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 4/2007
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
of the Day.
The Stump Farm
used the Bobcat to pull some more stumps today. It took
the better part of the afternoon to pull only six, all
close together and all with their roots intertwined. One
of them had huge roots that were snaking over to the drain
field, which would explain why that tree was bigger than
It would be nice if we could still get dynamite
these days. It would be a lot easier to blow the
stumps than to dig them out, although probably not as
safe this close to the house. When I was a kid I was my
Dad's powder monkey, helping him to haul around the dynamite,
caps and fuses and wire them together according to the
size of each stump to be blown. My Mom oversaw my brothers
who had the job of drilling deep in under the stumps where
we would then tamp in the dynamite. Dad would yell, "Heads
up!" so everyone would know when a fuse was going
to be lit and we'd all start running. The odd time
he would misjudge how difficult a big stump was going
to be and tamp in a bit too much dynamite. You
would hear a muffled whoomph and that old stump
would blow straight up in the air competing with a rocket
ship on rails for speed and altitude. Then we'd all laugh
ourselves silly when it reached Mother Earth again. I
suppose Social Services would have a field day with that
nowadays and probably would have come and carted all us
kids off to a foster home. But that was just about the
most fun I remember having on our ranch.
When you see the rocks and pure clay the roots of
our stumps are wrapped around, you have to wonder how
the trees even found enough nutrients to grow.
There are only a scant few inches of topsoil, if you can
call it that, and most of it was produced by the trees
themselves from years of dropped needles. But I guess
that's why the lodgepole pine does so well in this country.
It doesn't need much to grow in although it explains why
it can take 15 years just for a pine tree to reach its
first three feet or less in poor soil when it's young.
A lot of this country looks much like parkland because
little else will grow in this soil and few plants can
compete with the pine trees once they get going. Unlike
the Prince George area where the bush is so thick I hesitated
to even hunt it because coming face to face with a black
or grizzly bear at any time was a very real possibility.
You couldn't see two feet in front of your face and you
were battling a tangle of willow and other bushes among
the trees every step of the way.
Andy worked hard for years to get our little tiny hard
scrabble lawn over the drain field growing and now half
of it is dug up. I think we're definitely going to have
to get a line on some manure to improve the soil before
we have any hope of putting in a lawn. Although Andy insists
the New York Yankees are just waiting for us to get a
nice green baseball diamond in, I think they just might
have to wait awhile. Since we're not the only ones clearing
trees and pulling stumps, manure is going to be at a premium
pretty soon but there's really no other source of good
soil around. I wonder if there's any way of just
leaving the stumps in and calling them art.
Apparently I was just a little too enthusiastic and too
quick about congratulating Mother Nature on the weather
yesterday. We're back to the inclement spring weather
where a cold wind is blowing right in off the ice and
you're freezing your butt off one minute, then the sun
pops out and you're roasting the next. It got down to
-4 or -5C last night, or about 23F and although the thermometer
insists it's +7C or around 40 degrees now, it sure doesn't
feel like it. I'm about ready to break out my long johns
again if I have to go back to work outside.
Our friends from across the lake are back from down south
and commented on how lousy the weather is and that the
lake ice isn't moving at all. Yep. That's the way it's
been for a long, long time. Blame it on global warming.
That reminds me. I've come up with a theory about
the high fuel prices we're seeing right now. Both
the American and Canadian governments insist that they're
undergoing inquiries right now as to why the prices are
so high at the pumps this year when crude is lower than
it was this time last year, and the oil companies are
posting record profits. But I don't think it's in their
best interest to press the issue. Right now both countries
have seen a surge of interest from the general populace
in cleaning up the environment and cutting back on gas
emissions. But most people are either unwilling
or unable to give up their vehicles and utilize public
transit more. It would seem that the only way
you can force the car manufacturers to produce a more
fuel efficient vehicle, and the general public to drive
less, is to allow fuel prices to go through the roof.
And I believe the oil companies have twigged onto that.
I think they know they can get away with higher prices
at the pumps right now and they're going to push their
luck to the limit so long as everyone's on the 'green'
bandwagon. Just my kick at the cat and probably a cynical
one, but it sounds plausible to me. Not that I know much.
Remember, I'm just a bush bunny...living on a stump
actually had a sunny, almost calm day and I heard my first
loon last night, so all is right with the world. Admittedly,
the loon call was a bit tentative, and the one I heard
today was downright pathetic, but it still counts
as a loon, so spring is here!
