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 1/2008
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.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
Happy Ukrainian Christmas!
Christmas everyone. If you're Ukrainian, anyway.
I'm not, but I have many friends in Saskatchewan and lived
in a community predominated by Ukrainians and Russians
when raising quarter horses just north of Saskatoon in
the late 90's. I was not at all familiar with the Ukrainian
culture but was really surprised to find that there are
many traditions they hold sacred and follow today, and
Ukrainian Christmas is one of them. Family, of course,
is the most sacred of all but that's for later.
My first exposure to the Christmas meal was when we were
invited to visit very good friends while she prepared
the dinner for Christmas Eve. The menu for the "holy supper,"
or sviata vechera, of Christmas Eve does not contain any
meat or dairy products. The meal centers instead around
grains, fish, vegetables and fruits and vegetable fats
or oils are used instead of butter. Of the traditional
non meat dishes, dishes containing grains like wheat are
of great importance, and one that became an all
time favorite of mine is wheat salad. I don't know what
the Ukrainian name for it is but I often make it during
holidays for company, and those with a Ukrainian background
recognize it immediately, even though most people have
never had it before.
I'll put the following information from the "World-Wide
Gourmet" that's on the Internet here because their
author does a much better job of explaining the importance
and age of this tradition than I.
rich traditions of Ukraine, dating back through more than
a millennium of Christianity to pagan times, have been
carried throughout the world to wherever the Ukrainian
people have settled. And there is probably no occasion
when these ancient customs are held more dear than at
Christmas, when families reenact age-old observances that
symbolize their deep spirituality, love of family and
attachment to the land.
Traditionally Ukrainians have followed the Julian calendar,
in which Christmas falls on January 7. These days many
Ukrainians in North America join in the holiday festivities
surrounding December 25, but continue to place a special
religious emphasis on the traditions that mark Ukrainian
Christmas, thirteen days later. The days leading up to
the celebration are marked by spiritual preparation and
Many of the rites observed during the Ukrainian Christmas
Eve meal are very ancient, going back to the pre-Christian
era. Early Christians adopted these customs for themselves
and invested them with new religious significance. To
prepare for the meal, some hay is placed on or under the
dining table, representing the manger of the baby Jesus.
The table is then laid with the family's finest embroidered
tablecloth, or even two tablecloths: one to represent
the living members of the family, and one the dead. An
extra place is always set for the souls of deceased relatives.
Given place of honour in the centre of the table is the
Christmas bread or kolach, consisting of three stacked
rings. The number represents the Holy Trinity, and the
circular shape eternity. A candle is placed in the centre
to symbolize Jesus, the light of the world." -
Recognize any of the traditions above? It amazes
me that the Ukrainian people managed to keep traditions
that would have been considered pagan by the church
and would normally have been completely wiped out as were
many Mediterranean and Greek traditions with the rise
of the Catholic church. Instead, many were adapted by
Christians and like the manger, Christmas tablecloth,
candle centerpiece and more, have become a significant
part of our Christmas celebrations with most of us unaware
of where they come from.
The Ukrainians are smart too because they've got
a great gig going. We only get to celebrate one
Christmas and one New Year's. Not so in Saskatchewan in
Ukrainian communities where they celebrate both holidays
twice and as a friend told me this afternoon when I spoke
to her, "Sure, and why not? You can too, you
know. Why not? Just do it!" I think that's
what I love about them as a people and culture the most.
Nothing's impossible. Of course it isn't. Just do it!
I should actually include Russians here as well since
the community I lived in had a pretty good mix of Orthodox
Russians and Ukrainians but it was also said to be the
original landing of the Doukhobors or Doukabour settlers,
fleeing religious persecution in Czarist Russia, who made
temporary homes in caves cut out of the river bank south
of where I lived. Most of that sect eventually ended up
in the Kootenays in BC and they never seemed to get along
very well with the other settlers in Saskatchewan.
