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Wilderness Adventures - August, Week 3/2008

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.


20/08/2008 7:10 PM

Pouring Concrete

Believe you me folks, this is going to be short tonight, I think! We spent just under five hours pouring cement today for the footings under the greenhouse. It went really well aside from getting rained on, but a job like that you really don't want to stop and rest because the concrete will harden up where the joins are, so it's a little tiring. It's done though! And that wasn't a job I was looking forward to at all.
It has showered off and on all day with one really wild downpour mixed in there. There was some pretty loud thunder but I only heard some of it over the sound of the mixer and I had ear plugs in, so I didn't get to enjoy the storm at all. I don't think it ever got above 12C or around 53F today if that. But the whole province is undergoing a cool down so it isn't just us. Right now we're sitting under another huge, ominous looking black cloud this evening so I expect it will rain some more.
Just for those...er....relatives that were making fun of my lack of zucchini this summer, I just want you to know that I made a terrific pasta sauce with zucchini and tomatoes out of our garden tonight! Of course I had to boil and skin the tomatoes because I could have resoled the bottom of my shoes with the skins, but other than that, they were pretty good. I may have figured out why I'm having to do all the pollinating on my zucchini plants, though. I have a frog living in the vegetable patch, which would explain why I have no insects in that part of the garden at all.
I've got a new place for sale on the Property for Sale page and while it may not be right on Nimpo Lake waterfront, it's pretty darn close and it's well priced at $55,000. It has a cabin on it with new roof, with a propane setup for lights and cooking and an electric generator that is set up for the cabin as well. Electric power will be put into the place in 2009 but the purchase price does not include that. There's five acres, a meadow, pond, great building spots for a house and lots of potential for development. Check it out folks! As for me? I'm done for the night. There's a beer in the fridge calling my name and I figure once I park for the night, I'm going to have a hard time moving!

19/08/2008 7:32 PM

The Furnace Blast is Over

Our fantastic, hot weather is officially over. While it lasted I was getting things accomplished and so have been a little slow on the blog. I'm sorry about that, but good weather should never be wasted in the Chilcotin!
Several places throughout BC posted record breaking temperatures through the hot spell and dry lightning touched off more than one bush fire.
Our weather was supposed to change drastically Sunday but both that day and yesterday were very pleasant days. Actually, yesterday we got a couple of short, quick downpours in the morning and then the sun came out and stayed out most of the day. It was a bit breezy but that kept it from being too hot. I took the dogs for a long, long walk yesterday and was actually able to do it in the afternoon instead of the evening because the temperature was pleasant for a change.
Today is a different story. It's ruddy cold out there. Well, by comparison, anyway. While Sunday and Monday stayed in the low 70's, today hasn't gotten much above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and some heavy, grey cloud has moved in this evening, threatening rain. I'm hoping it will be the same tomorrow except without any rain. We're pouring concrete and since it's just Andy and I mixing and pouring the footings, I sure don't want to do it in the blazing hot weather we've had. Actually, cooler weather is what we were waiting for. We've learned our lesson.
Saturday we decided to go get the cement gravel we would need. It was scorching hot and we bring home our truck load of gravel and start shoveling it out of the back. Since our dual one ton truck was groaning under the weight, Andy figured we had about a yard and a half on. Here we are standing in the back of the truck shoveling hot gravel off, dripping sweat and I turned to Andy and said, "Why in heavens name would we choose the second hottest day of this summer to shovel gravel after choosing the hottest day to lay forms?" You know, it's not like we've had a long, hot summer and didn't have any other choice. Brain dead. Both of us! No smarter than that mutt we taught to swim. Actually, she's probably smarter. She knows when to look for shade.
The guys went quadding Sunday. They had to build a bridge for snowmobiling this winter and then they did a little touring and some trail improvement and got to show a couple of new people around. There were ten guys and Richard's Mom and I think they all had a blast. It's always fun when you've got new people to show our part of the country off to. Two of the guys were from the Charlotte Lake crew and they came up from the lake on the new trail they and the Nimpo guys have been working on all summer. One of them just had a knee operation recently and I think the long, long ride about did him in but he was doing great by the next day. I'm not sure his doctor would have approved of his recreational activities, but you can't just sit around when everyone else is having fun!
People are still catching a few fish out on Nimpo Lake but it was getting a little tougher during that hot weather. Tough by our standards, anyway. It's still rare to go out and not get a fish in an hour even in the toughest times. Cooler days and some rain should bring them back on in a big way, but there are always lots of little lakes in the area that are great fishing at any time, probably because they see no pressure at all.
I've posted a couple of pictures of the fourwheeling work party on the right. I'll return to posting more Rimarko pictures as soon as I start a new week. I've got too many pictures for a fast download time right now. If I'm not plowing the dirt with my nose by tomorrow evening after being on the wrong end of a cement filled wheelbarrow, I'll try to do it tomorrow night.