This morning started out with no wind at all and lots
of glorious sunshine, albeit a bit chilly because it froze
again last night. A little later the clouds started moving
in and a breeze would kick up now and then, but it still
turned out to be a pretty nice day overall and at least
we didn't get any hurricane force winds.
We got some more piles of limbs, logs and needles burned
down at the end of our driveway today and although the
wind kept switching on us, we probably didn't need to
pay quite as close attention to the fires as we did. But
it was a good excuse to be outside and enjoy the day.
I didn't get any work done on the computer but if
you can't play hooky and enjoy a bright spring Sunday
on occasion, someone might as well just roll you on into
Today we walked a short way along the back trail in the
woods to see if there was still a lot of snow there. There
is on the trail but it's dry and easy walking in the trees
where we found all kinds of sign of the moose that stayed
the winter with us. The 'good fertilizer'
kind of sign and more than I've seen back in there since
I moved here. We had a good laugh when we discovered how
much they've grazed down the tops of the willows along
our northern shoreline. They did a good number on the
bushes but it will probably just make them grow a little
thicker and if it means our ungainly, godawful ugly
buddies got enough to eat this winter, then it's okay
Walking back into our yard is always a new experience
now that all the beetle killed trees have been cut down.
I know I keep repeating myself but you just kind of wander
around all the time wondering what the heck you're going
to do with a stump farm.
Andy has popped out a few stumps that he's been able to
free from the frost but there's lots to go and it'll take
time. Since it's going to be too late to burn before long,
they're probably going to have to go to the dump. There's
certainly no place to store them around here. Although
all 99 stumps probably won't be pulled, at least two thirds
of them will be, and can you imagine how much room
that many hairy old stumps with roots sticking out all
over will take up? There's just nothing neat,
tidy or organized about pine tree stumps and roots. It's
too bad there's no wood carving artist nearby. I'm sure
that you could do wondrous things with those spiderlike
stumps, besides get grubby.
The ice on Nimpo Lake still isn't doing much. Our 'swimming
hole' froze up from a cold night a little while back and
hasn't melted since. The sun is really hot when it's out,
but the air temperature itself isn't all that high during
the day so nothing is melting or moving much, especially
since it's freezing at night.
A couple of spider holes opened up in the ice out in front
of our place, but froze over again, and we don't have
the monster cracks we usually do going over to the eastern
shore. We also lost the reeds out in front of our place
and over in front of the neighbour's place that draw a
lot of sun and really melt the ice out. The lake had frozen
up in our bay last fall but not out on the Main Arm when
some high winds came in and really pushed the ice around.
It's possible that the reeds were sheared off then, or
maybe it was just the heavy snow load on the ice this
winter. But without those reeds or the big cracks, or
high air temperature to rot the ice, we're just not getting
enough open water this year. Without open water,
the ice sheet can't start moving back and forth and break
up so it will probably eventually just rot away to nothing.
We came back from a great Chinese buffet at the Dutchman
last night and passed some of the locals fishing off the
bridge where the Dean River exits Nimpo Lake. They said
there weren't a lot of trout running yet, so the water
is just too cold. I was just checking back over the last
two years of blogs for this time of year to see if I was
just champing at the bit for ice off or if we are late
for having this much ice. Last year I think the ice went
off about the 4th or 5th of May but it was rotten and
black long before that and we were seeing ducks and loons
on the water in April. The year before that the
ice was out enough on the 22nd of April for us to go fishing
and there were water birds all over the place.
You really have to wonder how the migratory birds know
when to come back because they don't always come back
at the same time. Or if they do, they sure aren't hanging
around here much. For example, I know that the loons have
come back a couple of weeks earlier than this before,
but this year they're late. And we're seeing very few
ducks or Canada Geese right around here, although we did
have two ducks preening each other in our meadow today.
I know I'm getting impatient and champing at the
bit or not, I know the ice will go out sometime
because the Law of Nature says so. It's just a matter
of which season. I should check to see what the breakup
pool is right now. Usually locals bet on the date
and time of ice out on Nimpo Lake but I haven't heard
a single thing about it this year. It would be
interesting to know what the range of dates is that people
are betting on. At this point in time, I think I'd put
my money on July. :-)
Taking The Blame
in deep trouble now because I mentioned yesterday that
things were drying out pretty well around here and that
it should stay that way unless it snowed or rained. Which,
of course, is exactly what it did today. Murphy's
Law rides again!
It started out being a beautiful day this morning and
then deteriorated from there on. First the wind started,
then it tried to spit snow until this afternoon, when
it changed to rain. By this evening it was snowing
heavily for quite a while. It's now clear, and
the wind has settled down. Pretty much every kind of weather.
