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 3/2008
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.
Friday Night Free For All
received a phone call from the acting commander taking
Paul's place for the moment at the Anahim Lake RCMP Detachment
this afternoon. Boy, am I impressed! We had a long conversation
and I learned a lot, but since it's late and out of respect
for Constable Spoor and the seriousness the conversation
deserves, I'll leave that until tomorrow or Sunday.
For tonight, I'm going to pass on a bit of silliness sent
to me today by John Brecknock after he read the story
by Floyd posted yesterday. I laughed myself silly reading
his email and at the risk of being murdered by the subject
of the story, I'm going to reprint it. After all, it's
Friday and we all need a good laugh every once in awhile.
Just a word of warning. If you are shy, do not
- "JB. How the Hell are ya anyway. Just read
your web and saw pictures of Pan and Flyin', Fornicatin'
Floyd. Now I'm not giving him that name; that's how he
use to refer to himself as.
I remember Floyd giving me a ride from Anahim to Williams
Lake in his Stinson about 1968. I had left my brand new
1968 Pontiac Beaumont at the Williams Lake Airport. My
brother Don flew me to Alexis Creek in his Cub and I somehow
found my way to Anahim Lake and flew back with that Floyd
Fella. Worked out good for him too as he was back and
forth from Anahim to WL and he was able to use my Beaumont
to conduct his business in Town while I was visiting in
Seeing that old photo of the Airport reminds me......
I remember when the Airport use to be between Anahim and
Clespocket. Just a dirt strip back then and I'm thinking
about 1964 or so.
Anyways...D'Arcy CHRISTENSEN owned and hayed the meadow
next to the Airport. We called it the Airport Meadow!
Original eh! We were making hay on this one particular
day and it was real hot! I mean real hot!I mean one of
those real summer scorchers. D'Arcy was mowing hay and
I raking hay with Massey 35"s. As we were prone to do,
D'Arcy takes off his shirt during the heat. On this day
however he also take off his jeans. Now you gotta picture
D'Arcy driving the tractor wearing nothing but his skivvies!
Now he is in one part of the field and I in another maybe
3 or 4 hundred yards apart.
Just about then a contingent of people show up on the
airstrip and are watching us make hay. They were very
interested and I have no idea who they were or where they
came from. Maybe 5 or 6 people; well dressed and not from
these parts to my way of thinking. Anyways...D'Arcy does
not see them as his back was sort of to them. Now is the
time he stands up on the tractor and starts waving his
tally-wacker at me. We got bored easily in those days
and were continually finding ways to entertain ourselves
and each other.
Well I am cracking up at this display and just about dying
from laughter. Not at D'Arcy but at the fact that he had
such an audience watching intently. Of course my laughter
and antics only encouraged him to continue waving his
stuff towards me. Now I'm screaming at him to look over
to the Airstrip! I'm absolutely hysterical about this
time and quite literally had to stop and get off the tractor.
D'Arcy has a look. Have you ever seen a man get so small
that he can drive a Massey 35 completely hidden behind
the dash? Now if you know D'Arcy; you know he is very
modest, usually!! One of life's most embarrassing moments
for sure. Never told that story outside the family before.
But it's true." -
Now as long as I don't get murdered in my sleep the next
time D'Arcy is out this way....
I haven't changed the picture of the day because I haven't
taken much in the way of pictures the last couple of days.
Today was kind of grungy and overcast but the temperature
was above freezing again. It's warmer now than it was
in all of November. Have a good weekend everyone!
First Snow Machine Races in Anahim Lake
I don't really have time to write much now, Floyd Vaughan
was kind enough to send me a great email detailing the
first snow machine races in Anahim Lake. Actually, when
he was telling me about it over the phone about a week
ago, the first race was between he and Pan Phillips and
he thought maybe a couple of other guys. Because his snow
machine was 2 mph faster than anyone else's, he would
win the race. I can see that working on a long, long race,
but it might be awfully close in a five mile race! Anyway,
I'm going to put in Floyd's story with pictures inserted
as sent to me. Enjoy!
SNOW MACHINE RACES
The very first snow machine race was most likely when
the first two snow machines met. It seems that in the
Chilcotin, and maybe everywhere else, people that ride
horses, cars, bikes, or snow machines are very competitive.
