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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week One/2013

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.

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07/02/2013 5:10 PM

The Town Trip

As I mentioned the day before yesterday, we had to go into Williams Lake for the day making it a twelve hour in and out run. I had an appointment as did Andy, and we had lots of errands to run as well as some grocery shopping to do. We had temperatures of about -11C or 12F when we left yesterday morning and that stayed pretty consistent all the way through to Alexis Creek with temperatures dipping to –13C here and there. Then at Lee’s Corner it went up to –9C and by the time we hit the top of the hill above Lee’s Corner, the temperature was only one degree below freezing. Up on Riske Flats it stayed right around freezing, sometimes fluctuating between one or two degrees below to just above the freezing mark. That area is at around the same elevation as we are at Nimpo Lake so it just goes to show you that the weather inversion is continuing this winter, with warm air aloft and cooler air on the ground.
It came up to above freezing in Williams Lake while we ran around and did our thing. Temperatures were definitely pleasant for getting in and out of the truck all the time, a far cry from a month ago when we were trying to get stuff done in a wet snowstorm and beat our way home before dark.
I was really surprised at how much snow Williams Lake had. Apparently they really got dumped on last week and one photo we saw in the newspaper showed about a foot of fresh snow on a picnic table. There was still lots in my sister’s yard and packed on her driveway so it must have been fun getting around there for a few days. I know I should be sympathetic but…. You know…. Stuff happens. :-) Even Alexis Creek had a lot more snow than we’ve become accustomed to seeing there in the past few winters. Conversely, Tatla Lake would have a miserable time of it if they tried to hold their snowmobile poker run at this time of year as they used to. I don’t think they’ve been able to hold a run for at least three years now if not longer. We’re not much better. We are having our poker run on the second of March but I think the trail makers had better stick to existing trails. We don’t have any more snow than we had last week and what we do have is going down fast. There are lots of places where it is bare ground under the pine trees. Our snow levels probably vary between six inches to a foot depending are where you look. I doubt there’s much more than that, even in the woods.
In contrast to that, it looks like the Northeastern part of the US and some of Ontario is going to get socked pretty hard with snow tonight and tomorrow with two massive low pressure systems butting heads right over those areas. They are predicting up to two and three feet of snow in some areas, areas that haven’t been hit for a while. But at least it looks like most people have been well warned and are aware of what’s coming and are preparing for it. If most people in the hardest hit areas stay home Friday, then there’s a whole weekend for road crews to try and get things cleaned up a bit before the next work week. With fewer people out on roads, you could probably assume there would be less chaos.
Tonight the sun set over the mountains in the west south west where it belongs, at exactly 5:00 PM tonight. This morning I noticed how much higher in the sky it was in the south east than it was a month ago at the same time. Nice!
I think that February is my favourite winter month. Andy and I were talking about that today. It seems his is December. That’s probably my second favourite but it’s also got the shortest days, which I dislike intensely. I hate November because it’s rarely a nice month, there is usually a distinct lack of sun and you can get some damned cold temperatures in that month. January can be a mixed bag. You never know what it’s going to bring but it always seems like a month that drags on, and on, and on…… and on, and on…. Seriously. That’s the month that needs to be just 28 days! February is often our nicest, sunniest, and sometimes warmest month. The light is brighter, the sun higher in the sky, and the air just seems to be clearer. Oh, and it’s a short month. That really helps!
Tonight the thermometer is sitting right on freezing, it's clouded over a little and it looks like it might try to snow. Hopefully, we won't get much. Just don't tell that to the guys that are praying for it right now for sledding. Awwww. :-)

