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Wilderness Adventures - April, Week 2/2007

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' - just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

You can search this site for a subject of interest to you at the bottom of this page. Check out the Picture of the Day.

14/04/2007 10:42 AM

The Day After Friday The 13th.

I presume everyone made it through Friday The 13th okay. We did all right but I wasn't too sure just before midnight last night.
I was working on the computer when all of a sudden the dog bellowed, the Christmas tree lights started slapping against the front of the house, covers on the snowmobiles started flying all over the place and the flags were pulled straight out and skinny! A wild wind had just come straight in like a freight train out of nowhere. Sounded like it too. The branches on the few trees we have left near the house were whipping like crazy and I saw a piece of something go flying past the dining room door.
So here I am, in the middle of the night right out in the teeth of this wind, reattaching the Christmas lights to the barbeque, (Tying your lights to the hinge on a barbeque so that they won't flap around is a Hillbilly invention. Don't ask.) securing the snow shovel on the deck, (Yes, we still need it because it's only April and we're good for a few more snowfalls yet.) and planting blocks of wood on top of the light snowmobile cover on Andy's new machine to keep it from blowing off.
The wind is just howling around me like a banshee and I'm thinking to myself, "You know, I didn't go anywhere today, didn't even get out of my office except for a walk, so the creepys have come here to get me instead." Actually, I know that makes me sound superstitious, and I'm not really. Except for maybe Friday the 13th.....
Talked to a friend last night about some stuff I'm doing for her and she said she had just come back from snowmobiling to recover a couple of machines up in the Rainbows. Stating it had been a long, horrendous day, she said, "And do you know I just found out it's Friday the 13th? There's no way I would have gone up there if I had known that! I wouldn't even have gotten out of bed much less spent 12 brutal hours up on the mountain if I'd known that!" So she's a bit more superstitious than me, although maybe with good reason. I guess her partner went through the ice into water and they had spent some time lost, and it snowed the whole time they were up there.
I don't know what it is about Friday the 13th. but it just never seems a good day to go out the door. Like I said, I'm not particularly superstitious. I don't mind black cats crossing my path because I've owned a few and trust me, they can't help but cross your path when they're tripping you up winding around your legs. I don't mind ladders...other than I refuse to go up them but that's a heights thing. And I don't throw salt over my shoulder because that means pulling out the vacuum cleaner and I dislike that thing about as much as I do ladders. Me and Martha Stewart don't have a lot in common.
It's not like anything drastic has ever happened on Friday the 13th. I just don't like to go out or travel on that day. Last year in January when we were headed down to Arizona for a week was a good example. We Hit a vicous snowstorm. Mind you, that went on the whole way down and the whole way back where roads and passes were closing one after another right behind us so maybe that can't be blamed on a specific date. Still, if I don't have to go out on that day, I don't.
I did go for a walk yesterday, not that I got far. I haven't been going for a while because with all the beetle kill we've been knocking down I'd be lucky if I could drag my bottom end down the driveway and back much less go for an actual walk. I tried to go on the back trail yesterday but ended coming back out on to the road after awhile. The snow is soft on the trail and very difficult to walk on but a few more days of melt and I'll be able to walk in the woods on either side of the trail. No animals and no fresh tracks but I did see an interesting bird that I've never seen before. White with black markings on its back, it sounds like a sandpiper and protects its nest in much the same way but doesn't look anything like one. I don't know if it's a bird that changes color from winter to summer like a ptarmigan does but I'll have to look it up and see what it is.
Oh, and just to let you know, the Chilcotin hicks do win out on occasion over the city types. If you recall, I was on a rant last week about having to have a residential address in order to get packages from some companies or a telephone hooked up. Well, our cell phone arrived with the local courier out of Williams Lake and was dropped off up at the Nimpo Lake store just as all packages are, and the fellow that was trying to get a phone without having a residential address, did. He says they (I'm not sure who 'they' is, but I'm assuming government of some sort.) have now addressed all the residences on that road. However, from north to south and all on the same side of the road the addresses run in this order. 2040, 2015, 2020, 2030.
I guess it makes some kind of sense to someone....


