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 - January, Week 1/2007
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you
at the bottom of this page. Check out the
of the Day.
High winds Saturday night made it difficult to see how
much snow we got until I took a walk in the woods yesterday.
Where it had drifted badly in the open, another
couple of inches sat on the trail protected by trees.
It drifted so badly that Andy had to use the bobcat to
clear the piles of snow out of our driveway. I think this
is the first year we have had that problem, but then again,
I'm not sure I've seen such wind before.
We started out with flurries this morning but by the time
I ventured out for a walk this afternoon it was sifting
down pretty hard. I don't think the one dog was
terribly impressed with his whole head and face being
covered in snow the whole way and I admit it wasn't
easy to see ahead squinting out between the brim of a
cap and a balaclava.
We've already received a couple of inches of snow today
and it looks like we're in for a bit more. There's
a snowfall warning for most of the coast and inland
(that's us!) as well as a wind warning. We're hoping we
miss that last part but if you looked outside right now
you'd see snow whipping around the front windows and our
flags flying straight out. There's a blizzard warning
out for the Peace Country to the north for tomorrow and
everybody in British Columbia is in for a cold spell.
If you look at where the jet stream is going to be for
this next week, most of Canada and some of the northern
states are going to get pretty chilly. The storm off our
coast coming in tonight is huge judging from the satellite
images, but right behind it and being sucked straight
down from the north off the coast of Alaska is a big arctic
Temperatures in northern B.C. will be around -43C (about
45 degrees below Fahrenheit), and about -27C in the central
interior. That means we'll probably see temperatures in
the neighbourhood of -30C and colder through the week.
The big cold front is what will bring the winds to the
province initially and probably some snow to the Lower
Mainland. I'm sure they're looking forward to that...
We were just talking today while burning some more beetle
kill branches about how much snow there is this year.
I have definitely seen more here as in 1990 when we got
that four foot dump in one day, but a slow buildup like
we've received this winter is unusual and the drifting
from wind even more so.
This fresh snow will certainly make the snowmobilers
very, very happy. Charlotte Main, a main access
for all of us to get to the mountains was plowed by a
grader about a week ago. Apparently a couple of local
ranchers were late getting their hay out of their fields
and couldn't haul it down the main logging road without
it being plowed. That upset a few people of course, because
no one wants to run their machine on gravel for any distance.
However, when we get a couple of inches of snow, Charlotte
Main will often receive six inches or more, so we should
all be good to go. It's just that by the time this
cold spell is over, the snowmobile trail up to Trumpeter
Mountain will probably have to be broke out all over again.
A couple of guys went up the middle of this week, including
the ex fighter pilot. They spent a lot of time stuck,
but that may have been because they lost the trail in
a few places. It's easy to do with the amount of snow
we've had this winter. Where markers were previously up
in the trees, now they are at ground level.
Good Morning 2007!
morning everyone. I hope you survived the first week of
the New Year in good shape and not too wind blown.
I'm pretty sure you can only take the weatherman's
forecast with a very large grain of salt. We were
expecting colder temperatures and Thursday evening, they
did indeed start their nightly plummet. But by the time
I went to bed they had already come up 8 degrees and by
early morning, temperatures were 15 degrees warmer than
they had been the previous evening. With the higher temperatures
came a howling wind that lasted throughout the day. We've
got a few young, scraggy jackpine that weren't hit by
beetles this year, but are now standing alone out there
since surrounding trees have been cut down. They've held
up to the wind so far without snapping off so we'll see.
Vancouver and area got hit with wet snow yesterday
that came and stayed much longer than predicted.
More high winds and nasty weather hit Washington State
as this huge, troublesome system slid farther south. It
pushed our cold front to the north for a day but that
too seems to have come sliding back south because temps
dropped again last night.
Nimpo Lake is sporting a new look with drifts pushed
up by the wild wind and portions of the ice scoured
completely clean of snow. Mind you, another inch of snow
last night has covered up most of the bald spots now.
Yet another system is moving in from the Pacific and where
it's headed isn't known yet. You can't take everything
the weatherman says for gospel so I usually just watch
the satellite pics and make up my own mind.