Just take your pick.
I had to go into Anahim Lake today and noticed that there's
a spot by the mill that is probably going to become a
problem for the highway in the near future. Two springs
ago it kept flooding across the highway because snow melt
on the mill side has nowhere to go. Last year there wasn't
as much snow but this year the backed up water in the
trees is only a few inches below the top of the road and
there's still some snow to melt there. There should be
water across the highway within the next couple of days.
I got to see an interesting piece of work in Anahim
today. Oh, for a camera! I was at the Dutchman
when down the highway comes a pickup truck towing a flat
deck with the front of a huge building perched on the
deck, while the back of the building was held up off the
pavement on the forks of a front end loader. The big parade
had to negotiate a three-way corner from the direction
of the airport to 'downtown' Anahim and right past the
restaurant where we all either stood or were parked,
incredulous, with mouths agape.
Now, I've seen big buildings moved in Saskatchewan, but
never here. And I know that's not how it's
done. As the parade eased around the corner the building
began to shift and tip. We all stood there, most of us
repeating, "She's gonna go!" Sure
enough, she tipped slowly onto the pavement by her foundation
with the front of the building still hanging onto a small
piece of flat deck by only a hair. Cool. Now traffic is
blocked from all three directions. Nope! Not for long!
The loader driver dove back in under the back of
the building and lifted it up again, while pieces of this
and that, and blocks of wood fell out from under it.
They made it a few more feet and all the while you could
hear the loud groaning and crunching of wood and the squealing
of metal. Then with a mighty crash, the big supporting
beam they had sitting crosswise on the deck under the
building fell out. Stop again. The loader lifts the back
of the building high in the air while a fellow grabs the
beam and slips it back under the front and away they motor
as fast as they can go. For good reason, I'm guessing.
I don't imagine they had the blessing of the local
constabulary. They had to have known exactly where
the RCMP Members were, that they definitely weren't in
the vicinity, and probably only had a very short window
of opportunity. Which is why I won't describe either the
vehicles or people involved. Suffice to say they wallowed
on down the road while quite a few of us stood in the
parking lot laughing our butts off. Only in Anahim....
I deked by the building's new home a little while later
where it had made it to its destination only a little
worse for wear, the new owner looking pleased as a pumpkin
over his acquisition. I'm not sure why the building didn't
split in half with only support on the front and back
and none along its long length underneath while they moved
it. It must have been pretty well built to survive that
little foray out on the highway.
I realize that there are laws to govern us and that we
are so tightly bound in a suffocating web of restrictions
to protect us from ourselves as well as others. But the
beauty of living in the Chilcotin as that sometimes you
see people throw off those chains and say, "Hey,
we can move this! Who needs proper equipment, flag people,
flag trucks, permits, tie downs and all that other stuff?
We just have to move fast. Everyone'll get out of the
way if she falls over." And so they did.
You gotta love it.
Doing The Check
apologize for no article yesterday. As I warned before,
they may be a little irregular in the near future because
I'm a bit backlogged right now. But that didn't stop us
for going out for a few minutes this evening after supper
to 'do the check'.
Spring has always been my favorite time of year and though
spring comes very slowly to the Chilcotin, it's still
a time of great changes and you've just gotta check it
out. We had to take a walk down to the shoreline and see
what was happening there. The ice on Nimpo Lake
just does not want to loosen its grip this year so
there's still very little open water. But where we had
our burn pile out on the ice in front of the house, we
now have open water with little riffling waves from the
wind. It's not much, but it's a pleasant start. Personally,
I'm all in favor of launching the canoe into the whole
five feet of open water we have, or donning waders and
going out there and start pounding on the ice.
I'm sure we could chip away a couple more feet of it.
Not that it will make that much difference. There's still
lots of thickness there and we're certainly not going
to break the record for early ice out this year. However,
we may break the record for the latest date yet for ice
We watched a coyote do the dash across the lake
this morning, cutting diagonally from near our
shore over to the eastern shore. Either he found a still
frozen patch to get onto the water or had to do a leap
over open water. Friends of ours down at the other end
of the lake said they watched a coyote coming full bore
at them down the lake. They thought he would stop when
he hit open water near their shoreline but obviously he
didn't realize it was there until too late. Kerplunk,
and in he went. Must have been a bit of a shock
to the system. Here we always give animals credit for
having good instincts, but apparently, that isn't always
The water in the lake has risen substantially in the last
couple of days. I expect the creeks coming into the lake
are going full bore and there'll be runoff from the melting
snow around the shoreline. We looked for little critters
in the open water along the shore tonight, but surprisingly,
there still aren't any. Usually there are all types of
little bugs and beetles and water creatures zipping around
in the water warmed by the banks along the shoreline as
soon as the ice melts back. Nothing at all this year.