The first organized snow machine race in Anahim, Nimpo
was in the winter of 68-69 on Anahim Lake. Don Baxter
was selling Snow Cruiser machines that I think were built
by Evenrude, and had sold quite a few around the area.
Pan Philips had one as well as Don Baxter, Tommy Holte,
and Goldbloom (ANDREW CAHOOSE). I had a Skidoo Alpine
which was the double track with the single sky in front,
which would do about 26 miles per hour. The Snow Cruiser
would do about 24 miles per hour so I won almost all the
races. There was a large turn out, and everyone had a
great time. All the kids got into the races, and I think
it started a tradition for many years to come.
Photo above property of Floyd Vaughan
races were held after that on a regular basses put on
by the locals, and were a great winter break for the local
families. Some of the cross country races were up to 150
miles with large prizes for the winners. Usually the same
people won the long cross country races. Wayne Escott,
John Porter, or Roy Gram. Later sponsors from outside
the area got involved, and outside riders were entering
the events. I ran in most of the races, and did fairly
well, but after racing a 150 mile cross country it took
some of the fun out of the dance that night.
The kids got started as young as three or four some with
the big machines, but mostly on what we called a kittykat.
In one kittykat race, Jim Vaughan had removed the governor
from Lane's kittykat so it would do about 20 miles per
hour when all the other kittykats would only do about
15. Lane was way ahead about 300 feet from the finish
line when his machine quit, so after pulling the rope
a few times he backed off and gave the machine a big kick.
The little kids would take off across the lake on their
kittykats, and after a ways stop and stand with one foot
on the machine, and B.S. just like the big boys.
Photo above property of Floyd Vaughan
the time that these kids grew up the races were just about
ending. It seems that the liability to put on a function
became too much for the locals, and dances afterwards
weren't attended enough to break even. One of the problems
was that at the races almost everyone would have a beer
or two, and the cops were there to see who to stop when
they went home. The dances were what made a lot of the
revenue so when people quit attending them it spelled
the end of the local events.
One of the great local events was the 2000 New Year's
party held on the ice on Nimpo Lake. It was all done by
volunteers including a load of logs for the bonfire. A
large skating rink, and dance floor was bladed off, then
blocks of ice were cut for a bar with a large punch bowl
hollowed out of the ice. Trees were set up with lights
all around with hay bales, and tables for the ones that
couldn't stand. There were hay rides for the kids, and
music for the partners to dance by. The only thing that
worried some of us was that the parking lot that was bladed
off had over 50 cars, and trucks parked on it. The ice
held them all and everything turned out great.
There's a picture to go in here but it's pretty degraded
so in the interest of saving download time, I'll probably
reduce it and put it up on the right.
You know, it's funny that Floyd mentions liability. When
I first moved out here in the 80's to work at the mill,
there were still snowmobile races on then with a lot of
participants. Included was a very long cross country race
as well as a bunch of shorter races. But I remember overhearing
organizers talk about them probably having to end the
races because the insurance for liability was just way
out of the local associations' reach. The same happened
more recently with our race in Nimpo on the track that
Len built. It was run only one year and then had to be
shut down because the insurance was too outrageous.
I wonder what happened to the days where you could just
go out and have fun at an impromptu gathering where you
take responsibility for yourself, including your own injuries
that may or may not have been brought on yourself. To
a time when organizers of an event didn't have to worry
about getting their butts sued off by someone that injured
themselves because of their own stupidity or carelessness.
I forgot how much I missed the 'old days'.
Just as a quick add on. It's gloomy and overcast but it's
2.4C above freezing so every once in a while great avalanches
of snow go shooting off of the roof shaking the whole
house. There's a slight breeze as well. Funny that we're
so warm when everyone else is so cold. Right now it's
snowing over the mountains and looks like it's going to
move this way. There are a few flurries filtering down.
Wonky Little Weather Events
had about the fastest switching weather in the last three
days of any I have ever seen. First, I have to apologize
yet again for the long absence. It's probably going to
be like this for the next two months until I can get a
couple of big jobs done. So if you get some long silences,
just hang in there! I'll be baaaack!