Family is very important to the folks in Saskatchewan
from little kids right up to Baba, Babusia, Gido, Gida,
Gigi, or Gigo Babchi (bop-chee) Dadju (Dah-jooh) Babci
& Dziadzio and Babushka or Dido. Please don't ask
me for the correct spellings for the words for Grandmother
and Grandmother. I heard so many variations while
I lived on the farm in Saskatchewan that I have no idea
what were correct Ukrainian and Russian terms, and what
were simply family nicknames. All I know is that one of
the finest old gentlemen I have ever met, full of history
and laughter, was always Gigo (Jee-jo) to me. Another,
Gido (Gee-doe). While I heard Babchi and Babusia on occasion,
the most common name for Grandmother seemed to be Baba.
This was all fascinating to me of course, who came from
a family that simply called its Grandmothers.....Grandma.
Seems pretty boring now when I think about it.
Fascinating too was the richness of the Ukrainian and
Russian cultures and traditions still passed on from generation
to generation. Traditions that have long since been lost
elsewhere are still practiced daily and weekly and yearly
by the folks in Saskatchewan, most of whom have a farming
background. Perhaps that's why they are able to hang on
to their traditions. A people steeped in the tradition
of farming needed a lot of steadfast determination to
make the unfriendly prairies of 100 years ago bear fruit.
Perhaps it's that same determination that keeps their
traditions alive and well and the envy of all the rest
You haven't seen anything until you have seen the traditional
dances performed in colorful sashes and finely embroidered
blouses, the amazing artwork made from wheat and bread
and extraordinarily painted egg shells, and gardens you
would not believe. I swear, Ukrainians could drop
a wheat seed on the surface of the moon and make it grow.
In the end though, it's probably their strong belief in
their children that make the folks back there stand out
for me. I've mentioned before that if there was a party
or an event, a wedding or a funeral, the children always
came, with or without their parents. They started as babies
that were tucked away on beds or in closets as the night
wore on, or found a cozy spot under a pile of coats on
a bed. As they grew older they played games, sat around
bonfires, and then inevitably crashed before daylight,
long before their parents. And then at driving age they
might arrive at a party with their parents but then as
a group would often go off to another party happening
elsewhere, whether grad or otherwise. They might
check in a little later to see if their parents wanted
to hitch a ride home. I don't think I ever saw
a group of local teens going out for the night that hadn't
already chosen their designated driver. Of course many
of them didn't even get ready to go out until after 10
or 11 at night. Chores had to be done first and if that
was at seeding or harvest, then chances were pretty good
those kids were on combines or grain trucks and they might
not be done until after dark.
I remember being very surprised at how things were done
when I first moved to the prairie province, but it didn't
take me long to realize that some of the best bunch of
youngsters I've ever met in my life were those hardworking
farm kids. Our BC city kids could take a few lessons from
them about work ethic and plain old common decency.
To other subjects.
I have someone that would like to know if Rimarko
Ranch and the runway there at Charlotte Lake is for sale
and I said I would post the question here simply because
I don't know the answer. However, I figure Frank, one
of the attendees at the New Year's dance would know and
could perhaps let me know. I can be reached via the contact
Finally, that doozy of a story about the local RCMP is
going to have to wait for awhile. The person victimized
doesn't want anything to go into writing until he has
had the opportunity to deal directly with the RCMP himself.
Interjecting my personal opinion, I have to assume that's
because there is going to be legal action of some sort
involved and so there should be. However, I will honor
the request and leave it alone for now. To which I imagine
the local gendarme are breathing a tiny sigh of relief.
It's only for the moment people. Only for the moment.
Today was a really nice day going a little above freezing
in the sunshine, a little below in the shade. But
it's still getting pretty chilly at night. It's
-15C or about 5F right now and dropping steadily. It sure
would be nice if it warmed up sometime in the near future
but I don't know if that's going to happen anytime soon.
They're probably hoping for the same down in California
and Nevada as well. I flew down to Reno last February
to help my brother look at houses to buy in the Fernley
area. Since we felt (correctly) that the American economy
was going to take a dive my partner and I cautioned my
brother against buying a house at that time. When I called
him tonight we laughingly patted ourselves on the back
for the good decision. Two of the houses we looked
at are now under water. You gotta love those gophers!
Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my prairie friends.
was pointed out to me that I indicated yesterday that
a web cam had been set up on the highway just outside
of Williams Lake. In fact, that's completely incorrect.
The web cam is located near the highways maintenance
yard just outside of Anahim Lake and is pointing
right at the closure warning sign to the west. That's
the one that has a little flashing orange light if Heckman
Pass on the way to Bella Coola is closed due to snow,
avalanche, poor road condition, mudslides or other closures.
You can't see much on the web cam but you can see what
our weather is like.
Today the sun made it through and it actually crept above
freezing this afternoon. It made for nice walking in the
woods anyway, and our weather definitely beats the
wind they're getting in Vancouver, the wind, rain
and snow they're getting in Washington State, and the
wind, rain, power outages, mudslides they're getting in
California as well as the 10 feet of snow they're supposed
to get in the Sierras over the weekend.
I won't make this any longer today. I'm in the process
of dealing with an extremely frustrating bit of software
that I downloaded and paid for today but which can't be
used to its full capability until the order is processed
through the ding dongs that happily took my money online,
but which apparently have no actual people doing anything
on the weekends. Well, except taking my money. So I'm
back to that. But I will upload the close up on Picture
of the Day that I mentioned
in yesterday's article. It's just the plane because the
animals still won't cooperate by giving me something good
to take a picture of, other than the woodpecker arrived
again at the suet today. He spent quite awhile playing
peek-a-boo around the post this afternoon because he could
see me in the window, but I already have a picture of
The Clean Air Plan
General Manager of the local mill sent me a document just
prior to Christmas outlining an agreement between West
Chilcotin Forest Products and Pristine Power to form a
renewable power partnership. Now how's that for a tongue
twister? Beetle-damaged wood, mill residue and wood waste
are to be converted into local source of clean, renewable
electricity. I'll just insert the whole document here
and you can check it out for yourself.
Lake, BC - West Chilcotin Forest Products and Pristine
Power today announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
to develop an innovative biomass facility. The project
will generate clean and renewable power for the communities
of Anahim and Nimpo Lakes and new social, economic and
environmental benefits for the Ulkatcho First Nation.
Under the MOU, the partnership will use gasification technology
to generate up to 10 megawatts of clean and renewable
power at the West Chilcotin Forest Products mill, approximately
300 kilometres west of Williams Lake, B.C.
The mill will receive approximately 3.5 megawatts of power
while the communities of Anahim and Nimpo Lakes will receive
roughly 2 megawatts, eliminating their reliance on diesel-based
power. The remaining electricity would be sold into the
BC Hydro grid. The gasifier will use wood waste, mountain
pine beetle timber and mill residue as fuel.
The project will improve local air quality by facilitating
the shut down of the mill's two beehive burners and eliminate
a diesel generation set and the consumption of more than
3.5 million litres of diesel fuel annually, reducing greenhouse
gas emissions by over 10 thousand tonnes per year.
The MOU has the support of the Ulkatcho First Nation.
"In light of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, the elimination
of 2 beehive burners, the diesel gensets and the consumption
of 3.5 million litres of diesel, this is a very important
initiative" said Chief Lynda Price of the Ulkatcho First
Nation. "Given the fact we are surrounded by dead trees
that are ready to fall over, this is an extremely positive
step within our traditional territory."
"Pristine Power is very pleased to be partnering with
the Ulkatcho First Nation and West Chilcotin Forest Products,"
said Harvie Campbell, Executive Vice President of Pristine
Power. "This community-based biomass facility will provide
the communities of Anahim and Nimpo Lakes with a new source
of clean and dependable power while furthering electricity
self-sufficiency in British Columbia." -
the manager suggested in our email discussions, this is
an added benefit to anyone that may be considering purchasing
property out here and as Don said, - "It
is a Nexterra gasifier that we have planned. It is super
technology and a great boost for the environment.... With
proper reforestation, this is one of the very few forms
of truly green power. In addition to those very fundamental
benefits, the installation will extend the life of this
mill and accelerate the rehabilitation of our local forests.
