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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week Two/2014

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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14/02/2014 11:00 PM

Happy Valentine's Day!

We have been pretty lucky so far with regards to snow. Maybe it was because we were so prepared for it. We did get two inches on the ground one morning of the light fluffy stuff, but the big snow fall called for by weather forecasters has yet to materialize. It looks like so far, the huge storms coming in off the Pacific are either splitting around us or sliding down to the south into Washington State and Oregon. Not that Vancouver hasn’t gotten some rain and the Island got a good bit of snow at higher elevations. Mt. Washington ski hill was opened up again after a big dump of fresh snow after being shut down in January for lack of.
One system after another is still coming in and the next one expected to get us is on Saturday night and looks to be a mix of freezing rain and snow. We’ll see what happens when it gets here. It’s not like we can change anything. :-)
It's shocking to see the mountains baring up again. It was pretty apparent when we got up the morning after our little snow that it had been raining up in the mountains at higher elevations. Our close in mountains had a fresh white mantle but the bigger mountains were black.
The temperatures have been marvelous since the warm up. Nearly every day it has been well above freezing, although we were in Williams Lake on Wednesday so not sure how it was here but judging from how warm the house was when we got home, we got lots of sunshine. It was a beautiful, calm, blue morning when we left and not that cold, so we may have missed a pretty nice day. It wasn’t that bad in town other than it was overcast by afternoon but at least we weren’t getting in and out of the truck in sub zero temperatures. We were running around town without jackets so it was pretty mild.
It got up to 4.7C or 40F today in the shade but the sun was shining so it might have been much, much warmer had the wind not been blowing. It’s been howling for most of the week and it looks like it’s not stopping anytime soon. Were it not for that, it would be hard to keep me here at my desk. As it is, I kind of have to plan my walk based on the wind and keep to the woods where I can and my back to it the rest of the time. Skiing out on the lake is out of the question. Not only is the snow drifting pretty badly out there but you would be blown over in the wind. It’s a good thing we only got two inches of snow but it’s still amazing how much that amount of snow can move around. I swear, nearly all of it has ended up on the ice road. Andy has had to re-plow it once already and I’m sure it needs it again.
It’s so nice to see folks out and about now. The weather warming up and a little bit of snow has made a huge difference. The odd snowmobile goes wheeling by and lots of people are out walking now. Someone was out ice fishing across the lake from us and this weekend is the ice cutting party down at Wilderness Rim where they’ll be bringing in their summer supply of ice for their ice house.
We had a gorgeous clear full moon last night coming up over the horizon. It hit some haze about the time I tried to take a photo, which as you can see, did not turn out well. I just can’t hold the camera still enough for that long and since we were in the middle of supper, I didn’t really want to bring the tripod out. It always surprises me when we get warm weather on a full moon, although it has been getting pretty chilly at night.
I have three website orders on the board with a tight time limit on the one I’m working on right now so I’ll keep this short. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

