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 4/2012
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of the Day.
did a little sneak away for about ten days and didn't
get back until this past Friday night.
Much as I love this country, I couldn't wait to go again
after coming back the last time what with the mozzies
being so bad. It's surprising how much they have improved
just in the time we've been gone this round, but
unfortunately, they're still bad down in my garden where
the firepit is. When I designed my garden it was
with a couple of things in mind. I wanted to create a
calm area out of the wind off of the lake, and I wanted
to raise the plant zone by one point where possible; a
warmer microclimate where I could raise slightly less
hardy plants. I succeeded in spades and the bugs love
it! Conditions are perfect for them. Warm, moist, packed
with greenery and no wind. I couldn't have done a finer
job in making a home for them than if I had set out to
do just that so it's my fault really that I can't go down
there and weed or even enjoy my wonderful array of flowers
except from afar. As a matter of fact, I just decided
to go out and take a couple of pictures of my flowers
this fine, sunny morning but decided to move the water
hose first. I thought for a moment that, Geez,
with the sun shining down here, maybe I should come out
and do some weeding. The bugs don't seem bad at all.
Only seconds later they found me and the cat and
I both bolted for the front of the house and our mosquito
'airlock', the porch where we knock the bugs off that
come in with us, before bringing them into the house.
But at least now you can stand or sit at the back of the
house at midday in full sun and visit with company, something
not possible just three weeks ago.
I'm about at my wit's end with these buggers. Andy swears
they don't seem quite as bad at other people's properties,
but most of those are more open to the wind and many don't
have an expanse of well watered lawn. Truthfully, when
all our beetle killed pines had to come down I would never
have replaced them with lawn had I realized how much it
would attract mosquitoes. I would have turned it
into a gravel parking lot instead! In addition
to that, we've actually let the undergrowth on nearly
five acres grow unruly over the past few years, mainly
because of I like the greenery and and it provides a great
degree of privacy.
I had hoped that taking off for a few weeks during the
worst of it in summer would have solved the problem of
dealing with the bugs but that brings other problems to
the fore, not least of which is the looking after of our
plants and lawn. We've a jungle of indoor plants that
need watering once a week and while my garden is good
for a while, even if the lawn isn't watered it becomes
a hayfield by the time we get back. After three
weeks of being gone in June it took us three days and
a combination of weed eaters and lawn mowers at the highest
setting to get it knocked down to where we could actually
give it a proper mowing. Besides, I love being here in
the summer but not when I can't get outside.
To that end, we've decided on a couple of possible
solutions. Last year our friends and neighbours
purchased a bush whacker, a kind of weed eater on steroids,
that they've used to great affect around their place.
They named it Freddy Kruger and I have admired it since
first seeing it and what it can do. Andy purchased a similar
contraption this time out that has already acquired the
moniker of Freddy Junior and I look forward to decimating
our thickets of wild rose, soapberry, willows and small
My final solution is to spray. Why not? Cities all
across Canada do it to keep down the possible spread of
West Nile virus. Sadly, our population is so small
that the Government simply won't finance spraying the
region, but I can certainly do it locally. It's just that
it's a monstrous job to do it by hand carrying a two gallon
garden sprayer if not impossible, and probably ineffective.
We have an organic pesticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis
that apparently have small bacteria that attack mosquito
larvae before they can grow into adults. But you need
a thorough application every two weeks wherever there
is wet greenery, (pretty much our whole peninsula) and
as I noted before, that's impossible to achieve with a
little garden sprayer.
So we're going to start looking around for a sprayer
that will fit on the ATV. The fourwheeler won't
go many places on the property, but it can get close and
I have it in mind that if I can get a sprayer with a long
hose and wand attachment so that I can walk through the
bush and meadow without carrying a tank or pumping it
up constantly, I could probably spray the entire property
fairly efficiently within a few hours every two weeks.
It's just a matter of seeing whether such a long hose
and wand exists for that type of sprayer. Because our
property is so bushy and irregular at the shoreline, booms
won't do any good. It'll have to be a hand wand. That's
my next job is to do a little research. Man, I love the
Internet for that if nothing else!
In any case, that will be the last ditch effort.
If that doesn't work then I see us either doing a lot
of travelling in the summer, an expensive proposition
at best, or giving up on going outside for two months
in summer. I have always made it a point of refusing most
computer jobs in the summer but perhaps I should make
that my main working time. That would be sad....
