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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., 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.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.

06/02/2011 7:300 PM

More Snow Balls

We've hung in with the pleasant weather for several days now but Mother Nature decided to wake everyone up a little last night. It started snowing really fine flakes yesterday evening and just kept at it all night and into this morning. Every time I turned on the lights out on the deck, all you could see was the white stuff just pouring down. I kind of thought to myself, Geez, we could really get piled up on here, especially since everything weather wise that we were watching on TV was indicating a good snow storm. I talked to one of our road maintenance guys and he said their weather information was calling for a big dump of snow. Mind you, a lot of that could have been for Heckman Pass because they get way more snow at the top of the Bella Coola hill than we ever do. Of course snow was the last thing they needed up there. There was a rock slide last weekend that shut the Hill down for a few days, caused by the weather we were having.
On the weather channel we could see that the jet stream was going right over top of us and that often can mean high precipitation for us if warm moist air is hitting cold coming down from the north.
It was still snowing this morning when I got up and Andy told me I should take a look at the one news station's weather forecast for us. According to that one, over half the province was under a snow fall warning including us, but all together we only got between four and five inches of snow. There might be more to come yet if the weather forecaster is right at all, but right now we've a little toe nail of a new moon hanging in the sky and it looks pretty clear out there. If we're going to get snowed on more, it'll be later and I don't know how long it will last. It looks like we've got a high pressure system moving in with some cold air, and that usually means clear skies.
Suits me. I'll just take it as it comes. Like I have a say in the weather, anyway. :-)
I took a walk through the back woods and I only did the short trail today because it was a real slog through the snow. Because the snow ended late this morning, there wasn't a single track on the trail. It was as fresh and white as could be with no rabbits, coyotes, fox or moose marking up the pathway. A bit boring for the dogs maybe, but pretty for me with the sun filtering through trees along the trail and fluffy bits of snow floating down over the perfectly unmarred path. I was wishing I had brought the camera with me but this time of year there's no room in my little pack full of leashes, gloves, ear muffs and such.
When I got back Andy quit running Bobcat long enough to run trails with me on our snow machines. That way the newly packed paths should set up over night and be reasonably solid to walk on by tomorrow. We screwed up because we walked on the trail in the afternoon the day before yesterday when the snow was at its warmest and we kept falling through the layers of snow. It got pretty cold through the night so that by yesterday when I went for a walk the track was rock hard and I could dodge the ankle breaking holes we put into it the day before. I didn't get so lucky today with those deep tracks covered with snow and wrenched various body parts when I stepped into one. After that I watched Mocha closely and every time she lurched and did a face plant in the snow, I knew to watch for a hidden hole. Which is why I came back determined to run over the trail with the machines and fill those deep tracks in. I figured it would prevent injury on all our parts.
Now if the main road, our driveway and our yard could be fixed as easily. We got well over a half inch of rain a few nights ago and boy, did that make a mess of things! It was one of the reasons we were falling through the track in the snow on the trail. Everything got saturated and where the snow was packed, it turned into ice, especially after the temperature dropped the other night. It turned into hard ice that you can't scratch and that sand doesn't stick to. As a result, taking the dogs for a walk down the driveway and out onto the road to the trail is a precarious endeavour at best. Even more so coming back since part of my figure eight route is on the main road. Nothing like mincing down the road from one less icy spot to another, searching out little areas where sand has stuck and melted into the surface of the road. At least it can be done when you can see it. Put five inches of fluff on top and good luck with that one. Tricky doesn't begin to describe my return walk today. Even the dogs were slip sliding all over the place. Slogging through snow in the woods trying to avoid our man made holes was much safer!
The ice road is now officially a mess. All that snow last night settled into all that water laying on the road yesterday and the whole thing now looks like a giant slushy, including our little ice road driveway that joins with the main one. I'm not betting on the thing ever being usable again this winter. I had high hopes that if the snow on the lake melted enough and absorbed enough overflow, that when it froze, it would be solid enough to drive on and forget the ice road. But with this new snow, it seems highly unlikely we'll have solid ice again before break up. I'm hoping I'm wrong, but....
I haven't seen the otters out at the point now for at least a week and I'm beginning to wonder if something happened to them. Several days ago we saw some blood out on our driveway and in our yard and neighbours across the lake to the east and south have seen the same thing. They think it's their local fox and it has a wound somewhere. I wonder if the two go hand in hand. Did something foolish try taking on the otters and get wounded in the process? Did that cause the otters to move somewhere else where they aren't so exposed? Or is it all coincidence? It seems strange to have seen the otters for so long in the same area, and suddenly, nothing. Nor are there any otter tracks around our place or the neighbours' any more as there has been for the last couple of months. I hope they have just moved on and nothing got them. Who knows? Maybe they over fished their area and had to go somewhere else. There won't be any way to tell until the lake gets solid enough to walk or ski on and go take a look out at the point where they've been living.
I'm leaving the Picture of the Day the same. I think it's a really cool photo and I don't have anything to replace it right now, anyway. Check it out if you haven't yet.
03/02/2011 7:00 PM

