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 - Jan., Week One/2013
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
The Weird, Wild, and Wonderful Weather
have been enjoying some of the wackiest weather ever this
I mentioned in yesterdays posting that it snowed
quite a bit just a day or two after we got home. Other
than that, the weather was the same as it had been for
the past two and half or three months. Cold. It hit 26C
to 29C or 20F at night and ranged between
14C (7F) and 5C (23) at its warmest during
the day. There was at least four nights there where the
dogs had to be put in the garage and kept there until
late morning when it finally warmed up a bit.
At least one benefit of the cold was that we were
finally seeing sunshine for a few days in a row,
something we had seen little of in the Chilcotin for a
couple of months. Although its not just us that
have been missing it. People all over the province have
complained to us that its been an unusually cloudy
This past week we finally hit the weather bonus
jackpot! On about Sunday we noticed that the temperatures
werent dropping as fast in the evening as usual,
and then they started to come back up again. The mercury
bounced around like that for two nights and then Tuesday
morning Andy got up to 10C temps. He went outside
to look after dogs and noticed that there seemed to be
a warm wind suddenly. He came back in and watched the
thermometer go up and down like a jack in the box from
just below freezing to well above until it settled for
a few moments. It had come up eight degrees in 15
minutes! Not long after it dropped to 10
again and stayed there until later in the morning.
The forecasters suggested that there was going to be a
strong inversion this week with warm air travelling up
and over cold air, pushing cold and cloud down into the
valleys and leaving higher elevations in sun and warm
temperatures. Thats us!!! Weve
had warm, sunny days, perfect for long walks and just
being outside for a change.
We got firewood on Wednesday and I was in my short sleeved
T shirt all afternoon. Me
. the perpetually
. outside in a T shirt in January.
It was great! Yesterday was just as beautiful and warm.
Last night it finally made it to just below freezing after
supper but a wind came up and at midnight it was 5.9C
or 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Its a little slower to
warm up today but its already +2.5C or 37F and the
sun is shining, the snow is brilliant, and life is good.
Ill take it! Anything above freezing is a phenomenon
we have seen none of prior to when we left at Christmas
time and a wonderful break from winter, especially the
My Mother is in Arizona now and has been for a few months.
I guess our Canadian Arctic front that got us a week ago
stretched down into most of the States and Americans were
complaining bitterly about the temperatures. Welcome
to our world, eh? When the warm up came, it started
in the north and stretched down to us first, so my Mom
was complaining that it was warmer in Whitehorse than
Arizona and that there was something very wrong with that
picture. Yep, there is. For the past week weve
been warmer than Kamloops, Vancouver and the Okanagan.
In fact, other than for parts of four States in the southeast
including Florida, the CTV weatherman pointed out that
Vancouver was the warmest place on the Continent, so that
made us and Whitehorse even warmer.
Its amazing what little things in life one
can take joy in. :-)
I know one thing, my other half and all the animals are
taking great pleasure in this weather. When the sun is
shining Im happy and when Mommas happy, everybody
in this household is happy! Well
except for Trouble
maybe. When its warm like this I dump his squirrely
butt outside to run off a little energy. He doesnt
need to be attacking us in the house looking to play when
there are mice outside under the snow. I can assure you,
he is NOT happy about it! But he's a cat. He's not supposed
to be. :-)
I havent had an opportunity yet to talk to anyone
from up at the store, but from the few people I
have spoken to, it sounds like the New Years Party
went off well. There wasnt nearly as much
food of course and I guess things were a little disorganized.
Some people had to cook the hotdogs and hamburgers for
themselves and their kids, but it sounds like it was a
good time. We noticed when we got home that the plowed
out area for the party was less than half the size than
usual as was the skating rink, and there was only one
fire, but maybe being scrunched together kept everyone
warmer. Lots of effort was put into the ice sculptures
by the cowboys, so that was cool looking. I dont
have any photos to post but our neighbour Iris took one
of the skating rink before the party, and it looks really
pretty. You can see it up on the right.
Alrighty, I've done my good deed for the day and I have
other work I need to get done on the computer and actually
get paid for. But before that, I'm going for a walk
with my dog. I hope you all have as good a day as I'm
Happy New Years, Everyone!
actually started this blog three days ago but got an email
for some web work to be done, then another email and then
a flood of work for the tourism association. I worked
for a few hours this morning and I still have lots to
do but I'm determined to get a blog written today, so
the other stuff will have to wait!
