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 - August, Week 3/2006
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.
Bear Tracks Again
last day of August is going to have a little of everything.
The last subject of the day comes first. We went walking
in the woods again tonite and I saw bear tracks In the
same place as before. This time he wasn't crossing the
trail, but rathering following it ahead of us. because
it's so dry and the trail is almost like talcum powder
in places, the bear's tracks were as clear as a
bell and pretty darned fresh. Big as well. I couldn't
see in the dust the tell tale signs of grizzly claws but
they look more like black bear tracks to me. If they were
grizzly tracks, it would be a small to medium animal,
but since I'm almost certain they're black bear, then
it's a very good sized animal. And not the least bit shy
about walking over recent human and dog tracks. We followed
his tracks for a little while before the ground got harder,
me with one hand in the pocket holding firecrackers, and
both of us talking louder. Of course if anything untoward
ever happened, most people would say, "Why
in heck's name would you keep on following the trail if
you know a bear may be ahead of you?" Well,
you know those horror shows where the music and the shadows
and the creepiness cues you, the audience, that the monster
is just around the corner and you're yelling at the screen
to the dumb blonde walking nonchalantly into its den?
Well...we can't hear any music....besides, it's our woods
and we'll walk there if we want to. (It's my party and
I'll ......) I know, I know.
Of course then there's the dogs. We let them sniff the
tracks and while River backs away a bit, Mocha is
a black lab and that means that's she doesn't have the
brains that God gave a pea. Nice dog, but not
smart and just the kind that would run into a bear and
then politely bring it right back to you. Then there's
River, the Rottweiler cross. It's a toss up as to whether
he would defend the realm or trip you up because he's
trying to tuck his horse sized body between your legs.
In any case, if I'm walking alone in the near future,
I'll probably stick to the road.
This morning, it was 21 degrees F. or about -6 C.
at Caribou Flats just south of Nimpo Lake this morning.
I don't know what it was here at dawn but I don't imagine
it was much above freezing, even with the warming influence
of the lake. I know I had to build a fire again last night.
This is always an awkward time of year, much like spring.
It's hotter than Hades in the house during the day because
the sun is blasting through the windows, but it chills
right down at night. Same with how you dress. Make sure
it's in layers because you'll be peeling them off and
putting them on with the wide temperature variations.
I noticed yesterday on the way to Anahim Lake that
a local rancher's horse and trailer were on the side of
the highway and a number of cows were trailing
up inside the fence line. While it's too soon for the
cattle to come in off open range, some ranchers do a fall
gather to move animals to better pasture, better water,
pull in calves, or any other number of reasons. Those
cattle looked to be in a hurry to get to that trailer
so there must have been some incentive, anyway. That frosty
feel in the air might have been one.
The weatherman is still calling for more hot, sunny weather
over the long weekend. Whether it quite reaches us or
not will be another matter. We seem to be riding right
on the edge of the front. But, at least we don't
live in Tofino. Poor buggers! The mayor says they only
have another ten days and the town will be completely
out of water and they will have to start shipping
in water for hospitals and other emergency services. This
all happening in arguably the wettest place in British
Columbia, normally recording about 10 feet of rain a year.
Yes, I said 10 feet. Apparently many of
the businesses and private citizens have offered to put
out the money for trucks to bring in water but they have
to get the agreement of the nearest town and its folk,
about a half hour's drive away and who right now have
people guarding their fire hydrants from water trucks
parked nearby. Wow, shades of Mad Max! I really feel badly
for the businesses, but on the other hand I'm like
much of British Columbia's news audience, I'm just watching
with awe as this whole soap opera unfolds. Hard
to believe this could be happening to a place smack dab
in the middle of rainforest, but then again, we're in
the middle of the largest pine beetle epidemic ever, and
I think you might want to look at global warming for the
cause. Whether caused by people or a natural phenomena
or both (I favor the latter) I believe global warming
is here to get worse so we had better be getting used
to the possible consequences.
Brrrr. A Wee Chilly In The Chilcotin!
a contrast between last week's weather and now. Today
had that distinct fall feel. In other words, it was nippy.
Yesterday morning it froze but it still wasn't quite as
chilly as it has been all day today. Big thunderheads
have built up over and over today but still no rain.