It gets to a point where you cannot count all the wins
the project creates.
Yet another advantage is not only the burners will be
eliminated, which I believe are running cleaner than they
used to, but the bush waste piles that have been burned
in the bush will be brought in to make power. The emissions
from gasification is 0. We hope to use the flue gas to
fire a dry kiln for our lumber, the excess heat from steam
condensing will heat our buildings. The green house gas
is 0 because the CO2 emitted is surface carbon. The fibre
that is burned if left in the bush as a tree, would die,
fall and rot thus giving off the same amount of CO2. In
our case some of that CO2 is sequestered in lumber and
stored in the form of houses. The new trees planted will
absorb more CO2 and start the cycle again."
aggressive plan pushes for cement to be poured this spring
with the plant producing power by spring of 2009. Hopefully
that timetable will work out. I think we'll all
be happy to see the end of the beehive burners over at
the mill, although personally I don't mind the
slash burning out in the cut blocks because you can let
your imagination run wild and imagine a holocaust. But
then I like fire. However, forestry does not, and I expect
they'll be very happy to see the end of slash burning
if the plant comes to pass.
On another note. A reader of the blog was kind enough
to bring up the fact that we have a web cam on Highway
20 just outside of Anahim Lake and that she often refers
to it to see what our real time weather is like. So I'll
put the link up here at Web
and perhaps on the weather page of this site as well.
Maybe if enough people get used to using it, I won't have
to list the weather and temperatures anymore. Naw,
on second look, their weather information isn't accurate
at all. It's more for Williams Lake. Since we're
on the subject, the temperature stayed a little below
freezing today with heavy cloud and it's -10.8C or or
12F right now. The weather doesn't look particularly great
around the province for the next few days and for Vancouver,
it's been a very soggy start to the new year.
Phone Call From The Past
got a phone call from a very interesting fellow today
who read Floyd's story about the burned airplane in the
blog and wanted to add a few details about Charley Morse
of Rimarko Ranch.
Tom Walker was the head Forest Ranger in Tatla Lake
for three years and got to know several people in the
area. He had Willie Sulin build a small log cabin
on Charlotte Lake in 1973 just before he was transferred
out, and returns to it nearly every year in the summer.
He said it was the third week of August in 1970, late
in the day and he was actually in the bathtub when the
call came in of a plane down and a forest fire started
in the vicinity. He sent the bombers in and everyone scrambled
to get to the fire, many firefighters riding with Floyd
Vaughan, and he said the downed plane is still there to
Tom said one of his first run ins with Charley Morse
was when one of his employee's at the lodge lit their
garbage dump on fire. This is common practice
where you have your own dump, usually a pit, and you light
it up on a regular basis to keep the bears down. We did
that often on the ranch where I was raised but you tried
never to do it during fire season. Apparently Charley
Morse broke that rule. In his case, since he ran a fishing
lodge, the dump was probably loaded with fish guts, a
real attraction for bears. Tom said a pretty big
smoke went up and he scrambled into a helicopter and got
over to Rimarko Ranch. Before landing he noted at
least five twin engine aircraft lined up on the runway,
all owned by guests of Charley's. If I recall,
Tom said he commented to the pilot that it wasn't all
fish that brought those planes in. Well, they landed and
he raised hell with Charley about the fire danger and
Charley tried to placate them first with food and then
with good scotch. Since they had already attended several
smokes that day and were tired and hungry, they accepted
the food but refused the scotch. Tom said that was a mighty
tough thing to do but he didn't want to be beholden to
Charley in any way, especially since he had to get out
there again when the dump was lit up at least once more
during fire season.
Since Morse seemed determined to keep Charlotte Lake designated
as a 'remote fly in lake' and didn't want anyone to be
able to easily drive into the lake, Tom threatened
him with exactly that. He told Charley that if
he lit the dump up one more time when there was a danger
of fire, he would have bulldozers push a road in so that
it was easier for firefighters to get in there quickly.
The threat worked and it didn't happen again.
