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Wilderness Adventures - June Week Four

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!
30/06/2005 8:58 AM

Too Many Pictures

Wow, just noticed that this last week's blog has way too many images. It must take forever to download the page now. So, no more new pictures until we get into a new week which is going to be after today, because I will be leaving for nearly a week for a family reunion. Since I will be away from my computer, it will be impossible to post any stories. I really enjoy putting images on the blogs, because they really can express far more than the written word. Or pictures can help to round out a story. When we read something, we all start building a description in our mind's eye, but it may not be anything like reality. For example, how many of you read the Harry Potter books, and then was totally shocked by the movie because the characters didn't fit the picture you had formed of them. So I like to provide the images to help readers form a more accurate picture of overall stories. Besides, I like color, and I can't imagine anyone else taking the written word over a good picture. And I live in a fabulous vacation paradise, mosquitoes notwithstanding, and I like to show it off. I'm one of those fortunate people that get to live where most people only get to go on vacation. Anyway, I'm going to be away from my beloved home for a few days and go swelter down in the state of Oregon for the long weekend. I'll see you when I get back.
29/06/2005 10:47 AM

The Flint Tools

Anahim Peak looks very obviously volcanic even to a novice like me. To me it looks like the remainder of the center or plug of a huge volcanic cone the way it shoulders above the surrounding landscape. I have never had the opportunity to climb the peak from which native tribes acquired so much of the material from which they made their tools, but I understand it is steep and rugged terrain. I have flown low over it and it looks exactly that. Supposedly, you can pick up flint from all over the peak, although I imagine it might be tough to find larger pieces now, although in some of the areas below the peak loggers have found baseball sized chunks of obsidian. All along Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake, land owners have found obsidian on the ground in spots that would have made naturally sheltered camping spots for native tribes where they would trade for the precious flint up and down the lakes and the 'grease trail'. Many have collections of intricately worked arrowheads, hide scraping tools, and flint 'knife' blades that they have picked up off the ground on their property over the years. You can also find 'chips' that have very obviously been worked but either broke in the sharpening process or were discarded. I've been told that the local obsidian is of a very pure form. I understand that to mean that lack of impurities make it better tool making material. I've picked up a bit of obsidian in the past couple of years and it really is pretty on the inside. The outside of the rock is just dirty grey, the inside a shiny black 'glass'. You can see how easily it chips and can be shaped. We have a whole bowl of it on the buffet, as you can see from the picture on the right. Unfortunately, it doesn't show how shiny, smooth black it is. The top picture, done by a friend shows Anahim Peak's heavy brooding presence shouldering above the Dean River.
28/06/2005 12:31 PM

A Major Source of Flint

Anahim Peak has been a historical source of Flint, or Obsidian, drawing native tribes from far and wide. Anahim Peak, which last showed volcanic activity in the Halocene Period, is in the Anahim Volcanic Belt. Within the belt is Ilgutchez Peak, and Mackenzie Peak, also sources of the highly prized obsidian. Locals tell yarns of Indians coming from a long ways away (it's judged by some that natives from the Plains and perhaps as far south as Arizona traded for the flint) to get supplies for arrowheads and so forth. Each time they came to take flint, they were expected to leave a rock on a pile nearby. Anahim Peak, named for a Chilcotin Indian Chief, rears up all on it's own just north of Anahim Lake, and is very obviously vocanic. I can see it from work at night, and at this time of year, the sun sets near it leaving it in late evening glow long after the surrounding mountains have darkened. It stands alone and mysterious and is shrouded in old tales. More on this tomorrow.
27/06/2005 11:31 AM

