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Wilderness Adventures - March, Week 3/2008

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' - just 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.


27/03/2008 1:24 PM

Big Grandma and the Big Boom

It's another blustery blowsy day in the Chilcotin folks. Again, not worth writing home about. The temperature hit -14C or 6.8F last night and hasn't made it much above freezing today with only a little sun. Still, it's enough of a temperature difference that the lake ice has been grumbling steadily all day. It was booming pretty good last night too when it really started to cool down.
I'm working on another project now and don't have a lot to write about, but you're in luck. Floyd sent a funny little story to keep every one chuckling so I'll put that in right after the following notice.
There is an Annual General Meeting for the Nimpo Lake Community Association tonight at the hall at 7:30. So for those of you that are here and read this blog, you know to attend, right? There will be a Treasury report, vote on Directors, Wayne Murray is going to attend to explain the new forestry management boundaries for the mill, and there's an application form for everyone to look over regarding funding for a forest fire break to be cut around Nimpo Lake. Also, Leah is working on putting together a bingo for April, so volunteers will be needed. Okay folks, you know the drill. Now onto Floyd's story....
-"BIG GRANDMA AND THE BIG BOOM
Grandpa told this story, and I don't know if it is all true but a good story anyway.
Big grandma was my great grandma and grandpa's Mother-in- Law. She came from Missouri and smoked a corncob pipe that she always had in her mouth.
It seems that one of the first cars to come their way was a drummer (salesman) in a Model T Ford. In those days there were very few service stations, so everyone had to pack their own gas. This drummer, who spent the night, left the next day and forgot part of a jug of gas on the porch. When grandma picked it up she tipped it over and spilled some on the floor. She saw right off it had great cleaning power and also a terrific smell. Now in those days people didn't waste anything. They used everything they got a hold of so grandma decided the best place to use it, where the smell wouldn't bother, was the old outhouse. She really scrubbed it from stem to stern. She had just finished when Big Grandma headed down the trail. She had her pipe in her mouth and a newspaper under her arm. This was the highlight of her day. In fact this was about the only time she knew exactly what she was doing, because she was like some of us, getting kind of old.
Well she hadn't much more than got set down in the privy when they heard this terrific boom, and ran out on the porch to see a cloud of smoke and dust where the outhouse used to be. They ran down the trail and there sat Big Grandma out in the buck brush, hair singed but the stem of her pipe still in her mouth and what was left of the newspaper in one hand. Grandpa said, "What in the devil happened to you?"
She shook her head, and said, "I don't rightly know. I just started to light my pipe….
Must have been sumpin I et."

Thanks Floyd!
Have a good day folks!

25/03/2008 6:27 PM

Blech!

Sadly, that's really the only word I have for the day. The temperature only got to one degree above freezing today because it had to scale up from the low of -13C or 8F last night. It was a gorgeous morning early, early on but by the time I actually got up, it was its usual murky self, which is all we've been seeing lately, and it never really changed throughout the day. There was a really raw wind blowing so it was colder than the bejeeze outside, which meant I didn't linger in any one place for long on my walk today. What's really annoying is that it's pretty much cleared off this evening, as it has most nights. I wish it would reverse and we get a little more sun. But, I imagine that's exactly how most people feel that have to go to work when it's nice all week and then the weather turns lousy on the weekend.
This time of year is always hard because you're betwixt and between. Not great conditions for winter recreation but still too wintery for spring or summer stuff. It would have been awesome to have had winter in February and March and only now have the temperatures we saw for five weeks prior to this one when it was downright balmy during the day. However, if there's one thing I learned long ago, it's that Mother Nature could really care less what we would like in the way of weather.
I'm not the only one already fed up with Break Up. I spoke to a friend in Saskatchewan today who's husband had to shovel snow this morning. She was not impressed. Especially when my husband suggested they send the snow our way. Actually, she probably thought us crazy. But I have to admit, I would rather have lots of fresh snow on the ground than this in between drudge of crusted snow, ice and mud. Unfortunately, we come to this stage every year and like it or not, we have to go through it to get to actual spring and seeing some green. It will be a long wait. We're over a month away from the ice coming off of Nimpo Lake, and two months away from seeing any green buds on the trees. Unless something changes drastically between now and May, that is.
We were watching them celebrate the cherry tree blossoms in Vancouver on the news tonight. Sigh......
After seeing that, I've decided I'm going to find a cozy spot to plant a couple of Nanking and Sand cherries this year. I remember I had some in Saskatchewan in a raised box right next to the house where they were protected from wind and got a little warmth from the wall of the house. Our zone is a little colder than the prairies but a lot of my other plants came from there and have made it, so those may as well. And I admit, the blooms are spectacular early in the spring because they beat out just about anything else and although only a shrub, the cherries from the Nanking can still be used. I never did because the birds loved them so much, especially if they dried on the stem over winter. Then the Grosbeaks would suddenly flock in and clean them up in no time.
Geez....I just got off on a tangent and had to go searching the Internet looking for the very plants I mentioned above. Although there's no doubt that as a resource the Internet is invaluable, you can spend a lot of time off on a tangent. In this case, I came across McFaydon's seed catalogue out of Manitoba and I was lost for awhile. Sorry about that. I'm pretty excited this year about the growing season because for one, I fully expect to be done with web work except for my regular clients since I would like to start enjoying where I live, and two, we're hoping to have a greenhouse up this spring. I don't know if it will happen but we were lucky to stumble on a very good buy for slightly tinted tempered glass that a local has had for years. One of our neighbours found out about it and built a greenhouse. As soon as I heard about it, we snapped up the rest of the glass available. There are numerous uses for glass like that out here, not the least of which would be for the deck railing, a gazebo or pergola wall, and a greenhouse. Since it's difficult to grow much in the way of vegetables out here, a greenhouse is first on the list and a glass one is pretty much a must since I'm definitely not a fan of plastic. It looks shabby in a very short time no matter what you do and I hate the noise of the plastic clattering when the wind is blowing. So that's why I'm really excited about looking at seed catalogues for the first time in years. Yummm. Lettuce and green onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, zuccini, baby carrots and maybe even some beets. Wow...herbs...that would be nice! Except for chives. I'm battling them throughout my garden now since the flowers on a single plant were allowed to go to seed when we went to Alaska the summer before last. Rotten little boogers are worse than anything I've ever seen and I'm going to have to throw out a lot of perennials that have been swarmed by them. If you didn't know they were invasive, take my word for it, even here where we're somewhere between zone 0 and 1, they're invasive!
You know, this was just going to be a short little weather update because I actually have work to do. I don't know what happened there....

