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 2/2006
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.
Happy Easter Everyone!
course you shouldn't be on the Internet reading this.
You should be getting ready for an absolutely huge Easter
dinner now that all the kids have finished their Easter
Egg Hunt. At least I guess people still do that. Pagan
that we are we usually don't really notice Easter too
much here anymore. Today was different for us because
we were invited to Easter brunch at the Dutchman Restaurant
in Anahim Lake by my mother. After filling up
on a terrific meal that should be the only one of the
day, we have to make room now for dinner down at Nimpo
It gives me the opportunity to check out the new laptop
with the Wi-Fi system on my Mom's satellite system. I
really need to see if I can pick up a signal anywhere
I go in future. Unfortunately, my computer just informed
me that the driver for the Wi-Fi may not be compatible
with the Windows XP operating system on the laptop. Don't
you just love technology?
I think I can hear Nimpo Lake rumbling but it's
pretty tough when the sound is drowned out by a whole
crowd of insanely singing red winged blackbirds.
They've decided the food and company here are good and
that's just all. They aren't leaving! The neighbour finally
got so mad at them eating all of the food he puts out
for the chickadees that he's stopped putting out food
The weather just can't make up its mind today. We had
a weird, warm wind blowing last night and it's clouded
over today with some blustery gusts coming in. We are
just on the edge of a huge low coming in from the Pacific
Ocean. I guess they've been getting snow in the
mountains and passes throughout British Columbia and rain
elsewhere. At least we're not getting the flooding
that they are back east and gladly not getting the weather
that the eastern seaboard and midwest have been getting
in the States. It seems awfully early for tornadoes and
other little nasties and hopefully isn't a harbinger of
the summer to come.
Sadly, everyone coming back into the West Chilcotin for
summer are starting to notice what we have for the last
few weeks...the slow reddening of the pine trees. We
got hit pretty hard by the Mountain Pine Beetle last summer
and it's starting to show. On the other hand,
change is never a bad thing if you can look at it with
optimism and hope. Who knows? The country may change but
it might be for the better. It just won't be great in
the short term.
We've wandered through the woods on walks trying to guess
what changes we'll see in the next few years. The pine
trees suck up a lot of moisture. Perhaps once they're
gone, we'll see more aspen, willow and undergrowth. Perhaps
the wild meadows will expand. This would be a boon
to wildlife because while they can eat all of the above,
they can't eat pine trees. It'll be interesting
and since there isn't a darn thing we can do about it,
we might as well go along for the ride!
Oh, and I'm very sorry for no article yesterday but two
computers and a laptop all running on my desk at one time
and trying to transfer information and load up software
was a bit overwhelming yesterday. Couple that with running
around the country dropping off some graphics work to
clients and it all ran me a little short of time.
Have a great Easter Dinner and don't eat too much!
The Vagaries Of Technology
of yesterday's thread, I'm drowning in technology
and I'd really rather be fishing, so to speak. I now have
a laptop bought by for me by my sweetie, which is pretty
exciting because it means when we go away for awhile,
I can keep track of my sites and keep up on this blog.
Unfortunately, there's a long haul between here and getting
to the point that the laptop is actually a useful tool.
I have to load all of my program software, and then I
have to load all of my data that I just spent the morning
backing up from my desk top computer to the laptop. I
need to figure out how to do a system back up on the laptop
first. Apparently it has a hidden partition for backing
up the main operating system, etc. before you start adding
the mass of data that I need to.
There are three ways of hooking up to the Internet and
I have tested the dial up already. Once everything is
loaded up I'll drive down to my mother's place at
the other end of Nimpo Lake and see if I can pick up her
satellite and upload to the Internet using the
laptop's Wi-Fi and her system. There is no way of testing
for a cable hookup in this country so I'll just have to
take it on faith that the system works.
The only other possible fly in the ointment will be whether
I can use RSS software that I have on two different computers
at the same time since that's what I use for uploading
the blog. It's all fun and games this technical
It snowed last night. The neighbour just stopped over
and said it started snowing at about 2:00 in the morning.
