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
Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week Two/2011
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of the Day.
And More Snow....
We've had quite a mixed bag for weather
in the last few days.
Yesterday it was snowing when I got up and it snowed itty
bitty little flakes all day. It only amounted to four
or five inches all told, but it made it a very ugly day
for going anywhere. I had to go to Anahim Lake midday.
Our road wasn't bad with only about three inches of snow
on the ground when I went out but the highway was
terrible, and it wasn't even the fault of the highways
maintenance guys! They had plowed the highway
but the snow was coming down fast enough to completely
obscure where they had plowed. When the road is white,
the snowbanks are white, the sky is white and the snow
coming down is white, you have an old fashioned white-out.
The light was so shadowless that it was impossible to
see where the edge of the highway and the snowbanks were.
About all you could do was drive down the middle of the
highway, slow down and ease over carefully to your side
if you saw an oncoming vehicle and they did the same.
I think the maximum I was ever able to go was 35mph
and it was a real strain on the eyeballs to even go that
fast. Fortunately, there was very little traffic
on the road. Apparently I was one of the only foolish
ones out there although the person I was meeting in Anahim
had the same problem coming in on the highway so neither
of us was particularly smart to travel on such a day.
For little tiny flakes the snow sure was wet and heavy.
Probably because the temperature had been pretty close
to freezing all night and it was quite warm yesterday,
even without sun. It was some work pushing
a shovel full of snow and Andy was having the same problem
on the Bobcat clearing our yard and driveway yesterday.
It's a good thing there wasn't more of it as had been
predicted. It was the kind of snow that packed into ice
under your tires and I guess a couple of people
spun out coming up the Bella Coola Hill yesterday and
had to back down and take another run at it. Now
there's a hill you don't want to be spinning out on, or
backing down on when it's icy!
We haven't seen the otters in the back bay since that
last day and there doesn't look like there's been any
activity there lately, but Andy saw the otters out at
the point the other day so either these guys moved back
out there or it's a whole different bunch altogether.
Hope they leave some fish for us for this summer.
I scared up a pair of ptarmigans on our driveway
not a hundred yards from our house yesterday.
Neat to see them so close but not so easy to actually
see them against the snow. Between them and fox and coyote
tracks all up and down our driveway it's no wonder the
dogs go nuts with their sniffers in the morning when Andy
takes them for a walk. There's a moose hanging around
as well so it's starting to turn into old home week as
it usually does this time of year. I expect we'll see
a lot more moose now as the snow builds up in the high
If you can believe the weather channel and forecasters
at all any more, and I don't, we should be seeing
it snow steadily over the next couple of days, but who
knows for sure? We were going to run the back trails with
the snow machines today but it seemed pointless if it
was going to snow some more, so we went for a walk and
pushed snow with our boots instead.
The Otters are back!
We've gotten back into a little cooler
weather since that last snow fall. The night before last
it dropped below -22C or -8F and last night it got down
to -19C or -2F but the days have warmed up really nicely.
Yesterday it got up to -3C and today it just topped over
the freezing mark. Surprising really because although
it started out clear this morning, we had little sun throughout
the day and normally it just wouldn't warm up if it clouds
over too soon in the morning.
I'm not sure what we're supposed to be getting for weather
in the next few days because all the weather forecasters
have been wrong to a good degree lately. It doesn't
matter really. We're not traveling anywhere and if it
warms up enough for me to take a walk in the afternoon,
that's usually good enough. Sunshine and warm temperatures
are nice but then it's harder to make myself stay inside
and get work done in my office.
Remember I mentioned that we've seen absolutely
no sign of the otters out at the point for a week or two?
The morning after that blog Andy came in and said, Guess
what we've got in the back bay? It turns out that
at least one, and possibly two otters are making use of
a couple of spider holes just off our shore in the back
bay. All winter, the dogs have been doing a lot of sniffing
at the base of a tree over one of our steeper banks where
there used to be old holes in the roots used by beavers
in winter. Since we often saw otter tracks coming up over
the bank and across our road we wondered if they were
making use of those holes. A few days ago a couple of
spider holes opened up nearby and now it would seem that
the otters are using those to access the water.
Yesterday when we came back from our walk Andy spotted
an otter rolling around in the snow next to the bigger
spider hole. We watched for a moment but with
three dogs and two humans spying on him from up on the
bank, it didn't take long for the otter to spot us. He
stopped rolling around, watched us for a moment and then
slid into the spider hole, but we could see that he hadn't
disappeared entirely. You could just see the top of his
head above the water, then it would slowly come up and
he would peer over the snow to see if we were still there.
We watched him do that for a while and then decided
to leave him be and headed back to the house.
I had to go out yesterday so I took my big camera with
me in the truck and checked for the otter on the way down
the driveway. No sign of him so I stopped on the way back
and parked for awhile, watching the hole in the ice. I
waited for the longest time hoping to get a picture, all
the time the shadows in the snow around the hole playing
tricks on my eyes, but no dice. The otter wouldn't show.
I just hope we didn't worry him with watching him for
awhile and now he's cleared out. I don't see how likely
that could be with the way the dogs have bounded down
to those holes in the tree roots all winter and snuffled
all around leaving their scent behind. You would have
thought that would have chased them away long before us
watching them did, but I guess you never know. Of
course Murphy's Law dictates that now that I remember
to carry a camera with me, we won't see them again.
There are just loads of rabbit tracks in the back woods
this year. In some cases either one or many have literally
packed down little trails through the skinny pine thickets
so fresh that Cat goes bounding into the snow in the hopes
of seeing one. I think she's found a few burrows under
the snow but I call her away before she can get down to
the job of actually digging one out. There are definitely
fox tracks around so they're on the hunt for the rabbits,
but I haven't found any carcasses this year, thankfully.
Or I should say Cat hasn't found any yet.
It's been hard enough to get her past a point where a
couple of grouse were slaughtered some time this winter
on the trail to the gun range, presumably by a fox. Even
though the feathers and bits have been run over numerous
times by snow machines and buried by snow, she's as determined
to eat those remains as I'm as determined that she's not.
She tried having another go at an unidentifiable clump
with feathers today so I'm obviously not going to win
that battle easily!
I saw the furry tracks of a ptarmigan along the
road today and lots of fox tracks indicating that
one had been searching for the bird but I don't think
it succeeded in finding it. There has been the odd moose
passing through and a few squirrel tracks and one even
chattered at me today, so the woods are waking up a bit.
I noticed yesterday that we can see even more of
Monarch Mountain from our front window than we ever could
before. I pointed the mountain out to Andy and
he could see the vast difference too. He has the direction
pinpointed to the yards of a couple of our neighbours
down the lake around the other side of the point. One
has taken a tremendous number of beetle kill off his property
and the other has had wind knock down whole windrows of
beetle killed pine on his property. Even though
they're a half mile to a mile away the result is that
without those big old mature pine in the way, our view
has improved markedly. While pine knocked to the
ground by wind does pose more of a ground fire danger
during forest fire season, if it all falls down in the
next few years before the young stuff grows up, we're
going to have one heck of a view that way. Actually, our
view to the west improves all the time now with the pine
being knocked down or blown over. We had virtually no
view to the west and couldn't really see sunsets before
the mountain pine beetle swept through. While we still
have a forest of trees in that direction, we see the sun
set a lot more there now and a few more mountains that
we couldn't see before. I guess you can find the silver
lining in any cloud if you look for it.
Speaking of which, we've had some really pretty
sunsets lately and Ted sent me a pretty cool picture
to post of his sled on the ice with yesterday's sunset
You'll find last week's blog at February
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!