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Wilderness Adventures - Jan., Week Two/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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14/01/2011 7:30 PM

And.... It just keeps on coming

By this morning we had accumulated another 8 inches of snow. That puts us at 14 inches in the past 48 hours and at the grand total of 20 inches in the past week. And there's more on the way!
I've spent most of the day shoveling again, while poor Andy has been out on the Bobcat for the last two days digging out other people's places. In many cases most just want their snow banks pushed back because their driveways are getting too narrow and a truck and plow usually can't do that. The phone calls came in steadily yesterday but he can only do what he can do. It takes time just to load up the Bobcat, trailer it to where it has to go, unload and plow. Then start all over again. He's going to have a serious case of BB or Bobcat Butt by the time he's finished over the next few days.
It's predicted that we'll get another 4 to 12 inches of snow tonight but who knows. One weather forecaster says that a warm front will be moving over the Coastal Mountains that could bring freezing rain or rain and much warmer temperatures. The dip on the other news channel says 20 to 30 centimeters (up to a foot) of snow for inland sections. That's us. But I don't put a lot of faith in any of them anymore although the new meteorologist on CTV certainly seems to know his stuff and they let him talk a lot so you do get more in depth information on the weather. Mark and Christy on Global are both excellent but during the week we're usually stuck with that idiotstick Wayne who is far more interested in listening to himself than reporting the weather with any accuracy. So as usual, we just look at the satellite pictures and try to figure it out for ourselves. Or as Andy says, just look out the window.
We finally got to see the sun today and what a remarkable thing that was! It started fighting its way through the clouds midmorning and was present most of the day, even if it was a little watery. It still has heat and that made all the difference in the world to my mood and the house. Even with the wood stove and fireplace going it never gets hot in here with the temperatures we've been having, but throw in a little sunshine and it's a whole different ball game. This is the warmest it's been in the house since the cold spell hit and boy, is it cozy!
This afternoon you could see a nasty wall of cloud coming in from the west but it must have bypassed us or dissipated. I just took the dogs out for a walk and the moon is shining through high haze. I heard people talking over the radio earlier today and they were mentioning that 100 centimeters or about three feet of snow is supposed to be coming in. Presumably that's for Heckman Pass and around the top of the Bella Coola Hill. I know some of our contractors returned from Bella Coola today because their job was shut down. I guess the weather down there is horrendous with arctic outflow winds and blowing snow. Which is kind of nice because most of them plow snow so that will take the heat off Andy by quite a bit.
The satellite view on the Weather Channel still looks nasty for us through Monday with one storm after another hitting the Coast and parking over us. I keep hoping we're going to get some of those warmer temperatures that they're getting farther south. It's -18C right now and never got above -13C or 8F today in the sunshine, but that frankly seemed quite balmy compared to the way it's been. Warmer temperatures would be a bit disastrous with all this snow on everyone's roofs, but it doesn't have to get above freezing. Maybe just up to -5C. That would be downright tropical!!
I know, I know, be careful what you wish for. We might get snowed on again. :-)
By all accounts, the overflow on the lake is horrific and very difficult to bog through on a snow machine and impossible on cross country skis. Our neighbour said they pulled off everything from their skating rink because it's shot. There's so much overflow that there's no way they can make the rink work, or anything near it. Everything is under slush. That may just do in our lake for the rest of the year. Unless it warms up and compacts the snow on the ice so that the water can freeze, all that fluffy snow will just continue to insulate the layer of water underneath and we won't be doing anything on the lake until spring. I don't know what the state of the ice road is. It hasn't been plowed recently so it may be under overflow as well. Oh well, stuff happens. We'll just do like the rest of the world and blame La Nina. That seems to make everyone feel better.
I must say, I'm certainly a fan of our road guys right now. I know their plates have been pretty full but they've still been making a real effort to get in on the side roads as soon as they can. It doesn't always happen right away, but it's pretty darn good under the circumstances. Thanks guys.
13/01/2011 10:00 AM

