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Wilderness Adventures - August, Week 2/2008

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' about the Lakesounds 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.


13/08/2008 10:34 PM

Ghosts from the Past

I had the unique pleasure of meeting a couple of fellows from Rimarko's past today. I actually posted a story from John Wilson a little while back when he described how he and his friend Blair Gough looked after Rimarko Ranch in the summer of 1977. It sounds like they had a lot of fun playing around with machinery, horses, etc. until Chalmers Morris came up and actually put them to work for their wages. If you didn't get a chance to read the article you'll find it halfway down the page on the July 11 posting at July Week Two
John and Blair arrived in our yard today with photo album in hand and kindly loaned me the old pictures for scanning while they went to visit Rimarko Ranch on Charlotte Lake for the afternoon. I loaned them my digital camera and promised to put the pictures on CD for them in return for using them here. I look forward to posting both the old pictures, some of which have quite a story behind them, and the new. Which unfortunately show the slow deterioration of the once great lodge and ranch. Both men have promised to send me stories about their stay there in 1977 when they get home. I look forward to it. I especially appreciate meeting people that read the blog and that have a story to tell about the Chilcotin.
They've also indicated that they are going to contact their old boss and show him the pictures of the place. It would be fun to hear what transpires. Thanks guys!
Today was a beautiful day, although it got a little toasty. I got stuck inside for part of the day but I hope to be outside all day tomorrow. However, once the weather turns, posts may be few and far between. I just got handed a pile of work to do for the local tourism association but I'll let you know when it happens.
Last night's meteor shower was a bit of a disappointment. I got very comfortable with my warmed towel and hot drink on a lounger, but haze in the east blocked that horizon. I did see a few, one a bright pink one, but they were faint, and short-lived. Nothing like the spectacle of the night before. The moon is pretty high and bright now too, so the light no doubt interfered a bit. Still, I'm sure it was better than if one lived in the city and anytime you can be outside on a beautiful night here doing a little stargazing, you've been blessed with something special.
It's pretty late so I'll keep this short but I will try to get a picture of the day up.

12/08/2008 8:47 PM

The Perseids

We managed to get outside last night after ten to see if we could see any meteors. Like any female, cold just automatically graduates to my bottom end so I grabbed a bath towel just warm out of the dryer and got comfy on a lawn chair with a hot drink. We hadn't been outside for but moments when this spectacular multi-tailed meteor went streaking right overhead. Man, was it fast! Which is why I can only say it was multi-tailed tailed rather than say for certainty that it had at least three tails on it. It was neat!
Unfortunately, that was the only humdinger during our stay outside, which admittedly, wasn't long. It gets cold at night in the Chilcotin and while the clear air makes for fantastic star watching, the cold air does not! We did see several small meteors streaking quickly across the eastern horizon, but most were small and dim. Nothing like that first one. Still, that first one made it all worthwhile!
I'm not sure if we'll be doing any star gazing tonight. There's some heavy cloud out there but some clear spots too. If it follows the usual pattern around here, it will clear off tonight. It's just a matter of when. It wasn't much of a day today. Pretty cloudy and a little breezy. It got nice enough to take the dogs for a walk later this afternoon and was a pleasant temperature for working outside. Andy dug out some more stumps with the Bobcat so we had a pickup load of roots to clean up.
Naturally, when you have a root hogging pup around, that job takes a lot longer. I don't know why she has such a thing for tree roots, and the longer the better, but I had to fight her for every root that I pulled out of the soil. If I didn't get it out and up in the air out of the reach of those teeth quick enough, she'd grab it out of my hands and take off with it to stow at her dog house with the rest of the roots she had won. I literally had to dive on roots to keep them from her, and if I beat her to one and threw it up into the back of my pickup, it better be out of reach. Pup or not, she would stand on the bumper and reach up to snag the root over the tailgate and take off with it. So whenever she wasn't looking, I would sneak over to her stash, grab the roots and toss them into the back of the truck. She would just start building it up all over again but I figured if I had to do the same job twice, she did too.
Surprisingly, once Andy got down to about two feet below the surface of the soil, the clay underneath was not wet. Some of it was barely damp but a lot was dust. Amazing when you consider that it just absorbed three inches of rain. It just goes to show you how dry we actually were there for a while, even though we had a cool spring and summer.
Just found out that a bunch of the guys are quading up onto Perkin's Peak tomorrow. That's a little trip I would love to make some day but we definitely need to get another fourwheeler first. Unless Andy and I camped at the foot on our own and just took our time going up riding double, or I could get off and walk in the steep spots. But keeping up with big machines riding single wouldn't work for us and would hold the other guys back. Someday, though.