It was certainly a bright white out there when I got up
and there's a real 'chilly' winter wind. He asked
if we would be interested in going out snowmobiling one
more time before shutting it down for the year.
Unfortunately, it would require trailering and we're awfully
spoiled for that, so we'll see. It's kind of hard to think
about snowmobiling when standing next to an RV trailer
that we just bought. It's a pretty cool low profile, light
weight trailer with everything we need to call home while
in Alaska this summer. With that in the yard you tend
to be thinking more about summer fun than winter fun right
now. Although we're probably jumping the gun a bit. Spring
hasn't quite gotten here yet even if there are
little tiny green things trying to sneak up out of the
Oh yeah. Happy Good Friday!
Wild, Wild Wind In The West Chilcotin
is it ever a wild, blustery day out there today! It's
so windy I haven't even seen any red winged blackbirds
at the feeder today. They're probably afraid of
being blown away if they risk venturing into the air.
I wonder how you calculate the weather for the end of
the month if the middle comes in like a lion rather than
the beginning? Just asking. :-)
So yesterday I talked about how sad it was that so many
young people and their children have no idea how to go
fishing. You know the saying 'Give a man a fish and he
will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat
for a lifetime.' Or at least I think it goes like that.
I feel that there is a very valuable lesson in that phrase
because what happens if you can't go down to your
corner grocery store and buy your next meal?
We've all experienced power outages due to blizzards,
ice storms or even heat wave, some for up to a week. We
can usually all find something in our cupboards to keep
us going for that period of time. But what happens in
the case of a long term disaster? Case in point: New Orleans
after the Katrina hurricane, just to bring home some reality.
What happens after a natural disaster such as an earthquake
that could affect the entire western seaboard of North
America at any time? How about a tsunami? A massive blizzard
blanketing the entire eastern seaboard cutting off all
ties and transportation to and from the rest of the world
for weeks? Volcanoes anyone? Floods? Or the one
thing that scared the hell out of me all my childhood
and early adult years, and now has again become
a bleak reality ... nuclear war.
Chances are pretty good that if you were from a subsistance
culture, you would survive most natural disasters easily.
But fewer and fewer people even know the basics of survival
and more and more rely heavily on their state, provincial
or federal government to bail them out in the face of
a disaster. Oh yeah, all we have to do is declare
our district to be under a state of emergency,
and we'll be fine. The government will come through.
The fault with that kind of thinking is what happens when
you reach the limits of what a government can do? What
if the government just can't do a damn thing? Not only
does that possiblity exist, but as with Katrina, it occurred.
Too many people sat around waiting for the government
to kick in and take care of them, and the problem was
compounded because people didn't believe officials when
they told them to get the hell out of Dodge in the first
Someday, something is going to happen that is going to
be beyond the scope of the government's ability to coddle
you, protect you, or take care of you. Of course
my view is why should they have to in the first place
but I'm sure that won't go over well with anyone.
Be that as it may, what do you do in the face of that
kind of disaster? Give up and die? Because unless our
race can maintain some modicum of survival skills, besides
taking up arms and stealing from others, we will eventually
go the way of the Romans. That civilization fell and so
too will ours. In the face of a massive disaster, anyone
from Alaska, Northern Canada and the poorer regions of
Mexico have the best chance of surviving because
they are closer to nature. They know how to make a livelihood
by making use of the resources nature has to offer in
their rawest form, be that plants, fish or game. In other
words, they know how to catch a fish.
I am far more inclined to put my money on someone who
knows how to fish in the face of a disaster requiring
basic survival skills than I will on someone who is a
hotshot in the boardroom but has no clue where the
steak he had for supper comes from.
As the world becomes more advanced technologically and
people draw away from nature outside to sit in front of
their computers and televisions more and more, the problem
of survivability for our race will only grow worse. And
ultimately, given the right circumstance, a more backward
people will conquer us just as the Romans were so easily
conquered by the barbarians.
