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
Wilderness Adventures - March, Week 1/2007
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' - just go into Archives on the lower left side
of this page.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you
at the bottom of this page. Check out the
of the Day.
The Calm After The Firestorm
with anything, things will never get back to normal
after the fire at the hangar, and yet, as with all things,
It doesn't take long for things to get around
by moccasin telegraph in this country. By yesterday
morning I had a call from my sister in Williams Lake
about the hangar fire who had heard it from the co-owner
of a helicopter business out Tatlayoko way. The guys
at Springhouse air park had heard about it by yesterday
afternoon and everyone I spoke to when I ventured up
to Nimpo yesterday had also heard.
The aircraft community is a tight knit one in central
British Columbia so when aircraft are destroyed it gets
around pretty fast and every person involved in the
industry is just heartsick.
Of course, there are also all the looky loos,
which is to be expected I guess. I think Mazy
was getting tired of playing tour guide but since she's
living nearby, she felt responsible for making sure
no one went into the burned out hangar until my Mom
and Terry could get back from the States. Unfortunately,
the husband of the owner of one of the planes chose
to ignore Mazy's admonitions to not enter the hangar,
even though the danger of injury is high and there is
a liability there. It just proves there are annoying,
self centered, pus gutted idiots everywhere.
Last night felt like a new beginning, with tiny,
white snowflakes filtering down. Although the
snow was giving everything a fresh, new feel, you had
to kind of wonder where it was coming from. There were
stars overhead and on every horizon. Where could the
snow possibly come from with not a cloud in a sky full
of stars? You've got me. This country seems distinct
for this type of weird, weather phenomenon, but still,
how does it happen? Enquiring minds want to know....lol.
Alas, only a meteorologist can answer that question.
Yesterday evening the coyotes started howling just across
the lake from us and I was reminded of their sound in
a calm spot between explosions during the hangar fire.
To me, they sounded like a bunch of hyenas celebrating
the loss of the hangar, they were so noisy.
And yet last night they were at our end of the lake
setting up a ruckus, young ones and old, showing what
a distance they will travel in a single day. Hopefully
they weren't chasing game but it would be unrealistic
to hope otherwise.
For some strange reason or other our Rottweiler dog
feels a need to join into any coyote howling session,
so I was forced to bring the dogs in for the night just
to get a good night's sleep. I don't expect it will
take long for the dogs to make a connection between
making noise and getting to sleep inside a nice, warm,
comfortable porch for the night.
The picture of the day from yesterday stays as
is simply because I should actually be started
on a new week of articles right now but because I'm
not, we'll leave be. There are actually lots of other
pics of the hangar fire and the aftermath but I really
don't have the heart to post them right now. Maybe later.
had a sad disaster of no small import occur last night.
Terry B. and my Mom's 10,000 square foot hangar blew up
around 10pm. The cause is completely unknown but it can
be assumed that there may have been a propane leak, perhaps
caused by our unusual snow load this year, or perhaps
always in existence but because no one has been in the
hangar for a few months, levels may have built up over
a period of time. That's all guess work of course. But
propane is heavy and would have filled up the building
from the floor up. There were propane ceiling heaters
in the insulated building so potentially there could have
been 10,000 square feet cubed area of gas built up before
something ignited it. All conjecture though. It
could have been anything.
Andy's instructor, Mazy, is staying in the cabin nearby.
She heard a series of explosions and the vehicle door
blew off the front of the building with flames starting
shortly after. She called us as soon as it happened. We
notified a couple of other people as we ran out the door
donning boots and gloves to grab our fire pump and hose
to throw in the truck and haul booty down to the other
end of Nimpo Lake.
When we got down there it was obvious from the flames
inside the building and a steady rattle of small explosions
that there wasn't going to be much we could do.
Since the police arrived just behind us Andy ran down
to the two huge propane tanks next to the hangar before
they could see him do so. They would have prevented him
from going down there of course, with flames licking out
the windows above his head, but if the valves were left
open, propane would have been burning off all night until
the tanks were empty. Or worse.
