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Wilderness Adventures - West Chilcotin Blog

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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28/02/2015 1:30 PM

The Unbelievable February!

February has been quite a contrast from the three months before it, although the last half of January was quite warm and we had some sun. But I have never seen a month like this February before anywhere that I have ever lived. After warming up in January it just never cooled down so that for about six weeks, all it has done is melt every day. We did have the odd couple of days here and there where it spit rain, and we got a little skiff of snow for two days in a row here at the end of the month, but otherwise, this month felt like April normally does.
We saw lots of sunshine and the temperature often didn’t even dip below freezing at night for weeks on end. Of the many feet of snow we had on the ground going into February, there is only about a foot and a half left in the woods. Out in the open there is only about a foot and in our yard where it’s exposed to sun all day, probably half that again and in many places the lawn is showing. In fact, I was really concerned that there wouldn’t be enough snow left for a friend that is coming up in March but the weather has cooled down in the past few days, the nights are much colder, and the melt has pretty much stopped. That recent fresh snow slowed things down quite a bit too.
Fresh snow also meant more people have been out snowmobiling this weekend because there’s enough to lubricate the tracks of the machines now. Such a hard crust has formed on the snow that if you were on a trail instead of off in the woods, you risked overheating. I can finally try cross country skiing again. I had the trails, but they melted out and then froze, and without fresh snow in the past many weeks, it was just too icy to use them. The snow on the lake melted down to just a thin crust on the ice which was great for walking on, but neighbours tried going out on it a few weeks ago and said it was just too icy for skiing on.
Lots of folks have been able to ice fish on the lake a lot more comfortably without standing knee deep in water like they were in January. With all the snow melted off the ice, it’s popped up instead of sinking under the weight of the snow and any overflow that was on it has long since frozen. Kids from the school were roasting goodies over a fire off our point on Friday and a few people have been skating on the ice rink. It’s a little late for ice fishing now I think. People are still out there doing it but I should think they’re a lot more likely to catch spawners this late in the season.
Our ice road is still holding up although if it hadn’t cooled down at night this past week I think we would have drilled it to see how it was doing. We’re still driving on it with diesel pickups, one of which is a one ton, but most people have been parking up on the boat ramp rather than drive on it. I expect there’s still at least two to three feet of ice on the road itself but we should check here in a couple of weeks or so.
It’s been a cool month for lake sounds. The thin layer of insulating snow on the lake ice, and the variation between warm sunshine and colder night temperatures means the lake has been just booming. For a couple of weeks now, particularly with the new moon this past week, the lake ice has been rumbling, thumping, and muttering all through the night and first thing in the morning. I’ve said it before and really don’t have a better description. It sounds just like far off mortar fire and often if you walk out on the ice after a noisy night, you’ll see loads of cracks crisscrossing the ice.
We’ve also had some marvelous sunsets this past month, and I mean vivid! Sunny, clear days often have led to a little haze moving in from the west about the time the sun is going to go down so we’ve had some great color. I understand there have also been northern lights but though I check quite often out the north side of the house before going to bed, I haven’t seen any yet this winter.
The deep snow drove a lot of game down out of the hills so there have been a lot of moose and deer around, particularly cow moose with calves. Unfortunately, it’s been a slaughter because our so called ‘keepers of the land’ like to hunt cow moose this time of year when they can most easily run them down with snow machines and with the moose this close in, they don’t have to look very hard to find them. One woman I spoke to said it’s been horrible around Anahim Lake, but even here they’ve been shot. I’ve been following the tracks of one big cow that must have been really heavy with calf, and her full grown calf, all winter. One day as Andy and I were walking back on the trail following her tracks, we heard two shots up on the other side of the highway and I said the, “Well, there goes our cow.” And sure enough, I haven't seen any sign of her particular tracks since. A friend of ours was also out walking one day when she came across really fresh tracks up across the highway. Minutes after she came across them she heard a snowmobile and then shots. Then the snowmobile start up, go a little distance, and then back down toward the reserve, probably to get help to pull the moose out. It just made her sick. There goes another cow dead, probably carrying a calf and so the potential of 40 to 60 animals in the next 10 years gone. Yep, gotta protect those 'traditional hunting rights'. I wouldn’t have any problem at all with someone hunting traditionally if they were doing it on snowshoes, and not with the white man’s rifle, white man’s snowmachines, and white man’s ATV’s. There’s nothing traditional at all about taking advantage of our inventions to go out and slaughter game stocks that are already teetering on the edge of being wiped out. And yet our so called ‘keepers of the land’ scream bloody murder when white people enter a hunting draw for this side of the highway where only six tags are made available in the fall during hunting season for bull moose, using a paid for hunting license and tag, money that goes back into our fish and wildlife protection branch. Soon we won’t have any game left here and the Indians won’t have anyone to blame but themselves. Not that they will ever take the blame. It will always be someone else’s fault.
It amazes me how screwed up our world is and how tilted our system has become.
Well, our wonderful spring like weather has finally come to an end. Friday and yesterday it was still sunny but there was a bit of a cold winter breeze, something we haven’t had in some time. Friday night the temperature dropped to –20C or –4F, again, temperatures we haven’t seen for six weeks. Today, it started out overcast and though it’s made it to just above freezing, it’s been peppering a light snow down all afternoon, even though I didn’t even think weather forecasters were calling for snow. It will be nice for snowmobiling.
The long range for the next couple of weeks in March is calling for much cooler weather for the west, which probably means a bit of a warm up for the east. That will be a huge relief for eastern Canada and the US. They have been experiencing a brutal winter and selfish as it may sound, I am ever so glad it’s them, and not me. At least we’re late enough now in the season and the days longer, that it can turn ugly for the next two months, but we’re probably not going to get long, long cold spells or more than another couple of feet of snow. On the other hand, we know what happens when I say stuff like that. It invariably tempts Mother Nature to dump on us!
Oh, and one last note. I had a fellow contact me last fall and I promised him I would put this information into a blog for him and I kept forgetting. Here is his email: "I worked at Rimarko Ranch the summer or '68. If anyone worked there at the time, or knows of anyone who did, I would be exceedingly grateful to make contact. I'm particularly interested in tracking down the Dorian family (Doug, Carol and Cliff) and a girl who worked there called "Jude". Unfortunately I can't recall her last name, but she was from Vancouver Island and must be around 64 years old. Gratefully Billy "Whiskers" Warner."
If you would like to contact him, you can reach him at
The last blog is at January Week One.

Don't forget that you can find regular updates on the Facebook page at Facebook/TheChilcotin.

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!
A fat orange fox runs across the lake.
Sun colors the tops of snowcovered peaks.
Bright orange sunset.
Sunset colors everything purple.
A massive set of peaks peer over the trees and lake.
A small herd of deer group up on the lake ice.
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