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Wilderness Adventures - June, Week 4/2008

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.


30/06/2008 9:15 PM

High Heat

Hope you all had a great long weekend. I know that Canada Day isn't actually until tomorrow but I know that many people chose to take today off instead in order to extend their weekend. Most people around the province couldn't have asked for a nicer holiday weekend, although my Sister-in-law just said that stepping out the door in the Okanagan right now is like stepping into a blast furnace.
It was up to 23C or 70F by 10:30 this morning and was at 27C or 80F at one point this afternoon and is still 70 degrees right now. That's pretty toasty for this area. Our only problem has been the high overcast and we've been getting lots of it! It's hot enough to kill off some bugs if we had some sunshine to really help dry things up, but unfortunately those clouds are keeping up the humidity.
We had an adventure getting down to the dock, into the boat and away from shore this morning before getting carried away by the mozzies. Once away from shore and all the mosquitoes waved away from the boat, we had two blessed hours of fishing without being eaten alive. That's the first time in six weeks, aside from the week in Saskatchewan, that we have been outside and there's been no bugs. Not only that, but we got fish. I got three into the boat and lost two while Andy got one. None of them were huge but they all qualified as pan fry size and bigger. That means a couple to go on the grill tomorrow and two in the freezer for smoking at a later date. The lake was beautiful and nearly flat calm and all you could hear were fish splashing and plopping on the water all over the lake. There were loads of loons on the lake as well today and it may have finally been warm enough that both loons in a pair could leave their nest.
We were lucky to get an invite to supper over at our friend Heidy's and Daniel's place on Charlotte Lake. They operate Atnarko Retreat B&B on their own private bay that looks right out over the lake at the Coast Mountain Range, and those mountains seem close enough to reach out and touch. It's a beautiful spot and if you ever get a chance to go over and stay, you'll be glad you did! We certainly enjoyed the fact that there are far fewer mosquitoes there than on Nimpo. It's probably due to several reasons. They're higher, it's much drier with lots of rock and sand in the area, and the vegetation isn't nearly as thick right where they are as it is here.
There are some big thunderheads building to the East and South and I suspect Williams Lake will be getting some boomers tonight. It usually does happen in this country that you'll only get a few hot days and then the thunderheads start building and you get storms. Right now we've got a pretty solid looking black mass over our heads, but we're not likely to see rain. It certainly has created a magnificent sunset though.
Happy Canada Day to everyone tomorrow!
28/06/2008 8:38 PM

Our heat wave Cometh!

There was clear blue sky over the mountains and a high haze over us, but by early afternoon, it all cleared out and our heat wave officially started.
We got up to about 27C or 80 degrees Fahrenheit today but Williams Lake broke records at 32C or around 90F for this date. It's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow and I look forward to it. While it might be unpleasant working outside in a heat we aren't used to, it's equally unpleasant for the mosquitoes. By this afternoon, as long as you stayed in the sun, you weren't plagued too badly by them, even with the sprinklers going. But if you stepped into the shade at all....yikes! This evening was horrendous because it cooled down just enough that when I bent over to move a sprinkler, I must have had 30 mosquitoes on my face immediately. But that's okay, because this heat will definitely help to burn the little buggers off. Of course I'm not sure what will happen once it starts cooling back down toward the end of next week but every little bit helps.
Nimpo Lake was flat calm for a good part of the morning and you could see fish jumping all over the place both last night and today. Then a pretty good breeze kicked up later this afternoon but you could still see the odd fish splashing around here and there. Fishing is pretty good right now and I would certainly like to get out there sometime in the next couple of days. In fact, if it gets really hot, out on the lake might just be the perfect place to be.
You can sure tell everyone's craving some sunshine. We watched the news tonight and the newscasters and weather people on both channels were almost giddy while people they interviewed on the street were pretty smiley. It's the first real splash of summer for most of British Columbia and it couldn't have happened at a better time because this is a long weekend for a lot of Canadians. As long as it doesn't last to the extent that we end up in the same position as California, we're laughing. Boy, they've got some serious hardship! 15,000 Firefighters on the ground. Can you imagine? It said on the news that 41 States have contributed firefighters, but although there was no mention of it, so has Canada. Our Martin Mars, the largest amphib in the world that is still flying is down there as well, dumping an experimental retardant on the fires.
While it might be our turn in the near future, for right now I'm enjoying a hummingbird at the feeder outside my office window, the fact that it's still 70 degrees outside and the sun is shining on my windows at 9:00 at night, and there aren't nearly as many mosquitoes plastered all over the screen door as there was last night. Life is good.