We handed Logan the chainsaw we'd brought and he
struggled down to the lake to cut a hole in the ice
while I tried slogging the intake hose down there over
a soft snowmobile track through which I went to my knees
in snow every step of the way. I could have gone faster
crawling on my belly. I finally yelled up to Andy to bring
the pump down a different way because he could never have
hauled it through that snow. We got everything hooked
up as the big hangar doors bulged out more and more and
Andy ran the hose up toward the hangar, more to protect
the nearby fuel tanks than for anything. Suddenly,
there was a massive explosion with a fireball erupting
from one corner of the building where it had ripped a
hole in the roof and side. Andy was the closest
and hit the snow rolling for the trees because of the
fierily burning debris raining down while everyone else
hit the ground or ducked behind whatever they could.
I headed for my truck parked closer to the hangar where
we had offloaded the pump all the while watching a huge,
black cloud of toxic smoke and gases mushroom above us
and debris rain down. After that, the fire finally started
to settle down somewhat with the pop of explosions sounding
off now and again.
There were several planes in the hangar
as well as a truck, ten snowmobiles, fourwheelers, a logsplitter,
a zamboni, boats and motors, a generator and two fire
pumps, many with fuel in them and ready to go. All would
have had to have taken turns blowing as well as all the
tires on everything in there.
Although Terry had several planes parked in there, so
did several friends. As the only large hangar in the area,
it was one of the few places where people could
park their planes for the winter while they were gone.
The only other alternative would be to hire someone that
could be available at a moment's notice to keep the wings
cleared off in the case of a heavy snowfall. And we've
had several of those this winter. Unfortunately, like
Terry, some of the owners of the aircraft had no insurance
on their planes, so everything is a complete, and devastating
Looking at it today, if you hadn't known what was stored
in that hangar, you wouldn't recognize what's sitting
there now. A huge DeHavilland Beaver that used to
rear high above your head sitting on its floats is reduced
to a small pile of scrap no bigger than a fourwheeler.
Only the airframes and props help you to identify the
other piles of scrap as having once been planes, some
of them irreplaceable.
The row of handlebars jutting up in the back are the only
sad reminder of numerous snowmobiles while the heavier
built fourwheelers are only slightly more recognizable
sitting on twisted rims. I have no idea where the big
boat went, but it's melted down in there somewhere, and
there's nothing left of the truck or of all the camping
gear, clothes and Christmas decorations, stored on the
rows of gorilla shelving.
Since we are not in a fire protection district it is impossible
to find a company that will insure a hangar, even a relatively
new one as this one was, or its contents in this area,
so none of that stuff can be replaced. It makes
all of us, especially those that appreciate fine planes
heartsick to see this loss.
I suppose the only blessing is that other than Mazy getting
the shock of her life, no one was hurt in the blast. Small
Thanks to all of you that tried to help out. Duke, for
walking Len's excavator down in case the propane and fuel
tanks had to be pulled away from the building. Wayne for
getting everything going and Jordy for looking after the
meter. And thanks especially to Logan for getting
the plow truck out of there and hauling hiney down to
the lake to cut a hole in the ice, all in the dark and
soaking wet to the knees. My thanks to the young
RCMP member who was willing to give me a push to get my
truck off the ice and out of the way when everyone else
standing there was busy covering their heads and backpedalling.
My heart goes out to all of you that lost something in
that hangar. As Winnie said, "A landmark from the
air that will be sorely missed."
Slush, Mush, And Baring Up
warm weather continues and it is one awful mess out there,
folks. Our snow continues to melt at record speed
with our record high temperatures. There's still
a couple of feet of snow in the woods but it's mushy clear
to topsoil and we've a lot of bare spots in our yard now
wherever it's exposed to sun.
Nimpo Lake is green with the shine of water on ice leaving
only packed snowmobile trails, drifts and the shoreline
in shadow with a little snow. Another day, and that will
be gone as well. We'll have a bona fide skating rink.
Obviously, cross country skiing on the lake is now
out of the question as is walking in the woods.
I managed a walk yesterday on a packed snowmobile trail
but by today, it was too soft and I was sinking up to
my knees every step of the way. That leaves the road now,
and it's pretty muddy. I guess that's why they call it
The wildlife count is way down now. The dogs and I scared
up three grouse on the back trail yesterday, and one on
the road today. I watched a caribou saunter across
Nimpo Lake and disappear behind the island yesterday,
and Andy watched a herd on the lake with the neighbour
down at the other end today, but no recent moose sightings.
Either they're laying low or they've cleared out. Our
one dog did let out a few questioning barks last night,
so it's possible that our resident moose were moving through
but with these temperatures, tracks are melted out by
morning, so it's hard to say.
