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 - Dec., Week One/2010
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
Canada's weather has certainly taken an odd turn this
past week. Around Ontario and Quebec, folks there
are getting their tutti fruttis kicked by some serious
snowfalls. Lake effect snow has dropped anywhere
from a foot to five feet of snow on several cities and
smaller communities in Ontario. High winds and snow have
made a mess of many parts of Quebec while cold temperatures
have settled over the prairies again. Not so bad as in
the States where they're seeing record snow and
cold temperatures from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard.
I'm thinking my brother in Florida is going to be complaining
bitterly about temperatures diving to 50 and 55F and I
can't imagine what the brother in Ohio is dealing with
right now since where he lives they see nothing but cold
wind from the Great Lakes all winter long.
I think I mentioned in the post about Kelowna the
lake effect snow that we experienced while we were down
there. Andy has told me many times about it in
the past because it was something I guess you just get
used to in the Okanagan. The fact that it's peppering
snow down but there's actually no stormy weather system
causing it seems very strange to me. This past trip was
my first exposure to it and I didn't much care for the
grey skies and snow squalls caused by moisture coming
up from Okanagan Lake and hitting cold air aloft. So I
can just imagine what you might get from the Great Lakes
in view of their awesome size. I want no part of it, thank
you. I'll just stay at home here where the most we have
to worry about is fog sneaking over the hill from Charlotte
Lake until it freezes over in January and stops sending
Our own weather has definitely taken a change for
the not necessarily worse, but definitely not so great
realm. Yesterday was very grey and dark with clouds
low to the deck. It took until afternoon to finally warm
up to -6C or 21F, but surprisingly, it didn't drop down
again once it got dark because we had this warming system
coming in bringing yet more cloud.
This morning we were socked in by fog but once it cleared
there was still some heavy cloud to the south and the
sun is so low in the sky this time of year that it couldn't
quite clear it. So it was cloudy most of the day although
we could see blue patches above us. The sun peeked through
for a few minutes after we came back from our walk and
once again just before it went down, but that was it for
sun, today. We did have one heck of a furious little
snow storm this morning though. Thank heavens it only
lasted about two minutes because it was really coming
It came up to just barely above freezing in the shade
this afternoon but it's back down to about -4C or 25F
this evening. It may get cold because it's clear out and
there was a sliver of moon up earlier. It will be interesting
to see what happens with the weather for the next few
days. It looks like it may stay reasonably warm until
Sunday but whether we get snow or not is pure guesswork.
I mentioned before that we were seeing a lot of
foxes around this year. Two sets of friends of
ours that raise chickens have been having a heck of a
time with them. One of them lives near one of our friends
that just lost his faithful old dog recently. He was a
beautiful big Husky Samoyed type of dog and had been with
this single retired fellow for years. I guess he's delighted
now that a neighbourhood fox has taken up residence on
a dog bed on his porch at night and follows him on walks.
Unfortunately, the fox is also after the neighbour's chickens
so she's trying to figure out what to do about it without
hurting the fox. I expect the solution will have to be
a nifty one to outwit the fox and I look forward to hearing
about the results.
Andy went down to Bella Coola Monday and though he couldn't
get pictures, he did say the changes down in the
valley after that flood in September are mighty!
He said where you didn't even know a tiny creek existed
before, there are huge washes now of rock and debris.
The Atnarko has debris piled up high on its banks and
on rocks that the bears used to fish from during salmon
season. There are places now where you can see the
Bella Coola River that you couldn't before because in
places, the river wiped out all the trees along the highway.
He said there's a huge ice fall where we saw that hidden
waterfall in July that normally seems to flow for only
a short time in summer. Loads of machinery and trucks
have spent the past month trying to clear rock and debris
from creeks to allow a clear path for next spring's meltwater,
and Thorsen Creek has had to be dug way down to clear
rocks that could potentially wipe out the bridge if there
was even a minor flood in the future. He said there are
so many patches of Highway that have been newly paved
where floods took out the pavement, it's unbelievable.
