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 1/2009
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
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.
getting loaded up for our trip to Perkin's Peak tomorrow.
This time, going snowmobiling is a little more
complicated than usual. We've left from our front
door for so many winters that everything is by rote and
you don't tend to forget anything. But this will be the
first time that we're trailering the snowmobiles so it
should be interesting to see how much stuff we forget.
It's kind of silly when you think about it. We've had
this monstrous snowmobile trailer sitting in the yard
since purchasing it last winter, and we haven't used it.
Although it does provide excellent storage
for the four machines that otherwise would be scattered
around the yard. But at least we're finally getting the
opportunity to use it. We've dumped two of our machines
out of it in order take two that we'll ride and two friends'
machines down to Perkin's Peak. I'm just hoping that the
weather will be half decent but it's already degrading.
It was a spectacular day today getting up over 5C or 41F
with very little breeze and blue, blue sky. Unfortunately,
that mess that the weather forecasters predicted has started
moving in this afternoon bringing first high haze,
and then heavy, grey cloud with it.
I'm not too sure what the temperature is supposed to do.
It went down to -20C or -4F last night and you would think
if it's going to cloud over it wouldn't drop so much,
but they are predicting that the high pressure system
coming in from Alaska will bring both cold temperatures
and snow, so who knows. It will be disappointing if we
can't see much from the top of the mountain tomorrow but
we'll wait and see. If it turns out to be too nasty tomorrow,
I don't see us going. I think we all learned our
lesson a bit from Lloyd's last ride over a week ago.
While some of the guys only suffered mild frostbite, one
of them ended up suffering some pretty severe frostbite
on his thumbs and they've turned black. Since snowmobiling
is supposed to be fun, I don't see us needing to do that
One cool thing about temperature extremes this time of
year between cold temps at night and a warm sun during
the day is the sound of the lake. I took the dogs for
a walk late last night and the moon was bright enough
on the snow that you sure didn't need a flashlight! The
stars were just twinkling away when all of a sudden I
heard that low rumble of the lake and then a sharp chuff!
of the snow on the surface cracking along with the ice.
It sounded like a good one! Back inside, all evening I
could hear the lake rumbling, even over the sound of the
television. We sure have good ice this year. Oh,
and I should take this opportunity to thank our neighbour,
Rob, for doing such a wonderful job on the ice road this
year. We wouldn't have one if it wasn't for him.
had some cool weather move in overnight. It actually wasn't
too bad early this morning but it dropped to -12C or 10F
as it cleared off. It took its time warming up until around
noon when it finally popped up to -5C or 23F and by the
time I got back from my walk, it was up to -3C.
We had a tiny skiff of snow last night, just enough
to show off new tracks. There were some fox tracks
on the trail and oddly, loads of squirrel tracks on the
road. I'm not sure what that was about! There were a few
rabbit tracks around but no fresh moose tracks or caribou,
for that matter. That's one thing that's really been surprising
me this year is the lack of big game down low. There's
still sign up higher so maybe the lack of deep snow has
allowed moose to stay at higher elevations. Boy, the last
couple of times we've been up snowmobiling there are some
spots I've noticed that are just laced with rabbit and
lynx tracks. I even found one set of tracks where
the lynx had very obviously been chasing a rabbit through
the snow. I don't know whether he caught his prey
or not because their tracks disappeared through the trees
and the snow was too deep for me to wade through. There
are definitely more rabbit tracks up high now than down
here. I think that our pack of coyotes and neighbourhood
fox have cleaned them out pretty good.
Today was another gloriously sunny day with not a cloud
in the sky, but there was definitely a chilly wind out
of the northwest. Andy and a few of the guys went
out to widen a snowmobile trail today but he said
it was so nice they spent a lot of time just lounging
on their machines in the sun, although I guess they got
a little work done. Sounds like they did more playing
than working as they rediscovered old trails that haven't
been broken out yet this year.
I think we're only going to get one more good day, if
that, and then our weather is supposed to break down for
a couple of days. There's a high pressure system coming
down from Alaska but besides bringing cold air it's also
bringing moisture and cloud to the north and central coast.
I had hoped our weather would hold through Saturday since
we've all decided we want to do a trip up Perkin's Peak
way. I've never been up there but I've seen enough
pictures taken by friends to see that it's really pretty
with a spectacular view.
Well, it's seven in the evening and it's not quite
pitch black outside. There's still just a touch of light
in the sky. That means that on Sunday evening it will
still be a little light at eight at night. I'm so excited!
Man, I love Daylight Savings Time! That's
the first sign of spring! It also means I can get more
work done during the day and can go out for my walk or
a ski a little later in the afternoon because it will
still be warm.