12/04/2007 4:44 PM

Chainsaw Mania

Actually, it's not that bad but you can certainly tell there are a lot in use right now. Listen outside from just about anywhere in this country and you'll hear a chainsaw going in the distance. Whether from our place on the lake, from up in Nimpo, or go anywhere in Anahim, and there's that bumblebee whine.
The first topic in the Chilcotin has always been the weather. Now it's pine killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle. No matter who you talk to they've either put down up to a hundred and eighty trees (the highest number I've heard yet) last year or this year, are in the process of taking down trees, or will be getting started soon, before forest fire season starts. That's when the weather comes back into the conversation. Will we get a dry spring as well as dry summer? Will the wind continue? Because, of course, that all has a bearing on how much the country will be affected by forest fires this summer.
We had one of those 'April' days today when you're not too sure what you're going to get. A little sun, some cloud, first warm then cool with a pretty brisk breeze that cut into cutting down any more pine after the first one this morning. That's okay. We both need a body break and a little time to relax. We can see the end of the tunnel now so the tree problem doesn't bring with it quite the same sense of urgency that it did even a week ago.
To me, our place just looks awful now with all the stumps, piled and un-piled firewood and the junk. You know, all the 'good' stuff that you've collected over the years that was neatly hidden by trees? Now you notice things that you never saw before, like power lines and that most of the buildings need paint or upkeep of some sort or other.
I thought our place was the only one that had suddenly gone from cozy chalet on the lake to the new 2007 stylishly drab cutblock chic. However, when I went down to a resort at the south end of the lake today where the owners have had a big push on this spring to clean up their beetle killed pine, I didn't feel quite so bad. Like the resort at the north end, they're now plagued with a whole lot of stumps and way too many empty spaces. Like our place, every little sign of age or lack of paint on a building shines right through all that open real estate. You just can't get away with cozy little places hidden among the trees anymore. Everything's going to need a good spit, polish, and shine.
On the positive side, I'm looking forward to finally being able to grow some lawn. While great at camouflaging a little wear and tear on the place, those water sucking, sun blocking lodgepole pine can kick butt on a nice green lawn any day! Or anything else that tries to share real estate with them. And boy, do we have sunshine now! We've got more sunshine than we know what to do with. When the sun's shining, that is.
I've discovered that if I want to work in my office in the afternoon now, I'm going to have to purchase blinds for the window next to my desk. Without the thirty or so trees on that side of the house to block the sun, I'm blinded for a couple of hours each day. That or else I need to try growing a couple of tall cacti in my window.
Our driveway on the north side of the house that has snow on it all summer and usually doesn't dry out until fall (well, maybe not quite that late. :-) is already seeing sun in the afternoon, even this early in the year. And I would have to say that nude sunbathing may now be out of the question in more than one quadrant on this property because the resorts across the lake can definitely see a whole lot more than they could before!
Going to have to do some tree planting....lol.
A big nasty weather system is following the Jet Stream in off of the Pacific packing high winds and a fair amount of moisture for the south coast, as well as us. So I guess we'll see if we cut trees down in the next few days.
My apologies for no blog yesterday but spring seems to have arrived and things just need to be done outside so the daily blogs may not be quite so daily for the next little while.

