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Wilderness Adventures - Jan., Week Two/2013

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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Check out the Picture of the Day.

23/01/2013 9:40 PM


You know that smugness that might have been reflected in yesterday’s blog? I have said it before and I will say it again, Old Man Winter loves to kick butt, particularly on smug people!
It started to snow first thing this morning and snowed pretty much all day. It was very, very fine snow and would probably have built up much more than it did except that the temperature hovered right around freezing all day, just slightly above, and just slightly below. As a result, I think that the snow packed as it fell which may be why we’ve only accumulated about four or so inches by tonight, but boy, is it heavy! It’s not wet, it’s just heavy.
Tonight we were watching the news on television at supper time when the receiver went out. That often means snow has covered the satellite dish to such an extent that it can no longer pick up a signal from the satellite. I grabbed the broom to brush off the satellite dish but decided to push a path to it with the shovel on my way so my shoes wouldn’t pack the snow onto the deck. I set the shovel blade to the deck one handed, broom in other and go marching across the deck pushing snow as I went as gung ho as could be. That lasted about one second until I pushed up one shovel full of snow that rolled up over the top and then stopped. It felt like I had hit a cement wall! The snow just packed as I pushed it up and I couldn’t push another inch. Not one handed anyway. I put down the broom, proceeded to push some more and made it about two inches. Man that stuff was hard! It was like March or April snow rolling up into walls of snow at the end of the shovel. You pretty much had to bend over double, put the handle against your belt buckle and take a run at it. Whew! I can’t imagine what the pavement looks like out on the highway but this is the kind of snow that freezes and forms ice right under your tires. It must be just brutal out there right now for the highways guys trying to clear roads, especially up higher at Heckman Pass.
It’s sure pretty to look at, though and I imagine the mountains are all covered in a white mantle again instead of looking black and bare from our little warm weather spell.
It has cleared off now and the temperature is dropping a lot faster than it has for a couple of nights now. Last night I don’t even think it made it much below –2C or so but tonight it’s already –6C or 21F. The moon is just as big and bright as can be and every star is shining. It’s a far cry from today when most of the day you couldn’t even see the island out in the lake because the snow was so thick.
I think that we’re supposed to have clear skies tonight and then another weather system roars in tomorrow. I guess we’ll see if it brings in snow for us as well.
At least we’re not getting whacked with the cold right now, but boy, central Canada sure is! Right from Manitoba with its –45 degrees with a windchill to Ottawa and Montreal where they’re facing freezing cold temperatures to –28C or –19F plus windchill as well. With the humidity there, that’s cold! While that might not seem that chilly to us, both Ontario and Quebec have seen warmer than normal temperatures through most of the winter to now. So this is a bit of a shock, especially to Toronto, which never seems to get cold. The Atlantic provinces are also bracing for more cold with temperatures ranging down to –40 today. For the most part everyone seems to be taking the cold in stride, other than the complainers from Toronto who think it should be perpetual summer there. That’s what you get for being able to grow Wisteria. Bam!! Take that!!
You’ve all seen me point it out before but I’ll do it again. Any time that they’re cold in the east we seem to be warm out in the west as has been the case for the past week. That should change in the next couple of days though because there is a cold front coming in from the Pacific in the next day or so, although it doesn’t look like it will last long. But perhaps that will mean a bit of a moderation for the east.
I got a joke in my email today giving the top 10 reasons for living in Canada going province by province. I won’t reprint that part but the temperature conversion chart underneath of it was hilarious and I will reprint it here. I don’t know who has ownership of this part of the joke but since it was in an email making the circuit, I’m going to hope no one minds me reprinting it. Enjoy the chuckle.

Let's face it: Canadians are a rare breed.

"The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50° Fahrenheit (10° C)
· Californians shiver uncontrollably.
· Canadians plant gardens.
(Sadly, this is actually true. If we didn't, we wouldn't have gardens.)

35° Fahrenheit (1.6° C)
· Italian Cars won't start
· Canadians drive with the windows down.

32° Fahrenheit (0° C)
· American water freezes
· Canadian water gets thicker.

0° Fahrenheit (-17.9° C)
· New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
· Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

-60° Fahrenheit (-51° C)
· Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
· Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

-109.9° Fahrenheit (-78.5° C)
· Carbon dioxide freezes makes dry ice.
· Canadians pull down their earflaps.

-173° Fahrenheit (-114° C)
· Ethyl alcohol freezes.
· Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg

-459.67° Fahrenheit (-273.15° C)
· Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
· Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500° Fahrenheit (-295° C)
· Hell freezes over.
· The Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup"