Tom said Charley was known far and wide for serving very
good food and drink and there was no doubt he had been
born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
We actually got to talking about the articles I have been
writing about the local RCMP and Tom mentioned knowing
Larry Hein who single-handedly set up the first detachment
in Anahim Lake. In fact, Larry's words in an email to
me this spring were, " I still have a soft
spot for Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake as I opened up the
Police Office in Anahim Lake in 1970. If I had my way,
Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake would be the place I would
spend the rest of my life." Since Larry was
by himself, Tom said he would call on him as about the
only other official in the country to back him up if there
was a problem. Back then all you had was hand cranked
phones and everyone could listen in on your conversation
so Larry would call down to Tatla Lake and say, "Tom,
come on up for coffee." Tom would know to take
the plug out of the shotgun he used for bird hunting and
load it up. But invariably by the time he made
the hour's drive from Tatla Lake over the dirt road to
Anahim Lake, Larry had taken care of whatever problem
had come up.
That's how we got around to the subject of roadblocks.
Tom mentioned that when he was out a couple of years ago
he was surprised to get stopped in a roadblock
in Anahim Lake. He figured that there must be
something pretty serious going down or the police were
looking for someone because the officer seemed so grim.
As he presented his documents he tried engaging the police
officer in some lighthearted conversation joking that
in all the years he had been over the road he had never
seen a roadblock, but he said the Member remained tight
lipped and unfriendly. That's when Tom figured for sure
that they must be about some serious business. "No,"
I told him, "That's the way they are all the time.
They take themselves pretty seriously."
We went on to talk about Alex Fraser whom I had only met
a few times socially in Williams Lake when I was young.
He was Minister of Highways back then and had a soft spot
for the interior. Were it not for him, we would
still have a goat trail from Williams Lake to Anahim Lake
since most of the Ministers have no idea we exist out
here, and could care less even if they do know. In fact,
in a meeting in the Legislature in 1980, Alex Fraser as
representing his riding of Cariboo, was defending road
expenditures as follows. - "While
we are on expenditures by electoral areas, I want to provide
a little information for the committee on that, and also
on the inventory of the road system in the province. The
Cariboo riding (which includes the Chilcotin) has almost
7, 000 kilometres, by far the most publicly gazetted roads
of all different types. The next closest riding is Omineca,
with 2, 495 kilometres of roads. In the case of the Cariboo
riding, which everybody seems so concerned with, 17 percent
of our roads are paved and 83 percent are gravel or
potholes filled with car parts. Of Omineca's 2, 495
kilometres of roads, 21 percent are paved. Those two findings
alone have by far the lowest percentage of paved surface
roads in the whole of the province, but the largest mileage,
in some cases arterial, in some cases secondary, and so
on. To deal with it in another way, expenditures per kilometre,
they are way down the line as compared with some ridings
that have been mentioned." - That
still holds today, by the way.
I agree with Tom, I think Alex was the reason we have
a paved runway allowing for much larger planes to land
here than you might normally expect. Tom commented on
how down to earth Alex was. That the first time he met
him in Victoria Alex was wearing a three piece business
suit. Around Williams Lake he would wear a sport jacket
with no tie, and out in Anahim Lake at the Stampede
he wore jeans, a red shirt and a flask in his back pocket.
Seems to me I remember the red shirt.
In any case, it was a real joy to get to meet and talk
with Tom over the phone today and I look forward to any
emails he sends with more stories. He agrees with Floyd,
that I need to get something about Thomas Squinas going,
but it's a matter of getting out there and talking to
people and easier said than done since I always seem to
have alligators snapping at my heels.
I'll reiterate here. It's remarkable the neat stories
that people have about the West Chilcotin and I always
appreciate anything you folks want to send me
that helps to keep a record and round out the kind of
people that have helped to settle the country, or simply
stopped for a spell.
I went out for another walk today because even though
the sun couldn't quite break through the clouds, it was
only just below freezing and I wasn't going to waste a
rare warm day.
