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Wilderness Adventures - March, Week 2/2014

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 some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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18/03/2014 5:20 PM

Break Up Begins

It has been consistently warm since the last blog, which admittedly has been some time. It has gotten above freezing every day in the past ten with some days only registering a couple of days above and others like today getting to 8C or 46F, which means water is running everywhere.
We have had a lot of sunshine in the past week and a half but we have also had a lot of high winds. This is the only time of year where that’s actually a really good thing. Much as I hate it, it does a remarkable job of drying things out after the snow melts such as on the roads and in our driveway. Even the ice road is good if a little slippery. We saw what happened the one spring we didn’t have a lot of wind and it didn’t freeze at night a couple of years ago. For those of you that read the blog you’ll remember that we were walking for a month as were many of other people that were having to leave their vehicles on the town side of monster mud holes. So far, no worries in that regard this year. It is freezing at night and there’s no lack of wind. Our main road is drying out nicely although it needs another week of not too many people on it and no snow or rain to dry out completely. Unfortunately, we might lose our ice road before then. Most of the ice road is in excellent condition, but it’s breaking up badly over at the public boat ramp. This winter, whoever plowed the ramp down to the launch for the New Year’s party, plowed gravel and dirt right onto the ice, which is the worst possible thing for it. It snowed on top of the sand and gravel so we didn’t see it until too late. The sun hits that dark colored dirt and it melts a hole right in the ice and starts to break it up. It’s been getting worse over the last couple of days so if the weather doesn’t cool down and tighten the ice back up, we’ll probably lose it by the end of the week. It’s too bad because even though we didn’t put it in until late because of all the overflow on the lake earlier in the season, it’s been terrific with no overflow on it at all since. Losing it means travelling over the road and our driveway which will chew it up a little and add some ruts, but that’s just the way Break Up is.
At least with this consistently warm weather we’re seeing lots of people out on the lake now. One day this past weekend alone there were people walking the ice road, people ice skating, a fellow hoofing it over to the far shore, and a bunch of people ice fishing off the shore of the small island, all at the same time.
Andy dropped a tree on our shoreline last week that had a bit of a bad lean toward the house. There were several reasons for taking it out but the fact that he had to use the Bobcat to push it toward the lake instead of have it fall toward the house made that the predominant one. In addition to that, it wasn’t that big a tree when I arrived here twelve years ago but it was a fast growing spruce with huge branches that was starting to block out the sun for about an hour each day in winter, and the taller and bigger it got over the next few years, the more sun it was going to block. In this country, you rely a lot on the sun to heat your house up during the day in winter so blocking out the sun was kind of its death knell. Sadly, it was never going to grow tall enough to shade the house in summer when the sun is so much higher so it had no purpose other than to be a big, beautiful tree that could potentially blow onto the house in a few years, so it had to go while it was still small enough to handle. We can also see a lot more of the lake and mountains out of our front windows now, and I especially like that we can see the point again which we haven’t been able to see well for the past few years.
I counted the rings on the stump and there were 38 very wide ones to the center so it wasn’t all that old but it obviously really liked having its feet in the water judging the rate at which it was growing. Trees normally grow really slowly here making that rate of growth very unusual, so the endless supply of lake water has to be the reason.
We only had another few weeks to drop the tree so that we could clean it up and burn it on the lake and since the weather was warm, last week seemed like a good time to do it. And since a bonfire is always a good excuse to invite friends and neighbours over for some appies, we had a little party on Saturday. The weather wasn’t perfect by any means with snow squalls all morning and early afternoon and really high winds, but the sun popped out here and there and everyone was dressed warmly. Once the fire got going that wasn’t really a problem any longer anyway but standing in water was.
Andy had cleared an area for the tree to drop onto and in so doing, pushed up a substantial ring of snow. I figured that was going to cause overflow, and it did. By the time the fire had burned down to a level you could stand around, there was several inches of water sitting on the ice. It’s a good thing people in this country are pretty easy going and dress appropriately when invited out for an afternoon in the boonies.
Everyone had a good time and we’ll probably do it again next Sunday. We have a pile of slash in our usual spot that needs to be burned before open burning bans are put on so we’ll invite the neighbourhood for a wienie roast and a little socializing. I have another pile down below my garden that also needs to be burned but it’s among the trees so I’ll have to hand feed it.
I’ve heard wolves howling way off in the distance a couple of times in the past few weeks when I have gone out to get wood for banking the fire for the night, so they’re definitely around this year. I think that they followed game in this winter and just haven’t left. We have had some moose hanging in close to residences around Nimpo Lake this year, probably for safety from the four legged predators. Unfortunately, it won’t protect them from the two legged ones. We also had the Indian horses go through the back trail just a few days back and I think they were being run. They’ve been feeding in the meadows along Highway 20 between Nimpo and Anahim all winter, mainly because that’s the only source of food for them. But last week their tracks ran through the woods along the back trail and they left a lot of manure in their wake, common when horses are frightened. They circled around and were back in their usual meadow the next day, so I’m pretty sure something spooked them and put them on the run for a few miles, probably either wolves or the Indian dogs from Fish Trap. They run game across the lake on a pretty regular basis so I wouldn’t put it past them.
I saw the strangest thing the other night well after midnight. I noticed a really bright light over on the far shore in front of the Waterfront Motel so I went outside and took a look at it through the binoculars. There was a full moon and because of the light, it was hard to see what was above it but it looked like big panels up on a large stand with this sun-like light underneath. Darned if I could figure out what it was but thought maybe the owner of the Waterfront had decided to put up solar panels that would power a bright security light in the yard. A little while later I could see a really bright orange light when I passed the kitchen window so out came the binoculars again. Hey, I’m a curious person. This time the structure with the panels was still there but now there was a tent behind it, what we would call a canvas trapper’s tent, except that either it was orange, or the orange light was reflecting off of it, and there was a really soft orange glow coming from within. "Okay." I thought, "This is totally weird. Did some tenters come in late and decide to set up a bunch of big lights so they could see to set up their tent?" Even though odd, I didn’t have another explanation and went to bed with a big old moon above, the lake rumbling through the night and a mystery on my mind.
I remembered to tell Andy all about the weird goings on of the night before and he looked at me like I was an imbecile.“There’s a Timber Kings film crew staying over at the motel so they were probably just doing some night filming.” He said. Well, that made sense, but how I was supposed to know that, I have no idea! I’m not a coffee shopper so I don’t get all the latest rumors and wouldn’t remember what I had heard if I did. Timber Kings is a show going into its second season of filming right now about Pioneer Log Homes and their owners who have a lodge, Wilderness Rim Resort, at the other end of the lake. I have no idea why the film crew would even be filming in Nimpo Lake since Pioneer's log yard is in Williams Lake, unless it was background on the lodge, or maybe to take footage of the Pioneer built cabins over where they’re staying. Maybe they need some human interest stuff? Who knows? All I’m certain of is I have never seen a film crew working at night before and had no idea what they looked like. Now I guess I do.
As I mentioned above, the lake has been making lots of noise. Since the night of the full moon it has been growling, thumping and rumbling all night long and you’ll often hear it thump during the day. Hmmm… wonder what the film crew thought of that since it was the noisiest on the night they were doing their thing. I’ve noticed before that the moon seems to really add to the noise making festivities when it’s full and we have thawing temperatures during the day and freezing at night. I’ve often joked to myself that it’s the moon lifting the ice and have this little cartoon picture in my head. It sounds cool right now, anyway, especially since the lake ice has been exceptionally quiet this year.