It will be quite the experience to see all the
changes next spring when there's no snow, especially
since we were down there only four days before the flood
and I know what it looked like then.
This Ain't No Heat Wave
The weather continues to be great but it sure has dropped
temperature wise in the past couple of days. Yesterday
it got up to freezing but last night we watched as the
mercury did a little freefalling. Fortunately,
it slowed some time after I went to bed when it was -20C
or -4F because it was only -22C or -7.6F when Andy got
up this morning.
We've been really, really lucky because we've had bright
sunshine all day for the past few days. Even with those
kinds of temps at night, that sun almost always brings
it up to around the freezing mark by midday. Although
it might be a little slow getting there today since it's
still -15C or 5F right at the moment. Andy was afraid
we were going to be socked in by fog for the day that
had moved in from Charlotte Lake but a tiny little breeze
came up and blew it out.
Andy was taking the dogs down the driveway for a short
walk when he saw an owl perched in a low tree. Cat
couldn't take it being there and with a couple of short
lunges and a bark, got it to take off. Interestingly,
it flew into the top of a big spruce above the dog house
and just a few steps from the house. Andy came in and
got the camera and took some pictures including the one
up on the right and since it didn't move, I got some pictures
of it from a different angle a few minutes later. It was
just a little beauty and really tame, which is how this
particular one, a Northern Hawk-Owl, is actually described
as being in our bird book.
The fox in the picture on the right was taken crossing
the lake just a couple of days ago, but he was a long,
long ways out and the picture isn't great.
Sunday, December 5.
I had to quit part way through writing this yesterday
because I ran out of time. There was the Christmas Craft
Fair in Anahim Lake that I like to support and we had
a birthday party to go to across the lake last night.
I wish we could drive across the lake instead of
all the way around. It would be the difference
between driving a quarter mile rather than three miles,
but Andy hasn't had a chance to drill the ice yet for
a road across our bay to the opposite lake shore. At least
there's so little snow that there's no need to plow an
ice road right now. We could just drive over what's there
right now. I know it seems awfully early yet for driving
on the ice compared to other years, but there's
already over nine inches of ice 100 feet out from our
shore in front and it's possible that the back bay has
a little more ice.
We had a strange change in weather last night. It was
-12C or 10F yesterday afternoon at 4:30 and had dropped
another three degrees when we went out the door at supper
time. By the time we got home three hours later it had
warmed up five degrees and stayed right around -10C or
14 all night. Just enough fog or cloud moved in to warm
things up a bit overnight but unlike other days, it hasn't
warmed up much today. The cloud moved out late this morning
but there was still enough to filter out the sun off and
on and that makes a big difference. So it never has gotten
above -8C or 17F today and I expect as soon as that sun
goes down in a few minutes, it will start chilling right
I think we're supposed to have another day of clear
and cold, and then a warm up is due for Tuesday which
may bring snow. Certainly that's what Richard
and Leah have been praying for, and doing
snow dances for, and I'm pretty sure they're
making sacrifices to some deity or other. I'm not sure
that my own sun dances and keeping my fingers and toes
crossed are enough to beat out their supplications, but
I'm working on it. I like this! It's nice to be able to
walk out in the woods without wading through too much
snow and I figure it will come anyway, it's just that
I would like to see it come later rather than sooner.
Not that I necessarily get my way all the time but it
would be nice....
Everyone was commenting at the party last night
on how noisy the lake ice has been this past week.
I think we all enjoy the weird and wild sounds it makes.
I don't envy anyone that lives too far from the lake to
hear it because I'm sure they hear more about the sounds
than they care to from the rest of us.
The other morning when Andy was out walking the dogs it
was just getting light and he saw a light from an airplane
going over, then a bright light moving in an arc across
the sky that could only be the International Space Station
and while he watched that, a shooting star crossed the
horizon. Based on all that, he decided it was going to
be a really good day. Last night while we were driving
over to Nimpo we saw two shooting stars fall just a couple
of minutes apart. I'll have to check and see what meteor
showers are around this time of year.