Vancouver has had one out of the ten driest years
since record keeping began down on the lower mainland
and Tofino's businesses, including resorts and lodges,
have been ordered to shut off all water and send their
travellers elsewhere by Thursday. That means that
all of the businesses that rely on tourism will lose out
on one of the best weekends of the year, the Labour
Day weekend. Talk about poor planning on the part of city
council! Tofino is on the Island, surrounded by ocean
and rainforest. It seems hard to believe that their water
reservoir is nearly empty, but they haven't received a
drop of rain in two full months. Highly unusual to say
A place called the Wickannish Inn, rated one of seven
top resorts in the world, is among those required to close
down and send their guests elsewhere. Since many of their
guests are from all over the world and are enroute to
the Inn, the logistics of successfully contacting
everyone in time for them to make alternative arrangements
would be a horror show. Living in two communities
such as Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake that rely heavily on
summer and fall vacationers, I can certainly sympathize
with Tofino's situation. The mayor suggested that it would
take two full days of rain to start to replenish the reservoir,
and since there is absolutely no sign of rain in the forecast,
I think the area may be in trouble.
I heard this morning that two fires across the border
in Washington State have joined up and some of the fire
has now moved into Canada around Osoyoos. So much for
British Columbia not doing too badly for forest fires
this summer. When we can't produce our own, we import
Property Sold On Nimpo Lake
are still selling in the area and that's not surprising
considering the location and views. A residential property
overlooking Nimpo Lake on the main arm with a couple of
tiny cabins has sold to a lady from California, as I understand
it. The 3.7 acre piece sits up on a hill above the lake
and has a magnificent view of the Coastal Mountain Range.
That's the beauty of most of the properties around
Nimpo Lake. Each and every one has a different view
and having a piece of waterfront on one of the prettiest
lakes in the country listed as the "Floatplane Capital
of British Columbia" is a bonus. Especially if you
like fishing! For more properties, check out the Property
for Sale page. Or, if you're
interested in a commercial venture, we have some commercial
properties for sale in the area, including a really
beautiful RV and Camping property right on Nimpo Lake
with a spectacular view at. Commercial
Properties for Sale . The
owners would really like to retire so come on folks, check
No rain yet today. Sigh....Cloudy though, so I'm still
hoping. A bunch of the guys are up in the mountains improving
snowmobile trails again today. They work hard at it here,
but just think how awesome it's going to be this winter
when we all go out sledding! And don't forget, if you're
interested in cross country skiing, the owner of the Dean
on Nimpo has a great network of trails that he tracks
and maintains in the winter for anyone that would like
to use them. Escott Bay on Anahim Lake also has a vast
series of ski trails and rents skis. There are also the
cross country ski trails up in the Rainbow Mountains that
are easily accessed or if you like, make your own trails.
Funny how the air gets a little tiny chill in it
and we all start thinking of winter recreation already
even though we're still in the season for some great summer
activities including fishing, photography, hiking, mountain
biking, sightseeing or just reading a book and enjoying
the view. It's just that this region has so much to offer,
it's hard to pick a favorite season.
I've been seeing a lot of deer tracks on my walks in the
woods lately, which is unusual. A few people have mentioned
that they are seeing more and more deer in the area, including
Whitetail deer when we normally only have Mule deer here.
I'm still seeing lots of moose tracks so it's not like
they're being pushed out by an increased population of
deer. Not yet anyway. I also ran across another
set of bear tracks the other day. Smaller than
the set I saw the week before so either there is a sow
and cub wandering around or two different sets of bears.
There are lots and lots of berries this year, even with
the long, hot summer so they don't lack for chow.
Okay, so this was a mish mash Tuesday with a quick mix
of subjects, so I'll end on that note. Until tomorrow,
or the next day...lol.
Wicked, Wicked Winds
Wee!! We ended up with a real blow here today.
We may get breezes and we may even get winds, but today
a wind came up out of no where that must have been in
sympathy with Hurricane Ernesto or something!
I had just returned from picking up the mail at Nimpo
when Andy pointed out the flying red pine needles as I
dodged and dashed inside trying to avoid the pelting.
