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Wilderness Adventures - Feb., Week Four/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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27/02/2014 12:20 PM

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 we’ve 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 we’ve 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 doesn’t look like it’s going to let the sun through, even though it’s quite warm. We have also been suffering with our spring winds long before they’re 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 don’t mind cold, clear weather, but when we get wind with it, it’s 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 haven’t 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. It’s 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 wasn’t 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 it’s just too bloody cold. A sunny –10C or 14F day turns into –15C or 5F with just a little 6mph (10kph) breeze. So it’s kind of disheartening to see so much arctic outflow wind this winter when we normally can expect dead still air when it’s cold. I guess that’s 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, it’s 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 –50’s for Alberta and Saskatchewan for the next couple of days. I don’t think anyone in Canada or the States is going to be sorry to see the backside of winter this year!
I have to admit that it’s amazing what people can get used to. Even though we’ve had some pretty bone chilling days and even colder nights, we’ve still had activity out on Nimpo Lake this month. Maybe not quite as much as in years past but we don’t have as many people here anymore as we used to, either. Johnny’s 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 it’s 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 I’ll be doing this next week when it’s supposed to be cold again. At least if I stick to the woods and I’m sweating from the workout, I don’t 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 aren’t a lot of snowmobiles on the lake this year, maybe because of the overflow earlier in the season so it’s 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 hasn’t 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. We’ve 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 we’ve both been working our butts off and I’m 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 Week Three.

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 cozy winter campfire.
A red fox looks at the camera.
A bright orange, yellow and red sunrise in February.
An orange plane lands on skies on the lake ice.
An orange plane and a blue and white plane on skies are parked on Nimpo Lake ice.
A man snow shoes across the lake ice.
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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