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Wilderness Adventures - June, Week 1/2014

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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14/06/2014 12:30 PM

Good Spring Weather

It has been an inordinately long time since I wrote a blog and every day I think about it, waiting for rainy weather so that I can’t go outside. But every day before we left for a few days last week was perfect for working and every day since we’ve returned has been beautiful with few bugs and lots of sunshine, not to mention pretty decent temperatures. Yesterday it was at least 22.6C or 73F at one point when I stopped into the house but it may have been warmer.
I’m not sure how it is we’ve been so lucky with the weather since long range forecasters and the almanac insisted that we were going to have a long, cold, wet spring and then a hot summer but that hasn’t really been the case in the past two weeks. We’ve gotten very little in the way of rain since those big boomers and that hail storm when I wrote the last blog and quite a bit of sunshine, mixed with cloud, of course. It hasn't been overly breezy and night time temperatures have been really warm. None of this explains why we have few mosquitoes so far. They’re coming. Oh yeah, they are definitely coming, but they haven’t gotten beyond being able to deal with them so far. In fact, it’s only in cooler shaded spots or in damp areas that I’ve seen many of them, but we haven’t been out in the evening. It could be that they are much worse then. They started to get pretty nasty about the May long weekend when the bigger slow mozzies came out but then we had a couple of nights of good hard frosts and that seemed to knock them back a bit. Now it’s the small fast ones that have started to come out and their bite is way nastier.
For the last two mornings I’ve put on bug dope before going for my walk but I’ve seen few mosquitoes in the back woods other than a couple on the dog’s nose. This morning was different and I hadn’t gone far before Holeee! I was spraying top to bottom and walking fast at the same time, but it was also overcast and spitting rain just before I got back so that might have brought the buggers out as well. I expect that in another week it will probably be pretty miserable outside but I’m hoping to get more projects done before that happens.
At least with this sun and some warmer temperatures, things have finally begun to green up and grow. The aspen trees have filled out in their bright spring green and my perennials have finally decided to get a move on. The lawn is starting to look much better and winter killed spots are slowly recovering, although I’ll probably have to reseed where mice ate the roots down to nothing in parts of the new lawn. My rock garden is starting to bloom with prairie crocus and basket of gold and even a few of the bearded iris has decided to pop.
I bought some plants down in Kelowna that I have been wanting to try in our zone and finished a new 40 by 40 foot perennial garden to put them into. I also have to move a bunch of old established plants from their spot where I hope to put the new outdoor room to the new perennial garden or somewhere nearby. Unfortunately, some of them have roots that go to China and it’s getting late in the season to move plants that size. Cloudy days like this would be ideal for transplanting but my face near the dirt and mosquitoes don't go together well at all. Which is why I’m in here procrastinating and writing a blog.
Yesterday I nearly finished a project building a wall along the front of our trailer shed in which to store bikes, rototiller, tires, lawn mowers and where our scaffolding is already hanging. All I need now is three more sheets of plywood to complete the job but I’ll have to wait until Andy goes to Williams Lake with the one ton. Which leaves the perennial bed. Hmmm. Maybe the sun will start shining…..
Last week we drove down to Mission in the Lower Mainland with our old Award holiday trailer to a vintage trailer meet. First of all, if you’ve never seen an Award then you haven’t seen odd. Actually, when we bought it in 2006 second hand from a friend to go to Alaska, we didn’t think it odd at all. It wasn’t until many miles and numerous people that asked to step inside it or made a cranking motion with their hand and had a question on their face when we passed them in the street with our RV that we realized our trailer was considered an oddity.
Our trailer is 30 feet long but very, very low to the ground with a rounded, streamlined front and top. It looks kind of like a bullet except that it’s white. Unlike the great walls of China on wheels that we pass on the highway, this trailer has no ‘basement’, that massive storage space underneath most modern RV’s that cause them to sit so high in the air. The result is that in comparison, our trailer looks like you might have to wind it up on top like an Alaskan camper or camper van to get the height required to stand in it, when in fact my 6’ 8” tall nephew can stand up in it quite comfortably.
Because we are so low to the ground, our trailer looks like a little midget parked among all the ‘walls’ in an RV park when we go travelling even though 30 feet is quite a respectable length for any RV. So when we arrived at the vintage trailer meet at the Son’s of Norway campground, WE were the ones to look like a traveling wall and in fact, other than an Airstream of equal length, we were the largest trailer there. It was really embarrassing because from being a little wiener trailer where we camped the night before among the big boys, we were suddenly the largest in the park and looked downright ostentatious next to the group of little Bolers parked nearby. In fact, even having a toilet and shower put us out of the league of most of the trailers there much less having a separate bedroom and two big easy chairs at the front. Like I said, an embarrassment of riches. So when the open house on Saturday required you to throw open your door and let people see what the inside of your trailer looked like I was a little hesitant. We didn’t really qualify as a vintage trailer being one year short of the 25 year rule, but the trailer is just rare enough and strange enough that people actually did want to peek inside it.