The needles were flying off the trees like snow and the
smaller trees were bent right over. The wind was
whipping up some pretty good whitecaps on Nimpo Lake
and I ran out onto the upper deck in front to rescue a
pair of trousers hanging over the railing before they
sailed into NeverNever land. I was listening at various
things banging just trying to think if there was anything
around the yard we needed to tie down or secure when I
could hear this little boat motor just screaming over
the sound of the winds. "Oh," I joked
to Andy, "Someone's trying to get in off the lake
in a hurry!" Then I thought, "You know, that
just doesn't sound right." Those rollers on Nimpo
Lake were screaming in from the southwest and you would
hear a boat slapping the waves as it came in but with
the wind behind it, you shouldn't even hear a boat motor.
Andy had just joined me on the deck and was telling me
how a small floatplane had been trying to land
down at the Wilderness Rim end of the lake just
before I arrived when we finally saw the source of the
motorboat noise. Here was our neighbour fighting her way
across the bay in front of us headed for home, her little
dog balancing for dear life in the prow of the small boat.
She had the nose of the boat into the wind but that motor
was screaming pretty good just to give her what little
headway she was getting. She turned the boat sideways
momentarily, I think to see if she could come in and skirt
the shore and we waved wildly at her but the waves
were slapping her boat around pretty badly. The
next time she got pushed sideways I waved toward our boat
launch while Andy dashed back through the house and headed
down there. I was relieved to see her head in and
locked up our dogs so her dog could bail out of the boat
as soon as she tied up. I think she was pretty
darned relieved too because she was afraid the boat was
going to flip every time she got pushed sideways especially
since she had to go farther out of the bay against the
wind to get home. I think the girl was really taken by
surprise because when she started out from over at the
Dean it was pretty calm but when she rounded our point,
she knew she was in for it.
I would never normally say that Nimpo Lake was a
dangerous lake or even one where you get unexpected
winds as you do on so many larger lakes, but flipping
a boat certainly was a real possibility today! It didn't
take very long and the water and wind calmed down substantially
but we sure have a good coating of red pine needles on
the roads, trails and in the yard now. We were expecting
a weather system to move in today and were really hoping
for rain. All we got were those high winds until the front
moved through but at least we got no lightning.
This morning we woke to a smoky smell outside and
there was a faint haze in the air from a fire somewhere,
but the wind blew the haze out in a hurry this afternoon
and this evening calm water gave us a good opportunity
to watch for beaver and take some pictures of loons. Hopefully,
it will rain tomorrow. It's our last chance because there's
another high moving in from the coast Wednesday and it's
supposed to be hot and dry through the Labour Day Weekend.
Anahim Lake Event
folks, I missed the boat today. I was running around doing
some business today and had to meet with a few different
people when it occurred to me that it should be around
the 26th. of August. I asked the owners' daughter at
the Country Inn Motel in Nimpo if the Anahim Lake Rodeo
was on today and yes, indeed it was. Except that
by this time it was three in the afternoon and by the
time I rushed home, got a camera and roared to Anahim
Lake, (not too fast because there was one of our Finest
sitting with a radar gun on one of the corners) it was
too late Ethel! There wasn't a vehicle left in the parking
lot at the Stampede Grounds. I moseyed on to Anahim Lake
Trading where I had more business to do and found that
I was at least an hour too late and there's nothing going
The regular Anahim Lake Stampede in mid July was
cancelled because of the forest fire down on the Dean.
I guess community members got together and decided to
hold a small gymkhana for local competitors this weekend,
but nothing too big. It's a shame because the Stampede
usually draws a large crowd and riders from all over the
rodeo circuit but where the date in July might be on everyone's
agenda, rescheduling when you have rodeo dates elsewhere
would be next to impossible.
In any case, I completely missed out on pictures of barrel
racing and what have you, and can only hope I can get
to next year's major event for pics.
Today was another glorious day in the West Chilcotin.
Both Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake baked under clear
skies and temperatures that were getting up there.
I think that the only thing saving us from forest fires
right now is that we are getting late enough into fall
to have cool nights and heavy dew or light frost in the
mornings. We are supposed to get a system in from the
Coast Monday or Tuesday. If it brings lightning, then
hopefully it will bring rain right behind it because those
woods are dry, dry, dry. It's expected to turn clear and
hot again by the end of the week so we're hoping for a
Interestingly, one thing that may not have occurred to
a lot of people is that not only are our beetle
killed pine in its red stage a serious fire danger,
but can you imagine how many inches of brittle
red pine needles are going to be laying on the forest
floor for the next few years once they start dropping
from the trees?