11/08/2008 9:31 PM

Quick Note

This will be just a quick note since I'm running so late tonight. The rain finally stopped and it cleared right off yesterday evening. In fact, it got so cold that we covered my veggies because we figured we would get frost. I think that the only reason that we didn't is because there was heavy fog this morning.
This morning dawned bright and beautiful with clear blue skies. That didn't last long as some cloud moved in but that was just as well because, boy oh boy, was it humid! I swear, it felt like Tyler, Texas in the middle of July! We don't normally get that kind of humidity here and it was hard to get motivated. Still, we puttered around and got a few things done today.
We couldn't resist going fishing this evening. We were sitting eating our dinner and watching numerous fish jump out on the lake and decided we didn't have anything more important to do than go fishing. Apparently other people had the same idea because a few of our neighbours were out there as well.
The water was dead still, the evening magnificent and the only thing that can make that better is catching trout. It was a little slow at first, even though we were surrounded by fish plopping back into the water all around us, but we still got three fish in a little over an hour. Two were real beauties and one was really deep bodied. We might have to do the fillet experiment on that one tomorrow, fix another on the barbecue and freeze the last for a smoker.
There was fresh snow on the mountains this morning. Kappan Mountain had a dusting right on top but it's not a real high mountain. In contrast, the Itcha Ilgatchuz were gleaming pure white so whoever was trail riding up there the last couple of days will have had a surprise in camp this morning. That's not too bad. It normally snows in the mountains anytime after July and this year is no exception.
Right now, there's a beautiful, soft, yellow moon shining on the water and I'm hoping it will stay clear for a few hours. I'm hoping we can see the Perseid Meteor shower tonight and Andy's hoping to stay up late enough to see them too.

10/08/2008 12:55 PM

Waterlogged

I would have to go back over past blogs to check for sure, but I think this is just about the most rain I've ever seen at one time in this country. The exception might be back in 1992 from December 12 to the 14th. it never stopped for three days. And no, my memory is not normally that good but my Dad died and I was hotfooting it into town, except I didn't even get started down Nimpo Creek road before I was doing 360's with my pickup down the middle of the road. We had gotten quite a bit of snow that year and there was compact ice on the road. It had rained steadily for three days and there was a tremendous amount of water laying on top of that ice, except that I didn't see it. At least until I unintentionally decided to make like an amateur race car driver and saw the spray my truck was throwing up as I went around and around on the impromptu merry-go-round. Scared the heck out of myself. It was a good lesson though because it made me slow down for the rest of the 200 mile drive which was a good thing. The road was in nasty condition.
Anyway, other than that occasion, and possibly in 2005, I've never seen this country this waterlogged. Right now at about 36 hours, we're at 75mm or three inches of rain. That's normally our total for a summer! Or, it used to be. With the way our weather is changing now with progressively wetter summers, that seems to have changed now.
All of my tall perennials like the delphiniums and many of the shorter ones are leaning pretty badly from the weight of the rain. Our poor fence is sitting under a wide variation of soggy plastic strips and I'm afraid to see what's happened to it under there. Our yard is so soggy you can't walk anywhere without being soaked in seconds and the only thing probably loving the rain is our new lawn. Or it would if it wasn't so bloody cold. It's been hanging around 8C or just above 40F all day and we've had to keep a fire going in the wood stove. So this is what it feels like to live in Vancouver! Or it would if they haven't been getting better weather than we have all summer.
It would seem most of Canada is under a thunderstorm watch or rain warning as one massive low after another crosses the country and the jet stream continues to dip to the south. It looks like we might catch a piece of that high pressure system out in the Pacific and moving up from the south that is supposed to bring Vancouver good weather this week. I sure hope so anyway. We've only had four consecutive days of summer so far and I would really like to see more.
I'll tell you one thing. There's some visitors out on that lake that definitely have bigger cajones and a stronger constitution than I! Folks went out fishing this morning bundled up in their slickers and have spent at least a couple of hours out there before coming back in, probably for lunch. You've got to give them credit for determination. I'm not sure I would want a fish that badly if I were a tourist.
Our neighbour's family was up visiting this past week and they got very lucky with the weather. They left this morning so other than yesterday's rain, they were in sunshine the whole time they were here and did a lot of fishing. They did very well with catching trout as well as picking up some salmon down in Bella Coola on the Pink run on just a day trip. It's nice when visitors get the kind of holiday we all want when we go on vacation.
I was just going through the past blogs to see if I could find any rain records to beat what we've just gotten. Back in 2005 in the first week of June we got two inches of rain overnight and another two inches about the middle of the month. I remember that year was the wettest I had ever seen out here. I think between May and October we accumulated a phenomenal 27 inches of rain. Unheard of for the West Chilcotin!
I also decided to count the number of articles or blogs that I have posted on this site since starting in the spring of 2005. Boy, talk about prolific! 810 blogs not counting this one. That's a lot of talking! I can only thank the folks that have had the patience to wade through them over the years. Man....talk about talk too much!!!
I didn't realize I was that long winded...sheesh...
09/08/2008 4:16 PM

