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Wilderness Adventures - June, Week One/2008

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' about the Lakesounds just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.


05/06/2008 10:59 PM

Events And Meetings

I don't have a lot of time tonight for an article, but I will pass on some local information for anyone that wants to know what's happening. Tomorrow there is an Annual General Meeting for the West Chilcotin Tourism Association at the Nimpo Lake Hall starting just after 1:00. Aside from the usual president's report, financial report and marketing update, there are guest presentations about the Anahim Lake Round Table, from Miriam about the Cariboo Tourist Association, Bella Coola Tourist Association and one from yours truly on the new website. Which may or may not happen because we don't know if we can get the information off of my lap top up onto a screen in the hall. But it's okay if we can't. I can bull tango my way through it...I think. There's also a Tourism Plan presentation and an Ads and Brochures workshop as well as lots of coffee breaks and dinner if you can go by the agenda. So come on out and support your local tourism association if you've any involvement in the community on that score.
With regards to more fun stuff:
Tatla Lake is holding its 52 Annual Gymkhana on June 21 and 22nd featuring a parade, (prizes for best costume) the gymkhana both days and Cowboy Church on Sunday. All age categories, prizes and cash draws, a concession with a chili dinner on Saturday and there's lots of free camping available. And get this. There is a helicopter ride raffle Saturday and Sunday with a free raffle ticket with your gate fee each day. Seeing as how the information came from Audrey down at White Saddle, I expect White Saddle Air Services is sponsoring that one. Way to go guys! For more information you can call Selma at (250) 476-1123.
We're looking for volunteers for Sunday to help clean the floor in the Hall in preparation for painting. If you're into helping with either the scrubbing or the painting, call Andy at 742-3724.
Nothing much else to report other than it's been another dreary, overcast day with rain this time, and lots of it. We've accumulated yet another inch of the wet stuff and the temps have been really chilly. But at least we were warmer than Vanvouver. Since it looks like frost for us tonight I had to do the cover the plants thing tonight.
Okay, that's it. I got pretty short notice to do a bunch of stuff for the AGM tomorrow as well as taking care of another client today so I'm off to finish up. There's no time to put up a new pic of the day. Sorry about that folks. Have a good one!

