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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.

30/12/2006 3:25 PM

Comings And Goings

It's kind of a busy place around Nimpo Lake right now. Whereas before the lake had too much overflow on it for anyone to really use it, now it's tightened up enough for people to walk and snowmobile on it without dealing with slush.
There have been all kinds of folks out on snowmobiles today from kids doubling up to young people racing around checking out how much air they can get on the drifts. It was kind of cute watching two that were doubled up crossing the bay at full speed. The driver on the first machine would bounce, then his passenger, the same with the second machine where you could almost see air under the seat of their pants. They looked like little Jacks-in-the-Box.
Several groups have crossed the lake from different directions today heading for the mountains. I just saw once bunch come in with head lights bouncing over the snow that I didn't even see go out.
Andy got talked into going out for a ride with an ex fighter pilot up from the States that couldn't find anyone to ride with. Since Andy has been wanting to break in his new machine it should work out well and it seems a fine way of getting out of decorating the community hall for the New Year's Dance tomorrow night. Little does he know we've saved the work for him for tomorrow instead...lol. There's lots of work to get ready for that event including getting some trees dropped and wood cut up for the bonfire.
Unfortunately, our friends that were here visiting both came down sick with colds and weren't able to go snowmobiling. We did have an invite to go out yesterday but with lots to do and some wicked looking winds howling around the mountain tops, it didn't look like the kind of day that I wanted to go riding.
Call me a fairweather snowmobiler if you like, but I've been up there when the winds kick up those fine snow particles and the clouds come in low. You can't see the trail because it's usually been wiped out by drifting snow within in minutes, the fine particles of snow hitting your face feel like needles and you can't close your face shield because it will freeze over instantly. When those clouds come sweeping in low while you're up on the mountain you might as well be in pea soup and hope you know where you're going because you can't see jack. In fact it's a weird sensation when that happens because you can completely lose your bearings, especially when you're up in the alpine and have no trees or landmarks to let you know where you are and add to that the flat light that usually comes with the clouds and you have no sense of which end is up. You don't know whether you're going up hill or down and don't know where the bumps or ravines are until you've hit them. Unless you've felt the sensation before, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about but suffice to say that's a good time to have a good leader with an excellent sense of direction and a GPS so that you can find your way back through the Pass and head for home.
When I see those conditions up on the mountain from down here on the lake, I have absolutely no interest in going up there. I guess a bunch did go up and turned around at Goat Pass yesterday because of the wind. Most people know to do that but I always worry about visitors that aren't familiar with how quickly conditions can turn on them. We have our trails going up marked very well but it won't help you once you hit the open alpine on the other side of the Pass. If you look at the picture up on the right you will get a sense of why you want to make sure you have good visibility while riding up in the alpine.
The wind started howling around here yesterday and a bit into last night. Our temperatures have finally come up a bit. For the last few days they never got above -8C or about 15F during the day but they're just below freezing right now. Which is probably why so many people are out riding today. It'll be much more pleasant than it has been.
Lucky, spoiled me. I got a fantastic new digital camera from my Sweetie this Christmas that will take SLR telephoto lenses so I am extremely excited about the kind of pictures I can take for this blog now. We just have to wait to get the proper sized card for it and I have to read the encyclopediac sized operating manual. That should take about a year or so. I should have been a guy. I hate reading instructions!

27/12/2006 4:24 PM

The Holidays

I hope everyone had as good a Christmas as we did and are all filled up with Christmas turkey, or as in our case, prime rib.
This won't be a long post. Of course I always say that and then usually by the time I'm done, I've written nearly the same number of words that Jack London required of himself every day of his writing career. LOL.
We have good friends from Saskatchewan visiting and since they're only here for a couple of days, I'd like to spend the time with them. Besides, it's the holidays. Who wants to be reading some blog about the Chilcotin over Christmas?
Our company lived out here for years and I worked with Wolfgang at the local planer mill. As a result, they both know this country quite well and have expressed a desire to go snowmobiling. Ah, fancy that! Just the kind of thing we like to do, and we just so happen to have four snow machines, so a little trail riding into the mountains will be just the ticket!
We're supposed to have nice weather for the next couple of days. We certainly haven't been able to complain about the weather the last few, with today being another sunny day. It's been a bit chilly though. At night it's been ranging between -18 and -20C or about 0 to 5 below Fahrenheit. It comes up in the day time but even today it didn't get much above -8C or about 20F and I don't see it warming up before Saturday because we've got a big high sitting over us. It looks like there's a nasty big system coming in from the Pacific on the weekend though. Just in time for our New Year's Party at the community hall. Typical.
Right now there's that pretty lemon yellow in the sky over the mountains after the sun has set, and the mist is rising on Nimpo Lake with not a breath of wind in the air. The other night when it got really cold I finally heard the lake talking. It had warmed up to just above freezing during the day and dipped to -20C that night so there was quite a sudden temperature difference.
The lake has tightened up quite a lot but there was still some overflow yesterday out in the middle of the bay where the ice cracked from one side of the bay to the other. You could see where quite a lot of water came up through the snow.
Our neighbour from the resort across the lake was out cross country skiing on Nimpo Lake this afternoon. She said there were still a few mucky spots but for the most part the recent cold temps provided for excellent skiing and you weren't even breaking through to the overflow. So it must be time to break out the skis! I wonder where they are....
Okay, gotta go. The company's gonna want some grits soon. I'm not sure when I can next post because after our company leaves we have to get the hall ready for the New Year's Eve party. But hey, who's reading about the 'brrrr chilly' Chilcotin during this holiday season anyway?
Don't eat too much cold turkey everyone!!!!!

