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Wilderness Adventures - July, Week 3/2010

This 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 the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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30/07/2011 8:05 PM

The Great Escape

We just got home last night from a little holiday away from mosquitoes and rain. It was absolutely wonderful to travel around to a few places in the province where we had mostly sun and NO bugasaurs. It was splendid!
We loaded up our holiday trailer and left Thursday a week ago for Williams Lake where we stayed overnight at the Stampede grounds. I sat out on the patio at my sister's place in the evening and there were no mosquitoes just as had been the case a couple of weeks ago when I was in town.
On Friday we headed for the Kootenays and made it as far as Blanket Creek Provincial Park just this side of the ferry over Arrow Lake. It's one of the prettiest little Government Recreational Parks I've seen with lots of nice spots for camping, a beautiful waterfall, man made lake, beaches and more. Alas, it was Friday night, the first nice weather of the summer and all the spots were taken. We were sent to an overflow area but it looked like a bunch of young people were getting set to have a little party so we moved on to a day time parking area. It was actually neat because we had it all to ourselves with a nice line of trees on both sides so it was private and gave us a place to tie out the dogs. It was also conveniently located at the entrance of the dog walk paths.
Saturday we crossed the lake on the ferry and drove on to Silverton where my Brother-in-law has built a house on Slocan Lake. There was a delightful campground less than a block from the house so it was easy walking distance to check on dogs and the trailer while we visited. The campground hosts were terrific people and really accommodating, even going out of their way to string an extension cord to our trailer so that we could enjoy electricity.
Slocan lake is a truly beautiful lake. It's as clear as a bell, up to a 1000 feet deep, about 21 miles long, and is a really striking color. Steep hills and rock walls rear up on either side of the lake and most of the shores are only accessible by boat so it's not an overpopulated lake by any means. The day we cruised the lake on the boat it was probably 30C and the sun just beat down on us poor folk from the Chilcotin that hadn't seen either that kind of heat or the sun much this year. We even got to sit around a camp fire for two nights and though the evenings cooled down, it was still really nice and nary a bug to be found.
We crossed over on a different ferry west of Nakusp and took the back road to Kelowna on Monday. It spit rain most of the day but that was okay because we were just traveling anyway. We camped in the Wilson driveway in Kelowna (our part time summer and fall neighbours here in Nimpo) for three days and for the most part, it was really warm and the sun was shining. We even got to sit outside on their patio and they left their doors open all the time because guess what? No mosquitoes.
We pulled out Thursday for Ashcroft and camped at our part time neighbours' place there for the night. We got in late because we picked up another neighbour from Kelowna hospital that had been medivacced down earlier in the week and needed a ride home but wasn't released until late in the afternoon, so it was evening before we got to Ashcroft. Still, we got to visit and sit outside in their gazebo late into the evening with a warm breeze blowing and only the odd mosquito around. I think I counted three mosquitoes all together.
We pulled out Friday after a stop for fruits and vegetables at the local farmer's market and headed home. It was actually pretty nice driving all the way and the sun was shining when we got to Nimpo with a brisk wind blowing. It was a good thing because we had a lot of groceries and stuff to unload and at least the wind kept down the mosquitoes while we dove in and out of the house with our booty. That wasn't the case this morning.
I decided last night that I would cut the hay field that used to be a lawn this morning first thing. There was no chance of that happening. We woke up to a low, grey ceiling and a fine misting rain and mosquitoes using a battering ram on the door. It spit rain off and on most of the day and apparently that's pretty much what it's been doing ever since we left and the bugs love it!
I tried to pull radishes from my garden box today and had to put my net hat on and make sure I had my wool lumberjack shirt on over two more layers, all sprayed heavily with bug dope. I could hardly see through the net for the buzzing mosquitoes and I could only look at my spuds that need more dirt, veggies that need thinning and weeds that need pulling before I skedaddled out of there. I just hope that we get a line up of three or four days of hot weather or wind or none of those chores are going to be done. This is just ridiculous. I swear the mosquitoes are worse now than when we left and that is just not the norm. By this time in the summer they would be letting up and you could at least get outside and do some work during the day.
There's a tremendous amount of water still filling up every depression in the ground in this part of the country and with the rain, humidity and cool temperatures, it's beginning to look as though things just aren't going to get better until the weather either changes, or we start getting some hard frosts. It's just crazy out there. Unfortunately, the weather and bugs are also affecting the number of visitors coming here or that even want to stay here once they arrive, which will have an impact on the local operators this year, but I don't think there's a lot to be done about it. It is what it is and there's no controlling old Mother Nature once she gets a bee in her bonnet.
Things appear to be back to normal on the Bella Coola Hill. I haven't been informed of any new road closures since we've been home so the hill must have stabilized a bit with less rain coming down.
We did notice that most of the rivers and creeks this side of Sheep Creek seem to be subsiding somewhat, including the Fraser River. The Chilko River is back to its pretty icy green color and the Kliniklini and McClinchy are no longer muddy. Creeks are no longer flowing over the highway and things seem to be getting back to normal, although all meadows and ponds are still full to the brim with water. It's going to be a tough year for ranchers depending on swamp hay to feed their cows through winter. Most of the swamps are nowhere near dry enough for haying now or even a month from now. That's not a good thing. Flooding and hot weather have damaged hay crops in the prairies so hay will be at a premium this winter, especially if hay in BC can't be put up because of the rain.
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last month's blog at July Week Two..

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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Waterfall at Blanket Creek Provincial Park.
Green frothing waterfall rushes through a cut in the rock.
Steep hills lead down to the lake's edge.
Waterfall in the Kootenays is like a bride's veil.
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