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 3/2013
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great
contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just
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.
Nimpo Lake is Open!
lake ice has gone out faster than I have ever seen it
go before, and most of it happened today. Only three
days ago we were pleased to see water out about 20 feet
from shore, even though it was still freezing over every
night. A pond opened up on the reeds in front
of our neighbours place two days ago and a finger
of it had touched my snowmobile track in front of our
place by that evening. Yesterday morning the open water
crept a little farther until a wind came up which by yesterday
evening had opened up the bay in front of us with the
wind pushing the ice into the bay behind us and crunching
it up into great piles in front of the resorts. By this
morning it was rough open water in front of us but we
could still see that the Main Arm was locked in ice yet
for as far as we could see. Terry B. went up in his floatplane
yesterday afternoon after the bay on the North Arm opened
up enough for him to take off and he said that he figured
the ice on the Main Arm was so thin that it would be off
by the 27th. He was right! By the time I came home
from Anahim Lake this afternoon I was shocked to see just
water in our back bay and no ice left on the Main Arm
at all. Its possible that there is still
some farther down the lake past where we can see but probably
not much. The wind gusts today were just wild and I think
they disintegrated any ice unless its close in on
the southern shores. Im calling it ice off!
On Wednesday night we heard our first loon and yesterday
morning the lake was covered with them anywhere there
was an open patch of water, hooting and yelling at each
other, with one pair already mated up in front of our
place. Surprising since I always thought the males came
in first. We also saw our first Osprey yesterday and the
tree swallows were doing their mating dance over the water
while a few ducks came in to enjoy the little bit of open
water. Its as though suddenly everything has come
alive all at once.
It hasnt hurt that our weather has been really
warm for the past couple of days. Yesterday it
got up to 15.6C or 60 degrees Fahrenheit and that was
in the shade! It made it up to between 9 and 12C for the
few days before that and even today it got up to 10C or
50F, even with cooler air coming in on the wind. Not surprisingly
our lawn has begun to green up in a couple of spots and
the first weeds are just poking their heads up. Anahim
Lake is way ahead of us. I saw dandelions in bloom in
front of the restaurant today where the cement block is
warmed up by the sun.
We were very fortunate today to be just on the edge of
a system thats moving down the coast from Alaska.
It looks like its been snowing over the mountains
off an on all day but until this evening when
weve gotten a few ominous black clouds moving over,
we havent seen any moisture. That may change tonight
but since its been pretty dry, thats okay
too, I guess. The temperatures are supposed to drop right
through until Tuesday so I wouldnt be surprised
to see snow.
I apologize for it being so long since Ive
posted a blog but all of you who know me also
know that nothing gets done on the computer if its
nice out and I have been working my butt off! Im
guessing I only have about two more weeks before the bugs
start getting bad so Ive been going hell bent for
election trying to get stuff done in my garden area. That
includes cleaning up the surrounding underbrush in the
hopes of keeping the mozzies down a little. I mentioned
last year that weve let the undergrowth take over
in the past few years without realizing how thick its
gotten, and Im sure thats a contributing factor
to the mosquito infestation. I have also taken on
a long, tedious, unenviable job taking the dirt out of
In 2011 I was getting really frustrated with the amount
of water and fertilizer I was having to pour to my tomatoes
and cucumbers in the greenhouse without getting the fruit
I had the two previous years. I had some suspicions when
I went to transplant the plants from my pots into the
ground in the greenhouse and was running into a mat of
roots. Last year I didnt put a garden in thinking
that without moisture in the ground, anything growing
in there that shouldnt be would die. I was wrong.
I decided that one job I was for sure going to undertake
this spring was to dig all the dirt out of the greenhouse
boxes and replace it. Hah! Easier said than done.
I have been using a mattock (A type of pick axe with a
wide blade on one side and axe head on the other for those
of you that arent familiar with one) to tear up
the dirt and chop out roots varying from one inch in diameter
to hair roots forming solid balls. It is long, slow,
dirty work. Ive only gotten a few feet done
with a lot more to do, but as with anything ugly to do,
you work on it, stopping when you get tired of it, and
then just keep going until eventually its done.
We built a couple more veggie boxes that gives me a place
to put the dirt where the roots can break down over time.
The dirt itself is still good and not used up since it
was pure manure when it started and mixed with good manure
on top, it will do fine for shallow veggies. Ive
put plastic under the veggie boxes which still has good
drainage, and gravel on top of the plastic around each
and I can tell you, I will sure as heck be doing
something along the same lines in the greenhouse!
I dont think that just landscape fabric will stop
more roots from coming in so Ill have to come up
with something impenetrable that will still drain well.