04/06/2008 6:38 PM

Just Another Day

Yet another ho hum day in the Chilcotin, although we did have a little more sun today than yesterday. But not enough to do a slow roast on the pesky flying critters, unfortunately. Today the black flies came out to join the mozzies in force, so a walk on the back trail became more of a half run. Even walking out on the road was not pleasant. Mind you, it doesn't help when two out of three of our dogs are coal black and all were wet. Talk about walking bug magnets!
The temperature managed to struggle up to 15 or about 60 degrees today, but it was pretty muggy. I suppose it was just as well that it wasn't a hot, sunny day since I was trying to transplant some vegetable plants into the garden and get them out of my front window. Finally I can see the lake and the mountains again without having to peer through the runaway foliage of tomato and cucumber plants.
We've rigged up a half assed cold frame to go over the veggies outside, so now we'll see how it works. Since our nine guaranteed frost free days a year are not consecutive in the Chilcotin, the plastic covering is almost a must, at least until that elusive greenhouse gets built, which probably won't be until this fall. I look forward to the experiment, in any case.
The new pup is settling in fairly well so far. Our old Mocha is not particularly pleased with the new invader since she's adept at nipping our Lab on the behind before she can react. The cats aren't overly impressed with the new addition either, but I figure everyone will get used to her eventually.
I see that Obama has finally been declared the probable Democratic nominee in the States and I'm pleased. I think that he has carried himself in a very classy, very dignified manner throughout the primaries, refraining from mud slinging, low blows, and crowing. I won't express my opinion of Clinton since I'm sure lots of people like her, but I don't feel that she ran as a clean a run as she could have. Normally, I would be a Republican but as is the case with many Americans, I think that the fanatical religious right has gained way too much control over the US government and it's to the point of being scary. Another Republican term will take us back to the days of witch burning and the Puritans. McCain is probably the best chance the Republicans have of getting back in again because he is a moderate, but whether he has the courage to stick to his guns and keep them from forcing a fanatical right evangelical running mate on him has yet to be seen. I fear that if they succeed, and he becomes president, he probably won't live long. On the other hand, the same might be said if Clinton is forced on Obama as his running mate. I hope everyone's Secret Service guys are up to snuff this coming year. It might be the return of the old Wild West for a while.
Regardless of who takes the Presidency this fall, they're in for a real shocker in January when they take over. Heaven help whoever gets in because they're going to be handed a bum steer in the form of a shocking debt load, failing economy, and of course, the Iraq war. And it will all be blamed on them. Not on the past presidents, but on the future, because that's just the nature of the beast. Right now I suspect the Republicans have been hanging on by the skin of their teeth trying to make the books look as pretty as possible until after the election. But I don't think the rose colored glasses can possibly stay on after that. I think that the true state of the economy will come out then. Heaven help us all because we'll be dragged down too.
We were watching what was happening over in Oshawa on the news tonight. Talk about bum steers! The union for the car manufacturers gives in, takes cuts, leaves millions on the table in exchange for job security, only to be told two weeks later that four plants will shut down and 2600 jobs will be lost. Apparently because GM is moving their manufacturing plants to Mexico. And why did they screw the workers out of a higher wage and the job security? Well, they say that two weeks ago they didn't realize that fuel prices were going to go up and that trucks and SUV's weren't selling and that their sales were down over 35% in the past year.
Yeah, right.
Some smart guy in Detroit said, "Let's get them down as low as we can in exchange for the job security promise so that we can save ourselves as much money as possible in the next year. As soon as the deal is signed, we pull the pin. There's nothing they can do about it." So much for honor among thieves.
So here's another thought. Kind of like the paper bag one. Why would people buy trucks and SUV's when we've all known for some time that fuel prices were going to go up a hell of a lot? We're back to the same old thing. History repeats itself, but no one ever learns.
When fuel prices went up back in the seventies, the Asians were quick to slap cheap little vehicles on the market that were more affordable to drive than the big honking vehicles that Detroit was producing. It allowed the Asians to enter the North American car market and has since taken a lot of market share away from the big three in the past thirty years.
Enter the last decade of the last century, and the first decade of the new millennium, and what has Detroit been building? Honking big gas hogs. Big trucks and big SUV's and everyone has to have one. The mom with a family can't drive an economical van anymore. Noooo.....she wouldn't be the coolest mom around, would she? Nope. Gotta have a honking big SUV that's lucky to get 13 miles to the gallon and her husband has to get one too. Even though they live in the city and drive in the city and need four wheel drive like they need a hole in the head....they've just gotta have it! And who sold that idea to the public? The car manufacturers and the oil companies and the government went right along with it.
For a few years now I've been thinking about getting a new vehicle and have been waiting patiently for someone to produce a decent vehicle that was easy on fuel. I believe it's possible. It just hasn't suited the car manufacturers to really work at researching and producing such a thing. And it won't happen until fuel prices are so high, and the collective public outcry so loud, that the manufacturers are forced to build something economical that can compete with foreign manufacturers and that won't bankrupt people every time they get into their vehicle.
Now that green has become the new, hot word in our vocabulary, I think the North American governments feel it's in their best interest to let fuel prices rise, and not force manufacturers to be more responsible in the kind of vehicles they produce. Higher fuel prices may force more people to use public transit. I'm all for that except that we don't have public transit out here. And for those that don't use it or don't have it, they're still forced to drive gas guzzling vehicles.
Like the paper shopping bag, a fuel efficient vehicle is not a new idea. These idiots don't even have to be inventive or even forward thinking. All they had to do is look at history and beat the other car manufacturers to the punch. Develop and be prepared to build a line of smaller, fuel efficient vehicles that people would want to buy in the place of big trucks and SUV's when gas went up. But as with most big business today, it's all about greed and it's all about money.
There's no such thing as taking corporate responsibility anymore, if there ever was. Rather than build smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles, the morons at GM and other vehicle manufacturers would rather move their plants to Mexico to save their bottom line. Hey, why not move more manufacturing out of Canada and the US? Most of it's gone to China or India anyway so why not contribute to the US's ailing economy?
It must make sense to somebody because it sure as hell doesn't to me!