24/12/2006 12:50 PM

Christmas Eve And All Is Quiet

Nimpo Lake is very quiet this year. The heavy snow load on the lake has caused such terrific overflow that there is no ice road, no one walking, biking or skating on the lake this year. No one is out there playing around on snowmobiles, nor do you see the group of snowmobilers that you normally would crossing the lake heading for the mountains or just a trail ride. Disappointing, but the quiet is nice too. We had planned on going elsewhere for Christmas but those plans have changed, thankfully. I love being here and I look forward to a peaceful Christmas at home.
The Millers and their family were going to the Rainbow Mountains for snowmachining and to sled down the ski hill there. I'm glad it's them and not me! The first trip out for the season is always a tough one because I spend all fall in front of a computer. When I rolled out of bed this morning I'm pretty sure that someone traded my perfectly good shoulders and neck for old beat up ones. In fact I think they traded my knees for these crotchety things I'm walking on today too. Andy has worked hard all fall so even though he and Logan did the lion's share of trailbreaking yesterday, I don't think he's feeling it quite like I am today.
I think that this time of year is a special one. Not for the zany craziness of shopping or cleaning and cooking for company but a time for reflection.
All of us will or have lost loved ones, many just before Christmas. Everyone has their own beliefs whether religious or otherwise that come to the fore at this time of year and I'll try to not step on any toes here. I believe that everyone should live their life to the fullest possible extent. I'm selfish and I believe we all only have a short time here on earth, and so number one should always come first. But there should always be room for making other people happy, whether that's your spouse, your family, your friends, or the stranger on the street. A smile costs little, laughter even less.
Giving or receiving gifts have far less value to me than giving a happy piece of yourself away. Because when you are gone, you are gone, but we all leave a piece of ourselves behind in the memory of everyone that knew us. I believe that you are reincarnated every time someone thinks about you. Every time they bring up your name or tell a story about you whether funny, oddball or poignant. I like to think the memory people will have of me will mostly be happy ones. I try to live my life that way, anyway, and I very much enjoy the company of others that do as well.
On that note, I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas. For my sweetheart, our family, friends and acquaintances. I would especially like to thank all of you who read these articles and send me emails of encouragement, have allowed me to use your stories and pictures from visiting here. I wish you the very best in these holidays and in the New Year.

23/12/2006 7:35 PM

Fantastic Ride

We had just an awesome ride today. Our friends from Quesnel that have so kindly loaned me many of the pictures I use on this blog came down with family for Christmas.
Bill and Anita are just a hoot to be around and their family super. Anita's brother and his wife have two kids, a girl in her teens and a boy just turning eleven. Those kids are so great it almost makes you think you might want kids of your own, and both are welcome to my house any time!
The family joined us for supper last night and the Millers' wicked sense of humor manifested itself more than once. We enjoyed a bonfire of beetle killed pine out on the lake and super conversation that ended just too early because we wanted a good start on riding today.
Because both the kids and their parents were doubling up, our intention was to make our snowmobile ride an easy one of only a few hours. But when a day starts out sunny, only a few degrees below zero and some of the most perfect snow you have ever seen, it's hard to stop.
Because Nimpo Lake is so bad for overflow, we went the long way around on trails through the trees. That alone was a very nice ride but our intention was to go only up to kilometer 24 on the Charlotte Main. There we could overlook the mountains and Charlotte Lake, which is still wide open this time of year. It probably won't ice over for another month or so.
Snow conditions were so good that the guys broke trail right up to Goat Pass, and then we played around in Serenity Valley just beyond the Pass for awhile. We then broke out another trail back down the mountain where the snow was so deep our trail blazes were sitting just above the snow. The snow was so amazing that even though it was deep, you didn't break through. Instead, it was like riding on velvet. As a result, we had very few stucks today, even with two double ups, and that makes a trip up the mountain even nicer.
Since it was the first ride of the year for us and a pretty long run, it was a bit exhausting. I suspect everyone will sleep very well tonight. I know I will!
I've started a new week so you can check out last week's articles at December, Week Three.

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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!
Mountain drop off.
 
Winter scene.
 
Snowmachine stuck.
 
Pass and snowmobile rider.
 
Snowmobile jumping snowdrifts.
 
Snow, trees and lake.
 
Snowy mountain.
 
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