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Wilderness Adventures - June, Week 3/2008

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.


21/06/2008 9:02 PM

The Dance

Hi everyone. I know I missed yesterday but it was my Birthday and I was kind of running around. Not that what we were doing yesterday evening, when I normally write, was all that important. But as part of my Birthday, my partner kindly agreed to take me to Cora's Wild Trout Coffee Company and Store over at Wilderness Rim for a to-die for Licorice flavored ice cream cone.
Now there's licorice, and there's licorice. Many specialty places that offer that flavor of ice cream offer a grayish colored mass that kind of tastes like licorice. Not so Cora's ice cream! Black as the Ace of Spades and packed with flavor, this is a modern mother's nightmare. If you have any white furniture at all, you do not want your kids to know this stuff even exists! Although I might not be as messy as the average six year old, I did manage to dye the ends of both of my braids black while eating my cone. I'm not quite sure how I did that, but my blonde locks ended up a dingy grey. That was after I rinsed them! Oh yeah, and no matter what, you are going to end up with a black ring around your mouth. So heaven help the mom's with kids that like licorice.
Andy says the chocolate is pretty heavenly too because the quality of ice cream is so good, but I just can't tear myself away from the licorice long enough to try another flavor. Anyway, that's why you didn't get a story was because we decided we should go for a drive and look for bears while eating our cones, and then we decided to drop down to the other end of Nimpo Lake to pick up some anti-mosquito stuff that you soak your clothes in, and then, one thing led to another, and I wasted the whole evening!
Today I wanted to take a close friend to lunch for her birthday which of course, was today. Our neighbour's birthday was the day before mine, and we had planned to go out to Charlotte Lake to help celebrate yet another friend's birthday today had we not just ended up with too much on our plate. And, my old boss's birthday is tomorrow. So many people celebrate their birthdays right around this time that you have to wonder just exactly what caused all of our mothers to do the hanky panky at the same time over a wide spread of years. I'm darned if I can figure it out!
We attended the Variety Show that Marie put on with her dancers at the community hall tonight. There was an excellent turnout with standing room only and that's just a testament to how good the show was. Only an hour long, it featured kids and teenagers that Marie teaches dance to from 100 Mile, Alexis Creek, Tatla Lake, Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake, divided up into fifteen dance numbers from jazz, tap, and ballet to just plain free form. Andy was absolutely blown away at how well these kids did. I think just about everyone was. You have to remember, we don't see a lot 'cultural' events in the Chilcotin. They did just a remarkable job and it was a lot of fun to watch. There's a lot of dedication there too when you consider the time and effort involved over the year and the distances these kids had to travel to put a show on. Pretty cool! Sadly, I took my little camera instead of the big one and the lighting was so low, that none of my pictures turned out very well at all.
Speaking of cool...
We've warmed up a bit in the last couple of days with it actually getting up to around 20C or 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and staying well above freezing at night, but it's still not great out. There's mixed cloud and sun with anything from a breeze to gale force winds, and it's just not nice. If you wake up early, early in the morning the sky is completely clear and it looks like it's going to be a glorious day. Then, the clouds move in. It seems we're stuck with one low pressure system after another spiraling in, sometimes from the Pacific, sometimes from the south. That darn jet stream just will not move north and bring us better weather. Not that I care to have California's 48C or 118 degree heat right now but I wouldn't mind a piece of it.
The flooding in the Midwest looks like it's going to just get worse and worse as the Mississippi breaks through one levee after another. You know, I remember my Dad saying years ago that if local government in the states didn't prevent continued development on the Mississippi flood plains, some day there was going to be a major flood that would take out hundreds, if not thousands of homes. Now there is going to be a huge cost in clean up and repair. Who pays? Everyone. And you can bet the insurance companies throughout North America will be raising the rates on all of us, yet again.
It's too bad good old fashioned US of A ingenuity hasn't come to the fore yet. You would think someone could figure out how to divert all that water from the Midwest when they need to, to states like California when they need to. Flooding on one side of the country and massive forest fires on the other. They need to change it up a bit down there...:-)

