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 - Mar., Week 3/2009
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of the Day.
The First Day of Spring
it's supposed to be, anyway. You wouldn't have known it
an hour ago, that's for sure! We ended up with a sudden
little squall that dropped well over an inch of snow in
a very short time. It's a good thing it didn't keep
it up or we'd be trying to dig out tomorrow. I
was coming back from Nimpo and the blizzard was so bad
that I could barely see the tracks on the ice road in
front of me. It was a complete white out.
We got a little over an inch of snow yesterday morning
in the pre-dawn hours but most of that melted yesterday
and today. It warmed up to plus 6 yesterday afternoon,
even though it was cloudy for most of the afternoon. Today
it was mixed sun and cloud and although I have no idea
what the temperature got up to, it was warm. Wherever
the snow has melted, everything has just turned to mud.
It's still getting down to about -5C or 23F at night
so that helps to tighten things up for the morning,
but it doesn't last long. I had to take the chains off
of my boots yesterday when I went for a walk because the
fresh snow was so warm it was balling up under the soles
of my boots. I guess skiing is out of the question now
unless our temperatures drop again.
I've got a few notices. There's been a price drop on a
couple of properties on the property for sale page, and
commercial property for sale page. You might want to go
check it out if you're in the market for a resort or home.
I'll also have a new listing up there sometime in the
next couple of days.
For those of you locals that read the blog, the
ice road on the Main Arm is pretty much impassable now
from the Big Island to the North Arm. Snow has
drifted over the ice road in the last couple of days with
the wind we've had, and has proceeded to turn as hard
as cement. Rob is no longer able to plow it and a few
people have nearly gotten stuck in the last couple of
days trying to go through, and someone did
get stuck today and had to back all of the way up when
he got out. The ice road on the Short Arm is still open.
Last but not least, the snowmobile Poker Run is
on tomorrow. Be at the boat launch at Nimpo at
9:30 a.m. There will be a wieners roast up on Ptarmigan
Flats unless the wind is really blowing hard, in which
case, we find a more sheltered spot. The final card will
be drawn at the car wash, and then there will be grilled
burgers for supper and a wind down. Since I plan on attending,
(I had to make burgers so I plan on eating one!) there
probably won't be an article tomorrow night but if I've
got some good pictures, I'll post them on Sunday.
was some blustery wind out there today, no mistake about
it! What was really unusual was that it started
early this morning. Our early mornings are generally calm
and if a wind is going to start up, it'll get going before
lunch and sometimes calm down by later in the afternoon.
Today, no such thing. It just howled out there and there
were snow devils out on the lake all day. Our trees were
bent over pretty badly too. I know the roots are frozen
in so the trees can't go over but I was surprised that
none snapped in the wind, although there were a
few branches laying around here and there.
I talked to a friend of ours from down at the other end
of the lake today. He had driven down the ice road to
go to lunch with some of our sledding buddies. He wasn't
gone that long but by the time he came down onto the ice
to head back home, his tracks and most of the ice road
was obliterated. He said it was a good thing he had four
wheel drive or he wouldn't have been going anywhere. That's
the only problem at this time of year is that the ice
road is at the mercy of our wild spring winds both out
on the Main Arm and in our bay here. We did see
Rob out plowing the ice road again after supper tonight.
Geez, we have good neighbours. Thanks Rob!
I had to get over to the mail to get a parcel off to Switzerland
this morning and when I got back Andy told me to hop onto
the quad with the camera and ride over to the neighbour's
skating rink. He wanted to show me how fantastic the cracks
were under the ice, and they were. You could see a crack
that shattered the ice at least a foot down, maybe farther.
It's hard to judge with ice just how deep everything is
because it's so deceiving. It was pretty cool though,
especially with the sun shining on it.
Other than those two times, I didn't venture outside again
today. Two days in a row with missed walks and I'm sure
the dogs will be thoroughly teed off with me. But it was
so windy that you would have been blown off your feet
out on the road and the back woods are no place to be
in winds like that. Too many weak trees and I don't
feel like being squashed. It seems like a heck
of a sorry way to go.
Andy went down to the north end of the lake on his snowmobile
today and he said the wind was just brutal both coming
and going. It would be nice if it would let up but who
knows when that will happen. You definitely can't go by
the radar pictures on the weather. For the last two days
those isobars have been spread so far apart you could
hardly find them so their weather forecasting is way off!
These winds are pretty typical for this time of year as
I've mentioned below, but that still doesn't mean I have
to like it.
The sun did shine today with some major cloud coming and
going. Nothing sticks around long in that wind. Temperatures
went down to about -8C or 17F at about midnight last night,
then started coming up again. I think Andy said
it was only -6C when he got up and it was right around
freezing by the time I rolled out. I don't know how high
it got today but at one point this afternoon, the thermometer
out back read 6 degrees above freezing, but it may have
been in the sun by then. Still, it was warm today.