05/02/2013 5:15 PM

Cougars Revisited - Blog Anniversary

The numbers just keep on growing.
If the information I’m getting is correct, we’re up to three cougars dead in the area now. Apparently, the outfitter that went out after one of the cougars and lost his dog to it, just found one dead in a trap on his trap line up around Kappan. I still have to verify it but if true, that’s a whole lot of cougars at one time! There must be something pushing them out of other areas that are normally more attractive to cougar. It would be interesting to know.
So this is an anniversary for me. Actually, the anniversary was a week or two ago but I’m always late for that kind of thing and it wasn’t until I cruised back in the blogs yesterday to check that I realized that I was a day late and a dollar short, yet again.
Congratulate me because I have now been boring the heck out of you for eight years. Yep, eight full years! That is how long I have been writing and posting on the website about the area. Man, no wonder I’ve been feeling like I’m running out of things to say. Maybe I should expand my territory…. You know, start writing about Tatla Lake or something…. :-)
Had someone told me eight years ago that I would still be posting a blog on this website now, I just am not sure I would have believed them. For one thing, it was a shock from the beginning that so many people read the blog and seemed to appreciate it being written. I have had many comments and met and talked to quite a few wonderful people, all because of this blog. And I know that a good many summer residents appreciate being informed on what’s happening here, particularly during times of flood, wind, or fire. As a result, often times I’ve felt obligated to keep it up just for the sake of those same residents but I also hope to keep encouraging folks to come and visit our area, whether you’ve been here before, or this will be your first time, and enjoy it while you’re here.
Most importantly, I want to let everyone know how much I have appreciated you writing to me, calling me, correcting my information or simply passing something on that you think me and folks that read this, might find interesting. Thank you for your stories, thank you for your photos, and most importantly, thank you for your continued encouragement!
We had an amazing day today with quite a bit of sun although there was wind coming off the lake. Still, temperatures reached 4C or 39F and as soon as I got away from the lake on my walk with the dogs, there was very little wind. I would very much like to have gone for a ski today but it’s never fun to ski into a wind and it drops the temperature on your skin by quite a bit. That’s okay, the smells are more fun for the dogs in the woods than on the lake anyway.
The clouds are moving pretty fast and out of the south this evening so I’m wondering if we’re going to get a weather change in the form of snow. We had a skiff on the ground yesterday morning but nothing else. One of the forecasters said on the news that he wasn’t expecting there to be anything in the way of winter weather for the next seven to ten days down on the Lower Mainland so lets hope that remains true for us. Especially since we have to run to town tomorrow. It would be nice if the roads would stay clear and dry.

