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Wilderness Adventures - Dec., 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.


19/12/2008 11:50 AM

Back In The Cold

Our little warm up didn't last for long. It dropped pretty good yesterday and the cold must have again effected the phones somehow because they went dead again yesterday evening. Actually, we were over at my Mom's for dinner and the phone went dead while she was in conversation with someone. All phones checked....no go. They're working today though so I don't know what's up.
It made it to -35C or 31 below zero Fahrenheit at its coldest this morning and was still -33C at 10:00. Although I was talking to Mary up at the store today and she said it got down to between -37 and -38C or -36F down at the other end of the lake. It's warming up in the sun but ever so slowly. I don't think it will make it above -25C or -13F at its warmest today, if the mercury even climbs that high. Still, we have fantastic blue sky and the sun always helps those of us that suffer from SAD.
We've a few more days to go yet according to the weather forecasters so I guess we might as well just get used to it.
Nimpo Lake was grumbling steadily last night. Testament to how cold it really is, there are no longer the high pitched alien sounds but just deep rumbles below the ice.
Terry was up flying in the cold yesterday and said the lake is looking pretty good. There is only one large pressure ridge between the islands which generally indicates thick ice. I still wouldn't trust the Main Arm since it froze so recently but maybe in a week we can start drilling. I look forward to crossing the ice to the boat ramp from our place. I'm sure the ice is plenty strong enough for a vehicle there but no one has tried it yet, nor have we drilled. We'll wait until it warms up a little, I think. It's too cold to drill ice! I think we'll just hunker down here for awhile.
Leah and the guys went out snowmobiling the other day and she said it was awesome! There was lots of snow, good powder, and the riding was great except that they couldn't go through Goat Pass because the wind has scoured the snow off of the rocks so they decided to go break trails instead. It sounds like everyone got stuck numerous times until the cold and wind finally drove them back down toward home.
We're down to only a few inches of snow in our yard here but if we can cross the lake in the near future, there's plenty of snow on the other side and in most of the places we go snowmachining. We are fast running out of December though and that's generally, although not always, our main snow month. For myself, I would rather get the snow in January or February when the days are longer and you really want to be out on a machine on fresh snow.
Andy was down in the Bella Coola Valley yesterday and took some awesome pictures of the wicked winds coming off the mountains down there as well as some cool pictures of some ice falls, one of which I'll post on Picture of the Day. He said the Hill was in the best shape he had ever seen it so obviously it was never affected by that freezing rain we had.
Oops! I'm wrong. It's 2:30 in the afternoon and it actually made it up to -20C or -4F, although the digital thermometer at the back may be in the sun a little.
17/12/2008 8:05 PM

Weird Weather Change

We did the town thing yesterday, which of course took the whole day. We actually got off pretty lucky because Andy had gone into Williams Lake the week before and got a lot accomplished so it wasn't quite as rushed as usual.
I was really concerned about leaving the dogs outside here while we were gone as we normally do. While it was only -25C or -13F when we got up, fully 10 degrees warmer than the morning before, it was still too cold to leave the dogs out for a whole day. Lucky us, we have a wonderful friend from up at Nimpo store that was willing to drive all the way around (an ice road would be handy right now) and take the dogs out for a quick walk midday. Not only did she do that at 10:00 in the morning rather than at noon, two hours later she came back and put the dogs out because it had warmed up so much. It was really wonderful of her and it was the only reason why we were able to go to Williams Lake.
While it was only -25C in the morning here, we ran into temps as low as -30C on our way in. Since we left long before daylight, and it tends to get colder the closer to sun up it gets, it may easily have gotten that cold here as well. It was a raw day in Williams Lake with cold temperatures and nasty wind, so it meant you didn't waste anytime outside. Particularly later in the afternoon when it clouded over and you didn't even have the sun to help warm things up.
The strange thing was that it was still cold when we left Williams Lake, but it got warmer the farther west we got. We watched the temperature gauge on the truck rise steadily from a low of about -24C at Riske Creek and were absolutely flabbergasted to see it at only -3.4C or 26F when we pulled into our yard. If we thought the gauge was wrong, that was belied by what almost felt like a warm wind when we got out of the truck and the fact that the dogs were actually bouncing around outside of their doghouses. It felt positively balmy out and that was after six in the evening. It must have been amazing earlier in the afternoon. Weird weather.
We started to get some snow yesterday evening and ended up with an inch or two of nice, dry powder. It was down to -10C when I went to bed and was still only about -13C or 9F when Andy got up this morning so it didn't drop drastically. That is going to change, however. It actually got colder throughout the day and was at 17.5C last time I checked. It's supposed to get really cold for the next couple of days with lots of arctic outlfow wind warnings throughout the province, including us. I'm not surprised, since we have had a hellacious wind out of the north, off and on, for most of the day.
I know that they're calling for wind chill values of -28C for Bella Coola and -30C to -34C for Williams Lake and Prince George so heaven knows how cold it will get here. That's okay. As long as we don't get any more snow to ruin our growing ice. I definitely don't want to see anything like what they got down in the Lower Mainland today and they're still predicting blizzard conditions in the Fraser Valley tomorrow. Yuk!
Our cold weather hasn't left us completely unscathed, as there have been a few problems. We arrived home to a message that the furnace in the community hall had quite working and the lady holding dance had to move her class elsewhere. Andy spent the day and a lot of back and forth and used up fuel tinkering with things to get the furnace going again. Now it seems we've all lost our phones. We thought that maybe our last caller had forgotten to hang up but a couple of hours later the phone was still dead, and it sure didn't sound like there was an open line. Andy radioed down to the other end of the lake and since their phones were all dead as well, I assume we're all in the same boat. That's pretty rare around here. We're almost never without a phone so it will be interesting to see what's up. Maybe the cold got to something in the switching station up on the highway. Why not? If cold can cause that gondola tower to come down at Blackcombe, I'm sure it can fiddle with other things.
It's too bad the phones aren't working though. I would like to have heard how the snowmobiling went today. Some of the guys and Leah from up at the store were going to go up Goat Mountain today. If I know Leah, she will have been trying to call me to let me know how wonderful the day was!
Our chairs for the Community Hall have officially arrived today to where they are going to be stored until we can find folks to bring some on their way up here. We'll bring back as many as we can fit under our canopy in May, but we won't be able to get them all.
I would just like to extend a personal thanks to Michael Owen down in the Lower Mainland for going way out of his way to pay the seller and get the chairs picked up, and to store them for us. Thanks Mike!!!

