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 2/2007
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.
A New Page
Everyone. This should be the start of a new week but this
is going to be short so that will probably happen tomorrow
I'm sure everyone is just as depressed as I am at
looking at those poor planes so it will be time to start
a new page.
For those people, whether friends and family or just plane
lovers, who have visited the Hangar-Fire
gallery, I hope you found it helpful. Hopefully, it saved
having to email a lot of pictures around. However, I'm
removing that particular page now so all you will find
is a dead link in its place.
While the page was intended for friends and family, it's
not intended to be pored over by the ghouls,
nor do I wish it to make the email, UTube type rounds
or end up in Google's image bank.
For those relatives or friends of the owner of the
hangar, please contact my Mom for the new link to that
page should you need it.
Not much has changed today. It started out with sun and
cool temperatures but ended up with cloud and wind this
afternoon and it even tried to snow a little during supper.
The weatherman is predicting a lot of rain for the Lower
Mainland for the next few days and from the looks of that
funnel of cloud coming in at us from the Pacific, we're
all going to get something.
Flooding is still a concern for a good bit of the
province and Highway one still isn't going to
be open for quite a while.
We didn't get to go snowmobiling today but Andy did get
to fly, so that's a good thing.
Nimpo Lake was rumbling steadily last night so that's
a definite sign of vast changes between day time and night
time temperatures. Oh yeah...and I did hear
a red winged blackbird again today! Spring must be coming.
Okay, gotta go!
far we have escaped the road closures that warm weather
or rain can bring but the rest of British Columbia has
not been so fortunate.
It started with over a dozen mudslides at Bridal Falls
near Hope. Since that's pretty common in that area there
is an alternate route and it didn't take Highways too
long to get one lane open. However, a couple of
mountainsides let go in the Fraser Canyon, the only main
north/south artery in British Columbia, and that
part of Highway 1 is expected to take another ten days
or two weeks before it will be re-opened. You can still
get to central and northern BC by going the long way through
Princeton or to Merritt, then Kamloops but it's not the
shortest way by any means and can be downright nasty in
The Fraser Canyon didn't just suffer rock or mud slides
this time. In both places the entire highway was washed
away completely, with a very large ravine and creek taking
its place. In one spot, a good section of the railway
is hanging in midair like a suspension bridge
with its railroad bed long gone and nothing but a whole
lot of airspace beneath it.
The problem with two sections of Highway 97 washing
out is that all the little communities in between are
trapped and isolated. Without transport there
has been no way to get groceries and what not into the
little towns. The washed out rail line is now using CN's
line and I'm assuming goods are coming in that way now.
I'm not sure which side of the river CN's rail line is
on. One community near a washout has been without
power or water since the weekend with many homes
flooded or nearly so, yet their plight wasn't even reported
on the news until yesterday. The media and government
officials seemed to be far more concerned with the flooding
on the Lower Mainland over the weekend. Far less serious
than the predicament Fraser Canyon residents are in but
par for the course.
Watching the news, we both felt most sorry for the
poor truckers trapped on the highway between the two washouts.
The B-trains can't turn around on that stretch, so if
the highway won't be re-opened for upward of two weeks,
what are the drivers supposed to do? Wait with their trucks?
And if the trucks are full of perishables, then what?
The Trans Canada Highway, the main east/west artery for
all of Canada, was closed today near Golden because
of a mud and rock slide. The only alternate route
to get east is to go through Kamloops, the back way up
to Valemont and through to Edmonton on Highway 16. Quite
a few hundred miles out of your way if you were on your
way to Calgary and points east.
Several Ministries have been expressing concern for flooding
and mudslides in the Lower Mainland and throughout British
Columbia for some time now. There's a record snow
pack in the mountains and if it's a warm spring with a
sudden melt, everyone's going to be swimming with the
We had a gorgeous day today, at least until noon, with
the sun shining and not a breeze. Then the wind started
up again. It took a little while to warm up this morning
though. It dropped to nearly -18C or about 4 below zero
Fahrenheit last night and was still -14 at nine this morning.