The Canadians won the World Jr. Hockey Championship against
the Russians yesterday, their third gold medal in a row.
Congratulations again to young Carey Price of Anahim
Lake. I know he is a Montreal draft pick already
but I don't know how much playing he's going to do. It
looks like his own team mates flattened him pretty badly
in the goalie net in celebrating their win...lol.
I'm way behind in work for one reason or another and have
to get back at it, so I don't know if I'll post again
Enjoy your weekend folks!
On The Map
Lake has been put on the map, by a sports figure no less.
Yesterday all the news stations carried on about how the
Canadian hockey team won against the US in the World Junior
Hockey Championships and now will go up against Russia
for the gold. They had to do continual shootouts after
the game was tied and each team kept getting goals on
the other, except for the last goal stopped dead by the
Canadian goal tender.
Carey Price is the son of our Chief of the Ulkatcho Native
Band in Anahim Lake and is a remarkable young hockey
player. He and his Dad, also a goalie, used to
spend hours day after day practicing against each other
in the beat up old outdoor rink on the Reserve. Trips
to play in games required a drive of two hundred miles
just to get to Williams Lake, with more travelling
from there to get to tournaments.
Carey spent a good part of his young life on the road,
with his Dad footing the huge fuel bill for travel year
after year. It looks like the results are well worth it
with Carey being last night's Canadian hero.
Although the newscasters weren't able to pronounce the
name Anahim correctly, (pronouncing it instead as you
would the Alexis Creek Anaheim Reserve or as you would
the city in California) they did give a little background
on the community and showed on a map where it
was to emphasize the distance travelled by Carey and his
parents. It's a nice promotional boost for our area and
maybe, just maybe, a few sports dollars will be thrown
out this way. In the face of the isolation of the area
and hurdles to be crossed, I think that young Mr.
Price deserves our admiration for his unwavering determination
to be the best. He certainly has mine.
The lower Mainland and Vancouver Island have been hit
yet again, mostly with wind this time but
the Island got freezing rain this morning. It resulted
in horrendous black ice conditions on an intersection
with Highway One and the news cameras just happened to
be there to get footage of the impromptu 'Bumper Cars
Apparently the three way intersection with the highway
had been heavily salted last night but freezing rain covered
it up. The whole thing started out with a semi jackknifing
and just kind of went downhill from there. One vehicle
after another slid out of control down the slight grade
and you could see each driver frantically trying
to keep from sliding onto the highway where cars and trucks
were whizzing by. You couldn't drive on this pavement,
you couldn't stop on it and it looked like you probably
couldn't even walk on it. After a few rear enders and
fender benders a sand truck appeared on the scene and
he too went skidding by the camera narrowly
missing several of the now parked vehicles and barely
stopped short on the highway. The only way he could salt
the road and intersection was to back up, driving over
the salt he was releasing as he did so, giving his own
The whole bumper car thing might have been funny if so
many vehicles hadn't narrowly missed being sandwiched
by speeding cars out on the highway because they couldn't
get stopped. Folks down on the coast must be just
thoroughly sick of the unexpected weather with one storm
after another. But surprise! More wind and snow
for you tomorrow!
We, on the other hand, had an absolutely gorgeous day
today, if you don't take into account temperatures that
would freeze the cajones off a brass monkey, that is.
The sun was shining and there was not a breath of wind
today, although there were storms shimmying around the
mountains. Temperatures this morning ranged around -17C
or a little below 0 degrees F. Since temperatures are
already around -15C I expect it will get much colder tonite.
The weatherman is predicting colder and colder temperatures
for the next few days and since we've got a full moon,
that would be about right.
The ice on Nimpo Lake was booming last night
and one large whoomp! as I was banking the fire indicated
a pretty good crack had probably just opened up in the
ice. There probably definitely won't be
an ice road this year, the first time in years. Terry
usually plows one out for everyone but he noted that this
year there are several large blow holes that he doesn't
trust and I think overflow will probably be a problem
for as long as we have snow this winter. Too bad for us
but hey, "Change is good, Donkey." as Shrek
By the way, since my partner took umbrage at my comment
about truckers in last night's article, I have to change
my description from crazier than bed bugs to ... what?