15/12/2008 6:52 PM

The Big Chill Continues

This is some big chill blanketing most of Canada and a good part of the US. Eastern Canada and some parts of Ontario have gotten off easy for the last day or so with temperatures in the double digits. In other words, warm. However, that's about to end with the frigid temperatures in the west set to move in tomorrow.
The temperature this morning was down to -35C or 31 degrees below zero Fahrenheit where we live. I'm not sure what it was elsewhere but that's the temperature I've heard from a few other people. Now that the lake is frozen over, our temperatures will be about the same as up on the highway and in Anahim Lake. The highest it got to today when I looked was -19C or or -2F. We had completely clear skies and lots of sunshine so that always helps to bring the mercury up a bit. We did have a lot of smoke in the air from all the local slash burning but it didn't get very high before being pushed back down by the cold air. At least it didn't obscure the sun much.
It's early evening and the temperature is already down to -25C so I expect it will be another cold night, although I'm not sure that it's supposed to get as cold as it did last night. Either way, we have a town trip tomorrow and I don't expect it will be particularly pleasant. Wind chill is expected to take the temperature down to the -30's so running around town will not be fun!
As I mentioned yesterday, there is a low pressure trough forming that will bring temperatures up slightly on Wednesday and may bring snow to many areas throughout the province. But right after that, the entire province goes back into the deep freeze and it looks so far like it may last through the weekend.
We watched the news tonight and it seems that the Lower Mainland had a vicious wind all day. Boy, down there that means it would be cold! It might only have felt like -17C with the wind, but to me it would have felt colder than 60 below. That high humidity and damp down there just freezes my patutie right off. I'll take the dry cold any day!
There are about 16,000 down there that are without electricity tonight, and it sounds like the high winds were the cause. It's weird but today was the anniversary for the winds that messed up Stanley Park so badly in 2006 except that these winds are from a different direction and it was a whole lot warmer. Just as strange is that usually when we get really cold weather, we rarely see wind of any kind but we are seeing a bit this time. Not nearly as bad as elsewhere and they've dropped the wind chill warning for the Chilcotin now, but we are still getting a little. Bella Coola is still under an arctic outflow warning so we may be catching a piece of that.
We also saw on the news tonight that Environment Canada is forecasting a colder than normal winter for the whole country, and it's not even technically winter until Sunday, so I guess we better get used to the cold. So much for global warming! :-)
Obviously with the cold I haven't been going out for walks with the dogs and there hasn't been a lot happening out on the lake, so I decided to do something different with the five pictures on the right.
I've gone back to this week in 2005 when the neighbour's kids were out skiing behind a fourwheeler on Nimpo Lake at the top.
Around this date in 2006 we had already started to take down the trees on the property killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle and were burning the resulting limbs and brush on the lake.
A week ago in 2007 you can see from the numerous tracks on the lake and the guy going past on the sled that we were already snowmobiling across the lake.
And then there's picture five. That's us today with not a track on the lake other than where Andy and the dogs went just off shore to test the ice a few days ago. No snowmobiles, no ATVs, no cross country ski tracks. It's awfully quiet around here and the lake has frozen up way later than usual so the few people that are left just aren't chancing the ice yet.
Since tomorrow is a town day I probably won't be posting anything unless we decide one of us has to stay home with the dogs. It's definitely too cold to take them with us and we won't know until morning whether it will be too cold to leave them outside or in the garage. I guess we'll see.
As you can see, it's the start of a new week. You can find last week's articles and freeze up sounds at December Week Two.






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!
Snow covered crags in Bella Coola.
 
Frozen water on a mountain side creates falls.
 
Blue sky and white and red Super Cub.
 
Ice on Nimpo Lake 2005.
 
Burning slash in 06.
 
Nimpo Lake frozen up in 07.
 
Nimpo Lake ice in 2007.
 
Barren Nimpo Lake in 2008.
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