10/04/2007 7:59 PM

Welcome To Our Newest Listing

I'm delighted to introduce you to Graham's Inn located in Tatla Lake. Don & Bobbie Bonneteau purchased the Inn a little while back and have done wonderous things with it. Located on its own bit of waterfront in Tatla Lake, it overlooks an absolutely stunning vista with the Coast Mountain Range front and center. This 1920's heritage home has an old fashioned covered deck loaded with baskets of flowers and looking out over a rolling lawn down to where the geese, ducks and Trumpeter Swans play around in the water. Here you can sit and have your morning coffee or afternoon tea served from one of the best known restaurants around with a reputation for great food and generous portions.
As well as an informal restaurant the Inn has a very special, private dining room that will take you back in time with period pieces including lighting, and an exquisitely set table. If you're traveling to Tatla Lake this summer, it will certainly be worth your while to stop off for a good meal and a little relaxation. The Graham Inn offers restful accommodations, terrific hosts, and nearby conveniences, all in a truly beautiful setting as you can see from the two pictures up on the right. You can find more information at Tatla Lake Accommodations.
Today was another work day but at least it was in our own yard with another four trees down, but since one was a three way schoolmarm and a huge one at that, it was actually seven trees. That's a grand total of 79 trees knocked down on our property alone. I know, because I counted the stumps tonight. I wanted to know why we're both stumbling around like a couple of stodgy old cripples.
We got most of the limbs burned up today but couldn't do it all. The wind came up so we had to let our burn pile die down. We did get a weenie roast out of it though.
It got below freezing last night but warmed up to not a bad working temperature today, at least until the wind came up and it felt like a lot of arctic cold coming in suddenly. We're expecting it to warm up tomorrow and hopefully we'll see some sun. That was a hit and miss thing today.

09/04/2007 8:16 PM

Done One, More To Go.

We just watched three moose take off running from the island in front of our place across the lake to the other side while having our supper. I really didn't think there would still be moose this low down with so much of the snow gone but Andy said he saw a small moose in nearby meadows yesterday and today. I suppose it's much like all the caribou we saw last week, which were also at a much lower elevation than I would have expected this time of year. But it's possible that there's still way too much snow higher up for the animals to get around in. Although if you look at the mountains across Nimpo Lake it's amazing how much black has shown up on them in just the last few days.
The weather has been incredibly warm this weekend and temperatures have never dropped below freezing at night. A lot of snow has melted and the lake has been covered in water for days, as our boots can attest.
We had fires on the lake for the first two days that we were burning but there was so much water on the ice that you got a good soaking every time you carried brush to the fire. We started moving up the hill by the second day and decided to make our fires on dry land and closer to the felled trees shortening up the distance we had to carry dead limbs.
Logan took his plane on skis out yesterday and I don't even know how he could see through the water coming off of his prop but so much water was coming off of his skis that they looked like floats.
I know that the other evening when I looked out at a house light reflected on the ice and then the moon, I thought, "Hmm, something just doesn't look right here." Of course, while we had been down at the other end of the lake working all day, the snow and ice on the lake had been melting so that when I looked out and saw lights, they were no longer reflected on ice, but on water, making them look the way they would in summer, not winter or spring. A bit disconcerting.
Our weather finally quit on us this morning, bringing snow, sleet, rain, hail and a very chilly wind. It didn't take long for all of us to become soaked to the skin and stuck with wet boots from slogging around in mud churned up by the Cat. But the job down at the north end of the lake is finally done and my Mom and Terry B. have enough firewood for the next fifty years or so.
My sister's husband and son will be stopping by here tomorrow to give us a hand falling a couple of tricky trees that we have, and then they can finally return to Williams Lake. I'm sure they will be thoroughly relieved to get out of this dead pine country, but am I ever glad they came out because did they ever do a nice job cleaning trees up. The skill and speed they displayed falling, skidding, limbing and bucking up trees was just amazing! Like us, they were dragging their heinies at the end of the day but they certainly got lots accomplished.
We're supposed to see a bit of a cold front coming in, which will certainly make working outside more pleasant and slow some of the melt down a bit. Right now where frost is coming out of the ground you can just about sink out of sight. A fast breakup will make a real mess of things, and of course, many areas in British Columbia are in dire danger of being flooded out. Right now it's estimated that there is up to 150% above normal snow pack in the mountains so a fast melt is going to cause a nasty mess in low lying areas. I think if I lived on a flood plain or near a creek or river as many in British Columbia do, I would start filling sandbags now.
As you can see, I have started a new week so you can see last week's articles at April, Week One.

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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!
Accommodations and restaurant in Tatla Lake.
 
Deck overlooks lawn, lake and mountains.
 
Plane on Nimpo Lake water covered ice.
 
Reflections in still water laying on ice.
 
Clear, yellow full moon in evening.
 
Geese looking for hayseeds.
 
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