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 2/2006
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.
More Wild Wind
Vancouver to Seattle the west coast is seeing some of
the worst wind storms ever.
There were downed trees on houses and vehicles and
lots more power outages for Vancouver again today.
The Coquihalla Highway was closed again, partly due to
the highways maintenance crews.
Seattle recorded very high winds and lots of damage including
broken windows from a sky crane turning in the wind. A
tree landed on two differenet school buses in transit,
but only one had children on it. That big system coming
in from the Pacific that was supposed to land on us pushed
farther south and landed smack dab on Washington and Oregon
instead. Two more storms are on the way and the
one this Friday is estimated to be the big one, possibly
with much worse winds.
Wind warnings starting tomorrow for much of British Columbia,
including our area, are for 30 to 45mph sustained wind
speeds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Things are
not going to be pretty! I hope everyone down on the coast
has their candles out and ready. Stay warm and dry folks!
While we had a few strong gusts of wind today and this
evening, the wind is steady at around 10 to 14mph right
now. We took the opportunity earlier today when the wind
died right down to haul the dried branches of the pines
Andy cut down yesterday onto the lake. We set the
pile on fire and it only took a few minutes for the whole
thing to burn right down. It just goes to show
you how flammable those red needles are, and did
that fire ever burn hot!
Slipping and sliding through quite a bit of snow to carry
branches was more fun than it should have been only because
it was a nice sunny morning and it's always nice to be
out. Slogging through overflow on the lake is most definitely
not fun though. That ice with all
the snow on top and water seeping up through it is just
I talked to the postmistress up at Nimpo today and she
too turned back at Tatla Lake last week because she was
pushing snow with her bumper, so they must definitely
have gotten a much bigger dump of snow then than we did.
That, and Tatla's maintenance crew leaves a lot to be
From the looks of the weather map on television tonight,
we'll be getting a bit of snow in the next day or two.
We had a nice yellow bloom on the radar map right over
us, which is very rare, but the same thing happened last
time and the forecast turned out to be fairly accurate.
Our temperatures are going to be dropping a bit for the
next couple of days, so that's a bonus. We get to
keep our snow for a while yet!
I know I talk a lot about the weather in this country,
but that's just the main topic of conversation in Canada.
I was just reading a short blurb in Reader's Digest about
that very thing. It's funny but true that all conversation
here begins with the weather. Calling a local
business. "Hey Pam, how are you doing? This
sun's nice isn't it? Yeah, I know, we really have to enjoy
it while we've got it. Well no kidding, this is a lot
more snow than usual this time of year..."
And then you finally move on to the purpose of your call.
Calling another business two provinces over in Saskatchewn.
"Hey, how's your weather there? No kidding,
really? Wow, you must be having a hard time finding a
place to put all that snow! Well, no, I wouldn't blame
you a bit for being tired of it. No, it's pretty good
here. You should be seeing nice weather there in about
two days. Nope, it's going to get bad again for you about
two days after that because we've got another big system
coming in. No, I'm sorry dude, we don't send you our bad
weather deliberately. It's just that it all moves east
on it's own...." And then you get down to
the reason for your call. Or they get down to their reason
for calling. Then the call might end with, "Well
hey, enjoy the sunshine when you do get it, eh? Yeah,
thanks, you too!" Actually, I used to have
friends in Saskatchewan call me in BC all the time for
a weather report because they swore up and down that what
we had they would be getting in two days, and it was far
more accurate than weather reports from the actuall weathermen
on television. Surprisingly, they were right.
Seriously though, in Canada, you don't have to know the
person you're talking to. All you have to know is what
the weather did in the past two days and you're instant
friends. I don't know if that makes Canadians boring
in the eyes of the rest of the world or if they're
just more conscious of what the weather is doing all the
time. Especially for those people in the rural areas because
they are affected so much more by weather, whether you're
a farmer, oil patch worker, in construction or just trying
to get to work over lousy roads. It's all about the weather.
Slush And Overflow
don't think the chances of us having an ice road on Nimpo
Lake are very good this year. Andy took a walk
no more than forty feet out from shore in front of the
house, stepping into overflow the whole way. He even had
a tough time convincing the one dog to come out on the
ice toward him. Poor old River performed a splay legged
highstep the whole way. I think his approval rating
for his master went down a notch there.
Yesterday the neighbour decided he was going to cross
the back bay over to the boat ramp up to Nimpo with his
fourwheeler. Bad idea. He tore up the pea patch a bit
trying to get back out of the overflow and off the lake.