One other thing. I don't know if I mentioned it before
but there's been a major price reduction on a home on
Nimpo Lake of over $100,000 on the Property
for Sale page. For those
of you looking for property, you may want to go in and
take a second look at it.
were just commenting this morning on our heavily clouded
day, something we actually haven't seen a lot of this
year. I just realized last night that somehow this
winter has just flown by. January usually seems
to drag on forever but this year, it's gone, February's
gone and we're already speeding through the first week
of March at a great rate. Although Andy figures the fact
that I've had so much work to do on the computer that
I rarely come up for air may have something to do with
the winter going by so fast.
I haven't had to pull out my little SAD light once
this year because it's been such a sunny winter and I
think that's why it's sped by so fast. It's simply
because I've been enjoying all the sunshine, which is
why a heavy day like today's is unusual enough to be noted.
Yesterday started out similarly but it quickly cleared
out and turned absolutely beautiful. For a change I could
go for a walk on the back trails without so many layers
of clothing on I can barely walk and I left long before
lunch in the hopes the snow wouldn't be too soft. Too
late, though. It already was.
Today is going to be a different matter. While it got
up over 5C yesterday, the temperature has only just now
climbed a degree above zero and a breeze from out of the
north has started up. We've got an arctic high moving
down from the north so I think we can kiss our warm weather
goodbye for a few days. That's okay. It means
we'll keep our snow for a little longer and I'll be more
likely to get work done on the computer rather than lingering
too long outside. It's hard being stuck inside when it's
so gorgeous outdoors and I could be helping bring in wood
or just wandering around in the yard mapping the 6, 543
things that need to be done during our short summer season.
Chain saws were going pretty steadily for about three
days at the resort in our bay while they cut ice for their
summer ice house. That's two resorts down with only one
more operator due in to cut his ice. He usually leaves
his until pretty late in the spring, though. Andy got
a couple of slash piles burned up yesterday, one of them
on the lake, from beetle killed trees that he's cut down.
We've still got a huge community burn pile just outside
our gate that we and a couple of neighbours put slash
on year round, and then we burn it in March or April,
depending on how much snow is on the ground. And it looks
like someone is burning slash up on the east side of the
highway so things are picking up around here. Once
the snow is nearly gone all the fun stuff will stop and
the work begins until ice off.
You know, I have to laugh. People always comment how nice
it must be to live on a lake year round on a perpetual
holiday. Except that it's not. There's just as much stuff
to do here as there is on a lot in the city, except there's
a lot more acreage here, so more work. Geez, I just realized
we haven't even tried ice fishing yet this year!
Lloyd's Last Ride
been a fast paced week with lots happening including a
deadline for a project. Thanks for your patience folks.
Last Friday a week ago I got handed a project that had
a nasty short deadline attached and a pile of work to
do. It might not have been so hectic if I didn't have
an all day meeting on Thursday, and a tourist rep from
Williams Lake that asked to be taken up on the mountain
snowmobiling Friday and Saturday. Mind you, we were more
than delighted to do that in repayment for her bringing
a truckload of our chairs for the Hall up from the Coast.
Last but not least, there was the all important
ride on Wednesday.
We had been planning the ride since last fall after our
good friend and neighbour, Lloyd Wilson, died of Lou Gehrig's
disease.... a last ride to the mountain where we could
all say good-bye.
Initially, we had been waiting for Lloyd's closest friends
to arrive back in the country and once they did, we had
intended to simply pick a really nice day to go snowmobiling.
However, so many of his friends and snowmobiling buddies
over the years wanted the opportunity to go on that final
ride that scheduling turned into a major problem.
We finally had no choice but to pick a date for the out
of area folks, regardless of what the weather brought.
Unfortunately, last Wednesday Mother Nature chose
to bring some damned cold weather. Midweek we
had temperatures down to -35C or -31F one night and -30C
or 22 below zero Fahrenheit the next.
Wednesday morning rolled around and at -20C at 10:30 a.m.,
we debated even continuing with our plans, but as Andy
said, he had no idea who all was coming on the ride and
so probably could not contact everyone. That would mean
that some people would end up sitting down at the meeting
place wondering where everyone was, so away we went. It
was probably just as well that it was cold because we
still ended up with 19 people and we knew of close to
10 more that chose not to come because of the temperature.
I think they were smarter than we were by a long
It started out sunny and since the sun has so much heat
in it, we figured it would warm up pretty fast. We got
up to Ptarmigan Flats and all joked that we had to stop
and eat there because Mr. Wilson would haunt us if we
didn't. Often by 11:45 he was reminding us that it was
getting close to lunch and would mutiny if we didn't stop
by shortly after twelve. While having lunch on the flats
you could see weather moving in over Trumpeter and we
decided to pack up and get going. It wasn't all that pleasant
sitting there anyway because a brisk wind was starting
up and the sun had virtually disappeared. So much
for a warm up from the sun.
