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Vacation in winter at The Dean on Nimpo.
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Wilderness Adventures - Dec, Week 4/2006

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' - 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 Picture of the Day.

21/12/2006 8:59 PM

Dodged The Bullet

We managed to dodge the wind and weather bullet for the most part again. We got some wind and it was above freezing and raining when I went to bed. There was fresh snow on the ground this morning but we got less than Anahim. They got closer to three or four inches of snow.
A series of squalls came in one after another today. At one point as I was driving to Anahim Lake I drove through a snow storm so bad that I could barely see the pickup truck that was right behind me. Then suddenly, it cleared and the rest of the day turned out pretty nice. The temperature sure dropped tonight though. It's already -12C or about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. We're supposed to get a really nice day tomorrow, then another storm on Saturday. Christmas Eve isn't supposed to be too bad but then another storm moves in on Christmas Day. As the weatherman mentioned tonight, we seem to be getting the storms about every second day. I know one thing, the snow sure is piling up outside! You don't really realize how the snow has built up until you go for a drive and see the snowbanks. The highway is okay but they're going to run out of places to put snow on all of the sideroads if this keeps up.
I'm not sure how the Interior of British Columbia made out in last night's storm. We heard rumors that the Williams Lake area got hit really hard with high winds and that there were power outages in Prince George, but that was about it. Vancouver area had a few more downed trees but only about 25,000 people were without power. The wind was out of a different direction from last time so I don't think it had quite the devastating effect that they were expecting. I'm sure there was a big sigh of relief down that way.
We've acquired a new visitor at the bird feeder in the last couple of days but this dude is mostly after the suet. He's a Hairy woodpecker and I don't know how much he's finding for bugs in the trees right now, but he's definitely taken a liking to the fat I have out for the chickadees. I normally find woodpeckers to be extremely shy but there is absolutely nothing bashful about this boy. Or girl....who knows.
I'm not sure how many posts there will be over the next few days since it is the holidays but if I'm able to write, I will.

20/12/2006 8:22 PM

Here It Comes Again

Hi Everyone. Sorry about no post yesterday. We had to drive into Williams Lake for some Christmas shopping and down to 100 Mile for Andy's new Ski-Doo.
We got hit pretty good with those winds on Monday and it was a good thing I posted the short article when I did because we lost our power for four hours. We actually made it through the worst of the winds and they had dropped quite a bit when the power went out. But they had changed direction and there must have been a tree that hung in there for just so long, and then down she came.
We sat in candlelight for part of the evening and watched our windows flex in the wind. I really expected our beetle killed trees to come down and by some miracle they didn't, but the snow in our yard was just littered with red pine needles and both red and green boughs. It looked like a bomb had gone off!
Our driveway drifted over so badly that Andy actually got his truck stuck in the drifts, even though he had it in four wheel drive. Nimpo Lake is just a mess from the wind. In some places the wind scoured the ice clean, everywhere else there are long lines of drifts, some a couple feet high. It's just going to be brutal crossing the lake on a snowmobile this winter. In lots of places the snow piled up by the wind is so deep that it's caused overflow, and in the back bay, it's pure slush. What a mess.
Yesterday morning was quite cold when we went into town. We saw two moose feeding in the meadows along the highway and I got a picture of a beautiful Mulie buck and his buddy on the way in. It was quite warm in Williams Lake but it was still quite cool out here when we got home. Unfortunately, that hasn't lasted. It started warming up this morning and was way above freezing all day. I expect the snow dropped quite a bit in the melt. We have quite a warm front right over us but a cold front is moving in from the southwest. That's supposed to bring high winds both to the south coast, north coast and to us. Vancouver Island is expected to see 70mph or hurricane force winds while the Interior, including us, is expected to see winds up to 90kph or 55mph. We didn't get them that high Monday so I sure don't want it any worse tonight and tomorrow.
These storms are really something and I'm not sure anyone has seen them come in one after another like this. Particularly in the Vancouver area where the weatherman said today he has never seen it like that with nine major storms in the space of a few short weeks. You can see that everyone is pretty wind weary down there and BC Hydro has readied their crews and told everyone to get ready for more power outages tonight. They still have customers without power from the last storm!.
It turned out that there were fatalities in Vancouver from the last storm. An elderly couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning because they were running a gas powered generator in their basement with not a single window open and no other source of ventilation. Their son said that though the generator was brand new, he would have thought his father would have known better than to run it inside the house.
In Ontario, they're golfing, there's no snow and the famous Rideau Canal has not frozen over. Oh well, stuff happens.
Okay, gotta go. I have to help decorate the Christmas tree
.