It doesn't look as though we're the only ones with
warm weather troubles. Andy follows the Iditerod
pretty closely and several dog teams and mushers have
had to be scratched. Lack of snow in one rough, hummock
covered area destroyed some sleds, and a few people were
lightly injured. You don't picture Alaska as lacking snow,
but it certainly does this year.
This will be pretty short and sweet tonight. I've undertaken
the dubious process of submitting this site and some of
its articles to an outfit on the Internet that in turn
sends them out to specific ezines and newsletter groups.
Since I've paid for the service I guess I should actually
work on getting the chosen articles to them. I'm hoping
that doing this will broaden exposure for the site, and
therefore the area, thus expanding the tourism base
for our lodges, resorts and other businesses that rely
on visitors to the area. That is, after all, the
whole point of this site. Well ...and keeping you folks
up to date on what's happening around here should you
be interested. LOL.
Check out the Picture
of the Day. Our poor lake!
say that with great sadness because this winter has been
one of the best snow years we have seen in ages.
Right about now people are shaking their heads going,
"You've got to be kidding! Most people would be happy
to see spring come!" Not so. Because of one
thing or another, including Andy's effort to get his pilot's
license this winter, and all the bull and hoops to jump
through involved with that, as well as me being pretty
busy in the last two months, we've had very little opportunity
to enjoy the snow. That means snowmobiling of course.
According to the weatherman this Pineapple Express is
here for at least three more days, if not longer. It's
shocking to see how much the snow has dropped the last
couple of days. I'm not sure I've ever seen a melt like
this in the first part of March and it's made a real mess
of things. Water is running everywhere, requiring some
quick ditching in the ice to direct it away from our buildings,
and walking anywhere in the yard is a perilous experience
Aside from warm temperatures, we've got a warm wind
howling out of the southwest that only speeds the melt
and you can stand outside and literally watch the ground
become exposed. We have our friends from Quesnel
coming down to go snowmobiling in a week but at this rate,
they may not have much of a chance to do that without
trailering to the Rainbows. The old saying, "If you
don't like the weather, wait for five minutes." certainly
holds true in this country so I guess we'll wait and see.
I ventured out onto the lake for a ski yesterday and as
long as I stayed in the sun toward the middle of the lake
rather than close to shore, the snow was mushy enough
to not stick to my skis. I still came to a sudden jolting
stop a couple of times though, nearly resulting in a faceplant
into the snow. Anyone who skis knows that feeling!
There were a few fresh moose tracks and
at one point River took off after something in the woods
before I could stop him. Fortunately, I got him back fairly
quickly but he's now on probation and in deep, deep trouble
with me. That means his hide isn't worth a plugged
nickel right now and he knows it. The last thing
we need is for our dogs to be exhausting the wildlife
for the predators.
At least the sun is shining and that's something everyone
in British Columbia could use a little bit of. It looks
like it's the East's turn now with a cold spell hitting
them this week after last week's nasty freezing rain and
snowstorms. I realize that a lot of people are talking
about global warming this year because the winter has
been so severe across the country, but last week I had
the opportunity to watch a very interesting television
program. It talked about the severe storms that
hit the east in the late 1800's and throughout the first
half of the 1900's, particularly New York and Chicago,
forever changing how public utility lines and above ground
transit systems were laid out in those cities. Judging
from the footage, wild winter storms have long been with
us, it's just that they haven't been as bad for the last
50 years as they were before.
I think it's good that our weather this winter has forced
people to become more aware of global warming, its causes,
and the potential devastation it can cause for future
generations. But I still have to wonder, when you
look at the big picture, just how much of our severe weather
is being caused by man and how much is simply a natural
cycle for earth? Are we in a natural warming cycle?
And if so, how much is that process being speeded up by
the pollutants we release into the air? There is no question
in my mind that we need to do something about those pollutants,
and the wild weather has forced voters who have forced
governments on the North American Continent to take a
long, hard look at what can be done. But my curiosity
is piqued by the question and although I know that no
scientist can answer it with any certainty, I'm still
Another Pineapple Express
most of you have probably noted, I'm about a day
behind and a dollar short. Or so goes that old
saying. Unfortunately, this past trip to Nevada and work
that pays tends to get in the way of keeping up on this
blog and website at times. And no, this site doesn't pay
me except through advertising two years ago. I've built
it, expanded it and kept up on it as a community service
and I do get a lot of feedback from folks that read the
blog, so I do it for them. Lately, I've been getting
a lot of queries for the properties listed for sale on
this site as well and trying to get back to those
people with information takes a little time.
