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 - April, Week One/2009
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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of the Day.
Warm, Warm, and More Warm!
love it! Yesterday was remarkably warm, and today even
more so. At one point I saw that the temperature
was at 14.4C or 58F at about four this afternoon.
That was in the shade and on the north side of the house
so it was considerably warmer out on the deck. It may
have gotten warmer earlier on but I wasn't around to see
it. I was enjoying the afternoon on a walk and spent part
of it ditching the side of the road with a stick with
the pup determined to help me. Every time I got water
going, she sloughed gravel and dirt back into the ditch.
While not a very productive way to spend a portion of
the afternoon, it was certainly a very pleasant way.
There was very little breeze today and it was hot! Or
certainly what we consider hot after going through a pretty
chilly winter and spring. We often don't see temperatures
of 58 degrees until late May or into June so this is a
nice change. Walking on the trail in the backwoods has
been brutal the last two days because the snow has softened
up so much. One step forward, and fall back half a step
as you sink into the snow. The trail is definitely deteriorating
and it may just be easier to walk the whole way on the
road, especially since the road is finally drying out
quite nicely. It's just that I hate taking the same route
there and back when I could make a circle. Besides, I
want to keep a check for tracks and make sure mine and
the dogs' scent is always fresh on the back trail. That
way if those grizzlies denned up for the winter nearby
I'll know when they come out, and hopefully our scent
will keep them moving on. Vain hope, I know.....
but I did purchase a Bear Banger from the
store up in Nimpo. Expensive as all get out but Leah showed
me how to shoot one off up at the last poker game. Wow....
lots of boom there. Scared the heck out of me so it's
bound to scare the heck out of a bear!! I hope so anyway.
At least it will be faster to set off than firecrackers.
The fuse is so short on the little ones I have that I've
nearly burned my fingers trying to use them.
We haven't had full blazing sun the last two days, mostly
mixed cloud and a high haze instead. Or I'm sure it would
have gotten much warmer and the snow melt would be faster
yet. It got down to -6C night before last but last
night it only dropped to -3C or 27F which helps tremendously.
That means it doesn't have to warm up much in the morning
before the snow will start melting again.
The ice road has had it. Not because it's falling apart
but because there are no longer brave souls willing to
drive it in a vehicle. Andy wouldn't use it today with
the one ton but he did go to Nimpo on the quad. I watched
to make sure he made it across to the boat ramp okay and
I could see the water he was going through splashing up
above the snow banks He said the snow on the road has
melted and you can see clear ice under the water laying
on top. That's the only thing with snow banks They trap
the melt water on the ice road between them.
There's a lot of bare ground that has shown up just since
yesterday on the road leading down to the boat ramp on
the other side. That's what usually finishes off
ice road use, even if it were to chill down and the ice
tighten back up again. Warm water flowing over
the mud on the road is carried down onto the lake. It
warms up the ice and it tends to melt away from the shore
quite quickly. There's also a cement ramp going into the
water and once it's exposed and warms up in the sun, it
heats up the surrounding ice.
I just looked outside when I heard a Trumpeter Swan going
by the house, and noticed the water out on the lake. There
are lots of spots where the snow on top of the ice has
turned dark, where it was all white earlier this afternoon.
Still, it will be weeks yet before we see open water.
I'm always amazed at how it seems the snow will never
go and then suddenly, it hits that flash point where you
can literally watch it disappear and the lawn starts to
emerge. So do all the chores left undone the fall before.
There was an item carried on the news a couple of
days ago about a snowmobile rider that accidentally created
and then outran an avalanche. It's absolutely
unbelievable footage and Andy found it on Youtube. If
you're able to watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuU-vnh5M9s,
by all means, please do. It is well worth it. I have actually
ridden the Clemina route near Valemont and it is really,
really steep country. Added to that is the fact that Valemont
gets 13 to 16 feet of snow in a winter and you definitely
have some serious avalanche risk this time of year. In
this case, as so often happens, previous high markers
(riders that go as high as they can before turning back
down) had already cut the snow face. The last guy to high
mark was just too much for the snow pack and it collapsed
right behind him. In fact, he very nearly was caught where
the snow broke away from the face but kept on going up
before turning back down. It's likely that he had no idea
he started an avalanche behind him until he turned back
down and went, "Holy !!!!!" By then, it's too
late to do much but ride it out.