As I mentioned in the December blog just before
Christmas, we had decided that we were going to go away
over the holidays. We just got back last week
and have spent the last many days playing catch up, including
We left the day after Christmas for Vancouver Island and
parked ourselves in a motel room down in Delta just this
side of the ferry the first day. That way we got over
to Victoria early in the afternoon of the next day and
so could explore the city on foot in bright sunshine and
The first surprise was seeing flowers outside of
our hotel. Flowers! I had to touch them to make
sure they were real and not plastic. Row on row of primroses
in every color of the rainbow blooming their little hearts
out. I could not believe it!
Seeing all the luscious green shrubs, trees and lawns
in Victoria was amazing! If we hadnt done anything
else just enjoying that made the whole trip worthwhile.
As it was, we played tourist for five days in Victoria
and enjoyed every moment of every day. If you havent
been, I can highly recommend the Royal Museum, Craigdorroch
Castle, Butchart Gardens, the Butterfly Gardens and the
Victoria/Sydney area in general. We were right by the
marina and the Parliament buildings so we were in the
best part of town for walking everywhere.
I read a pamphlet that said Victoria had the largest
population of active adults in Canada. Small wonder!
Its a great place to walk or bike and the local
car traffic seems to be very respectful of that as well
as watchful for the horse carriages. We mostly walked
everywhere and didn't drive much but when you did, you
really had to keep an eye out for people.
The downtown part of Victoria is beautiful and full
of old and refurbished buildings from the late 1800s
and early 1900s, most built in grand Victorian
style and made of stone or brick. Walking around and reading
informational signs about buildings is kind of our thing
when were doing the tourist so it was cool that
Victoria caters to that.
Most surprising to us was the number of foreign
languages we heard all around us. There are tourists
from all over the world there all the time from the looks
of it no matter what the season.
We ran out of time and never got the chance to go into
the famous Empress Hotel, tour the Parliament buildings
or do any number of other things on our list, but since
we plan to go back, well have left lots to see when
we return. Wow, what a breath of fresh air from
two months of solidly cold, sunless winter!
We left Victoria and drove north to Nanaimo then over,
or through, the mountains to Ucluelet on the west coast
of the Island. Next stop
a remarkable place! Again, we went just to be tourists.
I had never been storm watching before and
we figured regardless of what the weather did, it would
be a win, win situation. If it was nasty, we could watch
storms coming in over the ocean. If it was nice, we would
benefit from that as well. As it turned out, we had gorgeous
weather the day we got there, 8C or 46 degrees Fahrenheit
the next full day that we were there, and clear, beautiful
and sunny the day we left. Although we have been
told by many people that those are unusual conditions
for this time of year, evidently we got lucky.
We didnt see any massive waves while we were there
but we did see beautiful ocean vistas every step of the
way along the Wild Pacific Trail that we picked up from
our resort hotel and walked for some distance. It was
a great trail with benches dotted along the cliff here
and there where you could sit and look out over the ocean
and take in a little sunshine.
I had booked us a resort hotel called Black Rock that
literally sits up on the rocks on the oceans edge.
While not a cheap place by any means, it was worth every
single penny. The rooms rocked like nothing Ive
ever seen before! If you ever want to take your
spouse on a romantic getaway, that is the place to go.
We had floor to ceiling windows in our room that looked
out past the deck to moss covered windswept trees, thick
forest floor and ocean beyond pounding the huge black
rocks the resort was named for. There was a fireplace
in the room, huge bed, huge television, huge soaker tub
in the bathroom so deep you could have drowned in it,
and a huge wall to wall glass shower with a rain shower
head bigger than my biggest salad bowl. Everything about
that room was BIG. It was really cool.
The reason I had booked this place was because it
had all these viewing lounges that you could watch the
storms from in comfort, with big easy chairs and
a two sided fireplace in one of them, a bar and a dining
room, all facing floor to ceiling windows with the ocean
view beyond. Other than the restaurant, we didnt
have to use any of them. The weather was too nice to be
This is a place to stay that I would recommend to anyone.
The place itself is gorgeous, the staff is awesome and
the restaurant has the second best food of any I have
eaten in many years and thats only because the place
we went to the night before we left, called Norwoods,
has the best food Ive ever eaten,
never mind in how many years!
We drove down to Tofino from Ucluelet just to see what
it looked like and personally, I preferred Ucluelet
by far. Its way more open for one thing.