03/06/2008 7:54 PM

The New Dog

So....We got a new dog today. Actually, it's not that new because it's already a few months old. Yeah, I know. Ha, ha. That's the best I can do for a joke today because I'm just beat. We were hoping to wear the little worm out going for a good long walk but it didn't work. I'm not a fan of having three dogs but there actually is a method to my madness. Mocha is the very best of watch dogs with lots of guts and very possessive of her property when we're gone. And she's also really well mannered and reasonably well trained. River on the other hand, may look like a Rottweiler and like he would be a great watch dog, but I'm pretty sure he would trade in a set of house keys for a dog treat or a belly scratch any day. I've also never figured him for a particularly dominant dog either, at least until today. He was finally the one that had to put this pup in its place because poor Mocha had had about enough of it. Oh, and the new dog's name is also Mocha, which provides a lot of challenges, especially when training, disciplining, and approving of behavior. We're trying to change the dog's name of course, but when one Mocha is already in existence....
As you've probably gathered by now, we never seem to be able to do anything simply.
A friend of ours ended up with the stray pup and while she hoped it would work out for her family, it hasn't. When we first met the pup, we were both really impressed with her behavior, and so offered to take her if she didn't work out for our friend. One person suggested to our friend that the dog may be a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog and while research on the Internet showed a very strong resemblance, she's just as likely to be an Indian dog, possibly crossed somehow with someone's pure bred hound.
Since our black lab is getting older, I've been thinking we should get a younger dog that could learn from her, hopefully without it being too tortuous a process for our old Mocha. I guess we'll see how trying the whole ordeal is going to be, and how well the cats get on with the new dog. It definitely won't be long for this world, or certainly not in our yard, if it turns out to be a cat killer. Wish us luck. I expect we'll need it!
It spent most of the day overcast and trying to drizzle, although it is sunny out this evening. Kind of, anyway. I was trying to plant a chunk of rhubarb between rain showers that I got from Mary at the other end of the lake and figured a sunny moment after supper might be just perfect. And it was. The sun was shining and it was misting down rain at the same time. Only in the Chilcotin.....
It's pretty darn chilly here as well as throughout the rest of British Columbia, and it looks as though most everyone is getting rain from central BC south to the lower mainland. It also looks like it's going to be that way for awhile. It's good to get the rain but it sure would be nice if it got 'er done and then went back to the sun shining, rather than this long drawn out stuff. But June is never a great month and is almost always iffy weather wise.
We saw something on the news last night that really got to me. They were interviewing people about how China has beat Canada to the punch regarding banning plastic grocery store bags and forcing people to purchase their bags or bring their own. The greenies on the news were talking about how we really need to have an alternative to plastic grocery bags, and the politicians were talking about how Vanvouver was seriously considering such a ban, but that they really had to find a viable alternative.
Excuse me?
Am I missing something here?
We have millions of acres of red and dead trees throughout BC that are going to fall down in the next seven years, at which time they will no longer be viable for anything, whether as lumber or brown paper bags.
Now I can see the argument that environmentalists had years ago. Stop making paper grocery bags and save a tree. Okay, fine. Probably no one, including yours truly, ever realized what a monster the plastic bag would become. Filling our landfills, not breaking down, even though the manufacturers have now made them so thin that they no longer adequately serve the purpose for which they are made, and plastering every tree near a landfill and for miles around. Nothing says progress like a white plastic bag caught on a ranch style fence out in the boonies. I bet the tourists just love it. I know I sure as heck don't! So much for 'pristine' wilderness.
Right now we have lumber mills and pulp and paper mills shutting down all over BC with over 20,000 jobs lost so far. Since housing tanked in the US and our dollar has come in at par, we've lost a substantial market for our wood products to the south. As a result, all those beetle killed trees out there are not being logged, preventing natural reforestation or silviculture, and raising a serious forest fire threat. No logging, no jobs, more dead trees. And the politicians can't find an alternative to plastic shopping bags? Is everyone that ever used a brown paper grocery bag dead already? Have we all forgotten that they ever existed?
It's funny, but I learned years ago in marketing that a successful business is one that finds a product that people need. Where there's a need, there will be a demand. So, you fill that demand, your customers are happy and you're happy because you're making money. Apparently, no one has thought of applying that concept to the grocery bag. And you know? You don't even have to think up something new. It's been done before. Brown paper grocery bags. What a profound idea!
Even if supplying brown grocery bags to all of Canada only kept one mill open and employed only 200 people, I can't see it being anything but a win, win situation. But if as suggested on TV, that the Chinese go through billions of plastic shopping bags in a day, then surely they would buy our brown paper shopping bags made out of beetle killed pine. Why not? Everything we buy is made in China. We should be able to sell something back to them. So how come someone else hasn't thought of this instead of just continuing to close the doors on our mills and our manufacturing? I don't know but I sure have to wonder why our idiots for politicians are getting any kind of pay because apparently they misplaced their brains years ago. "We're still looking for an alternative to the plastic bag.".....sheesh.....
02/06/2008 9:57 AM