Crazier than loons? Anyone have a suggestion? I know they're
crazy because three truck driving brothers and a honey
has proven that to me over the years. You have to
be crazy to drive a vehicle that large over some of the
nasty road conditions they do and still think it's fun.
It's just what degree of crazy that needs to be determined.
And yes, I'm going to catch grief for this paragraph as
Rather than enjoying the fine day or helping Andy pile
up brush from more beetle killed pine that he dropped
today, I got to sit in on yet another meeting.
It was for a beetle kill action plan to determine how
to help communities affected economically by the destroyed
pine forests. I think this was a meeting to decide whether
they should have a meeting to determine whether they needed
a committee to determine whether we needed them. That
was the best I could tell anyway. I hope
it helps us...
The Road To Bella Coola
wasn't paved in gold today, I can tell you that!
We actually woke up to a beautiful morning in Nimpo
Lake today. A little cold but clear and that held
through until we hit the Valley bottom on the way to Bella
Coola. There's loads of snow up on top and a surprising
amount of snow even going down the Bella Coola 'Hill'.
Now the Hill isn't my favorite place when there's snow
on the ground. The way I look at it, when you combine
snow, ice, grades up to 18%, drop offs up to what...a
1000 feet? (or as Andy says, you could starve to death
before you hit the bottom) and the possiblity of some
really big boulders on the road, you might want to check
up on that four leaf clover you pressed between the pages
of a book last fall.
There is definitely an increased pucker factor on the
Hill under certain conditions. On the other hand, a logging
truck passed us this morning going up the Hill without
chains on so really, how bad could it be? What no one
seems to understand unless you're from this part of the
country is that A...truckers hate to chain up and will
walk across burning coals to avoid it, and B...most truckers
have a type A personality and are crazier than bed bugs.
I know. I'm married to one.
There's a huge amount of snow up on top around the
parking lot where everyone goes into the Rainbow Mountains
on snowmachines. The one highways guy we talked
to said there was about five feet of settled snow on the
'stick'. Which means snowmachining in the Rainbows is
either fantastic, or it's a whole lot of work getting
We left the top of the Hill and still had a lot of snow
a good part of the way down. The nice part about that
is snowbanks. I like snowbanks when there's a long
dropoff on one side. Just kind of gives you that
warm, fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, that only lasted part
way down and had pretty much petered out around Cougar
Rock, definitely the narrowest and nastiest part of the
'Hill'. There was also some fresh snow and a little ice
and that's definitely not a warm, fuzzy
Actually, my main concern about the road today was that
conditions of the past few days were perfect for avalanches
but although you could see little snowballs and snowball
tracks on the steep rock face beside us, there was no
problem until we came back up later this afternoon.
There were actually a couple of places on the road
where large rocks had rolled down and onto the road.
We stopped at one spot and Andy rolled most of them out
of the one lane anyway, leaving the larger ones for the
night shift highways truck driver to move off with his
blade. A little farther up the road was a different story
with some extremely large boulders on the road but since
that is in the worst avalanche area on the Hill, neither
of us were particularly interested in stopping. Besides,
nothing but a grader was going to move those
The Bella Coola Valley definitely had snow this
year and I don't think the residents are any too
used to it. There was a lot more snow out Hagensborg way
and the highway had compact snow that was breaking up.
There was very little snow at Bella Coola proper and I'm
assuming that's because of the warming influence of the
inlet. Or maybe they're just that much lower in elevation.
One surprise was the astounding number of little waterfalls
(and big ones across the inlet) along the highway. I can
only assume that the area got the same high temperatures
and either rain or snow yesterday that we did to result
in this much water flowing. It was amazing, and beautiful,
We had some time to kill before an appointment so we took
a cruise past the Bella Coola docks and marina. There
were lots of Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese on the water
as well as a lot of flotsam in the water. The
tide was just going out and I couldn't believe the broken
wood bobbing along. We both agreed that we had never seen
the inlet like that before and can only assume that
the intense storms hitting B.C.'s coastline all fall and
winter has caused a lot of storm damage, probably
ripping out a lot of trees that then get pushed into the
A quick trip past the marina took gave us a sneak peak
at a second wharf, and an old barge and tugs hidden in
a protected bay just before the Hydro generating station.