19/06/2008 10:06 PM

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

Congratulate me folks. As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. For some silly reason I had it in my head that this was Friday night so no point in getting in a big hurry to write a blog. I should have known better since I know full well that tomorrow is Friday since it's a once a year B day I prefer not to recognize...it just slipped my mind. The first sign of getting old, I guess.
I've also been tracking a malicious bot on one of my sites. Not this one, thankfully, but on my portfolio site. I had wondered why I was suddenly getting a whole bunch of returned mail for my main email address for that site, especially since apparently I sent mail to people I don't even know. Usually that's the first sign that your email has been hijacked, but when I checked my site, it appears that it has been too. A nasty little bot listed as malicious on a Trusted informational site. I've just spent several hours this evening doing research trying to figure out how to block the thing, in addition to hitting informational forums. With any luck, someone will post an answer by tomorrow.
You know, it's bad enough that we've malicious people in the real world committing crimes against innocent people, but to have to put up with it in the virtual world too....sometimes you don't know whether to give up or fight back. Fighting back in the real world is pretty easy, especially in this country where defending your family and home is expected. Fighting back in the virtual world is a whole different matter, first to find or recognize that there is a problem, and then it requires hours of exhausting research to figure out how to combat it. Those folks in covered wagons crossing the prairies for months on end to homestead in a new part of the country a century ago might have thought they had it hard. But to be honest, in order to live in the pre-Internet era, I would trade them places at the drop of a hat!
We had another sorry day weather wise today. It was bitterly cold with the wind and not much for sun. At least it wasn't too bad for bugs, unless you got into a spot sheltered from the wind. Then watch out!
I watched the thermometer drop at a pretty good rate last night until it was only one degree above freezing. I figured I had better go out and cover my poor, pathetic looking vegetable plants. They alternate between shivering in the open and sunburning under the plastic. All the beautiful cucumber plants that I had that were producing little cucumbers have given up the ghost. They're long since dead. The tomato plants are hanging in there, but only by the skin of their teeth. Thank heavens for hardy perennials! Even some of the plants and shrubs I thought I lost in that thaw/freeze cycle we saw this spring are making a comeback. Mostly from the root, but hey, at least they're trying!
You've got to love that good old fashioned Prairie stock the best. I've got a double peony that started out with only one flower the second year I planted her, but she'll be loaded this year. The same goes for some others that came back from Saskatchewan dug up in pieces from a friend's yard. They had barely established themselves when I dug them up and transplanted them yet again last spring. They must like their new digs though because some are loaded with flower buds already.
I've noticed something this year. Our loons on Nimpo Lake seem a lot quieter than I ever recall them being before. For as long as I remember, at around eleven every night they would set up a laugh fest all up and down the lake, calling back and forth to each other for several minutes. I haven't heard them do that since the spring, and then not very much. I wonder if there's too many eagles on the lake now and it's too dangerous for the loons to call? Or is our water changing and we have fewer loons? I know that there are still a lot of people that go racing too near shore with too big a boat during the time that eggs or baby loons are in the nests. They get wiped out pretty quickly if the resulting wake is too high. Then again, too many cold, rainy springs and early summers in a row might be to blame as well.
I don't know what the weather is supposed to bring in the next few days. I've about given up on watching the forecasts. It was spitting rain a bit here again today but I swear it looked like snow over the Itcha Ilgatchuz Mountains today. We'll know tomorrow if there's fresh white stuff up there.
Heidy sent me some more remarkable pictures today so I'll post one on the pic of the day. And don't forget Marie's dancers on Saturday night. She's hoping for a good turnout so all you locals....come out and support your local tap, jazz and ballet dancer!

18/06/2008 8:00 PM

Chilly Hump Day

I suppose it's 'hump day' for all you folks that have to hold down a 9 to 5. If you were at work, don't worry, you didn't miss a thing! It's still pretty chilly here in the Chilcotin, although the sun did try to shine off and on today amid a cold breeze.
It rained yesterday and the night before and this morning when I got up you could see a wall of white in front of the mountains that may have been snow higher up and hail lower down. The clouds have cleared away this evening and one of the really high mountains looks like it has fresh snow on it.
Our June just refuses to warm up. We had to start a fire in the house again last night and probably will have to tonight as well. It's not shorts and tee shirt weather, that's for sure! I suppose the upside is that it's one less month that we have to worry about forest fire danger. Of course as Andy says, we really should stop complaining about the weather compared to what the rest of North America is getting. If folks aren't under flood waters, they're facing tornados and forest fires. But it's in the nature of the average Canadian to complain about the weather. Besides, can't be all bad. There have still been people out on Nimpo Lake fishing.
I just have a couple of things to point out for the day. The kids that belong to Steppin Out West dance academy will be performing their dance routines in a Variety Show at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall this coming Saturday at 7:00 pm.
And the other is that I would like to welcome the Atnarko Retreat Bed and Breakfast on board at this web site. Heidy Lenz and Daniel Fiechter operate the only B&B on Charlotte Lake but they also have a beautiful, large cabin, the first built on the lake fifty years ago that they let out. You can take your own meals or take them with your hosts at their lodge, and I understand from friends that Heidy makes a mean cake for brunch!
Heidy was over today sharing some of her pictures with me, many of which I can use on the local tourism website that I've built for the WCTA and many that I look forward to sharing with you folks. She's got the very best picture of the cutest little black bear cubs you ever did see! I'll probably post that on the pic of the day for you folks to take a look at. Anyway, I haven't had a chance to visit their accommodations but the Atnarko Retreat looks like it will be an absolutely stunning place to visit. In addition to that, Heidy is a professional masseuse so you can have a very relaxing and enjoyable stay. Heidy is the person that has been translating this site into German. That's progressing nicely and soon I will have the link to the pages set up.
Okay, that's it for the day. Sorry about no article last night but I managed to hurt my back yesterday and after taking one look at my hard office chair, decided I wasn't going near it last night. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