For the last two days we've been hit with yet another
Pineapple Express, or a warm funnel of air coming
off the Pacific with its origins in Hawaii. We've been
seeing daytime temperatures in excess of plus 10C or about
50 degrees Fahrenheit with warm winds out of the south.
That means our fresh snow is fast disappearing and our
old snow is getting pretty mushy. Probably good news for
the big game hanging out in the woods because it's a lot
easier for them to get around in the deep snow than it
is for the predators.
I went for a walk in the woods yesterday because
facing a brutal south wind and sticky snow crossing Nimpo
Lake on cross country skis just didn't appeal to me.
Besides, it had been a while since I had checked out my
old haunts and it was a good day to meander on the back
trails out of the wind. I was really surprised to see
that there were no fresh tracks since the last snow out
in the woods, and yet we had fresh moose tracks
walking up our driveway and down past the cabin yesterday.
Our moose troupe hangs in close to our place or neighbouring
properties, depending on who is making the most ruckus
whether that be with the Bobcat, dogs or vehicles.
This morning a good sized pack of coyotes were howling
across the bay, so those rotten little beggers are still
around, presumably running game.
We have part time residents around the lake in for the
week and there's a few of them as well as locals out skiing
and even with these winds there's a couple of guys out
flying. Folks that like winter sports tend to get out
there and make hay while they can because you never
know how soon breakup is going to hit in this country.
Right now, you would think it already had. Our roads and
driveways have turned from compact snow to sheer ice in
less than a day and the tree wells around many of the
bigger trees are down to the grass in our yard. Brown
grass, that is. It was quite the thing to see green grass
in Nevada and Vancouver last week. We won't
see it for another two to three months. At least
those people who's snowmobiles were buried in the big
snowfalls this winter will be able to find them and get
riding now. March is often the very best month
to get out into the high country here with longer days,
warmer temperatures and a solid base.
Okay, gotta go. Quite a few properties listed on this
site have sold now and I really need to get that section
updated. Oh, and I should make a note here. That
haunting picture of Lonesome Lake Valley from the top
of Trumpeter Mountain posted on yesterday's picture of
the day was taken by Mazy Baker. Since it was
taken on my camera I downloaded it straight to my computer
but was remiss in listing her as the one with the creative
eye! Hope you're all having a wonderful Sunday!
Moose On Our Property
would seem that some moose have taken up long term residency
on our property line. We have had to keep the
dogs in the porch for the last couple of days except when
I went skiing. Even then, I had to keep them close because
River could definitely smell them as I skied off our shore
and onto the lake. Andy hasn't been able to start
the Bobcat up to clear our driveway of that fresh snow
for fear of scaring the moose.
Andy saw a moose right down in front of the house on the
lake yesterday morning and when he drove out our driveway
shortly after, he saw the same moose on our neighbour's
property just between ours and the second neighbour over.
He said the moose didn't really move other than to turn
its back toward him so I walked up on our driveway until
I saw the moose just on the other side of the neighbour's
brush pile. He was laying down with his head lying on
the snow and although he looked up at me, he certainly
didn't get up or move off but simply lay his head back
down again. As much as I would have liked a better
picture, I had no interest in scaring the animal out of
its bed, and returned back down the driveway.
When Andy came home a couple of hours later he commented
that there were now two moose standing together in about
the same spot.
From our deck you could see one of them feeding among
the trees and it was such a bright brown copper penny
color that were it not for the ears, could easily have
been mistaken for a sorrel horse. A while later
when I came back from skiing I could just see the silhouette
of one watching me as I came from across the lake to our
At first we had been concerned that the one moose might
be injured, sick or exhausted from being run by predators
but the fact that there were at least two or more debunked
that theory. The only thing we can think is that since
we've had coyote packs howling so close at night and we
know there are wolves on the lake killing animals,
perhaps these moose figure they're a lot safer between
two occupied residences, one with dogs, than out on the
lake or in the woods.