24/03/2008 3:58 PM

Easter Monday

Hope you all had a nice Easter weekend and that you're enjoying much less blustery weather than we are. Our weather is just plain raw. We've had a pretty good wind here the last couple of days and although the sun has been shining quite a bit, it's only around freezing during the day and the wind carries away any heat the sun might be providing. However, our winds haven't been nearly as damaging as they were down in the Okanagan this weekend, downing trees on houses and causing power outages in Summerland and Penticton. The same storm dumped a fair bit of snow in the mountains around there and down on the coast.
A wild wind carried in an eight minute snowstorm before dawn Sunday, much to everyone's delight since it dropped about an inch of snow. Just enough to lubricate the sliders and keep the snowmachines cool for the ride yesterday.
The 'Good Old Boys Club' had decided on a work party yesterday to clean up what we call the Telegraph Creek Trail that had some deadfalls on it. I love work parties because you're actually accomplishing something useful but unfortunately, they chose a day where I was going to be cooking Easter Dinner for company. However, our friends decided they wanted to go on the work detail, and brought along a family member that had never ridden before and a friend that had ridden very little. I had warned them that this was a nasty little trail and not for the inexperienced and fully expected that they would just go play around up on Trumpeter. They didn't.
The little work party made up of entirely experienced riders grew to ten with mixed ability and helped to turn it into a long exhausting day for all with lots of stucks for everyone.
Because we got such a tremendous amount of snow last year, no one went down that trail. It's on the back side of Goat Mountain, heavily treed, and protected from both wind and sun. As a result, the snow builds up in there, doesn't melt, and doesn't harden up. The same conditions made it very warm and pleasant without wind for everyone yesterday, which was probably very nice, but it was also too hot when they were trying to dig out from a stuck.
Logan tried going down the trail early this winter but didn't get far because of the windfalls so as a result, it had been fully two years since Andy had been over the trail and he was the trail breaker yesterday. Combine the length of time lapsed, with marking ribbons that have disintegrated or blazes and ribbons that were put on too low and were buried under the snow, and it's a long hard slog trying to relocate the trail. There are also two major drainage systems that you have to watch out for, with Telegraph Creek being a nasty little thing for winding back and forth and having open water under the trail. Toward the end of the worst part of the trail, there are several small lakes and on the last you always have to pick your way around overflow on the far end. Andy had a lot of hunt and search and backtracking to do the entire way with loads of people getting stuck behind him. But, they made it through and down the mountain just in time for Easter dinner. No one lasted for long though. Most of the people that had been riding ate and pooped out to the extent that I thought one or two were going to fall asleep in their plate of food. Since everyone cleared out of here hours before I expected them to, it was an early night.
This will undoubtedly add up to being a somewhat expensive snowmobiling year for our friends and us. Andy didn't do too badly but he did crunch in a wraparound bumper a couple of trips ago and if you add the price of scratchers to that, it will be a few hundred dollars. Richard's machine is now distinctly pigeon toed with both 'A' arms bent. Badly. Leah busted up the side of her machine straight out of the box on a really cold night rolling it into a snow bank but it's held together very nicely with duct or '100 mile' tape. Richard pointed out the other day that she's busted and bent the scag on one ski really badly. Judging from the scrapes on the ski she bounced off of, or hit, a really big rock sometime this winter but it certainly hasn't affected her phenomenal ability to ride just about anywhere. Our loaner machine got cracked up a bit on this last trip out due to an unfortunate meeting with a good sized tree and of course everyone's machine bears the mark of collision with one or more trees this year. Actually, from the sound of it, quite a few got hit yesterday. Small surprise considering the narrowness of that particular trail and the deep snow conditions, it's pretty easy to wallow into a tree well or hit a stump.
All in all, if you use the amount of the repair bill as a marker, it's been a very successful season yet with no one injured. Just a lot of tired muscles and a few bruises because more than one person went head first over their windshield or got thrown over the side of their machine. However, I think the season is pretty much done now unless we trailer to the Rainbows or we get a lot of snow fairly soon.
Andy noted today that there's a lot of open water on the point on Nimpo Lake even though our day time temperatures haven't been all that warm for the past week or so. I noticed along the highway today that the ice on a lot of the sloughs or meadows are getting soft yellow spots from warm melt water seeping through the snow layer. Once you see that, the ice will melt quickly. But, we're nearly to the end of March so things are bound to start breaking up fairly quickly. Besides, the red winged black birds have been here for well over a week now and that's a sure sign of spring. Maybe.
It's the start of a new week so you'll find last week's articles at March Week 2.


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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!
Several snowmobiles with mountains behind.
 
Several people in snowmachine suits overlook the spectacular mountain view.
 
A snowmachine rider picks his way over alpine snow pack.
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