10/02/2014 7:00 PM

Here Comes The Snow .... Maybe

For the past three days since the last post, we have been warming up ever so slowly. Only be a degree or two in the mornings and the same in the afternoons until yesterday when we hit –8C or 18F when I came back from walking the dogs down to the gun range. As usual, it was sunny and pleasant out except for some arctic outflow winds from out of the east that chilled things down considerably. About the time I got back a high haze started to move in and the temperature continued to climb as the sun became obscured.
I don’t think it ever got below –16C or 3F last night, quite a drastic change from our normal night time temperatures in the past week! We kept waiting for the massive snowfall predicted by the weathermen when this warmer and wetter air mass started pushing in from the Pacific, but it hasn’t materialized so far. This morning a bright sky turned to heavy grey clouds that obscured the mountains and the sun while this ominous wall moved toward us across the lake. “Here it comes!” We thought. There was a bit of a driving blizzard for a few minutes and Andy counted 18 snowflakes on the ground, but then it cleared out, the sun was shining and blue sky opened up. It kind of did that off and on several times today but just never amounted to more than a skiff of snow that quickly melted anywhere the sun could reach it.
The thermometer made it up to a tenth of a degree below zero before it started to drop back down today. It just couldn’t quite crack that freezing mark. I’m sure it will tomorrow. I think the weather forecasters were all a bit embarrassed today trying to explain why the big snows didn’t come to all the areas they predicted but it’s pretty tough to predict this kind of system. It’s big, warm and wet so if it hits big, cold and dry, it’s probably going to cause some major precipitation but who knows when or where? It looks like it did hit some of the mountain passes throughout BC as well as many ski hills Because they were talking about the increased avalanche risk at higher elevations.
Forecasters are still calling for snow when the next low comes in from the Pacific tomorrow night and we’re under a snowfall warning right now, but we might end up just being on the edge of it too. Or we might get a huge dump of the white stuff. Who knows until we get it?
Andy got both snow machines moved out of the way so that he can use the Bobcat to plow without obstruction in the yard if a lot of snow does hit. He also took the Bobcat over to the other side of the lake at the public boat launch. He was putting in an ice road with the plow truck a couple of days ago when he realized that there was a real problem over there. The New Year’s Ice Party was held right at the boat launch this year and organizers had put up a bunch of tall ice blocks around the perimeter of the party area. Those had proceeded to melt down into stubbier blocks just short enough that if they were covered by snow, would not be seen by snowmobilers. If they hit any one of them hard, the damage to machines and riders would be hideous, so Andy took the Bobcat to that side of the lake, knocked over the ones he thought might be a danger, and pushed them up against the bank. Normally where we have had snow banks in the past around the party area, we’ve left the Christmas trees up in place so riders could see where the snow banks is, but we’ve also never had it so close to the boat launch. Now people can drive down onto the ice road with their vehicles without any ice pillars being in the way and snowmobile riders don’t have to worry about hitting them. It also gives us a place to turn the plow truck around at that end before making another pass on the ice road coming back.
The new ice road is a little rough because so many of us ran over the ice with snow machines when there was a lot of overflow on the lake. Once the slushy track freezes it forms ruts and there isn’t much you can do to take those out. You just have to drive over them. It was hard for Andy to plow over the frozen ruts though and the plow made a godawful racket going over them. Now we just have to see how much snow we get and if it’s going to cause more overflow on the lake.
You can certainly tell the day time temperatures were more pleasant at the end of the week than they had been earlier because people started moving about more. We had a plane land on the lake while Andy was plowing and the guys left it on the ice and walked up to Nimpo. Pilots often do that if they’re going up for a bite to eat just for an excuse to get out and flying on a gorgeous winter day. Friends of ours were ice fishing down on the Short Arm toward the outlet of the Dean at the same time, and as usual, the kids have come down to Oscar’s skating rink nearly every day but one or two. I even saw a snowmobile go down the lake this morning, the first in a while. Not many snowmobiles out and about what with the lack of deep snow right now, but that might change if we get this big snowfall.
If it’s warm tomorrow I wouldn’t mind trying to get out on the lake skiing before we get too much snow, and re-break my ski trail. But it depends on whether there’s a wind or not. There was certainly a nasty wind for a good part of the day, today and while it’s bringing in warmer temperatures, it’s still no fun to ski into the teeth of it.
This will be the first time the dogs won’t be spending part of the day and all night in the garage as they have been for over a week and I expect every single critter out there will be relieved this cold snap has finally broken. I expect to see lots of fresh tracks tomorrow in the back woods when things start moving around if I walk instead of ski.
No matter what we get for weather now we can’t possibly complain. All you have to do is look at the flooding in England to feel better about what we have. The worst flooding in 250 years! Boy, that's something! Lots of other places in Europe including coastal France have been seeing drastic weather as well as Japan, and China. Then there are the fires in Australia. Those poor folks just can’t cut a break. And then there’s California where they’ve gone from midwinter forest fires and drought to heavy rains and terrible flooding. I think we’ll just sit here and count our blessings. A little snow never hurt anyone… as long as it’s just a little.

Last week's blog is at February Week One.

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!
Moon coming up over red lights on a tree blurred by the camera.
A little blue and white plane taking off of Nimpo ice.
People out on the ice fishing for trout.
A white pickup out on Nimpo lake putting in an ice road.
Rich blue sky with a small plane flying over the mountains and lake.
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