Our friends from Quesnel went out snowmobiling
about that time this morning and I think they were wondering
why it was so cold until I told them what the
temperature had been this morning.
At least Andy and his instructor Mazy got a little flying
in today until gusting winds forced them back down. Logan
was out flying over the lake today taking advantage of
the calmer weather and it was really nice to see
a Supercub in the sky where it should be rather
than looking like those to the right.
Last night was the first time I've heard Nimpo Lake in
quite a while and you could tell it was getting cold quickly
because the ice was setting up quite a rumble. It
was nice to hear all the grumbling and the periodic 'Whumfp!'
from one section of ice breaking off from another.
It's been pretty quiet this year under all the snow we've
had this winter. The coyotes must have liked the temperature
as well because they were howling off and on just over
on the shore in our back bay last night and this morning,
setting our dog off as usual.
He didn't seem quite so overreactive or brave this afternoon
when I went skiing across the lake. I had taken a break
after stumbling up a bank in deep snow looking for a dry
log to sit on. After having a quick snack I got back down
to the ice and was trying to get my skis on when I heard
one heck of a sound! It sounded like a moose but
not one I've ever heard during their mating season.
This one sounded a bit like the way a cow moose sounds
but really, really mad. Even though the grunt/bellow had
an echo, it was close enough for me to hear branches snapping.
Not a good feeling when you are lower, can't see up into
the trees, and your biggest dog has his ears pinned back
like an elephant and his nose pointed toward home. The
noise stopped when I started swearing at my skis and once
I had them on I didn't bother to stick around long enough
to see if it would commence. I headed toward home
along the lakeshore with the wind behind me and my 'ever
so brave' dogs looking back over their shoulders periodically.
I don't think they knew what those sounds were either
but they weren't hanging around to find out.
I can only assume it was a moose that was either mad because
I was in its space or didn't know I was there and I had
surprised it. It may also have been a cow moose warning
her calf but I've heard that sound before and this one
sounded a lot more agitated. Or just PO'd. In any case,
it can have the lake if it wants it. I'm not about
beginning to feel a lot like spring around here. Even
though I really, really don't want it to.
You should have seen the stares I got when I mentioned
today that I'd really like to see colder temperatures
and snow for a while longer. Their looks said it
all... My sanity was definitely in question.
It went to -14C or about 5 degrees Fahrenheit last night,
and warmed up to just above freezing today. That sun has
a lot of heat in it so even if the air temperature isn't
all that warm, the snow still melts in the sun.
Our fresh snow Sunday night went a long ways to
freshening things up around here. It was nice
to see it on the trees and covering the ground where there
had been only ice, mud and red pine needles since things
started to warm up a week or so ago. Everything
looks grubby during a long Breakup.
We were supposed to be getting cooler temperatures this
week and I figured we would stop losing snow. Unfortunately,
the weatherman seems to be wrong again. We're still getting
nailed with wind that just seems to get progressively
worse as each day wears on. That's been making it extremely
difficult for Andy and his Instructor to get up in the
plane and today was the first in some time that they actually
got to fly.
One of our Directors would like to put on a poker
run for Anahim and Nimpo Lake community members
next weekend that would cross Nimpo Lake and go out to
Charlotte Lake. Whether we will have enough snow or not
ten days from now seems really debatable. Unfortunately,
most of us run liquid cooled snowmachines so we have to
have enough snow being swept up on the tunnel to keep
from overheating the motor. There is enough snow on Nimpo
Lake and Charlotte right now after this most recent snowfall
to allow such a ride. By tomorrow there may not be. Another
week of the kind of weather we've been having, and
there may not be enough snow left in anyone's yard to
make a snowman much less a 50 or 60 mile snowmobile
run. However, we can always hope.
I saw the first harbinger of spring today while coming
back from Nimpo on the road. A lone Trumpeter Swan was
paddling around in the open water on the Dean River where
it leaves Nimpo Lake, looking a little wary but not lost.
Andy saw a coyote hanging around there this morning so
maybe it's looking to have Swan for supper.