I went out for a short ski on the lake the day after I
came home, trying to break trail through the several snows
that fell while I was gone. I only made it to the far
shore in a cold north wind before turning around after
discovering that my track on the other side had been completely
obliterated by snowmachines. I didn't have the heart to
continue breaking trail so didn't see if there had
been anymore moose or deer killed by the wolves.
But I can only assume that if the moose are hanging in
this close to our residences day after day, the slaughter
must be continuing.
I almost wished we had some hay to throw out for those
moose hanging around, just to help them out a bit. But
there's a little bit of buckbrush in our meadow to keep
them going for a couple of days. A fellow down at
the other end of the lake has a bunch of hay in a shed
where a cow moose and her calf were staying about a month
ago. Apparently she would leave the calf behind
secure in the shed while she would go browse in the meadows.
I don't know if they're still down there but since the
fellow commented on how small the calf was I think it
more than possible that it was the animal killed by wolves
on Nimpo Lake a couple of weeks ago. Who's to say though?
It would seem there are far more moose than I thought
in the area such as the copper colored one that I know
I've never seen before.
Back From Across The Border
sure you've all noticed I haven't been around for the
past week. I ventured out of my happy little place
in the Chilcotin for the bright lights of Reno to visit
my brother for a week. Talk about culture shock!
Between too many people, 20 out of 26 hours spent sitting
in airports rather than flying, and security check points
every step of the way, I'm thinking it's not going to
happen again for awhile. Next time, I drive!
On top of all that, the weather in Reno was nasty
for all but one day, laying down a fair bit of snow the
night before I was to fly out, resulting in delays
while our plane was de-iced. Of course there was an hour
and a half delay coming down because the jetway wouldn't
work. Old machinery is what I was told by
the one attendant. Okay...I have a problem with that.
Mother Nature you can't do much about but outdated machinery?
Then there's the terrorist threat level. The sign at Reno
airport said Orange and the threat level was at high.
I questioned the guy at the ticket counter who said it
had been that way for the past year. If it's intended
to persuade people to remain on the alert then I think
you've kind of lost the effect after a year. It's
human nature to become complacent when you see the same
thing for a long period of time. So it would seem to me
that the whole point of posting threat levels is completely
lost on the general population. If that's the case, why
bother at all?
At least the flying part is always pretty cool. I lucked
out with a window seat on every connection and got to
see the landscape from the air. It's been a while since
I've flown though, and seeing the pall of pollution over
Seattle and Vancouver was a bit of a shock. Flying
over the Coastal Range coming out of Vancouver toward
home was the usual breathtaking trip it always is in clear
weather with jagged peaks row on row poking up
toward the sky, a setting sun coloring the snow first
bronze, then pink. Both the Rockies and the Coast Range
are rugged looking mountain ranges from the air and should
look the same, but they don't to me. I've a special place
in my heart for the Coastal Mountains even if the air
is often turbulent going over them.
I got to have lunch and good conversation at the floatplane
base near Vancouver Airport courtesy of Andy's Sis who
then drove me over to the terminal you fly from if you're
heading home to the 'boonies'. It was great to be
able to watch floatplanes, albeit big ones, land and take
off of the Fraser River. We won't be seeing them
here in our neck of the woods for another two and a half
or three months and I always miss them through the winter,
so it was kind of nice. Thanks Barb!
It's good I got my fill of warmer air in Vancouver too
because temps sure dropped around here! We had to deal
with mini snowstorms and icy roads coming back to Nimpo
Lake from Williams Lake after I landed there and we arrived
home to about six inches of fresh snow. Last night
the mercury dropped to -30C or about 20 below zero Fahrenheit
but at least yesterday's cruel north wind has settled
down and we're finally seeing sun today.
Some of the locals, including Andy and Mazy, went up on
Trumpeter Mountain snowmobiling earlier this week when
they finally got a nice day. I'm posting a few of their
pictures up on the right since we're starting to get into
the best time of year to go sledding. I'm also posting
a picture we took of a cow and calf moose we saw on our
way into town last week that looked pretty complacent
themselves about being that close to the road.
A pretty dangerous place to be midday with it being our
native brethren's favorite time of year to hunt, so we
weren't unhappy to see our presence caused them to move
back into the bush a bit where they were better hidden.
Since it's the first of March I am starting a new week.
Last week's articles can be found at February,
Week Three .
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!