Whoo Hoo! It's Warm!

I would love to do the spring dance, but I know if I did, Mother Nature would kick my butt. She would get me back in a BIG way. I just know she would. So I'll just be quietly happy.
For the last three days our weather has been terrific! It's been above freezing with each day getting warmer and warmer. Today we hit 7C or 45 degrees Fahrenheit and even though we had a warm 16mph wind and it tried to spit rain, I loved it! The only thing is.... the lake is just an unholy mess. It looked fine for most of the day. I went down to the shore line after we came back from a walk to the gun range and took a look at the snow on the lake. The snowmobile tracks and spider hole depressions were all full of water and the snow was starting to look slushy. I looked out the window when I got in the house and the spider holes were looking pretty wet but the snow was still white out on the lake.
Not so an hour later.

I looked out at about 3:30 this afternoon and the snow had started to turn really dark in big patches all over the lake and the spider holes were really opening up. You could tell that all that water that had been laying under the snow was starting to seep up from the bottom while the warm air flowing over the snow was melting it from the top. I fully expect to wake up tomorrow and see an entirely grey lake from the snow being saturated, which might happen if the temperature stays up. It's still 4C out there. That's the very best thing that could possibly happen. If that snow saturates with water either from overflow or melting and then freezes, we'll be able to use the lake again. It might be a little crusty for snowmobiles until the next snowfall, but at least we could drive on it. I would love to ski on it again as well but all those crazy spider holes have me worried. Andy said he saw at least 20 along his track yesterday going to the other end of the lake.
He and a bunch of people went snowmobiling yesterday up through Goat Pass and over to the Cornice Hill to play in the snow. I guess the snow was a little heavy though because of the higher temperatures and not nearly as nice as it would have been a few weeks ago when we had all that powder. Andy said they went through one zone there which was so much warmer than surrounding air that it formed fine mist on his windshield and face shield. It's possible today that it's even warmer at higher elevations than it is at lower, an inversion layer more or less, so the snow will be melting even more up there. I know we've been warmer than Vancouver, the Cariboo east of us and the Okanagan. Either it's because we're closer to the leading edge of that warm front or we're higher, or both. I think the latter is most likely because we shouldn't have been warmer for a full three days. Either way, I'm not complaining, although I suspect some of the snowmobiling enthusiasts are. But we'll get more good days in yet and if the surface of the lake freezes up, it'll make it a lot easier to get into the mountains by going across the lake. Yesterday most of the people actually avoided leaving our place by lake and went around by road to Ted's. From there they crossed hell bent for leather to Dot Island through the overflow and no one got stuck. I don't think you could say the same today judging from the look of that snow on the lake. I think you'd bog down in a hurry in that stuff now.
We're supposed to have really warm weather tomorrow and a little cooler Saturday, and then it's supposed to start cooling down for the whole province. It looks like a high might be moving in that will bring cooler temperatures and hopefully lots of sunshine. That would be cool too.
Ted sent me some pictures of the snowmobiling yesterday. His daughter took one of him getting some serious air that would impress anyone, even non snowmobilers. And I've got a better picture of our spider holes out front.
You'll find last week's blog at January Week Four..

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!
Really impressive jump in the air with snowmobile.
Snowmobiler jumping up a hill.
Snowmobiler jumping back shot.
Wet snow on the lake.
Wet snow on Nimpo Lake.
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