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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week 3/2013

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.

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

18/02/2013 3:30 PM


We’ve got a little skiff of snow this morning, again. But it’s already above freezing and there’s water dripping off the roof, even though there’s no sun. Yep, another cloudy day. The same thing happened yesterday, too. I think if the sun had made it out and the temperatures being what they were, it would have been a glorious Sunday for being outside.
It’s really amazing how much power that sun has now when it does come out. Like the weather guy said yesterday on the news, you can predict one temperature but if the sun comes out, add three to five degrees. Today it lightened up a little bit a couple of times but it never did quite make it out. I went for a walk this afternoon and there was fine snow the whole time, even though the sun was really trying to pierce those clouds. The snow must have been partly rain, even though the flakes were tiny, because it stung a bit when it hit your skin.
I wonder if there’s still an inversion up at higher elevations because there’s still not a lot of snow up in the mountains we’re looking at.
Friends went snowmobiling up in the Rainbow Mountains to the west of us on Saturday and the one I spoke to said it was a long day pulling sleds out but Andy spoke to Richard and it sounds like it was a little brutal. I guess the snow isn't as deep as it has been other years, but there's still lots with a crust and then snow on top of that. Snowmobiling was great unless you broke through the crust to pure sugar underneath with no bottom, which is what happened every time they tried to start out once they were stopped. It sounds like there were lots of stucks!
Nearly every time I’ve been up in the Rainbows it has been a very, very long day of getting stuck and unstuck. I’ve gone up twice when you would swear not another human being has been on the trail going up there at anytime in the past year. The one time that I went up it must have dropped two feet of snow the night before and there was no base under us. It was a bottomless pit every time you got stuck and believe me, wading through snow that’s over your head is exhausting! The fellow I was riding with got stuck in a creek and we might have been there for the winter if some other people hadn’t come up. Glen had been dragging his girl and a friend of hers up on boards but conditions weren’t great for them either. We finally decided to turn back because weather was coming in and we were beat. We were going down when we came across someone else that was horribly stuck. He hurt himself pretty badly trying to get out and I remember he limped for months afterwards. We eventually all got back down to the parking area and I was never so glad to get off a mountain in my life.... and we hadn’t even made it up to the alpine yet!
After a couple of trips like that imagine my chagrin when a few years later friends invited Andy, me, and a new RCMP Member who had never ridden before to go back up there. I was a little concerned because the friends were extremely experienced riders but it actually turned out to be a pretty good day. For one thing, the trail going up had a little traffic on it since the last snow so at least we didn’t spend a good bit of time getting stuck just going up. It always helps too when the sun is shining and you can see where you're going, unlike the other couple of times when it was a snowstorm every single time. Heckman Pass can get up to 14 feet of snow in a year and I’m pretty sure it dumped all 14 feet the two times I was up there before. It also helped too that by this time I had a couple more years of riding under my belt so I was a lot more confident in myself and the new machine Andy had bought me. But I still always sympathize with people who aren’t used to riding much and get stuck a lot or fear getting stuck. Been there, done that. In fact, I had a reputation for climbing trees there for a few years, and believe me, when you climb a tree with a snowmobile, it takes a lot of guys to get it back down again! I have posted my Mother's favorite photo from a few years back on picture of the day. It must be her favorite, because she still has it in a frame in her living room.
Up on the right I've posted a few more of the favorites of times gone by, although not by any means the worst stucks we've ever seen. These were just the quickest to find.