Oddly, most people rarely seem to think about the possibility
of a disaster large enough in scale to set back their
little piece of civilization and the few that do, dismiss
it. They do not understand that it is not a matter of
whether a large scale civilization-busting disaster will
happen but rather when it will happen. Either way
matters not to me.
I know how to fish.
very nice property is now off the property for sale page.
The pretty house with the big front windows has been sold
to someone from Alberta as I understand it. That's
really great because the owners are a young couple with
a son that bought a beautiful acreage with house on Nimpo
Lake just across from their sold property. They
bought it a year or two ago so that they could have a
place for horses for their son. But it can be pretty tough
to hold two properties at once. So I'm really happy for
them. Besides, that means they're neighbours on our side
of the lake now, and that's a good thing!
This side of the lake actually had several properties
occupied by mostly summer or part time residents. But
we're gradually getting more and more full time residents
over here and they're all just terrific people. We're
going to have to think about having a nice neighbourhood
'block' party when everyone has come in for the summer.
And no, this isn't quite suburbia. Most of the 'neighbours'
on this lake are several hundred yards through the trees
from each other.
I read a sad little article in BC Outdoor magazine this
morning. Fisheries is actually talking about setting up
day classes at some of their freshwater fishery pools
around the province to teach kids how to fish. Apparently,
fishing isn't something that many young parents know how
to teach their children anymore and many of the
people that do know how are growing older and the freshwater
fishing industry is going down. Wow. That's scary.
What happened to going out to any old puddle or
slough and hanging a line off of a stick when you were
a kid? Or your parents outfitting you with beat
up little rod, a bobber and your excitement at digging
up your very own worms from musky rich earth near a little
lake they've taken you to for the day? Even here, parents
take their kids out on the ice of Nimpo Lake, Anahim Lake
or other lakes in the area on a nice day to do a little
ice fishing, sit around a fire and roast hot dogs.
I guess I know what's happened. I know young parents now
from the cities and towns that were raised on Nintendo
and Gameboy, computers and TV. So now their little children
sit around playing games on the computer and instant messaging
friends they have never met over their computers or cell
phones, or what have you. On the one hand they probably
know more about the world of technology than I could ever
hope to keep up with. Perhaps they even know more about
other cultures because of their cyber friends. But
they've never had the excitement of hooking a fish and
bringing it in.
It's also scary. I'll tell you why tomorrow.
Just a word of warning for those with slow dial up. The
of the Day
day is a large file because of all the colors.
Walking In The Rain
the hail and the mud and the blood and the tears... Oh
no, that's a song isn't it?
I decided I had better be going for a walk early this
afternoon before the sun disappeared behind some ominous
clouds. I got just a little way down the driveway and
ended up doing most of my walk in a hailstorm.
I was just about back when the sun started shining again.
Then there was a mini rainstorm of only a minute, and
now it's been absolutely glorious the rest of the afternoon.
My timing, as usual, sucks!
However, I finally got the tweaking on this site done
that I've been working on for the last few days. So the
listings on the resorts, motels, and services pages
are much tighter and a little more attractive I think.
There is still a lot more work on the code to do in future,
but at least I'm comfortable with it for the summer and
since my partner has been gone for the past week, it's
been an awesome opportunity to get something done that
does not go well with interruptions.
The property for sale pages are up and I'll update them
as I find listings or people contact me. I do know
that there are more properties for sale than are on the
pages, particularly in Anahim Lake, I just haven't
had time to go around, talk to people and get pictures
Things are drying up at quite a rate around here. What
was mud from snow melt only a few days ago can actually
be walked on for now. That will change of course, as soon
as the frost really starts coming out of the ground. Then
you're in breakup, like it or not. But if the
weather stays like this with only the odd unusual rain
or hail storm, things may well dry up by the first part
A very dry summer is being predicted for this year. That
doesn't bode well for any of British Columbia that has
been hit with the Mountain Pine Beetle kill. When
the trees are in their red stage (the needles have turned
from green to red) they are highly volatile and can literally
explode when a spark is present. Not on the tree. Near
the tree. That's how explosive the gases put off by a
beetle killed pine is.