I have mentioned it on Facebook but I'll bring it up here as well. I am running a contest to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Facebook page and 100 likes. Try to identify how our view has permanently changed recently, (the burn pile on the lake should be your clue) and send your guess to me with your name, phone number and email address and you will be entered for a draw for three days free stay in our cabin B&B at
AJ B&B with breakfast for two included.
You can have additional people at no charge but additional breakfasts will be charged. You can also add days to that package at the standard rate if you wish. This package can be used from July 15 to October 15 of this year or from June 1 to October 15 of 2015 but the dates you want will have to work around dates I already have booked in August so far. If you can't use the package, you can transfer it on to your friends or family but you cannot sell it. Deadline for your entries will be March 31st with the draw on April 1st. You will be contacted if you have won, otherwise your contact information will not be used for any other reason. Just to let you know, once the Facebook page reaches 200 likes, there will be 2 packages up for grabs in a contest at that time.
If you win the prize, the package can be used any time during our open season so long as I do not already have the dates booked but you must give one month's notice before booking. The sooner you book if you have won the prize, the better your chances of getting the dates you want.
This prize will no longer apply if for any reason we are no longer operating AJ Bed & Breakfast. You cannot exchange the prize for money or any other value. You cannot sell the prize for cash or exchange it for any other value.
You can send your entry to Good luck!

Last week's blog is at March Week One.

Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.

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!
Kids skating on an ice rink on Nimpo Lake.
Several people standing around a fire on the lake while ice fishing.
A big yellow moon rises over the hill.
A black circle on the ice is all that remains of a large slash pile.
Flames start rising from a green slash pile on the lake ice.
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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