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Wilderness Adventures - Dec., Week One/2011

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 some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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07/12/2011 7:30 PM

Happy December!

I've been getting some grief from downstairs about the lack of blog this past week so it seemed time to post one.
The weather this week has been utterly glorious, with only an occasional breeze to mar the odd day. And that's only because it can be really warm in the sun, but if even a tiny breeze springs up, it carries the heat away from your body and you have that wind-chill factor.
In the past ten days the weather has been pretty decent overall. We've had the odd cloudy day or we've had snow squalls roaring through, but for the most part, the weather and temperatures have been good. It still gets chilly at night with lows from -9 to -13C or 17 to 8F but most days we've gotten up to freezing or above. On Monday the temperature reached 6C or 43 degrees! I think we've been a lot warmer than Williams Lake or maybe even the Lower Mainland from the look of the weather on the news every night. I'm pretty sure we're the lucky recipients of a temperature inversion where temps go up at higher elevations while cool air gets trapped at lower elevations. Today it's a little cooler at -5C or 23F, but that's most likely because it fogged in this morning and the sun didn't break through until around noon so it took a lot longer to warm up outside. Tonight we were at nearly -12C by supper time so it looks like our temperatures are going to dive bomb overnight. That was to be expected. The whole province is cold with a high pressure system that has moved in from the north.
The lake was as silent as a stone until a week ago. Within a day of seeing the first fingernail of a moon in the sky, the lake started talking. Two days ago we were standing outside with the neighbour and the sound the whole lake was making was hilarious. It was running through its repertoire of burbles, and cracks, shuffles, groans, growls, and the occasional high pitched alien wooowoooo sound. I would like to have recorded them and uploaded with the blog but the sound isn't working on my computer right now. I have no idea what that's about but I'm tired enough of technology to not really care.
The best sounds are when we get a nice, warm day like we did two days ago after a cold night and clear moon. That lake just doesn't stop. The Main Arm was in the process of freezing up too so that would have made a big difference as well. Every night we can hear the lake from inside the house and tonight it's talking steadily with low mutters and growls. Scared the heck out of the cat when he heard his first boom the other day!
Andy checked the ice down in front of our place a couple of days ago and we were only at four inches, but our neighbour across the bay checked it yesterday and said it was six inches as far out as he went, so I guess it's growing. As long as we don't get any more snow we'll be golden. Unfortunately the weatherman is calling for snow on Saturday but I'm hoping it's not much. We've got a community work party happening near our place where we can start a big old slash pile up for a wiener roast for those that come and help out. We're starting a bit early and we'll have to move the wood more than once as a result, but it will help save on the last minute rush between Christmas and New Year's when there's so much to do for the New Year's Eve ice party.
Grow ice, grow!
We have a home invader and I'm guessing that it's a fox. Two nights ago I could hear some growling around midnight but just thought it was the lake. Then our cat, who is still less than a year old, let out a piercing shriek and I went thumping downstairs. I didn't catch what it was, only a glimpse in the dark and the cat door slammed shut. I figured it was probably the neighbour's cat and searched around outside with a spot light for a while but couldn't see anything.
Our new neighbour's cat has made himself pretty comfortable in our yard and we've caught him in the basement a couple of times when we've come home from being away. So the cat's owner has made a real effort to keep the cat inside, especially at night. I saw her up in Nimpo yesterday and asked if her cat had been out the night before and she said no, it had been in all night with her. When I explained what had happened she said that at four that morning she was woken up by her cats and what sounded like a small dog growling. She went rushing out to the entry where the little dog door is, and didn't catch anything but her cat was hissing and the other cat was arched up on the back of the couch glaring at the pet door.
Since the food in our bag of cat food has gone down considerably in the past week, I'm thinking that we've been getting a visit from a fox. We don't have any stray cats in the neighbourhood at all that I know of but we do have a black fox and he's been leaving his tracks all over the place.
I was visiting over at a friend's this afternoon and she had a red fox perched on her deck with the cat sitting on the back of the couch glaring at it from inside the house. Eventually the fox curled up on the deck and just glared back. I know that there's a couple of foxes in Nimpo as well that hang around looking for handouts and they are really pretty to watch. But I don't want one in my basement.
I have wondered why Trouble (our kitten/cat) has been standing guard on the door downstairs for some time this fall. He's been particularly determined to stay down there the past two evenings and stay on watch. I had just assumed that maybe he was watching for the neighbour's cat but since it's nearly a half mile away and usually is in at night, in retrospect it doesn't seem likely that that is what was around. I know he was sure skittish after that night that something was in the basement. Now we just have to see what it is.
Andy set the wildlife camera up outside and pointed it at the cat door last night but all it got was my periodic forays out to get firewood for the stove. He'll set it up again tonight but this time without the flash and I'll leave the outside light on. I closed off the cat door last night and will again tonight just because we really don't need a cornered fox, otter, mink or anything else in the basement. But at least once we know thine enemy we can figure out how to live trap it and take it out into the boondocks. Unless it's a cat, of course.
At least we don't have skunks here.....
Our neighbour, Ted Hlokoff, sent me a bunch of photos of some pretty glorious sunrise/sunsets that I'll post up on the right. He and a few of the other guys went snowmobiling up in the Rainbows on Sunday and I guess that meant a lot of stucks in some really deep snow. I'll post his photos of that as well. As you can see below, I've also decided to embed the Anahim Lake webcam of Highway 20 in this page to try something new. I've been asked by a couple of people why I don't set up a webcam of our lake so that people can see what's happening throughout the seasons. I don't know much about webcams and don't know if they require a lot of bandwidth or not. We're only on satellite so we can't afford to use up a lot of download or upload, nor would I want to slow down the page load. But we'll try the Anahim one and see how it goes. In the meanwhile I may do some research and find out what it would cost for the equipment and what it would entail to set up a web cam for Nimpo Lake. At least it would be a lot more interesting than looking at a dirt highway, I think. Check it out.
Last week's blog can be found at
November Week Four

Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.

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!
Richard jumps a snow bank.
Snow machines stuck in snow.
Jumping a snowmachine on a snow bank.
Purple sunset over frozen lake.
Orange sunset reflects off of frozen lake.
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