I was talking to a girl from Germany that was at the party.
She was telling me that unlike here, there are just too
many lights and too much pollution to see stars in Germany.
Wow... can you imagine? Living without stars that
you can reach out and touch and too numerous to count?
Or northern lights. Or a sky so blue it makes your heart
ache? I think that's what I especially like about the
Chilcotin. The vivid colors. Without pollution, the skies
are a bright blue, and the snow a brilliant white in winter.
Greens in the meadows in summer are incredible and the
color of the water in Nimpo Lake is an amazing blue, while
other glacier fed lakes and rivers are an indescribable
iridescent emerald green.
Not that we don't get our smoky days that dull all colors
during forest fire season in summer. Or days when a lot
of people are burning slash early spring or late fall
or even days when wood smoke is forced by a temperature
inversion to lay in low ribbons over the lake. But when
it gets cold and the skies are clear, that's when we get
air unmatched by any place located anywhere near a large
city. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.
Return of the Lake Monsters
Happy December First, everyone! So far I'm still loving
The lake monsters were back in force last night.
It was such a warm day yesterday that the lake ice must
have started warming up under the thin layer of snow.
Last night it began to chill down really quickly and that
set the ice off. There were the usual heavy sounds like
a big truck under water. But there were those high alien
sounds that I've tried to describe before, traveling under
the ice as well.
Everytime I went outside for firewood last night I would
take a few moments to listen to the lake ice talking.
It must have done more than that last night. This
morning when I looked out over the ice you could see what
looked like snake tracks running all over under the snow
where the ice split leaving a crack up to an inch wide,
and lifted or sank, displacing one shelf of ice higher
or lower than its neighbour. That's usually accompanied
by a cracking sound and then a wumph! as the ice shelf
drops under the snow. I didn't hear any of that last night
but then, it was a bit chilly for standing around outside
for long. It was around -13C or 8F when I went to bed
last night but it warmed up quickly this morning and came
up to nearly freezing again.
We had another nice day with mixed sun and cloud.
There was a stiff breeze that made things a little raw
feeling when it was blowing but I swear, tonight it feels
almost warm, even though it's a little below freezing
I have no idea what we're supposed to get for weather
over the next few days because the weathermen are rarely
right, but I hope it's nice on Saturday. There's a weiner
roast across the lake for a friend's birthday and it would
be nice if there wasn't a blizzard or 20 below temps since
we will be outside.
There were lots of rabbit tracks on the back trail again
today, but still no grouse or ptarmigan tracks. It's
sure strange considering we had a tremendous year for
grouse last spring and summer. They were all over
the place! But maybe the fox population is reducing the
bird population. Andy did see two along the road this
morning but we haven't scared up any in the woods.
There still doesn't seem to be a whole lot of snow up
in the mountains. In fact it looks like there may have
been an inversion layer over that past couple of weeks
because it's looking decidedly rocky where we normally
snowmobile. That's a downer for Richard who by September,
already gets pretty excited by the prospect of snow. Even
worse this year, he's souped up his machine and gotten
a new rack for hauling his and Leah's machines around
on the back of the truck. So he's eager to get going.
It's hard to say what will happen this year. We have winters
with very little snow early on, although not in recent
years. But it has happened where you couldn't do much
snowmobiling until around Christmas. For me, it
matters not. The snow will come or it won't. Personally,
I'm eager to see the lake freeze over really hard so that
I can try cross country skiing again, and the less snow
on the lake for that, the better. My, I'm selfish....
Last week's post can be found at November
Week Two. For those of you that have
been reading the recent ones, you'll notice I had to split
November's so it will look different. And
for those of you that gave up on me and have just arrived
back for blog reading, you haven't missed a thing!
Oh, and not to mess anyone up with the sunrise pics up
on the right. I know it's water you see and not ice, but
Andy took those just before we left for Kelowna and this
is the first opportunity I've had to use them. Aren't
the colors amazing? Oh, and I'm not changing the Picture
of the Day today. I like our neighbours' fox too much.
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!