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 Four/2012
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of the Day.
Mother Nature's Party Bag
in Williams Lake, we woke up to several inches of fresh
snow on the ground and spent the morning running around
doing our shop in nasty, sideways snow. There are
not many things more miserable than trying to load and
secure groceries in the back of a pickup in a mini-blizzard
driven by a damp, cold, wind. We were pushing
slush leaving town and could only hope that my sister
was right when she said it looked to her on radar like
the weather system was a narrow band extending north to
south and wouldn't extend too far west. We broke out of
the storm around Sheep Creek and by Lee's Corner, there
was very little indication of any fresh snow. It was great!
Our old truck has brand new winter tires on it but the
new truck has new all seasons, they're just not winters,
so lots of snow on the road wasn't something to look forward
to. Still, the truck sticks to the road and it has four
wheel drive of course, so it wasn't a problem. We just
weren't expecting to wake up to those conditions.
For the past week Mother Nature has thrown us a
real mixed bag of weather. The temperatures certainly
have not been extreme but there's been a lot of stuff
coming in from the Pacific and hanging over the mountains.
Since our sun is still pretty low in the sky, that haze
tends to obscure the sun most days so you don't get those
bright winter days. We've also had wind day after day,
with snow squalls coming through periodically so it hasn't
even been pleasant enough to go walking. But we still
can't complain. The temperatures have often been near
freezing during the day and we haven't had any more really
cold weather. In fact everyone I talk to has been
quite happy with the winter so far, even realizing that
you've got to accept the odd cold spell. Probably
the biggest complaint has been the wind. We've all noted
the increasing wind in the past ten years and no one,
including me, likes it. Particularly in winter.
After we got home last night and unloaded our groceries,
we could hear the wind start up in the dark.
We turned on the outer lights to see a blizzard
of mixed rain and sleet driving right into our windows.
It actually lasted for several hours but didn't build
up to as much as it should have because it was melting
as it fell. Although it did keep freezing onto both our
satellite dishes knocking out both TV and Internet. No
loss there. Later in the evening after it slowed down
Andy decided to go out and clear off the front deck and
all he was pushing up was saturated snow. The temperature
was pretty stable last night although it climbed to two
degrees above freezing before I went to bed.
This morning I woke up to a glorious day!
There's a breeze blowing but it's three degrees above
freezing and the sun is shining. Getting a taste of spring
like this is like sneaking a taste of icing off your wedding
cake. You know it's only for the day but it's wonderful
and to be enjoyed!
We went for a walk with the dogs today but ended up coming
back out to the road again instead of continuing on the
back trail. The snow was slippery and it was tough going
anywhere you walked. So once we got back we jumped on
the snowmobiles and ran trails right to the gun range.
With any luck it was warm enough that they'll set up overnight
tonight and give us a decent walking surface tomorrow.
At least this new little snow/rain mix didn't create
a bunch of ice everywhere. Unless we get freezing
rain in the next few days or a big melt, which is quite
possible, we should be okay for a while. The lake has
drifted quite a bit so there's not so much in the way
of icy spots like there was earlier in the month. Remember
that plane on skis that was doing wildlife counts out
here that I mentioned was always rattling over the ice
when he landed? Well, I guess it moved east to continue
the counts and the plane crashed last Saturday.
I don't know if he was the pilot at the time, but I guess
there were wicked winds, swirling snow and very poor visibility
the day the plane went down. In other words, no one had
any business being out on a day like that but we saw the
pilot of the same plane taking similar risks here. In
any case, at least no one was killed in the crash.
We were really surprised both going and coming back from
town just how dry Alexis Creek is. There's knee high dried
grass and weeds all along the highway with only a small
amount of snow at the roots. I figure if they don't
more snow or a lot of rain this spring and summer, they're
really going to have a problem with fires this year.
Maybe if forestry can get in there and do a controlled
burn along the highway from Lee's Corner to Puntzi it
might hold off a grass fire from starting, but they don't
have a good reputation for their controlled burns, which
often end up out of control.
I have a fellow that sent an email regarding an old friend
of his that used to work the Chilanko fire lookout which
I have written about before here. While forest fires aren't
exactly a problem right now, this email hit a note and
I thought it might be cool to pass it on with the writer's
My sig for life is "Chilanko Bye" Everyone close
to me knows why.
I'ts the radio sign off for the most influential man in
BC Forest Service's Chilanko Lookout Fire Warden, Past
Texas Ranger, Lloyd McGee.
Bless his everlasting soul!
As a 20 some year old, I was a problem child. Period.
My parents, after the Cdn Army kick me out for misbehavior,
pushed me into employment with BCFS Fire Suppression Crews.
Big family names in the BC Gov't ensured my way in...
there was no way a misfit like me would have got in any
To get to the point of the story, during my tenure with
BCFS, including years at BCFS's Williams Lake HQ, I had
many, many occasions to visit Lloyd McGee at his isolated
Chilanko Forestry Lookout Tower.
He was an extremely impressive man. Like all Police Departments,
only the best of the best of personalities are selected.
His was truly exceptional.
But years later, while I was in Williams Lake, I was completely
surprised (and overwhelmed) by the news of his passing
You see, the whole time I knew him, he was dying from
He had chosen to reject hopeless medical treatment (as
it was at the time) choosing instead to enjoy the privacy
and privilege and spectacular view offered by the Chilanko
I remember every so clearly (not having a clue as to the
reason) that a wave of pain would pass over his face and
body whilst we visited, delivering supplies or whatever.
His response to that pain wave? Ever so clearly, I remember,
every single day of my life, like it was yesterday, that
he would, every single last time, turn and say something
OH LOOK! There's a WhiskeyJack! :-)
He was and is to this day, still, THE most influential
person in my life.
I am an ENTIRELY different personna, entirely due to him
and him alone.
My Sig, for life, is "Chilanko Bye."
Thank you Fred.
We met some pretty cool folks from the Island this fall
staying down at Nimpo Lake Resort. Maria Horsfall took
a bunch of wonderful photos and was kind enough to give
me permission to use them. This is the first chance I've
had to put them together and get them up on the right.
Enjoy a little ray of sunshine because in this
world of white right now, I certainly am! Thank you, Maria!
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's
posts at January
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!