In addition to that bit, I was reading today that fuel
prices are expected to climb again this summer possibly
putting a dent in the number of travelling vacationers
to Canada. I'm very much hoping that the prices don't
drastically affect us as this area relies heavily on those
who come here for summer vacation.
Oh well, come anyway. Trust me, it's worth it! And just
to show you how much so... check out the Picture
of the Day
page. It just goes to show you what you can see when you
take a hike!
about no article yesterday. Remember that algebra
that I mentioned a few days ago? Well, I've been
faithfully trying to stick to that code rewrite that I've
been working on for days. Since I've also been sick the
last few days, writing code and the blog
have just been one too many things for my little pea brain
The blackbirds have just been going nuts outside on the
bird feeder lately and I've been trying very hard
to get a picture. With that many birds fluttering around
a little feeder you can see all the bright reds, oranges
and yellows of their wing bars. Every time I try to sneak
up to the window to take a picture, they're gone! I do
have some great pictures of the window blinds though.
If I even walk near the open door to the deck, the
rotten buggers know I'm there, even if they can't
see me. So sitting outside on the deck quietly in the
hopes of getting some pictures is out of the question.
They're just not as dumb as the otter was.
Of course there's a zillion of them in the trees surrounding
the deck, but try getting a black bird in a nearly black
tree to show up in a digital image!
Here's the cool thing though. I thought the blackbirds
were late showing up this year, but last year, according
to my blog at April
Week Two , they arrived at the feeder
a full week earlier this year and these are fully mature
males. That seems really strange because I'm sure the
ice on the lake and snow on the ground was melted way
sooner last year. Anyway, the raucous boogers have sure
gone through a lot of sunflower seeds in the last few
There's a big spider hole that has opened up midway
between here and the island on Nimpo Lake. It's
position is exactly where new ice formed from the Main
Arm against the older ice in the bay. Early last winter
it froze clear out to the Main Arm, then a wind blew up
and melted back to this joint. This might be a clue as
to what causes the spider holes. One has to assume that
there is some stress at that joint between the older and
newer ice. All I know is that spider holes were
my nemesis this year. There was just too many
of them on the lake. Between that and the overflow, I
just wasn't comfortable with going cross country skiing
on the lake, especially after discovering that a spider
hole opened up under my ski trail. Normally they wouldn't
bother me, but there was enough snow on the lake to hide
them all winter.
I expect that overflow and melt will be an issue
on many of the other lakes now when going snowmobiling.
The guys went up last Thursday, but the neighbour said
it was pretty mucky in places with a lot of water on the
trail. Though, once they hit the junction between the
Hooch and Charlotte Main going toward Trumpeter he said
it was pretty good.
Most of the lake accesses on to the ice road are shot
now. Both the ones on and near our property have open
water near shore. I'm assuming the ramp up to Nimpo
Lake is in the same state. You can still walk
on the lake, you just have to deek down onto it where
the ice hasn't pulled back from shore. Oh, and check out
of the Day.
That's pretty much what Nimpo Lake is going to look like
in just a few days.
Ok, I have to get back to work. Soon, you will see the
new and improved pages on this site. I hope...
Ice Is Coming Off
but surely, it's going out now from Nimpo Lake. Last night
someone had a little bit of difficulty getting up the
ramp off of the lake. It was after midnight when I watched
a pickup come down the ice road, spin around a couple
of times and then stop. After that, it was a few minutes
of spinning the tires and then I guessed the occupants
decided to walk home or get help. A little while later
I could hear a couple of more pickups that came down the
boat ramp and after walking around for awhile, presumably
to check the ice, the one pickup pulled down in behind
the first and pulled his truck backwards until he was
clear. I don't know if he smoked a snowbank on the
edge of the ice road, or fell into the hole full of water
that's been growing steadily over the last few days.
If the latter, he would have had difficulty getting enough
purchase on the ice to back up. Didn't look like it took
too much for his partner to pull him out though.