Great friends of ours from Quesnel that we snowmobiled
with this spring are fourwheeling and hiking up on Perkins
Peak this weekend. I really envy them! They were up last
fall and took some great pictures that I've taken the
liberty of using on this web site. Miner Lake is
about 45 minutes or less from Nimpo Lake and is a good
camping spot or staging area for heading up onto the mountain.
There's an old mine up there and some cool old equipment
abandoned long, long ago and lots of alpine to hike. Although
we may not get up there this fall, we're going to make
a concerted effort to go snowmobiling up there this winter.
So just to remind all of you that would like to visit
the West Chilcotin, we've got great activities and places
to go whether it's winter or summer!
Last but not least, another property listed on the Properties
For Sale page has sold. There are more
in the area that need to be listed but I just have to
find time to track people and pictures down.
bunch of guys went up on the mountain today to make some
trail. Making trail with fourwheelers in the alpine
is a tricky thing. The ground up there is very
delicate and it took thousands of years of erosion just
to grind down enough rock to make a thin layer of soil.
Mosses, lichens and low growing alpine plants grow among
rocks at higher altitudes here, and are easily disturbed
so if you want to access the high country, you have to
do it carefully.
We snowmobile up in this area quite a bit in the winter
but it can be a real pickle building trail on a snowmobile
when there's a lot of snow. You can't stop then
because your sled will probably sink out of sight
and the whole bunch of you will end up spending the rest
of the day digging out. But there are quite a few places
on our way up on the mountain that need trail improvement,
especially for novices or even when there's deep powder
and a trail hasn't been packed down yet for the winter.
We often get together, load up saws and a lunch and spend
the day improving our snowmobile trails lower down because
there usually isn't so much snow that you have to worry
about getting stuck. Up high, it's a much different story,
hence the reason for today's work party. It's been an
extremely dry summer and one of the few years where you
can access the higher country without getting bogged down
in creek bottoms and meadows. As it is, it's a narrow
window with August being about the only month you can
get far on a fourwheeler.
There's also the secrecy issue. It's necessary
to keep the work party small and not let anyone else know
where the four wheel trail is. The last thing you want
up in the alpine is group after group of fourwheelers
tearing up the ground up in the mountains because it would
take a hundred years for it to repair itself. No, this
is strictly for improving the snowmobile trails, not for
fun. And then only because snowmobiles do little or no
damage to the alpine because the snow is generally so
The guys took pictures of the Lonesome Lake burn
up there. You know, we have pictures taken in
the winter but you don't realize the true devastation
and just how hot that fire is until you see it in the
summer. In some places the forest fire was so hot that
it literally burned the soil and two years later nothing
grows in it. Eventually the fireweed and wild grasses
will take root here and there, spread throughout and there'll
be undergrowth to protect new evergreen seedlings. But
where that usually happens by the next spring after a
fire, this area is going to take much, much longer
to recover. Take a look at some of the photos
on the right where the Lonesome Lake Fire swept through
compared to where it didn't. By the way, the elevation
is between 5,500 and 6,500 feet in some of these pictures.
Speaking of forest fires, we've been hearing a lot more
about the Dean fire since we got home this summer. Apparently
some of the old, experienced helicopter and fixed wing
pilots said they've never seen a fire move that
fast or burn that hot. At one point they estimated
the fire to be moving toward Anahim Lake at the rate of
2 km. per hour. A Cat, fourwheeler and other equipment
were burned up while the taillights on a lo-bed truck
and the windows of an excavator were melted down. They
say had Mother Nature not come along and helped
firefighters to get the fire under control, the
two hour evacuation notice for Anahim Lake would not
have been enough. One of the resort owners near the fire
said that he was trying to fly out to get fire pumps to
bring back to the resort, and everywhere he flew there
was smoke from new fires started by lightning strikes.
Maybe it was just as well we weren't here. That way the
fire was under control before we even heard about it while
up north, and we didn't have time to worry..
Floatplanes And Meetings
was a meeting day and I turned down a seat on a float
plane for a sightseeing trip. Which was kind of a bummer
because it would have been an awesome photo opportunity.