I can only assume that the rapid rise in water
level and melting snow is keeping the water temperature
too cool right now.
Doing 'the check' gives us the opportunity to see what's
coming up around the yard. Little tufts of grass here
and there are starting to flush green and a few of the
hardiest perennials in my 'holding' garden are just starting
to poke up some new growth. Several of the wild little
pine and spruce trees are still bent over from the weight
of the snow from which they've just emerged and I'm going
to have to go out and do a little pruning on some of my
small trees and shrubs that have had tips broken off from
Thankfully, we're just about past the muddy stage
of breakup but that can change quickly with a
new snowfall or rain, so it would be a great time to get
outside and do some cleanup. Unfortunately, I've got work
inside and it still isn't particularly pleasant outside
with the wind, which still hasn't stopped blowing. That's
the other thing that would normally get the ice moving
on Nimpo and start breaking it up, is the wind. But there
just isn't enough open water yet.
I spoke briefly to good friends of mine living in Saskatchewan
last night. The conversation was brief because they were
in the process of vacuuming water out of their basement,
just as they had been for the past week. Saskatchewan
has been enjoying extremely high temperatures for the
last week or so. Not a good thing when the shortest snow
bank in your yard is five feet high and your house is
parked on pretty flat land. These folks have never had
this problem in all the years they've lived on the farm,
nor the parents before them, but it looks like a lot of
people in that province are going to be under water for
We saw on the news tonight that many communities
on rivers, including those in the Lower Mainland, are
on flood watch and at a heightened state of readiness
with some trying to get their dikes upgraded before the
floods come. The news focused on one small community that
is made up of a series of floating houses on the Fraser
River. Many of the residents are aware of the danger the
Fraser can present to them but seem to think that their
houses will just ride the rising water. They probably
will but as one emergency fellow mentioned, the debris
being carried on the river will be much worse than it
has ever been before. Since the Cariboo Chilcotin straddles
the Fraser River I've lived near it or driven over it
most of my life and they call it the Mighty Fraser for
a reason. The stuff that river can rip up and carry down
river in a normal year is amazing. I most definitely
would not want to be in the path of what it can carry
in what's predicted to be the worst flood year since 1948.
The folks around the Kamloops area are also getting ready
for one of the worst flood years on record. Oops, the
wind just got me. A limb or something must have just touched
a line somewhere and the power just surged for a split
second. Unfortunately, that sets off my battery backup
and everything has to be shut down and restarted. That'll
slow things up a bit.
Anyway, Kamloops and area are threatened by the North
Thompson River, another river that I've seen lots before
at flood stage. It's a really nasty beasty, capable
of ripping out whole groves of huge cottonwoods at a time
and it seems to be a river on the move. Every
time I drive along it a substantial amount of real estate
seems to be eaten up each spring. In our part of the country,
the Fraser River sits way below between steep banks until
it gets close to the Fraser Valley. In contrast, the North
Thompson is at road, farm and residential elevation in
most places so all it can do is spread out.
Many of the creeks feeding the major rivers in British
Columbia will also be reaching flash flood stage at varying
times this spring, evidenced already by a washout on Highway
97 north of Quesnel. That will become the norm.
Out here, we just continue to bumble along.
We've got some creeks that run under the highway here
and there, but there's probably little danger of the road
being washed out with the possible exception of Young
Creek on the 'Hill', so I sympathize with those people
facing that threat this spring.
Listings and Activities
a quick note on weather and what's happening in the Chilcotin.
Unfortunately, those red trees have put me way behind
on the computer work and right now new and continued listings
on this site are coming in faster than I can keep up to
I would like to point out to those folks that would
like to come to the Chilcotin for a vacation that you
will find all kinds of information on places to stay and
things to do on the site.
Your first stop for accommodations is up on your left
on the navigation system where you'll find lots of wonderful
resorts and lodges to choose from under the heading of
Resorts. The same goes for B&B and Motels, and if
you're looking for an RV site or camping spot, you'll
find both of those at Vagabond RV Park and Resort and
at the Chilcotin Waterfront Resort and Motel.
Check out Summer Recreation to get an idea
of the activities available in the area and Tweedsmuir
Park will give you an idea of what a fantastic
park we have nearby that offers miles of trails for hiking,
wildlife viewing, photography, canoeing and every other
possible thing you can think of to do.
