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 3/2013
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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of the Day.
The Snow and Sun
I got my turn on the snowplow yesterday as predicted in
the last post. I went out yesterday morning to shovel
the decks and clear off the town truck so that it could
be moved once Andy got back from plowing the neighbours
driveway and then ours, and then could start plowing out
the yard. He thought I had already plowed the ice road
but of course, I figured he had done that so hadnt
started on it.
I got my truck running, tested moving the plow blade up
and down, and proceeded to go down our ramp to plow the
ice road. Thats the first time Ive ever done
the whole thing as well as the Nimpo boat ramp and one
round on a steep ramp at the end of our road. It actually
went well although Im sure I was much slower at
it than Andy. First of all, Ive never operated
a plow before, and until I get used to where the
blade sits the job isnt going to be perfect, but
it works. I noticed today though that we are starting
to get overflow along the edge of the ice road where the
snow banks are pressing down on the ice. I figured that
would happen fairly soon if the overflow was so bad out
on the main part of the lake. The ice road is still fine,
of course, but well see what happens over the next
few days if this warm weather continues.
Oh yeah, weve got warm weather. It is glorious!
Today the temperature got up to 3C or 37F and we had pure
sunshine until later this afternoon when cloud moved in
over the mountains or it would have gotten warmer yet.
We took the dogs for a walk down to the gun range when
Andy got back from sledding and it was a real struggle
walking on the back trail. The snow had softened on the
snowmobile track I set there a day ago and it was a real
pain in the butt to walk on it. We both ran another track
this afternoon while it was still warm, and hopefully
this time with two machines, maybe it will set up better.
Andy ran up to kilometre 24 and beyond on the Charlotte
Main with a neighbour that wanted to collect tools from
a cabin down on the lake today. I was supposed to go but
I took yesterday off from the computer so that meant working
on it today. It looked like it would be a great day to
go for a little ride, though.
Andy said that you definitely cannot get off the
established trail up there because there isnt any
more snow there than down at this elevation and there
are rocks everywhere. I guess it was pretty tough
up there for the guys that went up two days before. One
thing that Andy said was really remarkable was that it
seemed much warmer on Charlotte Lake than it was down
here today. And when he went up for the mail, he said
one resident on the lake said that yesterday the thermometer
registered 9C or 48 degrees!
Can you believe that? Wow!
Mind you, it isnt hard to see that it is much warmer
at higher elevations right now. All you have to do is
look at the mountains. Even after that snow that we got
Monday, you could see black showing up on the mountains
by yesterday afternoon and today theyre looking
just pitiful. The higher mountains in the Coast Range
are looking worse yet, so I wonder if its been raining
up there, or just melting? Right now its still a
degree above freezing and weve got some freezing
rain on our deck this evening so heavens only knows whats
happening up there.
This isn't going to improve the overflow on the
lake at all if it continues to be warm and especially
if we get any amount of rain tonight. Andy and the neighbour
came back from Charlotte on the lake today and he said
there's overflow everywhere on the Main Arm. I guess all
we can hope for is a huge melt to take that snow down
a little bit so the overflow will freeze up.
I have no idea what we can expect for weather in the next
few days but so far, if you can go by the radar they show
on weather on television, it looks like it may just stay
warm for the next few days. That arctic front moving down
from the north was diverted to the Rockies and pushed
cold air in over the prairies. Poor Saskatoon was
a nasty 40 degrees last night. They can
keep it. Im loving what weve got. And so are
Were not seeing a lot of sign on the back trail
but theres no reason to. All the larger game can
stay high yet with these low snow levels and the wolves
are going to have a heck of a time decimating herds this
year if conditions stay the same. Theres not enough
snow to bother a moose at all but its soft, powdery,
and deep enough to impede a pack of wolves in a serious
way if the way it affects our dogs when they go off the
trail is any example. Maybe this winter wont
be quite so devastating for caribou or moose for a change.
For anyone that has stayed at or dined at Anahim Lakes
Eagles Nest Resort, you may wish to know that Lady
Enubi died in Bella Coola Hospital on Saturday. There
will be a small memorial for her at Eagles Nest
this coming Saturday between 11:00 and 4:00. Everyone
Snow and Overflow
Talk about a mixed weather bag
We got out from under that heavy snow from five days ago.
Andy spent a whole day out plowing ours and neighbours
driveways as well as the ice road. Andy left one
swath on the ice road so that I could get used to using
the snow plow on the ice. Its actually easier
than I thought it would be, I guess because I thought
there would be a lot more resistance for the plow, because
I was pushing part of the snow bank on the edge of the
road, but it cuts through the snow like butter. Its
really awesome actually. I think I might just be getting
another turn at it tomorrow as well because we got clobbered
again today. Well, not clobbered, really. That would be
on the order of six inches to a foot of snow or more in
a day. But we did get snow
. All bloody day!
It was peppering down baby flakes when I got up this morning
and I figured it would let up before long, but every time
I looked out the window, it just seemed to get worse and
by the time I was thinking about taking the dogs for a
walk, it was salting down huge furry flakes and it would
have been hard to even see while walking, so that was
out. I might have said the dogs were displeased about
it but every time I looked outside all I was saw
was squinty eyes and black noses peering from doghouses,
so they werent that enthused about being out in
the snow either.
According to the weather forecasters were going
to get another round or two over the next couple of days
so I guess well see how it stacks up by the weekend
when its supposed to clear off finally for a couple
of days. Up until today the weather has been pretty decent
actually since that last snowfall, with lots of mixed
sun and cloud, and on one day, pure blue with not a cloud
in the sky.