14/02/2013 4:00 PM

Blame it on the Neighbour

When I got up this morning it was peppering the snow down like there was no tomorrow and there was already an inch or so on the ground. I believe that I can lay the blame for that firmly on our neighbour.
He’s been doing an amazing job of grinding the logs down on our rental cabin and only yesterday he told Andy that the weather had been just great for doing the job for the past two weeks and he couldn’t have been happier with the temperature. Way to piss off Old Man Winter. One does not want to be too smug about the weather…. Ever! Or sure as shooting, it’ll reach out and bite you in the butt.
Getting some snow isn’t actually that bad when it’s only a couple of inches, particularly since the guys have been praying for it every day for snowmobiling, but the temperatures are also pretty warm so it’s wet snow. I expect it was turning to ice under tires out on the highway this morning unless there was enough mag on the pavement to keep it melted.
At least when it’s above freezing like this, the snow generally slides off the roofs. I watched this afternoon as a couple of inches of today's snow slid off the greenhouse glass. We’ve been kind of fortunate because when it was cold before Christmas and the snow wouldn’t have been sliding off of roofs or anything else, we got very little. Since we've been home around the first week of January, when we have gotten snow it’s been warm enough for it to slide off most things around here. It still has to be cleaned off the boats and the canvas shed as well as the flat roof outside our bedroom door, but most everywhere else is pretty good. The exception is the cabin roof on the north side. The south side stays clear in the sun but the north side stays cold and there’s about a foot of snow sitting up there on the old grey tin roof. I’m hoping that if the roof is replaced this summer with a new one, the metal will be slippery and the snow more likely to slide. I don’t know why the cabin doesn’t end up all cockeyed through the winter with all that weight pressing down on one side.
Our neighbour has had to wait until he can again access a big job he’s been working on up until recently when weather shut him down so we asked if he could come work for us for a couple of days, as the log grinding on the cabin was supposed to be a small job. The logs facing the lake side and the sun are exposed to a lot of extreme weather and since the cabin is well over forty years old, the logs were really deteriorating. They were pretty spongy and checked and I wasn’t sure there was much we could do with them. One of the things that our neighbour does for a living is grind down logs on houses and cabins and he does an amazing job. I was shocked at how good the logs looked on the one side after he ground them down to newer wood and Andy decided if it looked that good on one side, he would get him to do all four sides of the cabin. So what started out as a minor job has turned into one lasting a couple of weeks, but boy, is it worth it!
Every day that we’ve come back from our walk I’ve had to take a second look because the bright fresh look of the cabin keeps taking me by surprise. I’ve been blown away by just how new the cabin logs look now. I can’t wait to see what it looks like once we get some stain on the logs and window frames and that new style of chinking in. There’s a lot of other work that needs to be done to the front, and the cabin will have to be re-skirted and the skirting stained, and it would be nice if while we’re at it, it could be roofed. It will last long past our lifetime now if we can get all that done on the outside. It’s just that all this has happened by accident now and will be heaped up on top of the long to do list of projects that need to be done around here. We and all our neighbours often joke about how projects are like dominoes, and it’s true. Start on one and you open up the door to a whole can of worms!
If we didn’t have to die until all our projects are done, we would all live to 500 years of age!
We went for a walk with the dogs today and I was really struck at the lack of tracks in the back woods. It’s true that it didn’t stop snowing until early this afternoon, but there aren’t even any old tracks in the snow. All we’ve seen for weeks now is the odd coyote or fox sign, and that’s it. Not a rabbit, not a squirrel, not a grouse track to be found anywhere, and I’m just not sure why. There should at least be squirrels! Particularly with how warm the weather has been for weeks and weeks now. Everything should be out and about enjoying the spring like temperatures. I don’t know if it was because everything went into an early and deep hibernation because of the cold start to winter, or if we are in the down cycle of everything. I did see a lot of grouse and ptarmigan sign at the beginning of winter but nothing since. It’s kind of weird. We’ve had a couple of hawks around for the past three years or so and I know that they can be pretty efficient killing machines. I stopped feeding birds this year because of the new cat, so there is nothing for song birds around here. I suppose it’s possible that the hawks were forced to switch out their menu and go after squirrels and grouse in the woods rather than enjoy the easy pickings of birds on a feeder. But I would prefer to believe that all the little varmints and grouse are just on a low cycle. It sure doesn’t give the dogs much sign to investigate, anyway, and they’ve been complaining about it.
Normally the dogs will be ranging all through the woods loving every smell going but with not much there…. they have to find something else. Not that they aren't just as happy to investigate other dog markings along the main road. Dogs are pretty easy to please. It’s just when they get all excited about coming across their own pee from the day before, you kind of have to wonder at just how bright they really are….
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope you find yourself as lucky in love as I am. And if not… patience… all good things take time.

You’ll find last week's blog at February Week Two 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!
Snowmobile nosed into a ravine.
Upside down snowmobile.
Snowmobile stuck in deep snow with two guys pulling an done pushing.
Snowmobile stuck in deep snow.
Snow coming down in front of Canadian and American flag.
Sheets of fresh snow get ready to slide off of the greenhouse.
Man grinding down logs on a cabin.
Person looks at camera from in front of cabin.
Button leading to Facebook business page.
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