There's just too much snow on the lake ice this
year and the weight is pushing water up from underneath
through cracks in the ice and at the edge of the shore
line. It'll be really disappointing for everyone that
likes to play out on the ice over the holidays. Many people
keep rinks cleared for skating, I like skiing the lake,
and we all like walking or biking the ice road itself.
Everyone looks forward to having the ice road to travel
on, especially when visiting over holidays and if a person
wants to stay off of the highway. It's nice for many of
us that go across to Nimpo for our mail because the
ice road cuts off at least ten minutes of driving time
and a lot of nasty little corners.
The snow came down thick and hard for a little while last
night and after it finally stopped we had a few more inches
of snow on top of the last couple of days' total accumulation.
Even though the Main Arm of Nimpo Lake was not yet frozen
up when we got our first big snowfall, there's been enough
since that I expect it's slushy out there too. We actually
ended up with quite a pretty day today. For the first
part anyway. We had quite cold temperatures last night
but the sun was shining brightly for about half the day
and brought the temperature right up. By afternoon though
you could see heavy storm clouds moving along the Coast
Mountain Range and our sun hazed out behind high cloud.
The weather forecasters said that the system coming in
tonight has formed up and is moving in faster than expected.
It will bring 40 to 50mph winds for the whole province,
including central coast and central interior.
Since we're located in between those two regions, I guess
we better be expecting a good blow. I really hope the
power doesn't go out. I've got way too much work to do.
Andy cut down a couple of beetle killed pines that were
right next to the house this afternoon. A couple of pieces
went into the wood stove so I guess they're dry. There
are several dead trees next to the house and one over
by the cabin that need to be removed this winter. We've
been really fortunate this year to not have any really
nasty winds but we won't escape forever, and I expect
those tree roots are just getting weaker.
Welcome To The Great White North
It's snowing again! Nearly every day we get a
little snow. It started snowing this morning again and
was so bad at one point when I was trying to drive into
the mill yard on business, that it was a complete whiteout.
The temperature was just perfect for instantly freezing
wet snow onto my windshield wipers so they wouldn't clear
the windshield properly. I drove the last few hundred
feet hunched down peering through a small clear spot at
the bottom of the windshield trying to see a road that
was completed whited out.
So far we've dodged the 'melting' bullet, but temperatures
are ranging just below freezing to just above, making
for slippery conditions everywhere. At least we didn't
get hit like Tatla Lake did a few days ago. Apparently
it snowed about eight inches, preventing trucks from getting
through to Nimpo Lake and causing one family to turn back
after hitting snow deep enough on the highway that they
were pushing it with their bumper. At about the
same time a Bella Coola highways plow truck went off the
road on the 'Hill' when the operator overplowed.
(Plowing too close to the edge of the road and getting
sucked into the ditch.) In the case of the Hill, the 'ditch'
goes a long, long way down in places. We've heard different
stories and don't know if the truck rolled or slid down
the embankment or even what stopped it from going farther.
It's pouring the snow down again now and it's hard to
say what the next few days are going to bring, but there
are three huge systems coming in off the Pacific Ocean,
one after another this week. Vancouver has already
been hit with high winds, resulting in trees down and
power outages today. They're expecting quite a
lot of rain for the next few days but the biggest storm
won't hit them until about Thursday.
We are definitely getting hit with a lot more snow than
we normally would this time of year as is the rest of
British Columbia. It's kind of ironic in view of the movie
we watched on television last night. It was quite an interesting
movie based on global warming causing a sudden and destructive
shift in weather all over the world and the onset of an
ice age in the northern hemisphere. Although some
of the premise was a little far fetched it did
bring home how poorly equipped most of the human race
is to face a natural disaster of that magnitude.
Even though my partner and I consider ourselves very well
equipped to handle most unforseen disasters, I think
a sudden ice age might be a little tough to beat.
Food would be the main concern. Although we probably have
enough for at least a year or two, once all of the animals
have moved south ahead of the snow, ice and cold, you've
lost your food supply. Because you sure are going to have
a tough time growing it!
We enjoyed the movie because that sort of thing always
gives food for thought and if it and other movies like
it, wake people up a bit to the dangers of global warming,
then that's a good thing. Think about it. There wouldn't
even have to be a sudden shift in weather for much of
the human race to face disaster. Even at the slow
rate that the polar ice is melting, I think that we'll
see a loss of vast amounts of coastal land mass in our
lifetime. Since such a large percentage of Earth's
population is located on the coast of various continents,
where are all those people going to go? At least we probably
don't have to worry about them moving here. People that
live on the coast normally don't like it cold and with
all this snow, we look more and more like the great white
north all the time!