Everyone has been enjoying the weather and were
seeing more people out there on the ice. Yesterday
the dogs set up a ruckus and we looked out to see friends
cruise past on an ATV pulling a skimmer, with two more
up on a snowmobile leading the way, and with at least
three dogs bouncing along through the snow. I expect they
were going ice fishing, but who knows? It looked fun no
matter what they were doing, or at least the dogs sure
On Saturday we went for a walk, then I ran the back trail
quickly with a snow machine to pack it a bit for walking
and then decided to run a quick trail out on the lake
for skiing on because that last snow made it too deep
to break a nice trail with skis. I made it out as far
as the point and then felt the machine start to lug, badly!
I knew that feeling! I gunned the hell out of it and kept
swerving it up sideways to try and break the track free
of the overflow and made a run for the ice road in front
of me. I didnt dare take the time to look back.
Holy Cow! A couple of people had mentioned
running into overflow on the lake since that last snow
but thats the first time Ive run into it that
deep since hitting it years ago up on a lake in the Rainbows.
We often get overflow on the lake when weve
gotten too much snow, but not that sloppy or deep!
I came back with the machine and decided to go back out
on skis on the trail I had made, at least to the point,
and then I would go off the trail into the snow where
I shouldnt be bothered by overflow. Wrong. I skied
up to where I had hit the overflow with the snow machine
and not only could I see at least eight inches of slush
in my track but there was about four inches of water on
top of that. My track from where I hit the overflow to
the ice road looked like a drunken sailor had made it
where I had swerved a few times to try to break free of
Being out there on skis didnt help me a bit.
In no time I had instant ice frozen to the bottom of my
skis and spent most of my time out there scraping
the ice off with the points of my poles so I could get
going again and didnt have to walk home. Man, what
I've probably described overflow before but for anyone
new to the blog and unfamiliar with it, I'll try to describe
it again. Imagine lifting a shovel full of snow a foot
deep where the bottom eight or more inches is dripping
wet and the top four inches is pure white, innocent looking,
fluffy snow. Go ahead, lift it. I dare you. :-)
Now take that same snow and try to run a tracked machine
through it. What happens is that slush on the bottom under
the snow is created by cold lake water coming up through
the ice through spider holes or cracks in the ice created
by the weight of the snow on top of it. If you put
an ice cube in your drink, it usually floats to the top,
but put a weight on that ice and the amount of your drink
that flows over the ice depends on the weight put on the
ice. In the case of the lake ice, the water comes
up and saturates the snow, making it even heavier, and
sinking the ice even more. When you run through that saturated
snow it freezes instantly to your track and the resistance
of the slush starts to slow you down, a lot!
All you can do is gun it and go like hell to get out of
there. Normally any overflow you hit, especially when
its that deep, is in just short stretches but I
ran from the point to the road and was in it all the way,
and when I skied past it, I could see where our neighbour
had run through it the night before and he had ice frozen
in his track for as far as I could see. In fact, Im
attributing the power of his machine for keeping him from
getting stuck because it looked like he splashed up about
12 inches of slush from his tracks. He made quite a trough
in the muck.
Oh yeah, and you dont want to get stuck in
overflow. Thats why you gun it. Some guys
have been known to spend a day trying to get a machine
out of overflow and as one friend said when we talked
about it when I came back from skiing, if you dont
get it out that day, your snowmobile freezes in until
The same friend had come from down at the other end of
the lake that same day and said the overflow was pretty
bad all the way down to the north end and there were lots
of large spider holes, so she just went like hell over
them and to keep from getting stuck in the overflow slush.
In fact she went past me on skis just in front
of our place and didnt stop. I gave her
a hard time about it when I called her and she said she
was so used to looking forward at what was coming and
looking for overflow that she didnt even see me.
She just wanted to get her sled home. I could hardly blame
her. After seeing that mess out at the point, I wont
be sledding on the lake any time soon. I might try skiing
the ice road because it seems to be okay so far, but that
wont last for long. The heavier the snow banks get,
the more likely you are to start getting overflow along
the edges of the ice road. Apparently that has already
started to happen down on the Main Arm. Its
too bad because this lake can be so much fun until you
get overflow. The only thing that will fix it now is either
very cold weather or if some of the snow melts and hardens
on the lake. Otherwise, if its like a couple of
years ago, it will be spring before it will get better,
if at all. I know everyone wanted more snow for sledding
but this is a bummer.
Speaking of which, so far there really hasnt been
enough snow to go out but this last snowfall might have
improved things a bit. I know that some of the guys went
out a couple of days ago and invited Andy but like he
said, he didnt feel like peeling the color off his
skis on rocks if there wasnt enough snow higher
up and I dont blame him. I wouldnt either.
Youre probably fine if you stay on the trail but
if you ride like Andy, you dont stay on the trail.
And from his point of view, if you cant play
in the snow, then theres not much point in going.
However, if the forecasters predictions
are right, that just might change in the next few days.
I put some photos up on the right that I took today. Only
the bottom one shows the streaks of snow coming down to
any extent but there were lots of times that we couldnt
see past our shoreline today much less out to the island.
Theres one photo there of the snow sliding off the
greenhouse roof that droops like a curtain, and from that,
theres a bunch of icicles hanging. It's kind of
cool looking. Its hard to see through the snow but
if its nicer tomorrow and hasn't broken off, Ill
try taking another photo.
Youll find the last blog at January
Week Two 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!