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 3/2011
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of the Day.
The Moose Herd
finally made it to Williams Lake on Tuesday. We decided
to make a break for it because the weather looked pretty
good for a change. And in fact, the highway at our end
of the Chilcotin was in excellent condition with lots
of sand on the compact snow. It was just lightening
up when we saw our first moose, and second, third and
right up to eight moose in one meadow! All but
one, and the one was laying down so we couldn't tell,
were full grown moose. In fact, some of them were really
big! So it wasn't like it was a few cows with several
calves in this meadow. It was unbelievable because I've
never seen that many full grown moose in the same place
before. I don't know if I've ever seen even four full
grown moose in one area before. So it was a pretty
amazing sight to see. Unfortunately, the poor
light and vibrating truck most of the pictures I took
didn't turn out but it's just as well. I really don't
want the area recognized or the 'keepers of the land'
will be out there hunting them on snowmobiles.
Just a way down the road we saw two more moose, although
they looked like a two year old pair out on their own
for the first time because they weren't in the great shape
the others were, and not much farther along, we saw another
pair, these much bigger and heavier looking and in great
shape. So within an hour's or so drive, we saw 12
moose. That, folks, is a record for me. It was
awesome! At least it means for right now this year, our
moose population is pretty healthy. On the other hand,
no calves in the vicinity of all these moose is not a
good sign. That might indicate they have already been
pulled down by either grizzly bear when very young, or
The tremendous snow that we've had has probably
been a large factor in pushing so many moose down to lower
elevations. I expect it's really deep higher up.
The only advantage to the moose is that the snow is also
fluffy, so wolves have a real struggle trying to catch
up to any game, which is a good thing. I should think
too that there may be safety in numbers and maybe that's
why the moose are hanging in together. Would one moose
defend another if one wasn't a calf? I would think so
but who knows for sure?
The remarkable thing about seeing eight moose together
is that it's well, unheard of. Or has been for years.
Rich Hobson wrote when he and Pan Phillips crossed
the mountains that they looked down on these huge meadows
where moose were everywhere. He called them herds.
More than one person around here as pshawed at me when
I've mentioned it, saying that it was a figment of Rich
Hobson's imagination. Moose don't herd. Well, maybe not,
but we saw eight moose in dark, dawn hours in a century
where moose numbers have been down drastically and so
unhealthy that this has been a limited entry hunting area
for years. If we saw eight in that poor light, the chances
of there being twice that many among the trees is far
more likely than not. The moose were scattered and certainly
not huddled together because moose aren't like that, but
if there are eight full grown moose in the vicinity, I
call that a herd, folks, regardless of what the old timers
I can only imagine what it would be like for two guys
coming down out of the mountains into country not seen
by whites before eighty years ago. Moose were little hunted
by natives then because they weren't familiar with the
animal so their only predators would have been wolves
and grizzly bears and there would have been a wicked battle.
Apparently cow moose charged the riders on a regular
basis and were considered extremely dangerous,
so perhaps these moose had developed an efficient method
of defending themselves and perhaps the other herd animals
against all comers. In any case, it was pretty darned
exciting to see that many moose in one place.
Our weather has been mixed. Yesterday had some sun and
cloud and it got up to -4.4C or 25F so it certainly wasn't
that cold. But I think today is going to be a beauty.
It's already above freezing and what clouds we had this
morning have pretty much cleared out so there's sunshine
and a warm breeze out there. Hallelujah! Warm weather
for the next few days according to the weather forecasters.
MAKE MY DAY!!
The Perfect Sunday
Yesterday was the perfect Sunday!
It was already above freezing when we got up Sunday morning
and there was sunshine which was so nice to see. The
water was just pouring off the trees like rain from the
snow melting on them. It was really pretty looking
at it with the sun as a back drop. There were some fast
moving squalls that would come in, cover the sun, spit
a little rain and then be gone again. I was outside most
of the day just because it was the first gloriously warm
day we've had in a long, long while. Besides, there was
more shoveling to be done and I wanted to get the greenhouse
and yellow shed cleared off completely with the melt.
Andy had more snow to move yesterday for a neighbour as
well as for us. In exchange the neighbour came over and
helped him to clear the trailer shed roof again. So we're
set for a while if we get more snow.
I came back from a struggle through the snow on
the back trail, because it certainly wasn't a walk, and
asked Andy if he wanted to run trails with me.
Since it got to four degrees above freezing, conditions
were perfect for packing the trail in the woods with our
snow machines, and then letting it freeze overnight. It
was much easier walking today as a result, that's for
Today is really nice as well, although there's a bit of
a stiff, chilly breeze out there. It went down to -8C
or 17F last night but still made it to a degree or so
above freezing. The breeze is keeping it from melting
much though. I don't know what we can expect for the next
few days but I'm just counting my blessings that we've
gotten two nice, non snowy days in. It improves everyone's
Our neighbours Alex and Iris have a perfect sight line
down to the point and the big island, and every
day they've been watching two otters playing out on the
ice between the two. I was over at their place
yesterday and you could see very clearly an otter on the
snow, and then gone. So they must somehow be able to dig
through the ice to the water below to go fishing. It's
the first time that I've seen otters out there but as
I mentioned before, we think that a young pair were kicked
out this fall and that's where they decided they could
hole up for the winter. I think they have their home on
the edge of the big island, and they fish on the point.
Our neighbours really seem to have been enjoying watching
them every day. We can see the same area from our place
but we have to peek through tree branches and we're much
farther away. So the otters aren't quite so easy to see.
Aside from fox tracks there isn't a lot of wildlife
sign around besides the otters, which often come
through the back bay, climb up over our road and down
into our meadow, and cross to the point. In fact our neighbours
were saying that they see the otter tracks scooting through
the snow all over the place in the trees around the lake
shore. They sure get around, those little buggers.
Well the sun was shining just moments ago, but now
there's a little snowstorm happening. Silly weather.
One of our neighbours, Ted, sent me pictures of his neighbours
carving snow out on the lake, which is pretty amazing
actually because it's rare that you get enough powder
on the lake to do that. However, after this warm spell,
I expect that the lake has settled down quite a bit and
hear from people that have sledded out there that the
overflow is just terrible in places.
For last week's blog, go to January
And don't forget, if you want last year's blogs, the 2010
blogs can be found by clicking on the listing in orange
that starts with the last blog in December 2010.
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!