Except that as usual, I didn't have my camera with me
and probably not enough time to go home and get it. And
to be up in the sky above the West Chilcotin without a
camera is kind of like being at the Emmy Awards without
a shirt on.
I attended a meeting today involving the tourist operators
and community business owners. With some initiative, cooperation,
money, good communication and organization, we may be
able to get some funding and help with promoting our area
to visitors a little better. Rich Hobson with his
three books about this area and Ralph Edwards at Lonesome
Lake with his two, have probably done more to
promote this area in the last 50 years than any other
advertising. But I think those coattails are getting a
little tired and we really need to move with the times.
Some signs, improvements, a visitor kiosk or centre and
agressive marketing would go a long way to improving our
standing as a travel destination. Alaska, and even the
Yukon have us beat there by a long shot. This has never
been a real tinsel town 'touristy' place because we've
long relied on the area's natural beauty to sell it and
the people here are pretty real. I think most visitors
to the area like it that way. But maybe many more would
come if we glitzed things up a bit. I don't know. But
there's nothing like brainstorming new ideas to get you
all fired up about moving ahead with outlining goals and
then achieving them. Unfortunately, you usually have to
do a reality check. Very few people are able to volunteer
their time in this country, especially in the summer when
everyone is in their busy season. We just don't have the
manpower or the resources to jump into a new project with
both feet. Hopefully, our new connection will succeed
in mentoring the three communities of Anahim Lake, Nimpo
Lake and Tatla Lake and help push us into the 21st. century.
After the meeting broke up the folks that set up the meeting
were going on a sightseeing trip with Tweedsmuir Air around
supper time and one seat was available because someone
decided to not go flying. Much as I would like to have
gone up, as I mentioned above, there was no point without
a camera. And I have the opportunity to go up with friends
and family any time I ask so it doesn't seem fair to take
up a paid seat.
Just found out the folks that went flying had a
nice, smooth, two hour ride and got to see our beautiful
region. I hope they were duly impressed because
this part of British Columbia really is spectacular!
Unbelievable Lottery News Item
know...since when did people stop taking responsibility
for themselves? I guess when it's just too lucrative a
I actually wasn't going to write tonite because it's been
a busy, but productive day and we were out until late
this evening still trying to scare off the local beaver
population, but I just saw a news item that made
me see red.
Some fool from Quebec is suing the local newspaper because
he thought he had one of four winning lottery tickets
for last week's 649 draw based on the numbers the newspaper
had printed. This idiot thought he had won $10 million
of the $42 million because three tickets were known to
be sold in Ontario and one in Quebec and the Quebec winner
had not yet come forward. He and his wife were busy spending
the money in their minds and, who knows, possibly for
real, before verifying the numbers.
He contacted the newspaper and they told him that the
numbers were reprinted from the week before and were a
mistake. But the newspaper has a disclaimer telling people
that any numbers printed are not the official numbers
and should be verified. The disclaimer is widely used
because I have seen it in my local newspapers and on web
sites when I have checked my own ticket numbers.
Unfortunately, this slime must have seen an opportunity
in suing the newspaper even as he saw 'his' $10
million slip away. Who knows, he may well have known that
his numbers were wrong if he verified them from another
source first, else why call the newspaper to verify the
numbers rather than the lottery centre unless he was already
trying to cover all the steps? Said slime ball has
hired a bottom feeder of a lawyer that has a marked
resemblance to a disheveled Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy has
declared that on the behalf of Slime Ball, she will be
suing the newspaper for a large sum for the 'pain' and
'suffering' caused to Slime Ball because he thought he
had won all this money.
Pleeeze....give me a freaking break! From what I could
gather, all this 'pain' and 'suffering' happened in the
space of only a few hours.
The remarkable thing about this low life is that he's
actually middle aged and should know better than to think
the world owes him a living! Oh, did I mention he's a
car salesman? And obviously a con. Bet you want
to buy a car from him, don't you? Personally,
I hope he and his wife spent a bunch of money that they
didn't have, the lawyer skins him for a snootful, which
you can bet she will, the judge throws the case out and
Slime Ball has to pay all court costs. Best thing that
could happen to someone like that!
I am so glad I live in my own little corner of the world.
I don't think I would care to have a con artist like Slime
Ball for a neighbour. Our Canadian justice system is backed
up enough without garbage suits such as this being permitted.
out last week's articles at Aug
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!