I was walking along the back trail in the woods when Mocha
had her nose up and started plowing through snow chest
deep on her. Suddenly, there was a loud cracking
and twigs snapping and I tried peering through the saplings
for a running moose or caribou. A large pale shape
flew across the trail over me to a thicket of saplings
on the other side. I couldn't see whether it was an owl
or a hawk, only that the one sapling was swaying under
the weight of the bird. Suddenly, more cracking and snapping
twigs, the sapling whipped as the bird's weight left it
and I could only catch a shadow before the bird disappeared.
It seemed like an awful lot of noise for a bird and I
kept looking around in the snow for animal tracks as I
called the dogs and prepared to leave. Mocha returned
but River refused to and I finally had to wade into the
thicket through knee deep snow to pull him out of there.
Once there, I understood why he wouldn't leave.
Scattered under low twigs was lots of rabbit fur and blood
from a fresh kill and you could see the wing beats in
the snow where the bird had to take a running start to
get aloft carrying the weight of therabbit in addition
to its own. That's when it was cracking twigs low to the
ground as it came out of the thicket. It also explained
why the sapling bent so much under the weight of the bird.
I sure wish I had seen what it was. A picture would have
been pretty cool too since it flew over me less than twenty
Our temperature had dropped to -6.9C or about 20F by early
evening and then a wind came up. In less than an hour
it has climbed to above freezing as the wind whips in
some warm air bringing snow with it. It'll soon
be rain if it warms up much more. That would be
very, very bad. It's a nice change to not have to deal
with ice everywhere the way we have in past winters that
have been too warm.
More on Morse
has sent more information on Chalmers or Charley Morse,
the playboy resort owner who owned and operated Rimarko
Ranch in its heyday.
"I did do a lot of flying for Charley Morris, but
never knew him that well. He wasn't the kind of guy you
got to know if you just worked for him. One of his friends
that came up to Charlotte lots in a Howard float plane
was taking off of Little Charlotte Lake with three passengers,
and tried a downwind turn after takeoff that didn't turn
out too well. They ended up just off the shore line in
the trees with their plane all smashed up. All were OK
except one woman had a broken nose. They hiked to the
outlet of Big Charlotte where there was a boat, and took
it back to the lodge. After thinking about it for a while
they went back to recover some of their things, and somehow
the airplane caught on fire. I was called to take the
fire fighters into the lake, but when we got there all
we saw was the burnt airplane and spent hours looking
for survivors which were back at the lodge by that time.
The whole thing was kind of hushed up after that, but
the burnt out airplane is still there on Little Charlotte.
This is a picture of it. If you want to write about someone
who really helped the country around Anahim and Nimpo,
write about Thomas Squinas." -
can see a picture of the burnt out plane up on the right.
The whole thing was most likely hushed
up because the Transport Safety Board tends to get a little
hyped up about stuff like that. In addition to that, I
know how concerned people get around here if a plane hasn't
called in or an ELT has gone off. It would be really
bad if you got called in to a burning plane, probably
by the fire lookout station, and couldn't find the passengers
Floyd is very right about Thomas Squinas. He was the Band
Chief at one time, but all of his life right from a very
young age, he had a profound effect on this country and
the stories about him are long and varied. I really do
need to sit down and talk to his family and people that
I finally got out for a walk today for the first time
in weeks. Aside from right around Christmas when things
were too hectic for a walk, this is the first time
that I can think of where the temperature has been up
around freezing and the sun shining. A low coming
in from the Pacific is bringing warm winds from the south,
so although it was pretty breezy today, it was still really
nice to be out. The sun is still pretty low on the horizon
so while walking in the woods protects you from the wind,
you don't see a lot of sun through the trees. Still, it
was nice to be out and see what's been around. Lots of
coyote tracks and loads of rabbit. They're sinking in
the snow a bit but still staying up on top enough to outrun
the coyotes I expect. I didn't see a single moose
track, nor caribou, but they may not move down
until later in the season when the wolf packs get bad
A couple of people went by on snowmobiles when I turned
off the trail to come back out on the road. There was
a couple out cross country skiing on the lake today and
you could hear a neighbour down the way using his chainsaw
this afternoon. All signs that the weather has warmed
up enough for people to want to be outside all of a sudden.
