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Wilderness Adventures - Jan., Week One/2011

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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03/01/2011 6:25 PM

The New Year

Thank Goodness, it's done!
Christmas, New Year's and 2010 are over and done with!
Not that it was that bad. On the contrary, we had a wonderful Christmas. Since I've had nothing but problems since my old computer blew up and not getting along well with the new computer, I chose to ignore both over the holidays. The result was wonderful and relaxing. Until just after Christmas, anyway. Then it was time to work on the New Year's Ice Party on Nimpo Lake.
This year we were really fortunate to have lots of our friends and our neighbors turn out to help with setting up for the ice party. We had help with the firewood for the bonfires and the Swiss candles, both of which are big jobs. As soon as we got Christmas trees into the snow banks plowed up just in time by the Reid guys, a willing crew showed up to help decorate them and bring in ice cut for the ice bar.
This year the guys doing ice got a little carried away and brought in loads of ice that they made into not just a huge bar, but ice benches and a gorgeous Inukshuk. For looks, it easily beat out anything Vanoc put together for the 2010 Olympics, that's for sure!
Since the guy that we had hoped would clear the ice after Christmas couldn't do it right away, Henry decided to bring his new Bobcat down onto the ice and clear for the party. Although the quality is excellent, we don't have as much ice as we did last year and all of us on the ice backed up farther and farther away from him as he plowed snow. He had big Cat chains on his wheels and they were setting up a real vibration in the ice. Even at 200 feet away the whole pan of ice shuddered and undulated under us. That's never a good sign. Then his chains chipped a triangular shaped piece out of the ice and though small, it wasn't something you wanted repeated. Finally Andy stepped in and got Henry to take his Bobcat off the ice and clear the parking area on the boat ramp instead. Which was actually a huge help because that required heavy machinery and was much safer than having 8500 pounds concentrated in a very small footprint on the ice.
That's where the Reids stepped in to plow the party ice with Warren's ATV with a front end plow. After that, it meant we could get things decorated and set up.
We had a skating rink and a curling rink again this year, both of which had to be finished with shovels by our neighbors who are experienced in that kind of thing. Our curling rocks were made from an aspen tree again and Len heated and fashioned the handles for them. We had lots of help setting up barbecues and tables for food and lights for people to see by.
The whole shebang was even prettier than last year. Sadly, we didn't get the number of people this year that we did last year. One reason was the cold weather that was predicted. The other was that a couple in Anahim Lake were having a New Year's Eve and housewarming party at their place and I think that drew away quite a few people from Anahim. Which is understandable I guess. Why drive all that way on the highway to Nimpo Lake where you're exposed to roadblocks if you've been drinking, when you can sneak over Anahim Lake and go the back way to the other place. Still, it meant I had a lot of food left over! Mind you, I cooked for a pretty big herd of people, so it's no surprise.
Both Barry Wilson and Richard and Leah donated a large number of hamburgers and hot dogs and Maria Dye a lot of buns, all thinking it would be like last year when we got that large number of people. But since they froze immediately in the cold, they were in good shape to go straight into the freezer for the next party, like the snowmobiling poker run. Or perhaps we could have a Valentine's party on the ice or even a spring solstice party. Why not? Everything but the Christmas lights and cooking stuff is still there and we could make short work of putting all that back up.
We had quite a few parents bring their kids to the ice party to skate and they actually stayed much later than I expected. I think it's because we didn't have a bunch of people that had been drinking. Since we had nearly as many kids as we did adults, Richard blew off the fireworks all at once just after nine to make a real show of it. It was really nice because the kids got a real blast out of it, and after all, the party was as much for the kids as anyone. It was so nice to see them out. That's one downfall of having anything at the Nimpo Hall. The kids aren't allowed into the Hall if we have a liqueur license, which honestly makes no sense to me. What, the powers that be don't think parents keep an eye on their kids? It's just silly, and it sure limits family participation at the Hall.
One good thing about moving the New Year's Party to the ice from the Hall is all the cool things you get to do. With a seven mile long lake you're not inhibited by lack of room, that's for sure! We had the usual ice candles this year but we also had a number of Swiss Candles scattered all over and that's not something you have a lot of room for on land with other trees around.
The guys cut logs at least seven feet tall this year and then cut the notches in them that we could put fire starter in. Once they start burning they're long lasting torches and can get pretty hot. (Just a nod... we got the idea from Daniel and Heidy over on Charlotte Lake.) Great for out on the ice for light and heat, but you sure would want to be careful where you put them on land. In any case, they looked awesome as usual along with the Christmas lights.
It got down to -20 Friday night, but we had no wind at all. In fact, with five bonfires going it was actually quite pleasant through the night as long as you didn't get too far from a fire for any length of time later on. It was clear as a bell and you've never seen a sky so full of stars as clear as a bell. Even the fireworks looked clearer and more colorful against the black night sky than they do at Halloween.
There was the usual problem with keeping food that wasn't on the barbecues from freezing through the night. Buddy and Marie were kind enough to loan us a standing deck heater that we thought was going to work great to keep snackies warm, and it did for a while. But then we think the regulator froze up because although the propane kept burning all night, it didn't put off any heat. I think we're just going to have to skip the snacks from now on, and just stick to hot food when out on the ice. And really, I'm not sure why we do fix so much food. Everyone that I talked to ate before they came.
In any case, I just want to give my heartfelt thanks to everyone that came out and helped over a period of several days to make this a great New Year's Party and to those of you that showed up to help clean up afterwards as well. Much as I would like to list everyone here because they certainly deserve it, I'm actually afraid to because there were so many people and I don't want to miss anyone.
But you know who you are. Thank You!

We've had some pretty darned nice weather for the most part over the holidays. We've certainly seen our share of sun, and we even got a couple of nice warm days over Christmas. Over all, it hasn't been really unpleasantly cold, even with temperatures down to -18 and -20C (-4F) at night, it has still climbed during the day, although rarely too near to freezing. But at least it's not like last year when we went days where it never got above -20C during the day!
So far, we've been lucky with our snow as well. We've got eight inches at most on the ground and that only where it's shady all day. In most places on the lake there's no more than three or four inches of snow and you can go anywhere with cross country skis. Conditions are excellent! The hills have finally gotten some snow and I understand snowmobiling higher up is really good with about three or four feet on the ground near Goat Pass. We haven't had a chance to get out yet because of the preparations for the New Year's party, but I'm hoping we can take a run down to Hotnarko Falls with our neighbors this week.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and wonderful New Year. Many best wishes to you all for 2011.
In the meanwhile, you can find the last blog at December Week Three.
Because of the war I'm having with recalcitrant computers, which they are winning and I most definitely am not, I probably won't post another blog for a while. I'm way backed up on work that needs to be done that I put off after my computer crashed but at the rate I'm going here, none of it's going to be done anytime soon. So unfortunately, it does take priority over the blog.
I just wish computers would play nicer than they do...... because right now I could cheerfully fire both the old computer and the new one into the lake. The only reason I haven't is because they cost money, and I have to drink the water.

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!
Ice Inukshuk on Nimpo Lake.
Painting curling rink on the lake.
An Inukshuk made of ice and covered in blue lights.
Ice bar with red and green lights behind it.
Kids skating.
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