Canoeing on Local Lakes

The lakes and some rivers provide the ideal vacation for canoeing enthusiasts. I realize that the little red dot you see on the lake in the picture on the upper right is hard to recognize as a canoe, but take my word for it, it is. Calm waters prevail on Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake far more often than not making for very inviting conditions for the novice and experienced canoeist. Many other surrounding lakes such as Kappan, Wawa, Lassard, Pelican, Little Anahim, Tatla, Little Charlotte and numerous others also provide the same perfect conditions. Big Charlotte Lake is not always recommended because it can scare up a storm pretty quickly and without warning. Probably everyone's favorite long canoe trip is the Turner Lake Chain. The Turner Lake Chain offers all canoeing enthusiasts an opportunity for a three to five day canoe trip through incredible mountain scenery. The chain of lakes can be accessed by floatplane from Nimpo Lake or by hiking 16 km along the Hunlen Falls Trail. There are canoe rentals and a campsite available at Turner Lake. There are many lakes and rivers in Tweedsmuir Park as well, for canoeing and boating, but many can be difficult to access, so make sure you have maps and complete information from park services about the area before going too far into the backcountry. Oh, and bring your camera! If you've gone canoeing before, you probably already know that it is one of the best ways to see wildlife. Because it can be such a quiet form of transportation, it is not unusual to see moose eating in the shallows, otters, beaver and an incredible array of birdlife in the water, and other wildlife along the shoreline.
Check out Summer Recreation for more information for canoers, and go Tweedsmuir Park here if you would like to know more about what the Park has to offer.

26/06/2005 1:06 PM

Wow on the Camera

The difference a new camera can make is stunning. The Wow factor is just...well WOW. I'm really tight when making a new purchase and I like to take my time. Too many times in the past years, I've done the 'gotta have that' routine, paid big money and found I purchased an item not entirely suited for its intended use. I finally learned with the purchase of my first new 4X4. I kicked tires for months, until I found exactly what I wanted. Over a period of years and lifestyle changes, it was not necessarily the right vehicle to own, but it was for the first five years I owned it. So I've been biding my time on the digital camera. We already own an old one, as well as an awesome 35 mm and an old autofocus. With all those cameras kicking around the house, you don't get into too much of a hurry to buy the wrong thing. The choice was taken away when I received the Canon for my birthday last week. It's obvious that a lot of research went into that purchase and the camera is well worth the reputation it has garnered. I still haven't gone through the whole book (actually 3 whole books) but so far it seems to do everything except the laundry. I finally downloaded some pics on my computer last night. I took exactly the same kind of pictures I would take with the old digital and the 35 mm so that I had a reference or comparison. The zoom on this little baby is amazing and I really look forward to catching some wildlife with it. If you look at the deer on the right, you can see that a pretty old digital was used to take that. Look at the pictures of Nimpo Lake above the deer taken with the new camera. Wow. Just makes you kinda want to come to British Columbia for a vacation, doesn't it?
25/06/2005 1:30 PM

An Amazing Story

I was shown a story by Harry Thommasen about three amazing characters from here and really wanted to pass the address on the Internet on to you. http://www.ariverneversleeps.com/online/waters.shtml is the place to go and is about three men very instrumental in opening up this country, and in developing the Dean River Steelhead sport fishing industry by recognizing its commercial potential in the late 50's. However, that's just background and you'll need to wade through some pretty interesting stuff before getting to the really good part. One of the fellows was a pilot that had been a 'crop duster' out of Oregon. Well you know those boys, they can fly! He came into the country with a floatplane and formed a partnership with the other two. The following is an excerpt from Harry Thommasen's account. If you don't find yourself wanting to read the rest of the story...you aren't cut out for the Wilderness. -- "For obvious reasons only one passenger could be flown out at a time, baggage to come after, if at all. When it was time for takeoff, lines were made fast to the aircraft, and all bands on the ground held the plane back in the manner of a human catapult while the pilot revved up the motor. At a given signal everyone let go (sometimes in more ways than one), and away went the tortured craft. Inside the cabin, prayer book in hand, the wretched passenger was wondering how the hell he got into this mess, while those left behind were reciting the Lord's Prayer and contemplating how the scene would look with a steelheader splattered all over the trees. It was almost enough to make a man give up steelheading. But not quite."
Have a good read!