Our weather was a little undecided today. The sun was
shining quite a bit and temperatures quite warm, but we've
got a wind blowing again. The wind is definitely good
for picking up moisture from melting snow and drying things
out but a calm day would be nice for sitting outside.
Not that there's much chance of that. I'm chained to the
computer for the next few days or I'm going to have clients
breathing down my neck soon, with good reason.
In addition to that, the contact form on this site doesn't
seem to be working properly right now and I'm darned if
I can figure out why. I worked on it for a few hours yesterday
and didn't get anywhere so until I can figure out what's
up with it, you can contact me at Webmaster@Resortsbc.com
I just caught a quick glimpse of a hawk flying around
our property this evening that may be the same one that
tried to take down that robin the other day. It
definitely flies like a hawk but oddly enough, it seems
to be pure white. I wouldn't mind getting a closer
look at it so I can look it up in the bird book. We are
most definitely seeing more hawks than we ever did before.
The tree swallows are back and were waiting around impatiently
for their nesting box to go up. As soon as it did the
chickadees were prompt about checking it out. I still
haven't figured out what they do in there.
I'll keep this short tonight because I really do have
to get back to work.
The Last One
last red tree went down this afternoon. Finally!
The limbs are burned, the wood's cut up and other than
a few decked logs that we can get to at a later date and
a humungous pile of firewood that has to be split, it's
It took this long for the last few because the holiday
trailer had to be moved out for one, the bobcat trailer
with the antique car on it and a camper for another, and
finally a small shed had to be moved for today's very
last red beast and it couldn't be shifted until enough
frost came out of the ground for the skids to move. For
such a large number of trees to be dropped with all the
stuff in our yard as well as all of the structures, and
no damage, is amazing. Unfortunately, we did lose
the top off of a really pretty Christmas tree on our driveway
that we hoped wouldn't get damaged, but if that's the
worst of it, then we got off lucky.
We put about an hour in helping the neighbour limb and
burn some of his red trees yesterday afternoon and while
walking back it was a real pleasure to see only two red
tree tops among the green on our property. It will be
even better now. With 99 trees down on our property there
is only one weenie tree left to be dropped and since it
died of natural causes years ago, there's no red.
We've missed out on a lot more snowmobiling this
year than we wanted to because of the 'red and dead',
but still, it's almost enough for a celebration! A really
big, nasty job that we actually got accomplished sooner
than I had hoped and long before the forest fire season
hits. It's a real shocker to see how much standing water
there is all over the country with all the snow we had
and no pines to absorb the moisture, so even fire season
may be delayed somewhat this year.
There's a good four or five feet of open water around
the shoreline in many places on Nimpo Lake and
we can see the water level coming up slowly from the runoff.
In the last couple of days the temperature has been between
11C and 15C or 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the
day, so the lake has finally begun to really mush up as
has the snow. Yesterday there was quite a bit of sun and
water was running everywhere. A few more days like this
will make all the difference in the world.
I saw something pretty cool yesterday when I had to drive
down to a neighbour's place. Or you could term it cruel,
I guess. Andy had mentioned seeing a small hawk hanging
around yesterday as had the neighbour. As I drove out
our driveway, right in front of me flies this hawk
with a robin in his claws, with it screeching and flapping
its wings, scattering feathers all over the place.
The truck must have scared the hawk because he let the
robin go and it kind of fell/flew into the big spreading
limbs at the base of a spruce tree. I'm hoping he wasn't
so injured that he couldn't recover and he was smart enough
to stay where the hawk couldn't reach him. I didn't see
enough of the hawk to see what kind it was but it wasn't
that much bigger than the robin and looked like it was
having a real struggle hanging on to its prey as long
as it did. That robin wasn't going easy!
I have a new property for sale listing that at $107,700,
will put you in the Nimpo Lake area for a very affordable
price. Located at Dean River Place at the other
end of the lake, this cozy little home has easy access
to the highway and lots of good neighbours. Although it
does not have waterfront, the 2.77 acre property is located
only a few hundred yards from a public boat launch so
it won't be a problem to grab your rod and go fishing.
The cottage is 864 square feet with a large covered porch,
post and beam construction and vaulted ceilings that give
a spacious feel. Lots of windows and skylights provide
light and a wood stove in the living room makes it cozy
and warm in the winter.
There are two bedrooms, one bath, a laundry room and an
attached porch at the back gives lots of storage. There
is also a large workshop on the treed property with electricity,
phone jack, lots of built in shelving and a small attached
carport. There are some photos up on the right but for
more information and photos, you can check it out on the
for Sale page.
I have started a new week so you'll find last week's articles
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!