18/12/2006 12:53 PM

Howling Winds

That big weather system has definitely hit us with a vengeance! We're clocking winds straight out of the south of only 30mph right now but expecting gusts up to 45mph. I would hate to see what that would be like. Our flags are already in tatters and the trees are bent right over. Looking out over Nimpo Lake is like seeing an apocalyptic scene from out of the arctic with snow being driven across the lake at high speed. I guess it's our turn but I'm not liking it with all this beetle kill still around the house.
Most of the time the beetle killed pine just shivers in the wind because it no longer has the elasticity of the green trees. But in this wind, even they are bent right over. It's a good thing we got lots of moisture before the ground froze. At least it means the roots of the trees are frozen in pretty solid. Now, what's more likely to happen is the trees will shear off part way up the trunk. Not a happy thought.
At the rate we're going the snow might be blown off of the ice on the lake rather than melted off. I watched our temperatures climb all evening last night. By this morning they were above freezing. Between the wind and the sun, we'll probably lose some snow today.
Right now Andy is moving the snowmobiles out from under the trees near the house, which would seem like a really good idea. And I am going to try to get this posted before our power goes out because that should be happening any minute now.

17/12/2006 5:45 PM

It's Still Winter

I just realized that Friday was the last day I posted. That's probably okay because not much new has been happening. We got another skiff of snow yesterday and Andy knocked down some more trees. We have an interesting method for pulling down beetle killed pine right next to the house. We tie off some long repelling rope as high up the tree trunk as possible, take the rope around one side of a tree farther out putting it at right angles and the opposite direction of the house, and then anchor it to the fourwheeler. Andy cuts his notch, then cuts the back side. I watch to see how close it is to going over and start pulling on the rope from on the other side of the wrap tree. I don't know if you can see the rope on the tree on the right but it's tied off just above the yellow arrow. It's then pulled around the tree between the stumps in the picture below and tied off to the fourwheeler at the back which puts the fourwheeler at right angles to the tree. You can see where the tree has been pulled down in the picture.
The method has actually worked very well for two trees that have had to be pulled over away from the house. We've managed to avoid damaging the roof, the deck, the satellite dishes and haven't even broken too many little aspen trees off in the process. Knock on wood. Actually, that can mostly be attributed to Andy's excellent falling skills. Initially, he wanted me to use the fourwheeler to exert pressure on the rope, but I didn't think I would be able to judge either when to start pulling or control the amount of pull as well as I could pulling by hand. A fellow I played poker with Friday night who hand falls beetle kill for BC Hydro actually confirmed that the way we were doing it was just exactly right. The only unexpected twist is that the one tree near the house was very healthy looking but was actually punky in the middle. That means it can be harder to control where the tree will go because you can't rely on strong wood in the center to support the tree during a cut. Fortunately, we only have a few more close to buildings to worry about.
Plugging away at this process is probably the best way to get rid of all the beetle kill on the property. Andy was only going to do two a day, which means I could help him clean up the brush. However, he's been doing far more and I couldn't even help him today because of a web project I need to get done. It's sure starting to open up around here though. We're definitely going to have a better view and a lot more sun. If we ever see the sun again. It's been a bit dreary that way.
You can listen at any time of the day and usually hear a power saw going somewhere around Nimpo Lake now. Everyone has the same idea. Get the beetle kill down and cleaned up before next summer and the impending forest fire danger. Many people, including ourselves, have a hundred trees and up to clean up.
They're still cleaning up after the storm down on the coast and trying to return power to homes and businesses, some of whom have been without electricity for a week because of the past storms. Washington State and parts of Oregon are also undergoing clean up and last I heard, the number of people killed in that storm was four.
Numerous people have been hospitalized because of carbon monoxide poisoning and house fires have been started because of improper use of candles. I realize people get pretty desperate when they're without heat because of power outages, but how many decades is it going to take before people learn that you cannot keep yourself warm and alive using a barbeque in the house without proper ventilation? Heck, I even insist we crack the door if we use the propane light inside the house in a power outage. It isn't intended for use in a closed place so I figure you need to change out that air. I sympathize with folks that don't have wood stoves or fireplaces. But then I wouldn't live anyplace where I didn't have an alternative source of heat. Call me weird, but it's just one of those things I insist on in life.
Our weather is expected to take a turn for the worse. A huge system is coming in from the Pacific, and this time it's aimed at us and the north coast rather than Vancouver and area. It's our turn I guess. There are high winds packing a wallop expected and from the looks of the yellow and red on the radar, we'll be getting some snow again. At least one thing that you can say about having dreary days this month. At least we're getting snow with the grey. We've been getting some weird temperatures. Friday night just before I went out, it dropped six degrees in an hour and a half. It dropped from -5C late afternoon to -22 that night. It's been chilly since but now I see the temperature is higher now than it was earlier this afternoon so I can only assume that system is pushing warm air in front of it. However, there's an arctic front pushing in behind it so I imagine temps will drop again in a few days.