27/06/2008 7:41 PM

A Holiday

We took a tiny, tiny, minuscule holiday this week that actually wasn't. Well, it was....from the bugs, anyway, but it didn't really qualify as a holiday other than we took our holiday trailer with us.
We had given up on the idea of going to the Okanagan as previously planned simply because it would have used up too many days. Something I would dearly have loved in view of the bugs, but it wouldn't work with new lawn coming up. However, we were still in dire need of a few things, including my driver's license renewed, so we still had to go somewhere!
We hadn't been able to find the ceramic tile we needed for under the wood stove in the cabin in Williams Lake, and we knew we were going to need an entire chimney system for that same stove, that we also were not going to buy in Williams Lake. So we decided to go to Prince George.
PG has grown by leaps and bounds since I last lived there in the mid 90's and Highway 16 is lined with huge box stores including Home Depot where we hoped to purchase all of the cabin items. Alas, we must have looked pretty disappointed in the aisle housing Home Depot's chimney offerings while discussing the matter, because a guy stopped us outside as we left and told us he'd overheard us. He said he used to be from Bella Coola and gave us the name and address of a plumbing and heating place. Funny how open and friendly folks from this part of the country are. It was too late to get downtown until the next morning but we got everything we needed and it all turned out perfectly.
We had hoped to at least have a relaxing two days while away from home by leaving Tuesday evening and camping down at the Stampede grounds in Williams Lake. Unfortunately, we blew a wheel seal on the dually coming down Sheep Creek Hill and that meant five hours spent fixing the truck on Wednesday. We had to try to have it done and our holiday trailer moved out of its spot at the Stampede grounds by noon because of course, all the camping spots were booked for the Williams Lake Stampede. Don't ask me how I forgot about the Stampede. Normally I would never go near that town during Stampede week because it gets so congested, but I guess I was assuming the rodeo wasn't on until next week.
We finally got out of there by about one in the afternoon and headed north. Losing that much time on the truck repairs meant that much less time to shop in Prince George, which is really too bad because we don't get an opportunity to look around big stores very often. As a result, we were on a dead run to fill our list and it was a pretty late evening again. I should point out that even though some of the salespeople we talked to in both towns complained that the bugs were the worst they had ever seen, I walked our dogs in tall grass near our campsite in both Williams Lake and PG and saw nary a mosquito. I did the same thing the next day after a hard rain, and still no mosquitoes. I couldn't believe it! Just being away from the bugs for a couple of days was a holiday in itself.
Since we had a nearly three hour drive back to Williams Lake we finished some business up and headed back south again because we had to pick the new pup up from the vet's before they closed, so we chose to not do our grocery shopping in PG. Boy, was that dumb! Somehow we both managed to forget yet again that it was the beginning of Stampede in Willy's Puddle and the beginning of the first long weekend of the summer. Call us both blonde I guess. Not only did we miss out on a much bigger and better selection of groceries available to us in Prince George, by the time we hit the store in Williams Lake, grocery stocks had been drastically depleted and there were a few things we had to do without. Such is life. We'll have to see if we can get what we need out here, although selection is severely limited here. The stores just can't afford to bring in the selection that is available in bigger city centers simply because of our tiny population.
Our trip, albeit much shorter than I had hoped earlier this month, was still a mini holiday, even if we didn't actually do any holiday stuff. We just got away, and sometimes that's enough. It sure was a shocker coming back, though. When we called our neighbours to see if they needed anything from town, they warned us that the bugs were even worse than before. I didn't think it possible, but boy, were they right! We landed late yesterday evening and had to unload and get everything into the house on a dead run. I don't think I've seen anything like it! Many old timers said that last year was the worst they had ever seen the mosquitoes, and now they all admit the bugs are even worse this year, and that's saying something!
Today I had to keep changing sprinklers for the lawn and had to develop a method for doing so. First, you dive out the porch door past the mosquito coil taking care to let as few bugs into the porch as possible, wearing a long sleeved jean shirt saturated with mosquito dope, kerchief and cap. Stop long enough to spray down with a Deet product walking forward as you do so to keep from breathing too much of the deadly fumes. Roar down and unplug the water pump. Run to the sprinkler and start moving it, taking care to get your face back up from the ground as soon as possible because otherwise it will be covered in mozzies. Run back and plug in the pump, then check to see that the water is covering the area you want all the while staying on the move. If you stop, the bugs will swarm you in a matter of seconds. Move as quickly as possible back to the porch swatting mosquitoes away from the door, dive in taking care to not step on the poor dogs shut in away from the bugs, close the door as quickly as you can, and then kill all mosquitoes that came in with you before entering the house. Do that at least ten times in an afternoon. It's just a bloody ridiculous exercise in frustration. No wonder people and animals in the bush used to go mad from the bugs. And they had no bug spray back then!
Small wonder that we saw next to nothing for wildlife along the highway either going out or coming back in this week. We did see a big black bear cross the highway in front of all the traffic near the big box stores in Prince George, but it's probably been forced into town by the lack of food due to the cold, wet spring. I know the Vancouver area has been having the same problem with their bears. Other than that, though, most animals are probably hiding from the bugs.
The weather has most definitely not been on our side but that may soon change. There was a light misting rain this morning and really muggy temperatures with quite a bit of cloud that made life perfect for the mosquitoes. However, we're supposed to be getting a high pressure system building in off the coast that's expected to bring high temperatures. I am so hoping that the weather forecasters are right for a change, because we really need to heat up under clear skies. That will help to burn off the bugs a bit and although they might still be bad in the early mornings and evenings, maybe we can at least get outside during the day. It got up to 20C today and has only gone down two degrees this evening. If it gets up to 25 or 27 tomorrow and even hotter Sunday, that would be a great help. It will be tough on everyone around here because we haven't seen hot temperatures but I'll take anything I can get right now. Other spots in the province are expected to go into the 30's while the hot spots such as the Okanagan and Kootenays are expected to go high 30's and possibly into the 40's. That's in the 100's on the old Fahrenheit scale and will make for a great long weekend for everyone. Well.....except for the Cariboo Fire Center. We noticed coming back through Alexis Creek yesterday evening that the fire danger rating has been raised to extreme. I expect there will be quite a few forest fires by the time the weekend is over.

