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 - July, Week One/2012
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great
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go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
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Check out the Picture
of the Day.
A Newbie's View of the Annual Canoe Race
know, I know.... I have received many gentle reminders
from folks that they are missing the blog posts and what's
happening out here. Actually, as it applies to the past
month, I really couldn't tell you either. We've been away
doing a little visiting in our truck and travel trailer
throughout BC, Saskatchewan, and even made a trip into
I had hoped to post a blog about the Annual canoe
races before we left but just couldn't manage it. As
it was we were busy right up to the moment we left and
as a result, managed to forget a few things for the trip.
My sister and her husband were out for the May long weekend
and this year, that just happened to be when the canoe
races and the fishing derby was. My sister's son had gone
in it one year and because of his stories about the adventure,
she expressed an interest in seeing them rather
than going fishing. It was great fun that Saturday
but we missed about the only good weather for fishing
because although we went out that evening, it was cold
and windy and Sunday was really nasty.
We relaxed on our side of the lake until just before 10:00
when the racers were to get going and I think my my sister
and her husband was worried we would miss the start. Nah.
Everything around here is on Chilcotin time so we moseyed
on over to the public boat ramp at the official start
time and it was still over an hour later before the race
I had told my sister that they all had to line up
and on the gun, the two person teams had to pick up their
canoes and run for the water. I don't think she
realized quite what that entailed but I know she was impressed
with the speed at which the teams ran down the boat ramp
trying not to run over each other or the spectators and
jumped into the canoes just as they hit the water. I'm
pretty sure the two guys in front have been practicing
all year because their entry was spot on. Some of the
stragglers weren't quite so sleek on the entry but is
was impressive none the less.
Everyone hurried back to their vehicles in order
to hit the first bridge where you can see the teams on
the water where the Dean River first exits Nimpo Lake.
The four of us took our time getting back to the two different
vehicles as each of us would end up at different spots
throughout the day since Andy was one of the radio guys.
The boat launch and the road leading up to it were so
crowded with vehicles, most belonging to the Natives,
that there was no point in being in a hurry. People were
turning, backing up and crowding in all different directions,
one determined Native lady evening making an RCMP Officer
back his cruiser up several lengths to get out of her
way. My sister was absolutely hysterical with laughter.
OMG! She said. It's a Chilcotin
traffic jam! I didn't think any such thing existed out
here! I have to agree, I've never seen one
here before either, but then I've always watched the launch
from across the lake and taken photos from there.
My truck and Andy's were the last to leave so there was
no point in going to the first bridge. Instead, I drove
straight to the second bridge on the highway, found a
parking spot and good vantage point for my sister and
I, and we waited quite some time for the first canoe to
I had explained to my sister that it was common
for onlookers on the bridges to drop beer cans and other
refreshments onto the teams paddling under the bridge.
Her son had told her the same but after the first team
went through she said you had to see it to believe it.
She's right about that! I only managed to get a photo
of a drop on one team but you'll find it on the Picture
of the Day.
The poor point man was covering his head after a two quart
Gatorade bottle was dropped to him and he was nearly or
actually beaned on the head. Meanwhile, the guy at the
back was trying to catch a Budweiser after another had
missed the canoe and hit the water instead. You'll see
the splash in the photo. Gette couldn't stop laughing
and wondered how many people not only got beaned in the
race but got their canoes holed. I said, Can
you imagine how dangerous it was in the days of the beer
bottle???!!! Since two teams eventually
hit the Morrison meadow bridge with bad leakers, I suppose
it more than possible that the falling refreshments can
cause some damage.
The highway bridge was crowded with onlookers and we all
waited for the next team to appear. Andy was timekeeper
at the moment and yelled to Richard our storekeeper in
the bow of the second boat, that he was only 1.5 minutes
behind. If looks could kill Andy would have been murdered
on the spot, which only set my sister off in gales of
I think it was the fourth canoe back that we saw
zig zagging down the river, pointing first to one bank
and then the other, with little Maria in front laughing
the whole way. Another girl had talked her into
going into the race and then backed out on her. As Maria
said, she was quite relieved and so she showed up at the
launch dressed for watching and dancing later, not paddling.
But it seemed a big tall fellow's partner had also bailed
and he was looking for another. The two teamed up with
him and his long reach in the back, and tiny Maria in
the front trying to keep up to his strong paddle. The
result was hilarious and I'm sure quite frustrating
for both of them, and probably twice as much work as it
should have been since they covered twice as much distance
with their style of paddling than anyone else. However,
they somehow steered their way under the bridge without
hitting the abutment (Although they had to steer themselves
off the bank on the Morrison bridge.) and Maria's smile
big enough to light up an already sunny day.
Kendra and Tollin brought up the rear at seven entries
but without the intention of racing. They just wanted
to paddle the river and since Tollin had his radio with
him, it turned out to be a real blessing and a real
advantage regarding safety before they got to Morrison
Meadow. He reported that a couple of teams had
gone under at a beaver dam or deadfall but had recovered.
He and Kendra had been collecting all the full and still
floating bear cans and drink bottles on the water that
had missed the racers and thought they were going to be
doing pretty well come party time that night, but they
too capsized and lost everything. We waited a long time
for each team to show up at the Morrison Meadow bridge,
a long way down the river and lots of twisting winding
water between the highway bridge and this one. We
would probably have left then to go fishing but an old
Native had walked out through the buck brush to the river
below our vantage point and stood there for over an hour.
He had a takeout bag of burgers and chips for his grandsons,
he said. Probably they had complained the year before
of being famished with all the exercise and he had heard
them. My sister refused to leave until she got a picture
of the man passing off his takeout to the team. Chilcotin
takeout! She laughed. I've got to have a photo
for proof or no one is going to believe me! However,
after an endless time he gave up and went back to the
bridge where eventually his grandsons landed to empty
their canoe which was partly full of water from a bad
leak. This time they weren't interested in food. Instead
they quickly quaffed some beer because they were so thirsty,
threw their leaky boat back into the water and on they
went, determined to finish.
From the back, Tollin reported that he and Kendra
had been following and helping a team who's boat was badly
holed and they were having to empty it every few minutes
but that he thought that they could make it to the Morrison
Meadow bridge. A worried mother repeatedly asked Andy
what was being said because both racers on that team were
young and one was her 16 year old. He assured her that
there was someone behind them keeping an eye out for them
and we were in contact with him, much to her relief. The
team put in where we and the old gentleman had been located
earlier down river from the bridge, pulled their canoe
up onto the bank and walked to the bridge, fed up, exhausted
and intending to quit, I think. But their family
had brought another canoe that was waiting at the bridge
for them and they were convinced to not give up.
I applaud them. We all did as they left, though there
were few people there. Most had gone on to Anahim Lake
to the finish line. We already knew that the first team
was in or close to it since they had won last year with
the best time ever at around two and a half hours but
we knew it was going to be hours yet before the rest got
My sister and I chose to come home in the hopes of getting
in some fishing while the guys ran on into Anahim for
a few minutes. She was tickled pink that she got
to see this spectacle and impressed with the number of
people that showed up at each bridge to watch the racers.
While there were only seven teams, which is average, the
prize money was apparently pretty good this year at a
thousand or more. Not bad wage for a few hours of toil.
:-) Of course as I understand it most of the racers end
up missing the festivities at the Anahim Lake Hall after
because they're usually so tired they go home and go to
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last month's
(actually May's since I didn't have any for June) posts
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!