15/08/2008 8:40 PM

Another Hot Day

Today was another scorcher, although not as hot as yesterday, thankfully. We were still working on the forms for the footings in my little heat sink today and it just got hotter and hotter this morning. Fortunately, we had a big cloud bank move through and although it was deathly humid, it was still not as bad as working in the direct sun. At least we got it all done other than laying in the rebar. Now for the hard part. Making concrete. But there's at least some progress and that's a good thing! And our experience with the heat down there versus anywhere else on the property confirms it's the right spot for a greenhouse.
The temperature today didn't get much above 26 or 27C or 79 degrees Fahrenheit today. Or at least I don't think it did. I only had a chance to check the thermometer once or twice today. I can tell you that I reserved my walk for this evening after a breeze started up and there was lots of shadow on the back trail.
It's a lot cooler in our house this evening than it was last night. There was absolutely no wind so trying to move air through this house took some doing. Boy, I sure miss all those pine trees we used to have protecting the side and roof of the house! Fortunately, in this country it usually cools down a lot at night and by this morning, Andy said he was freezing in the house. I think we have one more day of clear, hot weather and then there's supposed to be a cooling trend. I'm okay with either hot or cooler. Hot's nice because my plants love it and the new lawn is trucking right along, but cooler is sure nicer for working outside.
The guys are supposed to be going up into our snowmobiling area on Sunday to work on the trail and build a bridge. That should be a lot of fun, the alpine part anyway, for everyone that can go. Andy and Bill invited our new temporary neighbours to come along and I think they'll fall in love with the country. Especially higher up on the mountain.
The loons are starting to gather up, a sure sign that fall is coming. There has been a group of four, probably immatures from last year, hanging around together, and now the adults seem to be less territorial about their nesting areas and are doing a little cross water visiting. Another sign of fall is the algae buildup in the lake now, especially noticeable when the water has been as flat calm as it has lately.
They've been talking on the news almost every day about the bear problem down on the Lower Mainland, especially where residential areas have encroached into wildlife habitat such as around Coquitlam. Fish and Wildlife says it's just going to get worse this fall as bears become more motivated to gain up to 50% of their body weight in order to survive hibernation. It still seems really odd that the bears are driven into town because there are no berries down there, because we have loads. I just wonder if the lack of salmon running in the rivers this year doesn't have a lot to do with it as well. Or just as likely, there's an overpopulation of bears as there was last year in the Bella Coola Valley. The best way to take care of that problem is to open up more licenses for bear hunters if there's going to be a continued conflict between humans and bears. Personally, I figure the bears were there first but I don't think the suburbanites agree with that, so I don't think there's any choice but to cut down on the bear population. There are only a couple of other things that I think you can do and that's probably impossible as well. Provide large bear proof garbage containers for each residential block where homeowners can leave their garbage instead of putting it out for pickup, and educate people about bird feeders, ripe fruit on trees and bushes, and vegetable gardens. The only other alternative? Build a bear fence (electric fence with electrified cattle guards) around residential areas threatened by bears, but since most kids and teenagers are inquisitive by nature, I can see that being a disaster! I can just see a kid deciding to test the wire with his tongue. Good learning tool though.... :-)

Oh, and speaking of bears in case you were wondering about the bear track up on the right and missed the Picture of the Day a couple of days ago. Those very large bear tracks at Rimarko Ranch in 1977 were the reason why the teens decided to spend their time up on the roof of an outbuilding, fortified with liquid courage, (more commonly known as Labatt's Blue) and a rifle. You gotta love the old days!
14/08/2008 9:29 PM