Tofino seems closed in with thick forest, monstrously
tall trees, and narrow streets and houses packed together
on hillsides. It just seemed like a really dark place.
I think the other thing we both disliked was that there
is a park between Ucluelet and Tofino with a couple of
parking lots on beaches, one of which is Long Beach. The
park is the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada
and at each of these parking lots were kiosks where you
were supposed to pay to park there. Now first of all,
these parking lots were paved, but certainly didnt
need to be. Gravel would have done fine. The bathroom
I used at one of them was absolutely deplorable. It was
old and disgusting and the building I saw at another parking
lot didnt look to be in any better shape. But get
this! To park there so that you can go walk on the beach,
each adult in the vehicle has to pay $7.80 and each child
$3.90 or each family group $19.60. If youre not
parking there and just want to walk on the beach, each
adult must pay $4.90, child $2.50 or family group $12.50,
four hour limit.
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????!!!!
First of all, the freaking federal government did not
make the beach. Nature did that. Second of all, I expect
that those parking lots are jam packed with
vehicles in summer so those parking lots were paid for
a long, long time ago. Especially judging from the condition
of the pavement. So there is no excuse for charging such
exorbitant prices just to park and there is no way that
it costs that much to maintain washrooms (there is no
charge provincially for maintaining washrooms at lakes
or rest areas). Even if they are paying
someone to go out there and clean the beach which looked
highly unlikely, they arent paying them that
much. What a freaking rip off! Just a money generating
rip off! It seems to make a lot more sense to me to waive
the fees or make them much less expensive in order to
draw more tourists to the area. Because if were
any example, I would never go back there and I would tell
every single person I knew going over there to not go
there. Why would you? While they may not be sandy
beaches, there are numerous places in Ucluelet where you
can access the ocean at no charge. For that matter, there
was no fee for us to walk that Wild Pacific Trail at our
leisure and a WHOLE lot more work went into building that
trail than ever went into building those parking lots
and nasty old washrooms.
Its sad when you take Mother Natures
fine work, close it off and charge to see it.
Whoever came up with that idea should be shot with a ball
of their own crap!
Okay, Im done with my rant now and some Canadian
Government bureaucrats smart idea. Idiots.
In any case, other than that, our visit to Vancouver Island
was amazing! Even the ferry rides both ways were great.
Someone was definitely looking out for me because I dont
normally do very well on water but Andy said the water
going and coming was the smoothest he had ever seen. It
was like boating out on Nimpo Lake on a calm, summer day.
As usual, however, the calm weather wasnt
intended to last. We had actually planned on getting
over on the ferry to Vancouver, hie up the road a little
ways, and get a motel room. That way it wouldnt
be such a long day driving on up to Kelowna. But a weather
system was coming in right behind us while we had clear,
blue sky ahead of us, so we continued through the Fraser
Valley, went on up over the Coq and then the Connector
over to Kelowna while the getting was good. We didnt
get in until evening but at least we beat the snow
that hit both passes that night and were parked
for the next couple of days while it snowed in the Okanagan.
The roads werent bad the day we left so we headed
for Williams Lake and hit snowy roads and weather from
about 100 Mile House on, but it still wasnt bad
when we landed in the Puddle. However, it really started
to come down that night and snow was pouring down
in buckets when we got up the next morning. We
hurried around to get our shopping and errands done so
we could get out of town and leave ourselves lots of daylight
to get home in case the roads were bad. But do you know?
We werent but an hour out of Williams Lake when
we started hitting pretty good roads and it started becoming
obvious east of Tatla Lake that it hadnt even snowed
the entire two weeks that we were gone. Which was kind
of good, actually, because it meant none of our neighbours
were stuck needing their driveways plowed while we were
gone. That changed, of course. Within a couple of
days of being home it snowed between five and six inches
so we finally caught up to the rest of the province,
most of which had been nailed with snow pretty hard prior
to us getting any of the white stuff. Our luck kind of
ran out but at least it waited until we got home! Actually,
it's just as well. I've probably lost a lot of perennials
and some of our lawn this winter to lack of snow cover,
so this last batch of snow might help what's left.
Im going to quit on this tonight now and hopefully
continue with another blog tomorrow to catch everyone
up on whats been happening here in the Chilcotin.
Youll find the last blog at December
Week Three but for any of the older
postings, this is the start of a new year so youll
have to go to the menu to the left to find the 2012 blogs.
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!