I'm also sure I heard a single blackbird trill over in
our meadow but it seems awfully early for them so it must
have been something else. Although we did have a single
immature or female blackbird hanging around until early
winter this year, that it made it through the entire winter
by itself would seem highly unlikely. Although I suppose
stranger things have happened.
I went for a walk in the woods yesterday and then back
on the road. With the exception of rabbit tracks and flushing
one grouse, there wasn't a single fresh track in the new
snow. I have no idea where our moose are but it's
sure looking like they grew wings!
Our friends from Quesnel went up into the Rainbows yesterday
and followed some of our trails up around Trumpeter today.
They've had sun and that fresh snow both days so at least
the weather has been in their favor for snowmobiling.
They are running into some pretty nasty winds up high
that chase them down the mountain, but if you stick to
trails in the trees or protected areas, the riding can
still be pretty nice. They've been doing surprisingly
well icefishing here and there while out riding. Perhaps
we should get in the habit of carrying fishing rods as
well. It certainly would add interest to some of our snowmobiling
trips and where we might fish could be a
Weather Day Yesterday
a note about the Hangar Fire at Nimpo Lake last week.
Week One. As mentioned
before, the gallery was intended to be up for only a short
time. It has been removed now so Hangar-Fire
will be a dead link.
We went out snowmobiling yesterday and the weather was
brutal to say the least. I'm not sure we could have picked
a nastier day if we had tried. Crossing Nimpo Lake with
little snow on it required circling around by the shoreline
until we met up with the guys over at Dot Island. There
we could see a few caribou standing across the lake watching
us in the cold, grey light. The snow had the consistency
of corn starch going up Charlotte Main to Goat Lake so
it wasn't too bad that early in the day, but the wind
was blowing and it kept trying to spit snow.
Lloyd spotted a mountain goat high up in a rock gully
above Goat Lake standing there out of the wind watching
us sitting down below freezing our hineys off in
the wind. When you see that barren rock up high
and the drift coated rocks down where we were, you really
have to wonder what they find to eat in the winter.
We finally found a somewhat sheltered place to sit and
have our lunch after we went through the Pass, and although
there was a faint indication of a sun up there trying
to shine through low clouds, it never did make an appearance.
We rode up on one naked hilltop where the guys wanted
to show us an inukshuk they had built last fall but getting
there was not nice. The wind was howling across the face
of the hill driving snow low to the ground and the light
was so flat, you honestly could not tell whether you were
going up, down or sidehilling. Nor could you tell when
you were going to hit a drift. Snowmobiling in light
like that is one of the strangest sensations there is
because you have no trees or landmarks to give you a sense
of direction and no way of knowing what's up and what's
down. We got to the top, I quickly took pictures
of the inukshuk and it was a race to get back down and
out of the wind.
We came off the mountain the back way through the
Lonesome Lake Burn above the Atnarko river on
a trail the guys cleared out last fall, and it was actually
a really nice ride. Interesting too to see the burned
and twisted trees on that side of the mountain.
The temperature had climbed considerably and the snow
was starting to mush up. By the time we hit the bottom
and started back around to 24 Kilometer, it was beginning
to spit rain. We took another trail opened up only last
fall back into Gus's Meadow that only Andy had been over
this winter. There was a stuck or two in there because
the snow was so mushy and your snowmachine would just
drop out from under you. A few small trees had
to be cut out of the way in order for us to get through
and we finally reached the meadow. I think we all would
have liked windshield wipers on our visors because the
rain was beading up and flying off whenever you ran at
The creek in the meadow has opened up again in places
but we were still able to cross in one spot where it's
still frozen over. I don't know how long that will last
We definitely went up on the wrong day. By contrast, today
dawned sunny and bright with four inches of fresh snow
on the ground. A bit of a wind has kicked up now
but it's still good to see a little sun. Hopefully our
friends from Quesnel will find the next few days to be
good snowmobiling. Their trip yesterday to Miner Lake
was not great at all. Where we were getting spitting rain
while out riding, they got poured on.