The footage was shot by someone on a nearby height
of land, obviously with a reasonably good quality video
cam. Warning, there is some swearing, but you
can hardly blame them under the circumstances. After you
have watched the incredible power of the avalanche a couple
of times, play it again and watch the lower left hand
side of the screen. You'll see what looks like ants scurrying
ahead of the avalanche and another ant come blasting out
of the snow dust created by the avalanche.
There go the swans again. It looks like they're looking
for open water the way they're circling the lake. Other
than the river, they're out of luck, I'm afraid.
was extraordinarily warm with temperatures that reached
over 10C or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's still
8C out there this evening. That big system that was coming
in from the Pacific a couple of days ago has been slowly
dispersing over the north and central part of the province,
broken up mainly by the that strong high pressure system
over the southern half of the province. Still, there's
been lingering high haze from the low so we didn't see
clear sunshine until really late this afternoon and even
now there are still a few clouds hanging around.
That high pressure system is supposed to get stronger
and we should see a little more sun tomorrow and Tuesday
before it breaks down. But that's okay, we don't really
need it. The air is so warm that the snow is just
dissolving and if it doesn't freeze that hard
for the next two nights then that will help too. Of course
sunshine would make it go all the faster.
The ice road over to the boat launch is mushing up pretty
good now and I'm not sure anyone traveled on it today
though I did see Rob on it yesterday. My friend from up
at the store, who was driving it every day,
won't go on it now. It's quite safe yet, I'm sure, and
a lot shorter than going all the way around. The
public road up from the ice on our side is virtually impassable
now and usually does fall apart long before the
ice road does, so most people are using our ramp to come
up off the ice. Because it's out of the sun, not nearly
as steep, and there's no mud there, it lasts much longer
than the public access does.
Andy went for a ride down the lake today and blew up his
Skidoo, so I guess he'll be taking it into town this week.
It sounds like it needs an engine rebuild. He got it as
far as the island and then had to walk home from there.
I was on the phone in my office and didn't even see him
out there, or I could have taken my sled out to pick him
up and tow him in. At least the sled made it until nearly
the end of the snowmobiling season.
Geez, Andy just called me out into the living room to
see a standing ovation for a soldier in a wheelchair at
the American Country Music Awards. After he spoke, Trace
Adkins sang 'Til The Last Shot's Fired'
backed by the West Point Glee Club Choir. Wow....!! That
is some powerful song, folks! Not too many dry eyes in
the house after he finished that song. I
had heard about it a little while back at one of my poker
games, but hadn't heard the song itself. No wonder people
are talking about it. And I have to say, I'm sure proud
to see the reaction of Americans toward their war heroes
and military personnel now as compared to the Vietnam
days. Those boys deserve every kind of respect for what
they do, regardless of what war they get talked into fighting.
The Trumpeters Are Back
looked out over Nimpo Lake this morning and wondered what
the odd shapes were on the ice out by the island. It
turned out to be a small flock of Trumpeter Swans clumped
up on the ice with five of them sleeping and one
lookout. Andy took quite a few pictures of them, including
when they all suddenly woke up. You can see a second head
raised up looking in first one picture, and all looking
in the second. Then suddenly a local guy's stupid dog
that he lets run loose is out on the ice chasing them.
Not that it did him much good. The swans were airborne
long before he got there but it still bugs me that people
let their dogs run loose to chase wildlife.
It got up to over 8C or 47 degrees Fahrenheit today, even
though it dropped to at least -9C or 15F last night. Actually,
I got home late last night and let the dogs into the porch
because it just felt like it was going to
get colder. It never did, though, even though it had cleared
right off with every star possible and a
shrimpy little moon shining brightly. It's been a couple
of nights since we've seen -20C or -4F so it means it
will warm up faster in the morning, especially in sunshine.