03/02/2013 9:15 PM


We usually don’t get out a lot but this turned out to be an interesting weekend.
I attended the open house ‘Celebration of Life’ for Enubi at Eagle’s Nest in Anahim Lake on Saturday. She died the Saturday before. Last night we attended an informal Birthday party for a couple of people in the community. Celebrating a death on the same day as you celebrate the continuance of life seems strange, but I guess that's why they call it the circle of life.
At least getting out into the community you get to catch up on some of the gossip. I asked Phil if she had done any skiing in Anahim Lake this winter and she said she wasn’t about to because of the cougar. What cougar?? The one that was hanging back behind her place and left tracks on her trail. Or they both did. She wasn’t sure if it was both cougars hanging around or just the one.
What??? Two cougars?! It’s rare to see cougar in this region because we don’t have much of a deer population, but to see two! It’s true that we are seeing whitetail deer move in from the Tatla area but not enough to support the same kind of cougar population you hear of down Tatlayoko way. While I’ve heard of the odd sighting of cougar over the years, and twice heard of two being seen at once, it’s just really rare. In this case, it sounds like quite a few people around Anahim saw at least one of the cougars.
It turns out that a rancher up Lily Lake way called Duke and asked him to come up and shoot a cougar hanging around her barn. It’s going on calving season and the last thing you want is a cougar in your yard!
At the same time one of our local fur trappers was asked to take his lynx dogs out after the other cougar because it was coming in too close to houses around Anahim Lake. I guess he went after it but it killed one of his best dogs. As a result, I understand that a cougar hunter was called in from down Tatlayoko way and brought up his dogs and eventually got the cougar.
I guess both cougars were young males in pretty poor physical condition. Locals are guessing that they came up the precipice looking for new territory because they were probably kicked out of their home territory by their parents. Winter up here on the plateau would be very tough on a cougar, even a pair that might hunt together. The only game here in winter to hunt is moose and caribou and neither would be easy for young cougars to pull down. That would only leave rabbits and such, and I’m seeing no sign of rabbit at all, so their population must be on a downward trend. The result of snow and no easy food supply would be starving cougars, which would explain why they were going in so close around people and their houses. It’s a shame they had to be shot but that’s life too. This is not natural territory for cougars.
In any case, it seems that this all happened just in the past week or so and I hadn’t heard a thing about it. I really have to get out more….
Our temperatures have been absolutely amazing, even though we’re only getting mixed sun and cloud. Today the sun couldn’t quite burn all the way through the cloud for any length of time, but even so, the temperature reached nearly 5C or 40F today. It hasn’t been getting that cold at night for a change so it’s not taking much for it to warm up during the day, even without sun.
I’m happy. I figure every day that we get into February with nice temperatures, that’s every day that winter is shorter. And it’s a nice break in case winter slams back in again. It’s good to see warm temperatures because it clears the snow off of everything. All the decks are bare. Most of the snow slid off of the house in the past few days and is starting to come off of the outbuildings, the tarp shed and the boats. Today we had a breeze for the first time in days but it was reasonably warm so you didn’t mind being out in it.
I just wish we could get a little more sun with the warm temperatures. This is the first year that my compost barrel has frozen up. In fact, if we hadn't gotten this warm weather in the past week or two, I would have had to stop using it because it's too full and nothing is breaking down. Blame it on that long two month stretch we had before Christmas with no sun. The composter is black and normally absorbs enough heat from the sun in winter to keep it working but not this year!
The warm weather is starting to settle the snow out in the woods but it hasn’t gotten crusty yet so the game can still outrun the predators.
Everyone was talking about the sunrise yesterday morning. I didn’t see it, of course, because I don’t get my butt out of bed that early, but fortunately, Andy does and he got some photos. They’re up on the right. Red sky in the morning Sailor’s warning and all that good stuff, but even without a lot of sun by afternoon, we still had a great day, yesterday.
The overflow is getting worse along the ice road over to the boat ramp but it’s still only along the edges so the road is holding up well. I wouldn’t care to see what the overflow is like out on the lake running a snowmobile, but presumably its no better than it was. A group sledded by our place and went through on our back trail yesterday, avoiding the lake altogether, and it’s true, I’m not seeing much of anyone out there. I know when I ski now I stick to frozen tracks or to the ice road. It’s not as much fun but it beats scraping frozen snow off the bottom of my skis when I hit overflow.
It looks like most of the province has above normal temperatures right now. I don’t know how much longer it will last but I’ll take whatever we get. January is gone now and the days are definitely getting longer. Noticeably longer!
With the exception of the groundhog in Calgary, groundhogs in Canada and the US didn’t see their shadow yesterday which is supposed to indicate an early spring. The one calling it for the two western provinces did see its shadow though, so, it’s a longer spring for us. Yeah, right. Since the general record for these furry little guys is around 39% correct, I don’t think I’ll pin my hopes on the groundhogs. First of all, another six weeks of winter is normal for us, so shadow or no shadow, there’s no getting around Mother Nature’s intentions. It looks like it gives folks an excuse to dress up in tails and top hats though, and have long, weekend celebrations, and you wouldn’t want to take that away from them, would you?
So the Super Bowl was today. It looked like it might be a nail biter toward the end there. I was just reading yesterday that the Super Bowl is the second biggest food holiday in the US and just behind Thanksgiving. Really?? A football game is that important that it’s the second most important food day? Wow. What happened to Christmas or Easter? Doesn’t anyone have big family meals on those days anymore? I was just reading the stats for chicken wings. 1.2 Billion wings will have been consumed today, a whack of pizza, and 79 million avocados, used for making guacamole.
All I have to say is…. Good grief!

You’ll find the last blog at January Week Three but for any of the older postings, this is the start of a new year so you’ll have to go to the menu to the left to find the 2012 blogs.

Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.

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!
Mountains are lit up by orange.
Monarch Mountain shows up between the trees.
Bright reds, yellows and blues.
Brilliant sunrise colors.
The sky is lit up over the lake.
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