Unlike the numerous other trailer owners in the park, we have done nothing to our trailer except to add the easy chairs from the house, but the work done on many of the vintage trailers is nothing short of amazing from sprucing up the original design to a complete tear down and renovation of many of the different ages and styles of trailers there. In fact we were only there to see what others had done with their old trailers because we’ve acquired a 1964 trailer with an awkward layout for camping around the Chilcotin, and I wanted to get some ideas on what could be done with ours.
I was flabbergasted by many of the ingenious, space saving ideas by owners of many of the trailers but I was even more impressed by some of the really old trailers that had simply been rebuilt and refinished by the owners to the trailers’ original condition, taking years of work and fine woodworking.
One of the most interesting trailers was a 1948 Aero Flite Falcon that looks like an airplane with a mohawk. It had gorgeous aluminum and woodwork on the entire inside completely redone to specs of the original trailer. It took the owner three years just to do that and the trailer is 66 years old. Can you imagine?
It was impossible to pick a favourite, or even to tour all of the trailers in the three hours we had to do so, but it was loads of fun.
It also made me realize that you could spend a pile of money on a project like that and I’m not sure that I want to. I had in mind many things that we could do with our old find to fix it up even before going to this meet that would easily have made it worthy for such a show. But in the end, this vintage meet made me realize that all we really wanted the trailer for was to bang around the back country here in the Chilcotin where we can’t take our odd low riding Award. After we’re done with it, then I think it’s obvious we can find a good home for it with someone that wants to put the effort into fixing it up like those folks at the meet. At least it won’t have to go to the dump.
The very best part of this trailer meet was just being there in an atmosphere like that of the old days when everyone was outside of their trailer sitting in chairs, visiting from trailer to trailer, with children zooming among campers with their bikes, playing baseball or throwing a football, and nearly everyone with a dog. There was cocktail hour on Friday and a potluck on Saturday night where everyone brought food, breakfast and a large campfire for everyone to sit around in the evening. I can’t remember seeing a trailer park or campground that looked like that in years!
When we pull into an RV park or campground we get unhooked, take the dogs for a walk, and Andy likes to speak to folks as he goes. Some answer back and sometimes you have a conversation but for the most part…..
Normally we watch the huge fifth wheels or motor homes pull in, get parked, down come the jacks, out comes a popout or two, you’ll hear the whir of the satellite dish, blinds come down, a rug goes out at the base of the step, and other than a wiener dog in the window that needs to be taken for a short walk now and again, you might not see the owners of the RV again until they get ready to leave. It isn’t always that bad but nearly so. Yes, the odd bunch that might be traveling together might sit out under an awning together with happy hour drinks but even smelling barbecue is a rarity now. Not so at this trailer meet! Many of the folks wouldn’t have been having supper or breakfast if they hadn’t had a gas stove or barbecue sitting out on a fold up table. And just by nature of having no bathroom you’re bound to meet people on the way to the central washroom or showers or kitchen to clean up your dishes and dump your water. It was much like when I was a kid when a blackened coffeepot went on the fire in the morning and cast iron skillets were brought out for cooking breakfast and dinner. You lived outside all day and only climbed into your tent or trailer to sleep or get in out of a downpour. I’ve camped and hunted the same way for many years since but usually in solitary out of the way places and it wasn’t until the last few years when we’ve gone traveling with the trailer that I’ve realized how isolated people have truly become, even in a crowded RV park, or Provincial or State campground.
I suppose it’s even worse now in many campgrounds with WiFi, cell phones and texting but I have to say, I didn’t see any sign of that at the vintage meet. Instead I saw ladies having fun dressed in vintage 60’s clothing, silk sheaths and high heels, sporting teased and pouffy hair, while many of the guys leaned over the fenders and peered under the hoods of glossy painted vintage cars that had dragged the vintage trailers there in the first place. The kids pelting around on bikes were polite and energetic and I didn’t see a cell phone in the hands of a single one the entire weekend. Amazing! And talk about social! Those kids knew exactly how to act and respond around adults, little adults themselves. I was impressed, and I don’t even like kids. Maybe I just don’t like the ‘new’ kids that can barely raise their eyes from their phones or their games and acknowledge the existence of anything outside their four inches of flat screened world. Good luck to them in their future where they will have missed out on the delights of worms and mud and bugs and puddles, exploration and competition and dirt and fun, and most importantly, direct interaction with other people of all ages.
Whoops! Now I've gotten maudlin and on top of that, I’ve written a book which will make Andy very unhappy because it will take him more than a moment to read it.
In any case, if this gathering that we attended is any example, I can highly recommend a vintage trailer meet for anyone of any age that likes to be around people. Sometimes you don’t know that you’ve missed something until you find it again, and I haven’t seen this kind of camping social interaction in many years. It was certainly fun!
I'll cover our interesting little route home on the next blog. It's worth seeing!

Last month's blog is at May Week Three.

Anahim 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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Vintage trailer interior done in red.
Vintage vehicles and trailers.
Bright orange vintage vehicle with orange trailer.
Vintage truck painted bright yellow.
Bright silver trailer from 1948.
Silver and black checkerboard on the front of a 60s vintage trailer.
Several Airstreams line up on the green.
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