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 Four/2014
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The Mixed Bag
We have had quite the mixed bag for weather in the past
week ranging anywhere from 34C or 29F to +4.9C
or 41F which is what it is right now. That is
not what Williams Lake has been seeing for the past couple
of days. I think that they have actually been a little
colder than we have because weve been influenced
by some warm lows moving up from the Coast as well as
by a bit of an inversion when the warmer air slid up over
the colder air in the valleys.
While weve been seeing a lot of sunshine, we have
often had cloud move in by the afternoon or like today,
we started out with cloud and it doesnt look like
its going to let the sun through, even though its
quite warm. We have also been suffering with our
spring winds long before theyre normally due.
We almost always see them in March but this year, they
have prevailed for most of February, normally my favorite
winter month. I dont mind cold, clear weather, but
when we get wind with it, its just brutal and not
the norm for us.
This year, we have had a lot of arctic outflow winds
accompanying our cold weather. For those of you
from the south that havent heard the term, it normally
only happens under a certain set of circumstances. It
occurs when a cold Arctic air mass holding in the higher
elevation plateau country of the interior flows down to
the valleys and lower passes through the Coast Mountain
to the Pacific. The pressure difference between the high
pressure over the interior and low pressure often sitting
just off the coast is what speeds that air from the interior
of the province to the coast. Its rare that the
wind created is hurricane force, although it can happen,
but that cold wind on top of already cold arctic
air can bring wind chill values down to as low as 50
in some places. In fact, though it probably wasnt
arctic outflow winds that caused it, Saskatoon had a wind
chill value of 51C a couple of nights ago.
Sadly, wind chill can make a big difference between a
pleasant sunny, but cool day, and me not going for a walk
because its just too bloody cold. A sunny
10C or 14F day turns into 15C or 5F with just
a little 6mph (10kph) breeze. So its kind
of disheartening to see so much arctic outflow wind this
winter when we normally can expect dead still air when
its cold. I guess thats why I jump at days
like today that are warmer than we have seen in some time
and only slightly breezy, because you know that by tomorrow
or Saturday, its going to be miserably cold if we
have wind again.
It looks like Mother Nature is going to take one last
really big kick at the winter cat and then our weather
looks like it will mild out for a couple of weeks. Starting
tonight, we have another arctic cold front moving down
from the north that will blanket most of BC for the next
five days, and presumably will be bringing arctic
outflow winds with it. Temperatures here will be between
20 and 28 degrees below normal but forecasters
are predicting temperatures down into the 50s
for Alberta and Saskatchewan for the next couple of days.
I dont think anyone in Canada or the States
is going to be sorry to see the backside of winter this
I have to admit that its amazing what people can
get used to. Even though weve had some pretty bone
chilling days and even colder nights, weve still
had activity out on Nimpo Lake this month. Maybe not quite
as much as in years past but we dont have as many
people here anymore as we used to, either. Johnnys
skating rink over by the public boat ramp has seen lots
of use this year with the kids coming down nearly every
day during the week after school and sometimes on the
weekend. I drove by it earlier in the week and its
a darned fine looking rink. He did a good job icing
it this year.
I mentioned in the last blog that we had some fellows
up from the States that ventured out on their snowshoes
the one day to go down and help Wilderness Rim folks with
their annual ice cutting and I noticed one of them out
on his snowshoes every day after that. That's something
that I think Ill be doing this next week when its
supposed to be cold again. At least if I stick to the
woods and Im sweating from the workout, I dont
have to worry about the wind or cold so much.
A few neighbours have been out ice fishing and at
least once a week we get pilots from Springhouse near
Williams Lake that come out and land on the lake and walk
up to Nimpo for lunch. This week they brought
friends so that there were three planes parked on the
lake over by the boat ramp one pretty day. There arent
a lot of snowmobiles on the lake this year, maybe because
of the overflow earlier in the season so its been
pretty quiet. We usually do have more people that come
here and stay longer in winter. I think this cold weather
throughout BC and Canada has slowed people down even if
it hasnt stopped them completely.
Just to let you know, Dawn Benton, who had the Dutchman
Restaurant in Anahim Lake that burned down, has finally
taken over the restaurant up at Nimpo so the community
has a larger place to meet for coffee and lunch. The Bakery
is terrific but tiny so that you often have to line up
for lunch on mail day and it closes at 3:00 so no supper,
whereas Dawn is open until five now and will be open until
eight a little later in the spring. I hope all of
you that are local will get out and support her because
we sure want to keep her here. Weve been a little
short on eating establishments in Nimpo in the past few
years so I really look forward to having one where we
can go to supper on summer days when weve both been
working our butts off and Im just too tired to cook.
It will be great for summer visitors as well.
Thanks to Dawn Thompson for the two photos up on the right
which include the fire and the fox. There's nothing like
a campfire to brighten up your thoughts when you know
more winter is coming your way. :-)
Last week's blog is at February
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!