Heat Wave

They're saying on TV that three consecutive days of 32C or 90 degree weather qualifies as a heat wave. I don't know if today's temperatures of 28C qualifies for them but it sure does for us. That's extremely hot for the West Chilcotin. Williams Lake and most of the central interior posted temperatures above 30C, some up to 37C and that trend is expected to continue until Sunday.
We were really lucky to get that three inches of rain last week because we're in pretty good shape forest fire wise. The ground in the woods is still wet, everything has really greened up, and we're getting heavy dews that are lasting until late morning. That reduces our forest fire danger substantially. However, that isn't the case further east of us in the Cariboo district. I don't envy the Fire District personnel there for the next few weeks.
We started laying out forms for the greenhouse today and just about died from the heat in the process. Naturally I chose the hottest place on the property for a greenhouse. Makes sense to do so, doesn't it? However, choosing to work in that heat sink on one of the hottest days of this summer probably isn't the brightest thing we've ever done. As a result, we got some work done and then quit, deciding we really didn't need to get it done that badly today. Tomorrow maybe. We still have to source gravel for the concrete so there isn't a huge hurry. Still, concrete will dry a lot faster in this weather than at 20 below.
We taught the pup how to swim today which is more of a contradiction in terms than you think. Since I don't know how to swim it seems laughable that I should be teaching any creature how to do it, but fortunately, dogs figure that stuff out a lot faster than humans.
Andy got into a bathing suit and dared to go in first, albeit slowly. Nimpo Lake is a cold lake at the best of times and even with the heat, it was only just bearable at first. Our pup finally swam out to him once and then came back in again. It didn't look like she was going to go back out so I rolled up my jeans and decided to be daring. Brrrr!!!! But with both of us out there, and walking away from her because we had to go check a water line, she swam out to us again. After that, you couldn't stop her! She would swim out to us, circle us for the praise and the pats and then back to shore. The more used to it she got, the longer she would stay out with us and we would pick her up out of the water and give her a rest before she went back to shore. That resulted in Andy getting scratched up pretty good but the scratches will just add to his road map of scars.
Cat, (that's the pup) was just like a little kid. She got so excited about her accomplishment that then she started doing full belly flops off the shore and swim out to us and stay out longer each time. Then she decided that if she was going to swim back to shore each time she might as well gather up a few reeds in her mouth and take them back with her like a muskrat. It was our hope that all the swimming would so exhaust her that she would actually be calm for the rest of the day for a change instead of getting into trouble. Not her. She was so pleased with her new skill that she was full of piss and vinegar all day. Worse than usual if that's possible. It's pretty sad though when a six month old pup now knows how to do something that I can't do.
Even though the moon isn't due to be full until Saturday, it's already a spectacular cold white globe reflecting on Nimpo Lake which is absolutely dead still. At least it shows that we have little pollution from smoke in the sky so far. Our flags are pretty limp out there right now, it's still 19C and the bugs are just loving it! It's too hot for mosquitoes during the day now but it's just perfect out there for them tonight. It's too bad for visitors that want to sit outside right now because it's been really good of late.
I'm going to post a bunch of the old pictures that the Rimarko Ranch guys gave me up on the right and then at some point, I'll start posting the new ones they took. The pictures are from 1977 so bear with me. There's only so much that I can do with the quality because they've yellowed so much over the years. Imagine if you will what an adventure it would have been for a couple of teenagers in the boondocks for the summer, lots of big machinery to play with, horses, chickens, bears, sandy beaches, no other people and bothered very little for your pay. At first anyway! It's something every young person should have to experience in their life. Talk about learning independence, self sufficiency and just having a good old time with not a video game in sight!

Last week's articles, including a bit about the guys at Rimarko, are at August Week Two.

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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!
Two men with shovels and one riding over a log bridge.
 
Burned trunks surround fourwheelers.
 
Teen comparing boot size to a bear track at Charlotte Lake.
 
Teen on a fence playing guitar at Charlotte Lake.
 
Teen on a roof with a rifle.
 
Teenager with a palomino horse.
 
Young man and a dog circa 1977.
 
Young guy on an ancient yellow bulldozer.
 
Teenager rapelling from a barn roof.
 
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