The ice pulled away from our shore in front today, and
you can see clear down to the bottom of the lake now so
I think that's the end of me driving the
ice road. I already took a tranny out of my truck a couple
of years ago being the last to drive the lake. I won't
do that again! The road itself isn't the
problem because it still has lots of ice. It's close to
the shores where you have to get up off of the lake that
the ice deteriorates first and you never want to take
a chance on going into the drink if you don't have to.
The red winged blackbirds finally found the feeder yesterday.
I've been listening to them singing all day a few hundred
yards over at the neighbours for the past week and envied
him the pleasure. Once they arrived here, I had
all the singing a person could handle for awhile.
It's quite a large flock and that close, once they get
going it's not an orchestra anymore, it's just pure cacophony.
Still though, to me their trills sound like pure liquid
crystal. Maybe because they're such a sure sign of spring.
Folks down at the other end of Nimpo Lake saw a
small group of caribou out on the lake this morning
so they haven't moved into the high country yet.
Pretty blustery, windy day today which is good for drying
up the mud and taking down the snow I guess. It was up
to about 10C or 50F today and some big thunderheads moved
in from the south and west. I haven't heard thunder but
Mary down at Nimpo Lake Resort said she heard thunder
the other day. That's really unusual for this time of
Hey, just to show you that the ice really is going out
from shore, check out the pictures on the right! An
otter popped up close to shore in front of our house this
evening and decided that was going to be his feeding
place I guess. He would come up, sit on an ice ledge under
the water, then dive again for awhile. I got some pictures
from inside but by the time I snuck outside I was losing
my light and the pictues with the digital weren't as clear.
Hopefully the 35mm pics will turn out better. In
the meanwhile, the cat kept an eagle eye on the otter
from the deck while the otter kept an eye on him,
and the dog completely missed the visit. She knew something
was there, she just didn't realize it was in the water.
The Black Fox
we have foxes of all colors here, black seems to be predominant.
One of the pictures that Bill and Anita were kind enough
to give me was of a black fox they saw when they left
Nimpo Lake on their last snowmobiling trip. Which is fortunate
because although we see them, I as usual, never seem to
have a camera when I need it. We have a fox that
hangs around here that we've watched crossing the lake.
A couple of times we have seen him bounding across the
lake, then he'll stop and look back, wait for a little
while, then off he goes again. Eventually you'll see a
couple of tired and panting dogs show up behind him. He
seems to like to tease the dogs into chasing him but since
they don't have a hope in catching up, he'll stop and
wait for them to get close enough to see him again, then
take off. The one dog usually gives up by half way across
the lake but the other is a lot more determined.
Our neighbours have seen the same fox a couple of times
on their walks, and if it's the same one, I've seen
it crossing the road a few times down by the outlet of
Nimpo Lake at Fishtrap.
The one I've seen there though has some really oddly colored
splotches on it's rump and a white tuft on its tail. Very
similar in coloration to one that hangs around the mill.
I was sitting outside in the sun during lunch one day
and watched this fox playing on the other side of the
parking lot for quite a while. Finally someone came by
and when I questioned them, they said that it hung around
the mill all the time and they thought someone from the
bunkhouses might be feeding it. We seem to have a lot
more foxes locally than coyotes or wolves. Although
I'm pretty sure I heard a wolf howling the other night,
and that's very unusual right around Nimpo Lake.
I listened to it for a few minutes and I'm pretty darn
sure it wasn't a dog howling. Wolves have a deeper timbre
or resonance to their howl than even a big dog seems capable
of. I don't really know how to describe the difference
but it really is distintive.
Quite a few people around the lake have stated they've
seen a black wolf this winter and our neighbour
saw tracks crossing his yard in the snow. You don't normally
get them hanging around this low, although we did watch
a pair cross Nimpo Lake in broad daylight three winters
ago. It's possible that a young male was kicked out of
his pack and has been hanging around the small caribou
herd that's been here all winter.
As you can see from the pictures on the right, I'm still
sneaking in those stuckmobile pictures, courtesy of Bill
and Anita, and will continue to add snowmobiling pics
until the end of the season up in the Rainbows.
This is the start of a new week, so you can read last
week's articles at Wilderness
Adventure April Week One .
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!