I also got a glimpse of Clayton Falls that run into the
station but we'll have to take a hike in there one day
to get a really good picture of the fantastically smooth
rocks and rushing water.
We discovered a tiny picnic area on rocks jutting
out into the ocean that I can't wait to make use
of next time we bring visitors down to the Valley. I'm
hoping it won't be too busy in the summer because it's
just too nice to not make use of.
Neither of us recall ever being down in the Valley in
the dead of winter before and it's like stepping into
a different world. There are dripping trees brooding in
the fog that stand so tall along the highway they seem
to be leaning over it, mountains above with an obvious
snow line lean in over the Valley and block out the sun,
while deep green ferns spring out of moss covered rock
faces along the road and waterfalls both large and small
lace the Valley walls. In stark contrast is the
plateau we have just left covered with pristine
snow sparkling pure white against a sky so winter deep
blue in color it's heartbreaking. It's an amazing difference
in such a short period of time. Stepping out of
the one world straight into the other is a little mind
boggling this time of year but I admit I quite
enjoyed seeing and smelling the greenery and I grabbed
a tiny piece of moss just so I could bring home a little
piece of summer.
I am amazed at Bella Coola's potential. I realize that
the Valley has a strong tourism marketing group that work
long and hard to promote the area, but to my 'outsider's'
eyes, so much of the region's potential has yet to be
realized. Oh, and that reminds me, there are some
properties for sale there and I have been directed
to information on three of them. I haven't had time yet
to post anything on them but if anyone is interested,
I can give you address of the web page that has pictures
and some details on the properties.
Aside from the boulders that had rolled out on the road,
going back up the Hill was uneventful but we were blessed
with a full moon rising over the snow covered Itcha
Ulkatcho Mountain Ranges on the way home. It turned
out to be a good day after all!
Of course I consider any day that you haven't fallen off
the side of a mountain to be a good one.
Not Great Out Of The Gate
B.C. weather isn't exactly off to a great start in the
new year. A Pineapple Express, or as the weatherman on
television calls it, the 'Rain Train' just kicked
butt on southwestern British Columbia...again.
Receiving up to 150 mm or 6 inches of rain, the entire
Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley is a little swampy right
now. Rivers and streams have overflowed their banks and
storm drains and culverts are unable to keep up with the
downpour in the past 24 to 36 hours. As a result, many
streets are impassable and many homes and yards flooded.
This is the tenth major storm of the season for
the southern coast of the province, and they have
got to be getting almighty tired of it. Many employees
and owners spent their first day back on the job after
the holidays clearing water out of their businesses. Or
trying to. Many streams and rivers had not yet reached
their floodwater peak and with a high tide still to come
in that effects some of those waterways, things are probably
only going to get worse before they get better.
Warm temperatures and rain throughout British Columbia
have created a serious avalanche danger and some
major highways in the province are closed as a result.
I expect we would be faced with the same sort of danger
here if we were to go up snowmobiling, but no one was
that crazy today in view of our dismal weather.
We too have been hit by the Pineapple Express. The weather
has varied between sideways rain, sideways sleet, and
sideways snow all day laying a slushy mess on top of our
fast melting snow. Between a warm wind and the rain, our
beautiful powder snow has settled considerably. The
temperature has ranged right around freezing and a little
above today, while tonight when the mercury dropped
just slightly, the slush on the deck turned to ice instantly.
It hasn't been much of a day to be outside at all although
a little caulking around the front windows had to be done
in the face of that driving rain. The lousy weather definitely
put a damper on the number of people on snowmobiles out
on the lake today because I only saw two people the whole
day. At least this weather held off until after the holidays
so that most folks had a good time over Christmas and
through New Year's Day indulging in outdoor activities.
The Christmas tree and decorations came down this afternoon,
a sure sign that it's time to get back to work and accomplish
things. The lights on the tree outside will stay
on for another couple of months to provide a beacon for
those travelling the lake at night by snowmobile.