22/01/2013 7:30 PM

This Marvelous Week

It finally looks like the end of a most marvelous week. The weather has been stunning. What a nice midwinter break!
For this past week we’ve had above freezing temperatures ranging from 1C or 34F to 8C or 46F during the day although that’s the lower and upper end. It’s been averaging more around 3 to 5 Celsius with the sun shining brightly pretty much every day. There has been some high haze on occasion or I think it would have been much warmer. For example, it ranged right around 3C or 37F all day but it was clouded over and I know it would have been much warmer if that sun had just been able to break through.
We had that one amazing warm day when we got wood and right around then I ran a trail with the snowmobile out on the back trail in the hopes that it would set up. It’s been pretty cold for the past two nights so it stiffened the track right up and is great for walking on.
Walking has been so fabulous with the warm temps that we’ve gone right down to the gun range nearly every day with the dogs. It’s been so nice I haven’t wanted it to end so I’ve strapped my skis on for the last two days after getting back from walking and have done a quick run out on the lake to start breaking trail for myself. I haven’t been able to ski for the past two years because of my hip so I’m taking it easy right now until I see how it goes and I can get my ski muscles back.
For the first time in days a wind finally came up by late this afternoon just as I was coming back from skiing and I was glad to get off the lake. It’s been so calm and warm for the past week that it seemed strange to have a breeze, even a warm one. There’s a weather system moving in that is supposed to break down this high pressure system and nice weather we’ve been having so I expect we’ll get some snow.
I think that the most amazing thing about this weather spell is the view from the window. About five days ago I had taken note that there seemed to be a thin black line on the ridge of one of our mountains only a couple of days after that six inch snow and was surprised to see it. But the weatherman had mentioned that there was going to be that strong inversion I mentioned in the last blog so I figured there had been a little bit of melting higher up. The next day I looked out at the same mountain and was stunned to see great streaks of black showing up all over its face. In fact I called Andy over to look at it. Every day since we’ve watched more and more snow melt off the mountains and the higher they are, the more black that’s showing. It’s amazing! Right now the Coast Range looks more like it does in May or the first part of June, particularly the higher elevation mountains. I’ll put a comparison up on the
Picture of the Day.
Andy was in to the Anahim Lake airport and the girl there said pilots had been reporting really high temps when they came in over the mountains from Vancouver, 14C or 57F that day alone! It’s no wonder the snow has been disappearing so fast up there…. I just don’t know where it’s going. You would think water would be running like crazy down Bella Coola way but I haven’t heard anything about high water or flooding.
This same inversion that gave us such warm temperatures this past week brought thick fog and valley cloud to a good part of the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan so the weather has been somewhat cold and miserable for them. Weather forecasters down in Vancouver have been predicting a break out into sunshine for days now but it never did happen. They’ll finally see a change now with this new weather system stirring things up. I guess if it brings snow for us then our mountains will be dressed back in white again, which would be a little more normal for us. I sure wouldn’t want to be trying to snowmobile up there right now and definitely not off trail. I think you would hit a lot of rocks!
The other thing that’s been really remarkable this past week are the sunsets. I don’t know if it takes warmer air in winter or it’s just the way the clouds have been building up in the west by evening, but our sunsets have been spectacular! Night after night the sky has been lit up by everything from Halloween orange to pinks, purples and reds and everyone has been commenting on it. It feels almost like summer out there…. :-)
I’m sure we’ll get slam dunked yet because it’s still pretty darn early in winter to be congratulating ourselves on making it through another one, but this weather has been such a welcome break in the middle, especially after such a long few months of cold, cloudy weather up to now. January is the longest feeling month of all and we only have nine days to go to the end of the month with still a couple more reasonably warm days ahead, so we’re cherry. And besides, you can already see the difference in the length of day. It’s really marked now, so of course that makes me very, very happy.
We haven’t been seeing much for large game around this winter, but that’s no surprise with the lack of snow. Everything will be staying up much higher, at least until the wolves run everything down to lower elevations.
I saw some otter slides and tracks out on the point on the lake today where at least one otter has been crossing back and forth between the point and the big island. There’s quite a large area off the point where it looks like the ice was slushy and the otters were making big holes in the ice while it was still soft enough, probably this past week before the last two cold nights. Speaking of which, it still hasn’t gotten much lower than a degree or two below freezing this evening, so it must be cloudy out there tonight. I’m hoping we won’t get much snow if it does come but I’m probably the only one that feels that way. I know that everyone is looking for snow for sledding, but more snow on the lake means more overflow than there already is, which pretty much puts the kabash on skiing, and I was really looking forward to getting out there this year. But we will see. If that doesn’t work, Andy got me a dandy set of snowshoes for Christmas so I can always see if I can go bottom over teacups doing that. So far there hasn’t really been enough snow to go snowshoeing but that could change. Actually, there is enough snow for snowshoeing, I just think I might look a little silly doing it on just six inches of snow.:-)
He also got us both a set of walking sticks, and boy, would I recommend them! We’re still getting used to them and they’re certainly not necessary walking on the back trail, but we’re thinking we would like to do some mountain hiking this year up in the Rainbows and perhaps down in the Kootenays, and I know they’ll come in handy then. And if I go snowshoeing, they may help to keep me from doing a major head over heels while I learn that particular skill. But in the meanwhile, they’re fun and we look like total tourists out walking the dogs. I’m sure our neighbours are laughing at us, but we’ve given them more than that to laugh about in the past, I’m sure. And if they'll help us to get up and down steep trails in the future, I don't care who laughs!
You’ll find the last blog at January Week One but for any of the older postings, this is the start of a new year so you’ll have to go to the menu to the left to find the 2012 blogs.

Anahim 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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Frosty trees.
Moon, tree and sunset colors over Nimpo Lake ice.
Pink sunset over lake ice in January.
Stunning orange clouds in the sky.
Sunset in orange.
Purples and blues in the sky.
Coast mountains loom over people ice fishing on Nimpo Lake.
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