so that's
where he's working and he said it was miserable up there
all day. Rain, sleet and snow squalls went through one
after another and it never got more than a couple of degrees
above freezing. I expect he'll be driving in snow tomorrow
We've all commented on the lack of snow on the surrounding
mountains. For them to still be bare at the end
of September seems unheard of, but I don't expect that
to last. We should be seeing it in the next couple of
days as the temperatures continue to drop. It can rain
or snow here. I'm pretty much ready for the snow now with
just a few more chores to do and we desperately need the
moisture regardless of what form it comes in. The woods
are deadly dry and many plants may not make it into next
year if we don't get some moisture before winter hits.
I have no idea what the bears are doing for food
this fall. There are no berries.
Where last year the soap berry bushes were just laden
with berries, there's not a one to be seen this year.
Same with the rose hips and blueberries. Even the kinnickinick
is barren. It doesn't bode well for those forest dwellers
that depend on that fare to round out their diet. About
the only thing that we had for berries this year were
strawberries and that's because they're so early and we
got moisture at just the right time. This is definitely
a drought year and I suspect moisture reserves in the
ground from the past few rainy summers have been used
Speaking of drought.... we had a fellow from Texas stop
in here this summer just before we went to the Yukon.
He reads the blog and just wanted to say hi. It
was a really great visit and he even left us a beautiful
little rainbow trout for our supper that he had caught
on the way over to our place. I just received
an email from him telling us that the long two year drought
his part of Texas had been experiencing seems to be coming
to an end because they've finally received some much needed
rain. I guess it's been pretty brutal down there from
what little we've seen on the TV. Bob emailed me before
back when we went to the Yukon a couple of years ago.
Apparently we had unknowingly been following each other's
path, but it was months before I got his email. I replied,
but he never received it. So just in case he doesn't get
my email reply this time, I would just like to thank him,
the great folks from Charlotte/Vancouver Island that just
stopped in a couple of days ago, and everyone else that
has stopped in while visiting the area, for coming by.
Everyone has just wanted to say they enjoy the
blog, and I really appreciate your comments. The
same goes for those of you who have emailed me and it's
the only reason I keep going on it. It's time consuming
and I often wonder what to write about, and often wonder
why anyone would want to read what I've just written,
but I sure appreciate those of you that do. Thanks,
folks!!! Big time!!!
The Likely Trip
were out in Likely for a few days this past week, and
yes folks, there is a place called Likely. For anyone
that doesn't know, it was actually the site of quite
a large settlement and was all about gold. In
fact, it has a very interesting gold rush history, and
was once known as Quesnelle Dam. Nearby Quesnel Forks,
where the Quesnel and Caribou Rivers meet, was once purported
to be the largest settlement in BC north of Kamloops and
boomed on until the Barkerville gold rush just to the
north took everyone away. Nearby Bullion Pit is also pretty
famous for having been the largest hydraulic mining operation
on the Continent during its period of operation, and the
third largest in the world.
We actually joined our friends that have the store in
Nimpo at her Mom's place out in Likely for the Paddlefest
weekend. They had a rafting trip down the Quesnel River
to the Forks rigged up for us but I opted out early. Sorry.
Don't like water and especially don't like it when it's
going over rocks that create nasty rapids Chicken.
I'm the first to admit it. I know life vests are
supposed to help those of us that never learned to swim,
but I see small percentage in tempting fate so
I opted to stay behind and be the driver that would pick
the other three up at the Forks. However, the guide had
a run to make with a bunch of kids and their parents first
and their ride went way late in the afternoon, so no rafting
trip. A disappointment to the others, I'm sure, but I
didn't mind a bit. It just meant we had a few spare hours
to stack wood for our host.
While some rafts go down the Quesnel River during Paddlefest,
there are loads of kayaks that do and I can certainly
see why. Likely is a quaint little place right on the
river and that was the jumping off point for all the rafts
and kayaks. Not being that familiar with the latter,
I was fascinated to see that the small, one man craft
were unlike anything I had seen before. Where
our neighbours have long sleek kayaks that they use, as
do visitors to Nimpo Lake, these guys had short, stubby
little plastic kayaks that came in every color of the
rainbow and looked like toy boats. While they look strange
on land, they certainly seem highly maneuverable in rough
We watched some of the people as they got ready to go
kayaking and the preparation certainly seemed like quite
a ritual, as well as a pain in the derriere. All donned
wet suits, funny little footgear, and what seemed to be
a special jacket that was pretty tight going on. Then
they would peel up this gasket on the jacket, put on this
kind of rubber thing on around their waists, and then
pulled the gasket down over top of it. This rubber thing
that they wear on their waists must give the watertight
seal to the top that is snapped in to cover the opening
on the kayak. Then they put on funny little life jackets,
and then many put on a type of skull cap before putting
on their helmet. It was quite the process, and that was
before they even got into their boats.
There were some rapids a few hundred feet down river
from the town and several kayaks congregated there,
then took turns practicing coming back up the rapids in
their little boats. It looked like quite a process and
most flipped over doing it. That too seemed deliberate
though, and looked pretty neat.
Aside from the little one man kayaks there was a two man
kayak and several rafts that went down the river as we
waited there. There was also a home made raft with
a couch strapped to it that was apparently launched
that morning before we got to the river. I don't know
if it went all the way down to Quesnel Forks or not, and
although it looked somewhat worse for wear, I can't see
it making it all the way. There's a lot of really rough
rapids going down to the Forks so if the awkward bit of
wood, Styrofoam, and living room furniture actually made
it, then the paddlers would have had to have been highly
skilled! Oh, and in case you're wondering about the picture
of the rafts going down the river, yes, that really is
a stop sign in the middle of the river!
If you ever go to Likely, there's a pretty cool pub there.
It's old, but there's a lot of museum quality pieces in
there and you could take a month of Sunday's going through
them all. There's also a real museum and visitor
information center up the road a bit that has a lot of
great stuff and good info on the history of the area.
On top of that is some fabulous river and lake fishing
that includes some whopping big salmon, so you may find
it worth the hour's drive east of Williams Lake to visit
the area. The only downfall is that it's at a very low
elevation with rain forest, and it rains a lot there.
Or it did while we were there, but that could be just
us. Who knows?
Naturally, it was sunny and hot here the entire time we
were gone and it's been gorgeous since we got back other
than wickedly high winds all day yesterday that clocked
up to 30mph, which is pretty harsh for us. I spent part
of the day trying to catch stuff that was trying to make
its way into the lake, and the rest of it trying to get
our driveway and my garden area watered down to keep down
the dust. It looked like a windstorm in the Sahara
for a while there, and the thick layer of dust
now on every surface in my house is testament to it. We
had some unbelievable rollers on Nimpo Lake all day yesterday
that completely obliterated any algae that had just started
to build up this fall. The lake turned over so badly that
I was cleaning filters on the sprinklers every few minutes,
but today the water was as clean and clear as could be.
We didn't get back until late Monday night but Tuesday
and yesterday were hot and sunny. Today it was still sunny
but that wind brought in a cold front that dropped temperatures
from 25C or 77F the previous two days to less than 15C
or 59F today and I expect we're in for a frost tonight.
The cooling trend is supposed to continue as well so I've
started cleaning up my garden. It's time. We sure
got a run for our money with the summer we had this year!
Now if the next few summers could be as nice as this one
was, I would be one happy camper, forest fires or not.
You'll find the previous entries for September at September
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!