Our temperatures for the next three days look to
be the highest we've seen in five months so if
it stays warmer at night, that snow will disappear fast!
Throw in the sun we're predicted to have for the next
three days and spring will perk right along!
Mind you, these little snows we're getting aren't helping
us much. It blizzarded off and on all day Thursday but
most of the snow melted as it fell on warm ground or was
exposed to the bits of sun we had that day. But once it
cooled down in the evening and kept snowing, it stuck.
Probably another two inches fell through the night and
added to what had fallen during the day. On the back
trail in places where the sun couldn't reach it, there
was at least four inches of fresh snow. Add that to
the inch here, and skiff there, and we've had quite a
bit in the past month.
The guys went snowmobiling yesterday and Andy got some
great pictures, especially of Richard's stucks because
he likes to challenge the hills. They had fabulous weather
and I guess these little snows we've been getting down
here have accumulated up to a foot of fresh powder in
some places up on the mountain. One of our neigbhours
that was up visiting for a few days from the Okanagan
flew over the guys in his little plane and decided to
land on the Cornice Hill to chat with them for a while.
But there was so much fresh snow that Andy said
he had a heck of a time taking off again and was nearly
stuck, even with skiis.
There was actually enough fresh snow that the guys were
able to come down the Atnarko Trail through the Lonesome
Lake Burn yesterday, something you can almost never do
in the spring because it's a south facing hillside. Once
you hit the bottom of the hill you start angling around
the base of the mountain where the trail is on the eastern
or northern side and where the snow doesn't
melt. It will have been great for guys like Andy and Richard,
who like to play in the deep snow. There haven't been
many people over that trail this year so with fresh snow,
there would have been lots of places to get a snowmobile
I know that this is early notice and I'll bring it up
closer to the time, but one of the young guys in
Nimpo is setting up a fishing derby for the May long weekend
(May 16-17 for our American friends) on Kappan Lake.
He's collected some great prizes to be given away and
the entrance fee is only five dollars, so you're getting
a bargain for two days of fun. For anyone that will be
up visiting around that time, you may want to bring your
fishing poles. For the locals that read this blog, check
out the posters around Anahim and Nimpo for more information.
afraid tonight's blog is going to be quite short, folks.
I've been going gung ho on the local tourism association's
website of late and I'm nearly finished. Today I worked
on one of the pages that I figured was going to be pretty
tricky, but it went surprisingly well, so I would like
to finish it off tonight.
We had one heck of a day, today. It couldn't
make up its mind what it was going to do.
In fact, we haven't seen a day like this all winter. It
snowed last night and dropped about an inch and a half
of snow and when I got up this morning it was really socked
in and still spitting snow flurries but you could see
that the sun was trying to shine.
Eventually the sun would make its way through the clouds
and the snow would start melting like crazy. Then a wind
would come up suddenly, sounding like a freight train
coming in, and there was a blizzard again. I don't
think it's any exaggeration to say it did that somewhere
between 20 and 30 times today and it's still doing it
tonight. It just dropped about a half inch of
snow in a very short period of time, and now I can see
stars out there!
Andy and a few of the guys were supposed to go riding
today but decided to cancel because the mountains were
blanketed in cloud and it was snowing at the time. I told
Andy to wait an hour and the sun would be shining. Which
it was. It just didn't last, is all. I think they're going
to try again for tomorrow. Richard is pretty eager to
get up on the mountain to see if there's any fresh powder.
The temperature never went much below -3C last night,
and it never got above 2C today but I think that's going
to change. There's a high pressure system out
in the Pacific that's moving up the coast and is supposed
to bring sunshine and very high temperatures to the Lower
Mainland for the weekend. It looks like the high protects
us for tomorrow but there's a really big mother
of a system barreling straight in from the west and it's
packing a lot of moisture. It also looks like
it's packing a lot of wind. It does a really strange thing
when it hits the coast, according to the radar forecast,
anyway. It kind of bows in the middle. It'll be interesting
to see what kind of weather we get out of it.