Our ten days away was enjoyable, even though we didn't
go that far. We visited friends in Ashcroft for an evening
and then hied on down to Kelowna to stay with friends
and our summertime neighbours there. We had planned on
going on to Slocan Lake in the Kootenays but the timing
didn't work out for where we had expected to stay. Besides,
with all the mudslides down there, I wasn't that keen
on the idea of camping there.
But we did take our time coming back from Kelowna by a
different route which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's been
years since I went the Fraser Canyon route toward Vancouver
so when we came over by Spences Bridge, I got to see some
really different country. Desert like, but then that's
my favorite being and Arizonian and all. There was a pretty
little water fall in the rocks and an old church much
the worse for wear, and of course, the rivers.
It was pure happiness to be able to sit outside
in the Okanagan during the day or evening without
being bothered by bugs. Even while sweating while doing
some digging down in Kelowna we weren't bothered at all,
even though here that would be a dinner bell to all mosquitoes
and black flies in the area. Although with all the spraying
done in the region for the orchards, I understand that
bugs haven't been a problem for many years.
On our way out to Williams Lake two weeks ago we noted
how dry it was around Alexis Creek and east and
sure enough, we saw two major smokes just outside of town,
one at Meldrum and one that ended up being down Chimney
Valley way. Apparently we missed one that we drove
right by at the Rod and Gun Club and there were others
that we couldn't see from town. The one pillar of smoke
at Chimney Lake was pretty massive and we could see it
for over 30 miles driving south of Williams Lake that
evening. I called my sister to see what had been going
on and sure enough, they had a severe lightning storm
go through the evening before that had caused a number
Down in Kelowna we saw two major lightning storms go through
that might also have started a lot of fires if they hadn't
been accompanied by a fair amount of rain that would have
put out an oil fire much less a forest fire. We
witnessed another wild lightning storm on our way back
to Williams Lake but couldn't hear the thunder over the
sound of the truck running.
We camped for two days down at the WillIams Lake Stampede
ground attending appointments and got nailed with a massive
storm there. I spoke before of that violent storm that
hit us in Saskatchewan.... well this one was close on
its heels for power. Andy had gone to an appointment and
because of the heat, the awning was out on the trailer,
again when I started hearing thunder rumbling
to the south and west. As I counted it came closer until
on one huge flash I only got to 'one' and there was the
massive crash of thunder accompanied by that tearing zipper
sound you get from really close lightning.
I don't know if that was the same one that Andy and his
appointment receptionist experienced but she saw the lightning
strike down in the Williams Creek Canyon as they sat talking.
The heavens had already opened up where I was and
the rain came down with hurricane force. I watched
the little tree wells for the decorative shrubs fill up
with muddy water in moments, while water built up under
the trailers around me and presumably under ours where
one of the dogs had crawled to get out of the rain. The
other paced around discontentedly under the awning unable
to lay down on the grass because it was now standing in
a couple of inches of water. Finally he lay down on the
water soaked mat at the foot of the stairs giving up his
comfort as a bad job.
I had my boots and a rain coat ready to go because
I was watching the awning carefully. There was
a pretty wild wind whipping around out on the grounds
but we had parked in between two massive motor coaches
that made our laughable little 30 footer look like a pygmy
but was I ever glad for it. The wind was moving the awning
but not by very much and we discovered later that our
neighbour on our south side was also watching our awning
carefully prepared to come over and save it if necessary.
I probably would have put it up but with the truck gone
there was no protected place to put the dogs so I was
going to leave it out until the dirty last. As it was,
it stood up much better than it had in Saskatchewan.
Water was running everywhere but the storm had passed
when Andy finally got back and folks came out
of their travel trailers, motorhomes and tents, and stood
around talking about the storm, checked for damage and
picked up satellite dishes. The power had gone out for
several minutes where Andy was and his appointment had
been delayed but other than that, the storm didn't do
any damage to speak of. It sure soaked the ground, though.
I can't imagine that any forest fire still being mopped
up survived the downpour and I'm sure the forestry guys
working on them were probably grateful for the respite.
We're fortunate in that there have been enough spaced
out storms carrying rain that forestry has not put a campfire
ban on the Cariboo area yet. We are starting to
get much cooler nights now so as long as August doesn't
turn into a barn burner, we'll be able to enjoy evening
campfires with our friends and neighbours when they come
The air has been clear of smoke since we got back and
although a little cooler than it was, we're still getting
sunny days mixed with cloud. It's been hanging around
20C or a little below 68F and the nights have been very
pleasant. Last night it went down to 4C or 39 degrees
Fahrenheit. What we need is a couple of good frosts to
knock the bugs back and the rest of the summer will be
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's
blog at July
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!