The Worst Kind Of Weather
snowmobiling anyway. I woke up to an exceedingly
dreary morning with misty fog and light snow out over
the lake. The temperature is just above freezing so the
snow is turning to slush as it lands on the ground. The
tree top that fell next to the house in a high wind some
time ago has now reappeared from under the snow which
means snow levels have dropped overnight. So much
for our light, fluffy powder that's so perfect for snow
machines. I suppose the one benefit is that if
this snow melts down and then freezes, it'll be hard as
a rock and provide a good base. That's provided it doesn't
As I mentioned yesterday...I guess you can't have it all.
On the one hand it would be great to have the snow
melt off of Nimpo Lake completely so that good
quality ice can build without the insulating layer. On
the other hand, we don't see great sledding snow like
this so early in the winter very often.
Right now it would take a full scale melt to clear the
snow off of the ice and it's more likely to just turn
We were supposed to get a real cold spell this week. I'm
not too sure what happened to that, but I guess
it just goes to show you that weather prediction has definitely
not yet been perfected.
After seeing the guys out checking the ice on the lake
yesterday I went back to last year's articles to see when
the ice road was put in. It wasn't until about the third
week of December so I guess we're all jumping the gun
I've always wished I had kept an accurate record of the
weather out in this country over the years. I've never
been one for a journal or diary as many people are but
I have to admit, there's a real advantage to writing these
articles. Being able to go back in time a year and
see what was happening with the weather then is really
cool. What's utterly amazing to me is how our
memory can play tricks on us. I guess a written record
really is the most accurate one. Especially in my case
where I've considered myself fortunate many mornings to
even be able to remember my name. My memory is definitely
not one of my strong points. I don't do mornings too well
But then inaccuracies seems to be the plague of
our times. This seems especially apparent with
our 'trusted' sources such as television newscasts. My
partner was listening to the Mayor of Prince George yapping
on the television this morning about the dangers of the
beetle killed pines in his city. He insisted that everyone
knew that the grey stage (when the tree is completely
dead and without needles) was the most deadly for forest
fire danger. Wrong. Extensive studies by
forest fire fighters has repeatedly shown that the red
stage (in the first year when the tree still has its needles
but they are red) is by far the most dangerous. Whether
because of a gas emitted or otherwise, a small open
flame such as cigarette lighter brought to within six
inches of the needles will cause them to explode into
Last night one of our brainless newscasters emphasized
how the coffin, that the Russian spy killed by radiation
in England was laid to rest in, had to be airtight. I'm
sorry Sweetheart, but an airtight coffin is not going
to protect anyone else from the radiation! I'm assuming
that they meant a specially lined coffin was used but
neither she nor her writers bothered to do the research.
Then again, what do you expect? Another item on
the news lately pointed out that 25% of our population
in British Columbia is illiterate. One million
people! 60% of that number were new immigrants. Okay,
we're not even going to go into my opinion on that one
since I believe anyone immigrating to a new country needs
to have an adequate grasp of both the spoken and written
language of that country. But what about the rest? Blame
a school system that has for years now simply pushed students
through whether they have a passing grade or not. Failing
students is something that teachers are very reluctant
to do, but without that threat of falling behind, students
simply aren't going to bother to learn.
Now look at another item that you see on the news this
time of year. Christmas always brings long newscasts about
our homeless across Canada. I see some correlation between
a school system that lets students slide by without knowing
how to read and write, and a strong, competitive work
force that has no room for people that can't read or write.
Who to blame? I think we're long past blame. Start
back at the beginning with the students and change the
There was a very interesting item the other night about
the academic success achieved by students in schools where
the sexes have been separated. Both boys and girls did
much, much better without the distraction of their opposites,
especially in their teens. Makes sense to me. I
definitely remember my teen years and although
I did well in school simply because I loved learning,
and I had an old man that brandished a large leather belt,
there was no question that I was distracted by you know
Another school in the Lower Mainland is talking about
going to uniformed dress. Not school uniforms but a strong
dress code that may include disallowing brand name clothes
and footwear. 80% of parents are in favor of it, particularly
because they feel it will be much less costly for them
to dress their children for school. Well no kidding!
I have always believed very strongly that a uniform dress
code would increase learning and cut down on bullying
among students. I have personal experience with schools
that enforced both uniforms and dress code, and with schools
that let it all hang out. The difference was extraordinary.
There you go. It's wet, it's snowing and I've just expressed
my opinion for the day. If you would like to read last
week's less opinionated and controversial posts, you can
find them at December,
Week One. Oh, and if you're
wondering about the images up on the left...I'm in the
middle of updating the web site for Escott Bay and a girl
from Germany that works for them has been kind enough
to allow me to use some of her pictures on this site.
I thought the picture of the riders that have been caught
with their camp getting snowed on very appropriate for
the weather we're having.
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!