I had to laugh at a fellow that called this morning to
follow up on a hosting plan I had purchased from him.
He was talking about how cold it suddenly was now in Toronto
where he's based, (still warmer than we have been)
and when I told him those were the kind of temperatures
we've been seeing for two months straight, he said, "But
you're in B.C.!" Yes, but we're in the interior
at the base of a monster mountain range at nearly 3,700
feet. Victoria we're not!
Andy got the same laugh with someone he had to talk to
in Newfoundland this morning about our telephone plan.
She was complaining that the snow was so high she
couldn't see out the call center's windows and it was
snowing yet again! You can sure tell what the
main subject is on the minds of most Canadians!
Actually, when we finished up with our calls we both commented
on how extraordinary the service was that we had each
received from our respective salesperson. That's one thing
Canada needs to work on. I have to admit, and most people
that have been to the States say the same, that Americans
in the sales and service industry bend over backwards
when serving you. Although Canadians are generally pleasant
enough, they really need to pick it up on the world market,
especially in view of how high our dollar has climbed.
Canadian business is now competing directly against American
business, particularly over the Internet. Obviously, if
there is no difference in price, then I'm going to go
where the service is best and I think most people feel
Happy New Year Everyone!
to 2008. I hope everyone enjoyed whatever manner they
chose to ring in the New Year. We had the dance up at
the community hall with a pretty darn good turn out and
I think everyone had a great time.
The police presence was an annoyance to say the least,
and by presence, I mean full time presence parked outside
our gates stopping everyone whenever they
left the hall, even if it was to run up to the shop to
get a forgotten item for the dance. However, I'm sure
they had a far more miserable time of it stuffed into
an overheated police vehicle on the side of the road all
night than we all did laughing about it. We did
invite them in for eats and coffee or pop but it was a
no go. It doesn't really matter to any of us. For years
pretty much everyone that attends an event at the Hall
has a mate that doesn't drink, or two couples will ride
together and one person is the designated driver. In addition
to that, we had three designated drivers last night including
myself and all three of us worked the bar, so there
was absolutely no chance that anyone that had been drinking
was going to be driving. Actually, we probably
went through as much coffee last night as we did liquor,
which is often the case.
We just don't have that many young people around Nimpo
Lake anymore, and certainly not in winter. So most of
the people that attend an event at the Hall have been
around for a few years, and from my age up, know how to
have a great time without drinking liquor. People are
there to dance and visit and ring in the New Year with
good company, not for the hard partying. Since there wasn't
anything official going on in Anahim Lake
last night we actually expected to be targeted
by the police. Which is fine with us. We didn't mind playing
decoy. It means the people in Anahim weren't going to
be hassled as much at their private party and I understand
it was set up so most people were getting there via off
road. Which is the main point isn't it? If you aren't
on public roads creating a danger to others if you drink
and drive, it shouldn't be a problem.
I think most people in British Columbia are entirely in
favour of the Counter Attack campaign against drinking
and driving, particularly during the holiday season when
you might expect more than the normal number of people
to drink. Too many people have been killed by impaired
drivers on our roads during the holiday season in the
past, and although I haven't seen the numbers, I
think that the roadblocks over the years have probably
had a profound effect on the number of drinking related
auto deaths over the holidays. On the other hand,
I have seen the numbers on repeat offenders. Time after
time after time the same small percentage of people are
being stopped for impaired and their license yanked after
conviction. Those are people that are driving impaired
a lot of the time, not just through the holiday season.
Often when you hear of someone being killed by a drunk
driver, that driver has either had previous convictions
for that offense, or 24 hour warnings. I can certainly
understand the police wanting to find those drivers but
in a small community like ours, you probably don't
need to be stopping everyone, sometimes the same person
two or three times in the same day just because
they live near where a road block is always set up. We
don't have a very big population and it doesn't take long
to learn what people are driving. So if you are a part
of the community at all, you should know the drinkers
and non drinkers or social drinkers. If you have a person
who's vehicle is legal, they have a license, they are
a nondrinker and always wear their seatbelt, why aren't
they being waved through the roadblock? Why is that person
being stopped in daylight hours, day after day, after
day? I've spoken to a few such people now including one
last night that has been putting up with the harassment
and I don't get it. As I've said before, what we have
happening out here is not protection of a community from
bad drivers, it's out and out harassment.