Man, what a mess!
When I came up with the first big root there was
no doubt as to what the culprit was. Only ten
feet away from the greenhouse was a very large pine tree
that had managed to escape the Mountain Beetle, one of
the few mature pines in the region to do so. So when Andy
suggested he cut the tree down it was an agonizing decision.
One that would allow way more morning light into the greenhouse,
open up the surrounding ground and rid me of a lot, though
not all, of the root invasion. Its hard to
take down a tree thats probably between 100 and
200 years old that managed to escape the beetle onslaught
but on the other hand
. The light
The problem with this tree was that it didnt just
have one top blocking the light but at least four. Not
just a double topped schoolmarm but a thick four trunked
monstrosity as healthy and dense as could be. Once the
decision was made, down it came right into the little
slot between another tree and my veggie boxes with not
a lick of damage done even with a wind gusting. I am very
fortunate that my other half is damned good with a chainsaw,
although a little crazy in my books. I would have
waited for a calm day because after all, the thing was
next to a glass greenhouse, but you know
. Type A
and all that.
Aspen had also grown up in my greenhouse last year, even
though there was no water at all, and heavens know where
they came from, but any aspen from nearby were also chopped
down. Them I dont mind so much. They grow just like
weeds. Having come from living in a prairie province for
a few years Ive been hesitant for us to cut anything
out that would stop wind and provide shelter, but after
being eaten alive by bugs for the past three years and
seeing such an obnoxious invasion of roots in my greenhouse
not to mention elsewhere in my garden, its game
on! After the trees were cut down I took great pleasure
in starting up the bush whacker, Freddy Krueger Junior,
and wiped out every little bush, tree, and wild rose bush
surrounding the greenhouse in a matter of minutes,
and does it ever look good. So much for tree hugging.
Take that, mosquitoes!
In any case, after some long exhausting days working outside,
I have not had the energy to write a blog. Ive come
in to the house determined to post a short bit to Facebook
for you folks that like an update, and thats all
I have been able to manage. It was only because I decided
to take today off from the physical stuff that Ive
had the energy to sit here upright in the computer chair
for any length of time. I feel really sorry for my computer
clients because their work hasnt been getting done
either but most are local to the Chilcotin and very understanding
of the situation. In this country, you have to make
hay while the sun shines.
One thing that we always make sure to do is to go for
a walk with the dogs every day when possible and its
been nice to see the changes in the woods on the back
trail. A lot of the snow is gone now and its easy
to see tracks in the mud. We noticed that a very small
herd of caribou went through the other day, probably on
their spring migration from Charlotte Lake alplands where
they winter to the Itchas where they summer. The
other evening our hound dog went absolutely ballistic
so I went out to see what was around. Because
she was barking so much I decided to walk down the road
and came across a set of wet imprints coming up from our
boat ramp where the ice had been broken at the shore and
out our driveway. I could only see the general outline
of wet so assumed a small horse had come down to drink
but I walked down our driveway anyway to see if I could
see it. Nada. It seemed so strange that a horse would
disappear that quickly but there was no longer any wet
on the ground so I turned around and came back to the
house. The next day when Andy went out with the dogs he
came back up the neighbour's driveway and noticed several
caribou tracks in the mud just below our driveway and
showed them to me a day or so later. Sure enough,
there was one very large, heavy animal and then smaller
cows and at least one yearling calf. At least
one of those animals was the one whos wet imprints
I had followed up our driveway and probably when I came
over the hill, the group simply faded into the brush along
the neighbours driveway. Unlike a horse, caribou
can disappear into thin air and move at a pace that is
unbelievable. I know. I tried hunting them years ago and
doing it on foot seems pretty much an impossibility if
theyre on the move. Theyre like ghosts.
While we have seen caribou tracks in the woods over the
years as they move through in spring, this is the first
time that I have seen tracks this close to the house and
Im really surprised that they did come in that close,
considering that there was a hysterical dog barking.
But on the other hand, weve had moose bedded down
in the same thick brush along ours and our neighbours
driveway, so maybe the animals arent that concerned
when the cover is that good. As always, its cool
to see nature getting along just fine with humans around.
The Annual Nimpo Lake Fishing Derby will be on the
long weekend in May on the 18th and 19th and I
believe the Annual Canoe race will be as well but I still
have to check on that because the race may be moved back
now with the ice being off so early. At least that will
make it a little easier and less nasty with the water
not being quite so high as it was last year.
Right now Im going to get this blog wrapped up.
The wind is blowing at 23 miles per hour which is a lot
for us, so the power going out would not be unexpected.
Youll find the last week's of blog at April
Lake Highway cam looking West.
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!