15/12/2006 1:09 PM

Hurricane Force Winds In BC?

It would certainly seem so. At about 4:00 am this morning many residents of Vancouver woke up to hurricane force wind gusts. The Vancouver Airport clocked 97kph winds on three different occasions last night and this morning. Winds in the worst hit areas were clocked at 157kph or almost 100mph! The noon news hour was really something to watch. Numerous people got out of bed when the wind started howling and went into their kitchens, living rooms or downstairs, only to have a tree go through the roof of the bedroom where they had been sleeping. One girl narrowly escaped the limb of a tree that pierced her bed because she had just gotten up to go check on a noise downstairs.
Many homes had up to five trees land on them while many vehicles were crushed including a beautiful old antique. Power is out to about 250,000 residents and many aren't expected to get their power back on until sometime into the weekend and as late as next Wednesday.
The size of some of the trees that fell is just remarkable and the huge root systems uprooted with the trees did as much damage in many cases as the tree itself. One camper looked really funny with the back of the truck on the ground because a tree's roots had come up under the truck, raising the whole front end up into the air. What's most amazing to me is how well the folks down on the mainland and on the island took all this. Most people just laughed and remarked on how lucky they were.
There are numerous power lines down and Stanley Park is just a mess with hundreds of trees down. The Lion's Gate Bridge is closed as are many side roads and many of the street lights on major intersections are not operating. Most of the ferries were cancelled this morning and I think most schools were going to close for the day. Damage is estimated to be in the millions of dollars.
Highways out of Vancouver to the rest of the province are closed. The Fraser Canyon is closed and it's strongly advised that you not travel on the Coquihalla Highway unless absolutely necessary. You could see in the web cam that there were numerous big trucks pulled off and there's lots of snow so it'll be a real mess up there.
Washington State bore the brunt of this same storm. Power is out to about one million people and three people died, two from trees coming through the roof of the house and one from drowning in the basement of her home. Apparently it rained in torrents in the western part of the state before the winds came.
I've really got to feel for those people down on the coast and south. They're really getting the worst possible weather this fall. Being slammed with one vicious storm after another doesn't even allow them time to finish cleanup before yet another hits them. The next storm tonight and tomorrow is supposed to bring a litte snow to the lower mainland but not much else. I'm sure folks down there aren't looking forward to that much, either. But hey, look at the positive side! At least it's easier to brush snow off of the hole in the roof of your house caused by a tree falling on it than it is to keep the rain out.
We got no wind at all from that storm but we picked up about three more inches of the fluffy white stuff yesterday evening. Tatla Lake was supposed to get about 8" of snow but at least that's not why we're not getting all of our mail today. Instead, it's because the Canada Post trucks can't get through the Fraser Canyon.
The snow has covered up all signs of our fire on Nimpo. We cleaned up and burned the branches from four more trees out on the lake. Surprisingly, even though the ice and snow melts under the bonfire, the red needles cause the fire to burn so hot that it burns down to nothing.
Today is another one of those, "Not sure what it's going to do," kind of days. Sometimes a little sun but mostly high cloud. Got a good look at the mountains today and there's probably a whole lot of snow up there. Heaven help the first guy to break trail up there with a snowmobile this year!
As you can see, this is the start of a new week. If you would like to read about last week's wild weather, you'll find it at December, 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!
Hairy woodpecker after suet.
 
Two deer with nice horns.
 
Moose in the willows.
 
Moose watching us.
 
Extremely windy.
 
Fire on Nimpo Lake in the snow.
 
Rope around a tall tree.
 
Large tree cut down.
 
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