16/06/2008 9:39 PM

Mike's Trip

One of the Readers of the Blog was kind enough to send some pictures and a little email about his trip up in May. The pictures on the right are Michael's and if you roll over them with your mouse, you'll see his comments.
"First, my thanks to Duncan Stewart, for providing us with cabins, food and hospitality. All were superb! My thanks to "his" Chef Richard for many, many wonderful meals, including the cooking of a most delicious rainbow trout. Which by the way measured 24" head off and baked! To his cabin staff who made our fireplaces up, a big warm thank you! Such a welcome, to come home to after a long day of fishing and riding.
Second, to Bill and Darlene at Escott Bay, for providing me with two wonderful horses and two wonderful days of riding. Hanna, their new lady wrangler, was such a treat to meet and ride with. For you men out there, a real cutie too! The rule "6 degrees of separation" is never far off. While riding Hanna asked where my wife was from? As it turned out, Hanna took her final exams etc. for her tourism courses not in Germany, her home country, not in Nimpo, not in Calgary, but in the little town of Bowden, Alberta. Right where my wife, Colleen was born and raised. I mean how many people even heard of Bowden? I think maybe the 1000 people who in the past 100 years came from or lived there.
But the highlight for me, was to ride with Bill and Colleen on our second last day up into the forest high above Nimpo on the Towdystan. We saw huge wolf tracks, bear dung galore. Plenty of other big game had wintered during the coldest part of last year. The geese and ducks were in many of the ponds, lakes, and streams as we made our way up the valley and hills. If it had not been our last real day at Nimpo we would have seriously considered riding well into the night and seen the watershed that separates the Dean river drainage system and that of the Fraser. But that's a ride for us this fall. Perhaps with Miriam, their other lovely lady wrangler.
To Darlene, a special thanks for opening up your own home, and your wonderful home cooked dinner. Again the "girls" talked and talked and talked. It was so nice to sit and watch the sun set over the lake at your home. And to Richard at the store, for good service, cheap gas and fishing licenses that actually worked this time."

With regards to the previous mention as to whether eagles land right in the water after fish. Michael weighs in with some pretty good tales from Ladner:
"Eagles get sucked under with fish all the time. Now granted it takes a good sized salmon, dog fish etc. to do it or other sea creature. (Read on). But it's done. Size, depends on the fight in the fish. But I have seen Eagles pick off many a fish in my 60 years. Just moments ago in front of my float home in Ladner a mature Eagle got a duck. Yesterday a rabbit. They have to eat too you know. But off Hornby and struggle back to shore. How did I know the fish was 10 pounds? I had just caught it. It was thrown back but stunned and the Eagle was on it like a seagull on a herring school. Bang, feet down like landing gear on a 747. With the weight of the fish, for a few seconds we thought it was going to drop or be jarred from the fish. But he doubled his efforts and made it to shore. Shore was about 200 yards.
Now my sister's 23 pound cat was another thing. Mr. or Mrs. Eagle, they live above us in a large fir tree. They pretty much patrol the beach and ocean around our cottages. One day the Eagle dropped onto my sister's large deck like a stone, and just before our eyes grabbed the cat and headed for the beach to get some air under its wings. Now this cat was no slouch when it came to eating and was 23 pounds. Well the Eagle made it about 100 yards across the beach and out over the water where it tried to turn to gain elevation back to its roost. The cat was failing in the air and its motions and weight caused the Eagle to drop the cat. and down it went into the sea. My sister raced across the beach and into the water to rescue her cat. Off to the vet she rushed. the Eagle's talons had torn free from the weight. The Eagle did not release or drop the cat.
Eagles need to "release" their talons while perched to open their talons.
I have seen Eagles swimming on the water for hundreds of yards to shore. Seen them rise from a swimming position into the air, and I have seem them dragged under never to be seen again. At Hornby one evening while out fishing off Helna Point, and with my 5 year old son, we saw two small seals in various throws of foreplay and copulation. They were obvilious to their surroundings and we rowed our 14' boat within 20 feet. All of a sudden an Eagle dropped down upon the motion on the water, and within 2 mins of struggling was gone under. There was nothing we could do to help the Eagle."
- Michael Owen

Awesome! Thanks for the pictures and emails Mike!
Our weather today doesn't even bear mention it was so bad. It was windy with some sun today, but not much. Mostly it just threatened to rain which meant the bugs were horrendous. As a result, I worked on the computer today. I was out all day yesterday doing a little of this and that, including putting together an irrigation system for my flower garden and keeping the lawn watered, while Andy and his crew of one worked at putting a second coat of paint on the community hall floor. By yesterday, I had enough of mozzies, especially after testing one section of my new irrigation system. The water mists out of the little sprinkler heads, and the bugs love it! We'll see what tomorrow brings. We really need hot weather but Vancouver got a far better day weather wise than we did today. And if we're not going to get hot weather to knock back some of the mosquitoes, then I would like a gentle rain to help our lawn along instead of these winds that carry all the moisture away, thank you very much. Wonder what the chances are of me getting what I wished for? LOL.
Last week's articles can be found at June Week Two.



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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!
Three girls in yellow dance in the Nimpo hall.
 
Dancer in Nimpo Variety show.
 
Two riders high up in the Dean River drainage.
 
Feeding a horse an apple.
 
Three men hold a trout out of Nimpo Lake.
 
Black bears in the trees.
 
Large brown bear wet in the back.
 
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