We're headed down the Bella Coola Hill tomorrow for an
appointment in the Valley. I'm not looking forward to
the trip. They got a foot of snow on Heckman Pass last
night and a client told me today that friends had a hairy
time getting up the road the other night, with a truck
sideways, a camper in the ditch and a truck and horse
trailer that slid backwards down the hill, even with chains
on. Throw in the drastic avalanche danger on the
Hill with this rain on top of snow, and I'm thinking
we'll check with the Highways foreman before heading down.
Happy New Year Folks!
just realized that I need to start not only a new week,
but a new year. Wow. 2007 here already and I am
so not mentally prepared for it. It just kind
of snuck up on me.
Looking back, lots happened this past year. We've met
quite a few great people through this 'blog', many that
have become very good friends. Some folks I have never
even met in person, but I value your thoughts, your
input and your contributions to these articles and I especially
value your encouragement.
Last night I had an opportunity to speak to some neighbours
on the lake that come up periodically to work on their
cabin and just enjoy the winter activities. They had found
the blog. They hadn't had much chance to speak to their
closest neighbour by phone to find out weather or snow
conditions and so they found the blog useful, even though
I haven't had much chance to keep it up on a daily basis
the past while.
It's a really nice feeling to know that these articles
are a practical source of information to folks that don't
live here on a full time basis, rather than just
some nonsensical meanderings of the middle aged mind.
I guess the only disadvantage is that when you do see
folks you really don't have much to talk about. I often
find that when I go to say something, they say, "Oh
yeah, I read that on the blog." So much for
talking about the weather...lol. So just to let you all
know, your continued support of these articles is most
We finally got the New Year's Party at the Nimpo Lake
Community Hall done and over with. Wow, what a lot of
work! But the whole thing came off really well with an
excellent turnout and way, way too much food!
We might want to organize the food part a little better
next time because each contributor, including myself,
brings enough food for a small army and I hate to see
There were some terrific prize and money contributions
from Terry B. and Lois B. That allowed us to raffle off
prizes for money and we did very well on that score. I
thank everyone that attended, everyone that contributed
their time and food and I especially thank the cleanup
crew. It goes really, really fast when there's a bunch
of people going at a dead run. I was surprised to see
the Hall go from ruins to pristine in little more than
We got really lucky last night because for a change,
the bottom didn't drop out of the thermometer the way
it so often does around New Year's Eve. I remember too
many years where you might want to dress up, but at -50
below zero, it was more important to bundle up.
People don't like being parked anywhere for long because
you have to keep going out to start your vehicle, and
even driving somewhere is an exercise in caution. Going
off the road, having a flat tire or engine trouble at
those temperatures is no longer inconvenient, it's deadly.
Last night the mercury hovered just below freezing and
although there was a bit of a frisky wind that kept kicking
up our bonfire, it wasn't that unpleasant. It wasn't snowing
either which was another bonus so as a result, folks stayed
at the party a little later than they might have. Although
we must all be getting old because we still had everyone
cleared out and the Hall shut down by 1:30 am. Gone
are the days when hard partying folks around here were
still up and going to visit for breakfast after going
all night. Some used to do that on horseback!
It's probably a good thing. Drinking and driving laws
and penalties are pretty stiff and in an area where there
is no public transit, you just can't afford to lose your
license. As a result, there were a lot of designated drivers
drinking coffee last night. You don't make as much on
alcohol sales, but you don't have to worry about people
getting home safely either.
One of the local RCMP Members stopped in last night. He
was a really pleasant young guy that took the time to
talk and even bought some raffle tickets. He said it was
really quiet everywhere last night including in Anahim
Lake so I'm sure that made his life easier.
We woke up to above freezing temps this morning
and rain splattering on the front window. Never
a good sign when you want to keep your snow. It's snowed
a few flurries off and on and it's breezy outside with
visibility so poor it would not have been a pleasant day
to go snowmobiling. I'm hoping we can hold off a melt
because now that the holidays are over and the big rush
done, there might actually be time for a little sledding.
You may have noticed that each week's articles for
2006 are no longer listed to the left. They can
be found on the link to the last week of December. I'll
be archiving new weeks for 2007 on the left as the year
passes. As usual, this is the start of a new week (and
don't forget, a New Year!!!) so you can find last week's
articles at December,
I'll leave you with our best wishes for a very happy
and bountiful new year!
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!