The Investigators - Nimpo Lake Hangar Fire
Adjusters arrived in our part of the country yesterday,
admittedly a little exhausted after the early morning
wake up call and long drive from Williams Lake. Aside
from looking a little worse for wear, the one I met seemed
genuinely concerned with the situation and was pretty
down to earth while taking statements.
Though there was no insurance on the hangar or any but
one plane, there was a vehicle in the hangar with insurance
on it as well as many personal items stored there, so
it was necessary for the Adjusters to check everything
out. A fire investigator arrived today to do the
same. Immediately upon their arrival yesterday,
the Adjusters sealed the hangar, allowing no one to go
in there, so hopefully our idiot 'friend' of the other
day didn't compromise the site when he insisted on entering
the hangar regardless of Mazy's admonitions that he not
The arrival of the fire investigator is a welcome one.
Terry has another hangar near the one destroyed
Tuesday night and would like to know more than anyone
what caused the fire, since the second hangar
uses the same system of heating as the first. However,
in the face of the complete destruction of the large hangar,
determining the cause of the fire is going to be difficult,
if not impossible without a team of experts with a whole
lot of time on their hands.
We've all thrown out numerous theories, striving to understand
from what we saw what may have caused the fire. One interesting
theory posed to Terry by someone from down in Nevada was
that the regulator on the wall of the hangar may have
malfunctioned. Apparently there have been several
hangars around Tahoe destroyed by fire when a high snow
load covering the regulator impairs its ability to read
atmospheric pressure. Since we had a very unusual
amount of snow this year, and the regulator on the side
of the hangar is buried under tons of cement-like snow,
that theory is probably as valid as any other posed by
we 'amateur investigators'.
Peering through the doorway of the hangar with Duke the
other day, we tried to identify which planes were which
from what little was left of each. Pointing out one, I,
in all my blondness, asked what kind of plane would have
such a short prop on it. Duke answered that it was Terry's
185 that he had picked up brand new from the factory many
years ago and the reason the aluminum props were
so short was because the ends had melted off.
All that was left of each were 12 inch stubs.
No artist could reproduce that sad sculpture.
Of the seven aircraft lost in the fire, four were Terry's,
three of which were irreplaceable SuperCubs. You'll see
the highly depressing pictures to the right.
After the suits are done, (Actually the Adjusters aren't
wearing suits but between them and the Investigator it's
easier to lump them all under that inglorious term. What
a casual world we live in today.) there will be
the nasty process of cleaning up. It isn't going
to be easy to dispose of 10,000 square feet of metal hangar
and the twisted remains of all the machinary inside. Although
as ghoulish as it may seem, I contend that the remains
of the planes should be set up in a row on the cement
as museum pieces for the BC Floatplane fly in and AGM
that occurs here every July. It would be a dire reminder
to the attending pilots and I expect every man jack of
them would quickly be checking his Not In Motion
I know....sick humour, and it certainly is not meant
to undermine the sadness of the situation, but I don't
know how else you face that kind of tragedy. Besides,
it seems to be a prerequisite of living in the Chilcotin
to have a very strange sense of humour.
I would like to thank each and every person that
called or emailed to offer their thoughts and prayers
and I have done my best to pass them on to Mom and Terry.
I realize that many of you were not able to get through
on their phone because the lines have been burning up
and they've been very busy with the suits obviously, or
you simply have not wanted to bother them. Thanks to all
Last night the wind finally stopped for the first time
in I don't know how long. In fact, it's been blowing
for so long now that the quiet was downright eerie and
felt strange. It's our windy time of year and
the cool temperatures and unsettled weather have made
it somewhat unpleasant to be outside. It's just sitting
above freezing right now with some snow off and on all
afternoon. I would really like to see about six inches
of snow fall right now since we have friends down from
Quesnel that would like to go snowmobiling and Henry is
in. Actually, we all need a good day out on sleds
in clean air to do a little relaxing. Whether
we get the weather to do that is highly debatable. The
cloud deck is pretty low right now and our weather isn't
expected to improve any time soon. You never know though.
Miracles sometimes do happen!
I have finally started a new week so if you would like
to check out all about the Nimpo Lake Hangar Fire and
what's been happening since the first of March, you can
go to March,
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!