More Snow

You remember a couple of days ago when I talked about how happy I was that we weren't getting the weather other parts of the country was? Okay, I admit it. I'm not so happy anymore. Apparently Mother Nature reads blogs. Yes, I know, she's an entity that is a product of the human imagination and as such, does not actually exist. But in existence or not, she still apparently reads blogs. You know.... that payback thing?
Well, she got us!
Yesterday morning we woke up to about six inches of fresh snow on the ground and more sifting down as it had all night. Tiny little flakes that are almost non existent but give them enough time and they will build up! The snow finally quit by late morning but by then we had already been outside for awhile. I spent a good part of the day on the wrong end of a shovel, while poor Andy spent most of it both on the Bobcat and on a shovel. He spent nearly an hour on top of our travel trailer shed roof getting this winter's accumulation of snow off of it and that one's a horrendous job. He also had to get up on our porch roof and clear it off because it's nearly flat. Since I don't do heights, he gets stuck with the roof jobs. Then the canvas shed and boat had to be cleared. Last year the windshield broke on the boat because of the weight of the snow so Andy cleans it off after every heavy snow fall now.
We're super lucky to have the Bobcat because while vehicles still have to be cleared of snow so that they can be moved, Andy can get in most places around our drive to plow. That just leaves places he can't get that require shoveling, as well as the decks. I spent quite awhile yesterday trying to get the snow off the greenhouse roof, after spending the same amount of time getting it clear the week before when we got snow.
When he was finally done our yard and road, Andy headed down the main road a ways to the neighbour's who had called yesterday morning. He's got a horrible, steep driveway and the Bobcat is better than a front end plow on a pickup for clearing any amount of snow. It was getting pretty close to dark and down to -18C while Andy worked over there, and -20C or -4F by the time he got home. Way too cold to be out in the open pushing snow as far as I'm concerned but he didn't notice it much. He still has to go back and finish today but he'll have more than that to do before long, because it's snowing again.
Last night it cleared off and the temperature really started to drop. But about the time it hit -22C it started to cloud over and the temperature actually came up two degrees and held all night. But this morning it started snowing again, even though it's still -18. If the weather forecasters are to be trusted, and frankly, that's in question right now, it looks like we could see snow right through Monday, and lots of it. Oh joy!
Actually, we didn't do that badly yesterday. We got no more than Kelowna and half what Williams Lake got. But if you look at the weather maps it looks like the heavy stuff is going to be parked over us and Vancouver for the next several days. At least Vancouver is getting warm temps and rain. I'm not sure why we're so cold and it's snowing at the same time. That's unusual here, but I wondered about it being a La Nina year, so I went back in the blogs to four years ago. Yep, we got several large dumps of snow and the weather was cold on the same dates in January. Since the snow is still pouring down out there at the rate of about an inch an hour, it looks like we'll we see the same accumulations we did four years ago. So.... more shoveling.
I just talked to my Mom down in Arizona and their weather is nice with temps in the 70's. I was down there this time last year and I'm thinking it might not be a bad place to be right now while she, on the other hand, would rather be here. I'm thinking that makes one of us crazy. :-) Oh well, it'll all be good once the sun comes out. I'm just not sure when that's going to be. It tried yesterday several times but just couldn't quite do it. Hence, we have both the stove downstairs and the fireplace upstairs going full tilt. This house really heats up in winter when we get sunshine, but we lose a lot of heat through the big windows in the front when we don't. Still, I would much rather be me, warm and cozy, than some of the wildlife out there that will be struggling with deeper snow and colder temps.
11/01/2011 7:45 PM