Misjudging The Weather

It rained last night and has rained off and on all day and that has made a bit of a mess of our new fence. Yesterday we painted it with a glossy clear coat intended to protect the logs and it looked really awesome. It would take 8 to 12 hours to dry to the touch and you weren't supposed to put it on if it was going to rain in the next 24 hours. I know.... I read the directions. It's just that when we were doing it, the temperature was hot and there was mixed sun and clouds with increasing cloud buildup. We had heard the weather for the last couple of days and there was a small 30% chance of rain in our general area. (We actually don't get weather for our area. You have to piece a forecast together from several areas salted down with some guesswork.)
A prediction for 30% chance of rain usually means we won't get anything at all. Last night we joined our neighbours at their campfire until well after dark and although there was a cloud band on the horizon, we watched the moon go down and it sure didn't look like it was going to rain. I should have covered our logs anyway, but when we had checked them, they seemed nearly dry. And they were, on the side the sun had been shining on all day. It turned out the other side was not dry. Unfortunately, this morning the logs had milky white rivulets of the finish and rain mixed together running down the sides of the logs, and the stuff had gummed up in places. Talk about bad judgment regarding weather on my part! I have no idea what it's going to look like when it dries. Hopefully it improves or we're going to have to sand the logs down and start all over. Make my day.
It's been really cool all day at less than 47 degrees Fahrenheit and just a gungy day in general with low hanging cloud. Just a little while ago the grey finally lifted enough to where you can see the mountains now but it still looks like more rain yet. We've already gotten about an inch of rain, which we really could use. I would just have preferred we got it one day later. I should have known something was up because the mosquitoes around the camp fire last night were ferocious, and they haven't been bad at all in the evenings lately.
We got a good breeze yesterday evening that served to clear some of the California wildfire smoke out and this rain will do wonders for clearing the air. I know that dry lightning storms were predicted for most of the Cariboo Chilcotin region which would definitely have started some fires as dry as it has been. We heard thunder to the east of us this morning but right now it's so damp out there you couldn't start a fire with a propane torch! Somehow, I don't think I'll be going for a walk with the dogs today unless it clears up before dark.
Did everyone see Beijing's opening ceremonies? I only got to see bits and pieces here and there but it was unquestionably spectacular. I hope our Premier doesn't decide to try to match it at our Olympics in 2010 because as taxpayers, we can't afford to come close much less duplicate that display. Although I sincerely hope our bunch does a little better than that abomination they had representing us at Turin. An old skidoo and ice fishing. Now that's representative of Canada. Not.
It's bad enough that an Inukshuk is not in any way representative of British Columbia. And those horrid mascots that don't look anything at all like what you would find in BC, but are entirely Asian influenced. It's sad that nothing I have seen so far describes the fantastic mountain scenery and natural resources we have, pristine rivers and lakes, boundless wildlife, bird life, tremendous four season recreational opportunities, parks, technical innovation, and other than on the Lower Mainland, some of the cleanest, clearest air you'll find anywhere in the world where the colors are vivid and you can see for miles. Everything that the Olympic organizers have done so far is hokey and makes us look like a bunch of hillbillies. The province is hitting all of the taxpayers up to pay for this party claiming that it will bring world recognition to BC and draw people and investment here. I really think that they need to work a lot harder on image and marketing to do that.
Last week's articles are at August 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!
Sunset over Nimpo while fishing.
 
Mountains beyond the lake have fresh snow.
 
Rainbow arches over the lake.
 
Floatplane flies into smoke haze.
 
Mountains behind Nimpo Lake.
 
Floaplane takes off near a boat.
 
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