22/06/2008 9:32 PM

A Tiny Touch of Green

We were going to head to the Okanagan this week on business, but our lawn is finally growing! Actually, that might be a bit of an overstatement. There are some tiny, tiny, minuscule blades of green showing up here and there in our pile of dirt so small that you almost need a magnifying glass to see them. We have finally had warm enough temperatures for the past two days to encourage those grass seeds to sprout. Unfortunately, I've been playing around with timers we borrowed from our neighbours and I just can't seem to get enough water pressure through them to operate the sprinklers we need to keep the lawn moist. Now that the seed is finally doing something after all this time, it would be a shame to let the grass that has germinated die while we're gone. We have terrific neighbours and they have all generously offered to water the new lawn, but the sprinklers have to be switched around so much that it's just not fair to ask them to do that.
I really didn't want to go away anyway. The only reason I was into it was to get away from the bugs for a few days. But friends of ours came back this weekend after traveling around BC for a couple of weeks, and they found that coming from someplace where they didn't see one mosquito, back to bug heaven, was not an experience they want to repeat anytime soon. Bit of shock to the system I suppose, and no wonder. I stopped by their motorhome to visit for awhile and you could barely get through their screen door without letting about a million bugs in. Probably because it was on the protected side of the motorhome and out of the wind.
New Day:
I didn't get this blog up last night so I'll just continue on today.
We actually had a pretty decent day today. It got up to 20C for a little while and then dropped back down to 16C for most of the day but it was mixed sun and cloud. We were spreading peat moss all over our new lawn this morning and as long as the breeze stayed up, the bugs weren't bad, but once it dropped......!
I know I have several bites to show for my efforts.
It's funny, but no one else in the province seems to be having the problems with the mosquitoes and black flies in other regions that we are. A lot of people in our area, including pilots flying over, have commented on how much water there is puddled up in the woods, and the meadows are level full of water. I think it's a combination of lots of snow last winter, lots of rain this spring, cool temperatures and not as many pine trees to suck up the water that has left so much of it about. That, of course, means mosquito heaven, and not a thing we can do about it! Maybe it'll get hot. Here's hoping!
There are more boats out on Nimpo Lake today than I've seen all spring and it looks like people are catching fish. Our neighbours went out the other day and said they got a couple of nice rainbow. We have to get our boat back into the water so we can do some fishing of our own. We just have to get past our long list of projects first.
You will probably have noticed the gorgeous photos up on the right. I'm afraid I can't take credit for those. Heidy Lenz was kind enough to give me a bunch of photos to use on this site and the local tourism site and they sure are refreshing! The top one is fog rising off of Anahim Lake. The next one down is my favorite because it looks like a watercolor painting, the colors are so delicate. That's the view of Charlotte Lake and the Coast Mountain Range from Heidy's house. Some view, eh? Are we lucky in this country or what?!!
The beautiful red flowers on the third picture are Indian Paintbrush in front of reflective water along a walking trail up in the Rainbow Mountains. Doesn't it make you want to go hiking?
I've started a new week so last week's articles can be found at June 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!
Fishermen watch a floatplane above them.
 
A bright ball of yellow and red behind the trees.
 
A loon floats on the surface of Nimpo Lake.
 
Sunset colors over Anahim Lake.
 
Mountains reflected in Charlotte Lake.
 
Water, flowers on Rainbow Mountain trail.
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