Back in The Chilcotin

Happy first week in June, folks! We just returned Saturday night from Saskatchewan on a meat run and there was just too much stuff to catch up on yesterday to write.
I have friends in Saskatchewan that raise a beef and some good home grown roasting chickens for us every two years that we go back to pick up, which gives me the opportunity to visit my old friends and neighbours while I'm there.
This trip was a little different in that we met my best friend and her partner in Edmonton because she's no longer in Saskatchewan. Like many people throughout Canada, she's felt the pull of Fort McMurray and its vibrant new economy with good job opportunities and higher wages. It goes without saying that the cost of living is much higher and all new boom towns have growing pains, but still, I can see the appeal and excitement. I'm sure there's some comparison to the old gold rush days and were I not completely thrilled with where I live, I too would be heading to the new Klondike.
Canada still hasn't yet seen the fall of the housing market and onset of recession and although there's no question in my mind that she will, you wouldn't know it by traveling across a couple of provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan. Every whistle stop and city in Alberta that we passed on the Yellowhead Highway have endless building projects underway. Edmonton is expanding incredibly, as are Hinton and Edson. Saskatoon's boom is breathtaking and I can't believe the changes in just the two years since we were last there. Even the ancient little town near my old farm has seen some change, and that's something! Trying to get those people to progress into something even resembling the 20th century was like trying to roll molasses uphill. There's a positive atmosphere in the air now, though, and I know that a lot of people have hope for the new government of Saskatchewan. The province is rich in resources but the socialist government her people have been stuck with for the past many years kept them locked up tight, preferring to see the population fall into economic torpor with the majority, including farmers, actually falling below the poverty level set for the rest of the country. There's a new energy in the province now and I'm sorely glad to see it.
It was a real delight to see green leaves on the trees after we left our area over a week ago, but the rest of the west also suffered a late spring. Seeding in Alberta and Saskatchewan is way behind schedule because it's just been too cold. We did see a few tractors out in the fields seeding on the way but we saw many on the way back. After they had a few days of warm weather, the soil dried out and warmed up, the farmers were going hell bent for election.
Sadly, we noted that the mountain pine beetle is spreading east at a rapid rate. From Little Fort, through Blue River, and right through the park at Jasper, you could see green trees turning orange. They'll be red by midsummer and their epidemic has only just begun. Once you get on the other side of the park into Alberta there isn't as much evidence of the beetle, but you can see it here and there. I know that the government there was talking a while back of doing a huge controlled back burn to stop the beetle but there's no sign of it yet. I would suggest that if they are going to do it, they do so quickly or the beetle will be all across Canada in just a few short years.
We noticed on the way out that the Fraser River was pretty high and the North Thompson definitely was but the real surprise was in coming back. There was a warm spell while we were gone and the Thompson looks to be on the verge of overflowing her banks. She's in the trees in some places and there are quite a few freshly ripped out trees rolling down the river. The Fraser too was even higher than it had been on our way out. At Sheep Creek bridge the old bridge abutments were nearly under water and the river was literally boiling over the submerged rocks in the middle. Too much more warm weather and towns downstream would have cause for worry.
I always get a kick out of going over the Fraser river at about midway along her length, and then a few hundred miles later, arriving at her beginnings. Long known as a huge, slow rolling muddy river tucked at the bottom of steep sandy banks, she starts out as a beautiful little frothy blue stream on the western edge of Jasper National Park on the eastern edge of British Columbia. Ironically, at that point, the Fraser River, which barely qualifies as a river, and the North Thompson River, are only a few miles apart on the east side of the Columbia Mountains. But the Fraser meanders far north and then back down to the south, this time on the west side of the mountains, covering over half the province in its length, and picking up tributaries along the way. At Kamloops, the North Thompson and the South Thompson join and continue on to Lytton, where they and the now mighty Fraser meet to form the massive giant it is by the time it reaches the lower mainland. So it stands to reason that if all these rivers are at high water and getting higher, and we get warm weather, the shit's probably going to hit the fan downstream. Fortunately for those folks, there's a cooling trend again for about a week so they might dodge the bullet yet.
The best part about being away is coming home. The floatplanes are in good form and there's nothing like listening to the loons. Although we were trying to outrun hot weather coming home with our load of meat, it was overcast yesterday with temperatures actually cooler in the afternoon than in the morning. It misted all night and wasn't much above 45 degrees this morning. In fact we had to start a fire last night because it was so damp and chilly. According to the weather forecasters, this is the kind of weather we'll see for the rest of the week. Which is okay I guess because the ground was pretty dry, but the bugs are liking it way too much!
The Nimpo Lake, Anahim Lake annual canoe races were on the weekend that we were gone so I don't know who won, but I'll check around and see if I can find out. I imagine it was a bit of a hair raising race with high water levels, lots of flotsam and probably quite a few beaver dams to portage over.
It's the start of a new month, and so the start of a new week. You can find articles from before we left at May Week Three.

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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!
Blue and white floatplane in front of island.
 
Cattle on a green meadow.
 
Sleeping bull elk in velvet.
 
Craggy Mount Robson.
 
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