We all made it to the top of Trumpeter but three or four
guys had developed some frostbite on their faces. It was
so cold that our face shields kept freezing up so you
had to run with them partially open in order to see. We
were driving right into the teeth of a freezing north
wind going to the top and the wind-chill was horrendous.
We could only joke about Lloyd some more because in the
past, if we had a new person riding with us he always
insisted on taking them to the top of Trumpeter. It didn't
matter if the fog was thicker than pea soup and you couldn't
see your hand in front of your face when you got there,
much less the view, to Lloyd, it was the getting there
that was important.
I expect most of the people that have ever gotten to the
top of Trumpeter Mountain in the past 20 years got there
by following Lloyd's machine. He was certainly the reason
I got there the first time. We all said our quick
good-byes and got the heck off the mountain and it's as
the guys joked.... none of them will ever get to
the top before Lloyd again.
We got back down below Goat Pass to where it was slightly
warmer and sat for a while waiting for the remainder of
our huge group to show up. Richard from the store had
planned to come up but because he had to work until after
lunch, figured he would be late. But he showed up from
down at Nimpo an hour later than expected. It turns out
that two guys that stayed behind us that morning on the
Hooch & Main so that they could play around before
catching up with us actually ended up breaking down not
far from where we left them. What's the chances
of both their machines breaking down at the same time?
Richard ended up towing them back to Nimpo before coming
back up to where we were sitting below Goat Lake. Finally,
we three women came on down and headed for home. I was
tired of being cold and so were they. What we didn't know
was that we had managed to lose some of the group along
the way coming down so the guys went back up posting a
rider along the way near the entrance to a different route.
They eventually got everyone rounded up and back down
but I think everyone was pretty cold and tired.
I know that it was so cold up higher that I thought
my hand warmers had stopped working. It wasn't
until I got down to kilometer 24 that I could actually
feel them again. Leah had the same problem and ended up
with a touch of frostbite in her fingers. That's one reason
why we left the others. She just could not feel her hands
anymore. Once we got down to Nimpo, it felt positively
balmy at -16C or 3F.
I think that after the sun was hidden by cloud, it just
got colder and colder as the afternoon wore on up on the
mountain. There had been severe wind-chill warnings out
for our area and Andy figured that between the low temperature,
the wind, and the wind-chill we created riding our machines,
we were exposed to somewhere between -40 and -78
degrees below zero. We all agreed that was probably
the coldest ride we had ever been on, and I can tell you
that it's the last one I'll go on when the
temperatures are that cold, there's a wind-chill warning,
and no sun! I'm pretty sure that Mr. Wilson was lounging
back in the Happy Hunting grounds chuckling his butt off
at all of us.
We've had quite a mixed bag when it comes to weather ever
since. Thursday was absolutely glorious and I resented
being stuck inside for a meeting the whole day looking
out at crystal clear skies, mountains, sun, and warm temperatures
with only glass between me and a wonderful day. So close,
yet so far.
Friday dawned clear but unfortunately, we got a late start
snowmobiling so taking our friend up on Trumpeter was
okay, but by then weather had moved in and the view was
pretty hazy. But, at least she got to see it. We took
her out again Saturday in the hopes of a better day but
it still hadn't cleared off enough to get great pictures.
But we did get her around to some other spots with great
mountain views and I think she enjoyed the ride. It was
actually quite a pretty day with mixed sun and cloud,
no wind, and pretty decent temperatures with only a couple
Yesterday a south wind blew in bringing super warm
air and lots of sunshine and it got up to 8C or 46F. It
was unbelievable! It sure was tough walking in
the back woods though because the snow was just mushy,
especially with the extra four or five inches of fresh
snow we got last week. When I got home from my walk, Andy
was actually sitting out on the deck suntanning.
Today was just as nice, although a cold wind kicked up
later this afternoon. Still, it got up to 5C or 41 degrees
again today and I felt like I was dying of heat exhaustion
in the sun on my walk today. I have to try to remember
not to wear so many clothes when it's that warm.
It's hard to say what the weather is going to do this
week. Apparently there's a high pressure system coming
in off the Pacific. The weather forecasters say that if
it comes in over the province we'll enjoy warm, sunny
weather but that if it stalls over the coast, we'll get
cold temperatures and snow and that it's going to get
awfully messy for the Lower Mainland. It doesn't really
matter to me which way it goes. I would rather have
the former for the sunshine, but none of us want to lose
our snow either. It shortens the snowmobiling season
and really extends Breakup, and in this country, no
one wants Breakup to be any longer than it has
This is the start of a new week so you'll find February's
third week 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!