24/06/2005 9:45 PM

MacKenzie Trail Lodge for Sale

Mackenzie Trail Lodge and the Blackwater Lodge are listed for sale. Manny and Cary are in the midst of major renovations and now have the Mackenzie Trail Lodge and the Blackwater Lodge. Mackenzie Trail is located on Tsacha Lake in British Columbia, a 14 mile long lake with no other resorts and no roads. For a little more private setting, the Blackwater Lodge is your place. It is located 5 miles by boat on the leeward inflow of the Blackwater River, and the 1900 square foot lodge built in 1993 on 40 acres of picturesque lake views, caters to multiple private cabins. As they advertise, several mountain lakes within hiking distance offer superb rainbow trout fishing. Mackenzie Lodge has always provided full package vacations, that include flights into and out of the lake, gourmet meals and experienced guides. For a wilderness fly and spin fishing adventure, these two lodges can provide it and either one would make a great investment if you would like to get into the resort business, or just have your own private corporate escape.
23/06/2005 1:56 PM

Little of This, Little of That

Weather is definitely a major topic of conversation throughout Canada nowadays. Aside from incredible rains in Alberta, they also had a few tornadoes touch down yesterday. No one was hurt but a few buildings blew over, the ones the floods hadn't already carried away, that is. The unheard of flooding in Alberta has raised the Saskatchewan river to a 50 year high and created some flooding in the city of Saskatoon. There is a street and bike path that runs along the north Saskatchewan river in the city where I used to rollerblade. I understand that quite a bit of that path is under water and the street closed. There used to be a weir or dam where the water fell probably about 5 feet or more as it went over because the city would hold back some water in drought years. No holding it back now. You can barely tell there is a dam there. The water just rushes right over creating a few ripples. And here in the Chilcotin we and the mosquitoes just keep on poking along with some sun and some rain showers. Today there was an ocean-going craft on Nimpo Lake cruising up and down along the shore of the lake. It created quite a wake behind it so if there were any eggs or baby loons on nests on shore, they would have been drowned. It would be ironic if it was Fish and Wildlife as it was certainly their colors. It would be very typical of them to destroy birdlife because they had to show off their big boat. Anahim Lake is still very high from melt off and one rancher was just saying today that he and his wife had to walk for ten days to the house, keeping tractors parked on his two bridges to keep them from being washed away by overflow from Anahim Lake.
22/06/2005 11:27 AM

Deer in Velvet

For those of you who've never been out of the city, that does not mean a deer dressed in velvet. Well actually it does, but only the antlers. A buck will drop its antlers in late winter, early spring, and sometimes sooner. He begins to grow new ones that look like little buttons on his skull called peticules. Blood enriched 'veins' carrying calcium is taken from the deer's body (replaced by diet hopefully) to form the antlers. This spongey substance is called velvet and when the antlers are finished forming, the velvet dries up and falls off. The top two pictures were taken of a brave buck on the way home to Nimpo Lake that wasn't too worried about being on the road or in any hurry to get off. One reason is that the bucks are very careful with their heads and newly forming antlers while in velvet. The antlers can be deformed or knocked off at this delicate stage of the game, and the velvet is oversensitive to touch, so any injury to the velvet can be extremely painful for the deer. The third picture is of a whitetail deer with fully formed horns under nearly developed velvet, so it isn't as thick and balled up at this stage as in the first pictures.
On another subject, I've just changed to the fourth week of June, so the past week's stories are posted on the left under archives. Unfortunately it's necessary to change over so often because I like to put photos with my blogs, and you can put only so many images on each page before it slows load time just too much. Check out some of the winter ones. In updating them I just realized how cold and snowy some of those pictures look!


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!
Anahim Peak shoulders above the Dean River
 
A bowl of flint picked up off the ground
 
That little red dot in front of the island is a red canoe
 
Three young fellows enjoy canoeing along the shoreline of Nimpo Lake
 
A bright red canoe circling the main island on Nimpo
 
Fisherman heading out onto Nimpo Lake
 
A floatplane just off the lake
 
Young buck in heavy velvet
 
An unworried buck in velvet saunters off the highway
 
A ptarmigan blends in so well in winter that you'll go right past and never see it.
 
 
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