I stayed home to work but everyone else went out snowmobiling
on Sunday and had a really great time from the sound of
it. The wind was really howling up high so they didn't
bother going through Goat Pass and on to Trumpeter. Instead,
they decided to break out a bunch of the trails lower
down and take our neighbour, who hadn't been out much
snowmobiling, on a sightseeing trip. So Lloyd's
trail through the trees (the old tight trail) is broken
out to Goat Pass. The back trail through the old cutblocks
down to the Telegraph Creek Trail are broken out as well
as the new trails around Little Kappan. Then everyone
went up to the Forestry Lookout on Little Kappan to show
our new rider the view. A few stucks and some sore muscles
out of the day but that's to be expected when you're breaking
trails through new snow. Although it was windy up high
and some fast cloud was moving through, the temperatures
were good at around -4C at the Lookout and only around
freezing down here, so I think it turned out to be a pretty
decent day for snowmobiling.
Monday was another matter altogether. The
ice road had just gone in to the extent it was going to
when the wind came up on Sunday but it really started
howling Monday. Every so often I looked out the windows
to see this wild wind scouring across the lake drifting
snow everywhere. "So much for the ice road,"
I figured. It was a really miserable day. It looked like
those pictures you see of the high arctic when there's
very little light and nothing but blowing snow in sight.
I half expected the power to go out but it didn't for
us. Unlike many places in the Lower Mainland where not
only did they lose power but there were downed trees and
apparently pieces of building were falling onto one of
the streets in Vancouver. I don't know what that
wind was blowing in but when the wind died Monday
evening, we watched the temperature literally plummet
from around freezing to -14C or 7F in just a couple of
hours. By the time I went to bed it was -20C or -4F and
when Andy got up in the morning it was -25.7 or -13F.
In fact I happened to glance at the temperature on Tuesday
morning at 10:20 a.m. and it was sitting on exactly -20.0C
in the sun.
The weathermen had been predicting that a high associated
with a cold front would be coming in but it came in a
lot faster than I would have expected. Oddly, it got really
hazy for us yesterday while it remained clear and blue
down in Vancouver. But that haze indicated that
the jet stream was carrying warm, moist air up and over
the cold front we were locked under, which brought
snow. Our temperature had finally come up to -10C or 14F
after it started snowing in the afternoon, first small
flakes, then big fluffy airy ones. They were so light
that you felt like you could go out and blow the snow
off of the deck. Of course if you had done that this morning
after the snow had settled, you would have been blue in
the face. By this morning the snow had compacted to between
3" and 4" inches, depending on where you checked,
but it's still more snow than we've gotten in one drop
in a while.
I went out to clear off the deck this morning and the
sun was shining on all the fresh snow and it was only
about -4C. Right now it's already above freezing, so I
think a walk or a ski is in order today. I'm beginning
to feel like an old crotch scrunched up over this computer
day in and day out.
Rob was anxious to test the ice road yesterday so he and
Andy went back down to where the crack has opened
up across Nimpo Lake in the hopes it had frozen up in
that cold weather and that it could be crossed.
Andy walked in front of Rob's plow truck, throwing up
his hand whenever he saw suspicious looking ice and they
got a little ways, but then Rob's truck went through the
top layer of ice to the slush beneath and they gave it
up. Logan had tried with the fourwheeler to get through
from the other end and got stuck in the slush. There was
no point in getting a full sized diesel pickup in a pickle.
It's a real job to get out of overflow once you're stuck
in it. But Rob did get the drifts plowed off of what ice
road that exists. Now he has fresh snow to contend with
and he doesn't even get paid to do this, any more than
Terry ever did.
Well, I went out for my ski. The snow was pretty sticky
until the sun went behind high cloud. Which made it better
for skiing but not nearly so pleasant to be outside. I
may have been walking this fall and winter but it sure
has nothing on cross country skiing for a work out. Especially
when you have to break a trail. I only made it
a third or half way to Dot Island so it will be a while
before I make it all the way down but once a trail is
broken out it should be good for the winter unless it
drifts or snows more. I noticed when I skied across the
Main Arm that the ice road was completely covered in.
Were it not for tiny snow banks along the side you
wouldn't have known it existed. We just noticed
Rob firing back down the ice road plowing it out again.
Unfortunately, with this warm weather today, it won't
help that slushy spot farther down to freeze up at all.
Last week's articles can be found at January
Week 2. I'm not sure how much I'll
be writing this week, if at all, so have patience.
Oh, check out the Picture
of the Day.
I love that picture!
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!