There is just no other word to describe it. And the more
I hear from people, the more apparent that becomes.
Roadblocks to target drinking drivers, okay cool. I have
no problem with that and I don't think anyone else does
either. But that's not what we're seeing here at all.
On the other hand, as I mentioned before, the business
owners are delighted with the response time of local police
when they have a problem or a break in. One business
owner told me last night that when the alarm went off
in his store after a break in, police were there in three
minutes. Pretty impressive when you consider that the
owner used to drive from his home in Nimpo, about 15 minutes
from Anahim, and still get to his business 20 minutes
before the police did after the alarm went off. And the
police station and their homes are only located about
a minute from the business. So there has been a vast improvement
on that score.
Probably where the local RCMP need the most improvement
is on their PR. Last night, a long standing citizen
of Nimpo Lake and resort owner chose to walk home from
the hall rather than drive. A nod of respect to the police.
When he walked past the silent police vehicle with the
two Members inside he looked straight at them. There was
nothing. All they would have to have done is roll
down their windows and greet him with a "Happy New
Year" or "Have a good evening."
It would have gone a long way to improving their image
locally and I can't imagine ever having been in the same
circumstance wherever I have lived, and not have an RCMP
at least roll down his, or in this case, his and
her window. You really need to work on your PR people!
If you want to be a bunch of faceless, inhuman little
jackboots, you're doing a remarkable job of succeeding
with that image. And as I understand it, that's exactly
the impression at least a couple of Members posted in
Anahim want to give. Er....you might be in the wrong profession
there, people. Perhaps a profession in the military might
be more suited to your temperament?
On to more pleasant subjects. (I know, I wasn't
going to do anymore cop stories but we've got a doozy
coming up.) Thank you to John, Len and Val for their help
with decorating and organizing the dance and a special
thanks to Catherine who did a wonderful job of bartending.
And since no one else has done it yet, a huge thank you
to our Chairman, Andy, for running around and organizing
this thing with all that entails, being a designated driver,
bartending, and single handedly cleaning the hall up today,
on top of being instrumental in getting the hall new doors
and furnace this fall, and getting them installed with
Rob and Brie's help.
In the meanwhile, another long-standing citizen
of Nimpo Lake and bush pilot from way back sent
me a great picture and some more information on the infamous
owner of Rimarko Ranch today. Floyd has probably done
as much to settle this country via floatplane as anyone
in the country and has some awesome stories to tell.
was reading your blog on Charlotte Lake and thought you
might like some more information. We always knew him as
Charley Morris ( DIDN'T KNOW HIS NAME WAS CHALMERS). He
was a very rich playboy with family money, and never paid
much attention to running his lodges as a paying enterprise.
He also had a lodge on the lower Dean River for steelhead
fishing. I flew many trips to the lower Dean with his
guests and sometimes with Charley and some of the young
girls he always hired for the summer. He also owned a
Cessna 310 that Wilderness Airline Leased for their charter
operation, and to haul his guests from Vancouver, or Seattle,
and some times Calgary. Dave Kahll did most of the flying
in the 310, and the IFR flights. One time Charley called
me on the radio phone, and told me to bring him a dozen
eggs. I told him that all I had at Nimpo at the time was
the Beaver, and how much it would cost to bring a dozen
eggs to Charlotte Lake. All he said was, "Yeh I know,
just bring me the eggs." -
The picture up on the right is of the floatplane hauling
a water tank to Charlotte Lake for one of the cabins.
Boy, that would create some wind resistance!
I'm switching over to a new year now so the menu
of archived articles will look a little different.
If you want to go into last year's menu from now on, you'll
want to click on 2007
Articles starting with Last Week of December 2007.
If you just want to check out articles for the first two
weeks of December, you can go to For the articles from
the last two weeks of December, including articles about
the RCMP and the letter from the local Sergeant, go to
Week 3-4 .
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!