Just to let you know ahead of time, there probably won't
be a story tomorrow night.
The April Fool's Fizzle
would seem that so far, the Conficker worm that was threatening
so many computers around the world, has not done any damage.
I suppose it remains to be seen whether it does down the
road. If not, it's a great April Fool's joke and a good
way to encourage people to keep their computers updated
with antivirus and Windows updates.
Some parts of the Lower Mainland got a bit of an
April Fool's joke played on folks there by Mother Nature
in the form of a little snowfall. We too woke up to about
an 1 1/2" of the white stuff this morning to add
to the mud once it melted. But a couple of the highway
passes around the province got considerably more, and
are expected to see yet more snow tonight.
We had a mixed bag today with both sun and cloud. There
was a pretty good breeze this morning but it died right
down during my walk in the back woods today, and didn't
spring back up again until a little later this afternoon.
I don't think it got more than a couple of degrees above
freezing today but it was definitely warm enough to make
the snow pretty soft for walking. Other than that it was
This is becoming a really dangerous time for animals
out in the woods now. I've noticed that nearly
all of the dogs can stay on top of the snow now except
in the warmest part of the afternoon. That means it will
be way too easy for predators to run down wildlife like
moose and caribou now. Particularly if they're hunting
in the early morning hours when the crust of snow is still
hard. That's one thing that's really strange this year,
and has me concerned. I haven't heard one report
of our little caribou herd being seen on Nimpo Lake this
year as it usually is every year. Especially around
February. And by now they've nearly always passed through
the back woods looking for lichen along the trail. I don't
know what's happened to them. We still have a local moose
around who's sign I see only occasionally, but that's
it. Not the large numbers we had a couple of years ago.
I can only hope that they're all at higher elevations
because of the lower snow levels, and haven't all been
I was disturbed to see on the news tonight that
Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, has agreed
to allow shia law to come into affect in that country.
You might as well welcome back the Taliban if that's the
case because that's just exactly where the women of that
country were prior to troops being sent there to oust
the Taliban. It would seem the whole exercise has been
pointless. That is one of the reasons ours, and soldiers
from other countries are there, is to free the women and
girls of that country to work, take schooling, or even
be permitted outside their home without the permission
of their husbands.
I think everyone knows that Karzai is as corrupt as they
get, but because he's been willing to work with, (and
take advantage of) the west, they've put up with him.
Now I can only suggest that Canada and the US force
him to back down on endorsing the law by threatening to
withdraw our troops immediately. Why should our
soldiers die, and our country pour the money that they
do into Afghanistan if nothing is being accomplished?
Either force Karzai to step down, which would be a mistake
because another corrupt official will simply replace him,
or threaten to pull out, and mean it. We don't need to
be over there if this is the thanks our soldiers and our
country gets. I would add that our immigration policy
should be changed for the short term to allow any woman
or girl to immigrate to Canada from that country that
wishes to. No men. No boys. Reasoning behind that?
My brother was stationed in Iraq four years ago and is
just shipping out again. He said that the women and girls
of Iraq were amazing. Intelligent, quick to learn, hard
workers, and many downright beautiful. But most were not
even allowed out of their homes until the soldiers came.
Most just wanted to go to school or work and become professionals
but had not been permitted. In his words, "If
you let the women run the country, Iraq would be one of
the most advanced countries in the world and there would
be no need for us here." But, he insisted, "The
men are lazy, filthy, and useless, narrow minded and riotous,
and as long as they're in charge, Iraq will never be anything
but a hole in the desert!" His words, not
mine. But he was a guy that was on the ground, and dealing
with the people all of the time, and he's a pretty good
judge of a situation. I'm sure the same could be said
for Afghanistan. So.... allow any women to leave and immigrate
to here that wants to. I'll be the first to open my door.
Then bring our soldiers home and blast the rest of the
population back to the sand hell they came from. Let them
sort it out for themselves. If shia law is their idea
human rights, then we don't need to be there.
Sorry, Barb, but it's been a long time since I went
on a rant. :-)
This is the start of a new week. so last week's articles
can be found at March
Week Four .
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!