Sometimes I think Mother Nature just loves a good payback!
I admit to having been a little smug about our great weather so far this winter and horror of all horrors, I've actually spoken out loud about it..... several times. So finally I think Mother Nature figured it was our turn. Fortunately, she didn't get too serious about it and soon turned her attention elsewhere, so we only got a little payback, not a big one, which I'm still happy to take like a man, er woman, or whatever. Particularly when you see how badly the rest of the world is getting hit with some truly nasty weather.
We had planned on going to town early last week but since the weather people were forecasting a snow 'event', we thought we would just watch and wait. Sure enough, the evening before, snow started to sift down, so we canceled our trip. But when we got up the next morning, there was barely a skiff of snow on the ground and we were kind of kicking ourselves. At least until we heard throughout the day that there had been a blizzard from Williams Lake to Redstone, loads of snow on the ground, numerous accidents around Williams Lake, road closures and getting around town was a nightmare.
Since we didn't have any appointments and it wasn't that important, we put off going in until Friday. Thursday night it started sifting down snow again but we didn't think much of it until it really started to build up, so another cancellation. We woke up to between six and eight inches of snow depending on where you were in the yard and it took Andy most of the day on the Bobcat to get our driveway clear while I meandered around with a shovel and broom for a few hours. Shoveling snow isn't necessarily my favorite job, but if I can use it as an excuse to avoid my office and the dreaded computers that have taken over my life recently, I'll gladly take it.
It was expected that we would get cold, clear weather over the weekend but we figured we would try for town on Monday if it wasn't too cold. But since it dropped to -28C or -18.4F Sunday evening, we canceled the trip yet again, mainly because it's too cold to leave the dogs outside all day. That, and I figure if you're going to have vehicle trouble on a trip, it will be because of cold weather. In addition to that, we can't turn on our furnace for heat while we're gone. More on that below.
So now we're trying for later in the week but since there's really no sense of urgency here..... we have lots of groceries yet..... then I guess we'll get around to it when we get around to it. The main reason for going in was for Andy to get his winter snow tires on the truck, even though the ones he has on there are excellent. But I figure if we wait long enough, it will be spring and we won't have to worry about it. :-)
The only other reason we had to get in was to buy a new thermostat for our propane furnace, and trust me, I have been teased unmercifully about that!
I don't know why I store up so much electricity, but in the winter I can zap just about anything. People, dogs, light switches and if it's bad, even touching the kitchen sink will just about knock me flying. One night just before going to bed a couple weeks ago, I went to turn off the furnace fan. I knew as soon as I touched it that I had zapped it hard, and since the LED display went blank, I figured it for a bad one, so I left a note for Andy for when he got up the next morning. Sure enough, I had shorted out the programmable thermostat controls and we need a new one.
I have the same problem with my computers. Every time I tried to put a flash drive or USB cord into the port on my new computer, it restarted the computer. I was a little teed off because my old one used to do that if I even touched it, and it would screw up my keyboard and mouse, so I expected the new one to NOT do that. The fact that it did either pointed to the builder, or to me and I was much happier blaming the builder. Alas, one day after zapping the thermostat, we decided to do an experiment and I lost. I had Andy put a flash drive into the new computer with a rubber glove and without, and the computer didn't die. Every time I touched it, even with my rubber glove on (yes, I have had to use one for the past few years in winter if I wanted to touch my old computer) the thing restarted itself. We tried me sitting in a different chair, my shoes off, etc., etc. The only time I didn't kill it was if I left my office and got rid of a bunch of electricity and put moisturizer on my hands. Andy did kill my computer once, but he thinks that's because I handed him the flash drive and had already given the metal on it a charge. So, as I mentioned before, I get teased about it, especially every time Andy walks through the hall expecting to be able to read the interior temperature of the house, and can't.
I have to admit, I kind of miss the readout too. But we still don't need it so badly that we have to go to town in lousy weather.
Oh, and before anyone writes to me suggesting a humidifier would solve our problem? We have a tea kettle going 24/7 on heat down stairs and the humidifier running 24/7 on the main floor. Even then, including when I'm cooking or boiling stuff on the stove, we can't get the humidity above 21%. Hey, it's dry country. That's what makes really cold weather quite bearable here.
Our weather has been chilly the last few days, never getting warmer than -12C or 10F during the day. Throw in a breeze and not much sun, and this fair weather person has not been getting out much. The lake was fabulous for cross country skiing prior to our the snow falls we've had this past week and you could go anywhere. Now it would take some serious work to break a trail so I've been waiting for warmer weather and nicer days. The same goes for walking on the back trail. I'm hoping a few people have been over it with snowmobiles lately and broken trail. Otherwise, we're going to have to take our own machines over it before walking on it. There's a fair bit of snow to slog through now.
Andy went with a couple of guys to Hotnarko Falls on Saturday to break trail for the rest of us that had planned to go Sunday, had the weather cooperated. He said it was tough going. There was lots of fresh powder to work through and it took them quite a while to get there, and then over to Hotnarko Lake, which had a lot of overflow on it. I've heard the same about higher up as well. Ted sent me some pictures from when he went out sledding the other day and he said that there's lot's of powder out there. I'll post them up on the right here since I can't get pictures downloaded from my camera to the new computer right now.
I suppose one good thing about the not great weather and temperatures is that I'm pretty much forced to get some work done in my office. And I really have to because before you know it, spring will be here and it'll be time to plant and grow stuff!!
And I just want to point out to Mother Nature that I'm really not complaining too much about the weather. Honest. I'm happy. I really am. I'll take what we've got over what the Canadian Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the whole Canadian and American East Coast and what the Southern States is getting. I'll also take our weather over the floods Australia has been saddled with as well the weather stuff many other parts of the world has been nailed with. Yup ..... I'm happy.
For last week's blog, go to January Week One.
You may have noticed that there is only January Week One on the navigation on the left. The 2010 blogs can be found by clicking on the listing in orange that starts with the last blog in December 2010. That blog will have the whole index for the 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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Greenhouse covered in snow with flags.
Back bay full of snow.
Snow covered driveway.
Rider takes a snowmobile on high jump.
Making sharp turns in powder snow on a snowmobile.
Photo courtesy Ted Hlokoff. Taking a snowmobile high in the air over a jump.
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