St. Paddy's Day
wondered why my very favorite weather man whom I rarely
get to see, (Finally, the main moron that thinks
he's a weather man is gone for this week.) was wearing
what can only be described as a puce green shirt under
his suit. This from a man who normally has an impeccable
sense of style. Then I remembered it was St. Patrick's
Day. Ah Ha!..... It's amazing what we'll put ourselves
through for a tradition, isn't it? I hope you all had
a lucky day, today. I wouldn't know what kind of day I
had since I never even got to step out the door. I don't
think the phone stopped ringing the whole day. If I didn't
have a receiver hanging off my ear, I had numbers in front
of me that I had to call, which reminds me, I have a number
I have to call so this will be short.
The temperatures today were almost identical to yesterday's
with the same lows and highs. At least we're consistent!
The sun was shining for most of the day with clouds
scuttling across the sky at great speed in front of a
pretty good wind. It gusted all day as it usually
does this time of year when you get warm sun, cold snow,
and mixed weather coming in from the coast. The only benefit
is that the wind helps to dry up some of the mess we'll
have from breakup for the next couple of months. At least
we didn't get the snow and rain they did down on the Lower
Mainland and it looks like everything from the North Coast
to the South Coast is expected to get hit with gross weather
tomorrow, including over ten inches of snow on the Coquihalla
According to the radar pictures, we should see some heavy
snow tomorrow, but I'm losing faith in that. Yesterday's
radar pictures showed that we should see next to nothing
in the way of wind, and that was sure as heck way off!
Of Note: There should be a Poker Run on Saturday.
It's just in the planning process now, (Yeah, I know.....
we do everything last minute here. It's called 'Chilcotin
Time'.) so I don't know what time it will start or even
where the route will be, yet. So far, it looks like we'll
be leaving Nimpo, running down the lake and up to Charlotte
Main, from there to 24 kilometer, and then down the Whisper
Lake trail, but that's not written in stone. The guys
are going out Thursday to run a trail so I guess we'll
know then. I expect Andy and I will go ahead on Saturday
to start a fire for a wiener roast as we did before. Other
than that, I don't know much, but for any of you interested
in participating with your snowmobile, contact Richard
at the store in Nimpo.
red winged blackbirds have arrived. Both one of my great
loves and my nemesis. I love it when they first arrive
after a long winter and to me, their song is
the first true herald of spring. There is just no other
sound like that liquid bell-like tone when you hear it
from a nearby meadow. But after a couple of weeks of the
feeder being mobbed and whole herds of the things in the
trees around the house and feeder, their song is
more like a raucous cacophony and I'm usually
thoroughly sick of it by then and I remove the seed from
the feeder to get rid of them. Fortunately, only a couple
have shown up so far and I'm no where near that point
yet. Give me a couple of weeks though.
Actually, things just might be different this year, but
we'll see. This is the first year that we've had a large
flock of pine grosbeaks at the feeder all winter and believe
me, do they ever know how to stand their ground!
We often get a pair that will get into a bickering match
in flight and will hit the window. There's more than one
that Andy has picked up off the deck, petted, and put
on the barbecue stand with some water and out of the way
of cats until it gets over being stunned. That happened
with first a female, and a couple of days later with the
guy I'll call 'Boyfriend'. He's a bright
red bird, the one on the top right, and he appears to
be the only adult boy bird in the bunch. According to
my bird book, anyway. There are lots of females and first
year boys, but he's the only all red one. He's pretty
friendly and seems to have taken a real liking to Andy
ever since he picked him up after hitting the window.
I know one thing, with that squabbling bunch of
females, Boyfriend is going to have his hands full if
he's still the only guy around at mating season!
And that's the point I started to make way back there.
The red winged blackbirds are used to being the only big
birds coming to the feeder early in the spring but they've
got some competition this year, and the pine grosbeaks
may just keep them at bay, or they certainly have so far.
Right now there are only a couple of blackbirds but it
will be interesting to see what happens when the rest
of the flock arrives. Whether they'll mob the feeder and
run off the grosbeaks, or the other way around, I don't
know, but the grosbeaks are pretty aggressive in
their own right and I've had to put out the finch
feeder for the chickadees because the big birds hog the
feeder. Besides, a couple of finches showed up the other
day and they're definitely shy around the bigger birds.
In the midst of all the ruckus at the feeder you'll often
see a woodpecker quietly minding his own business on the
suet bag below. The bigger Hairy woodpecker is a little
more shy and cautious but the little Downy that's always
around just ignores everything around him, including us.
Actually, for all I know there are five different ones
because I can't tell them apart, but it's easier to assume
there's just one.
It got down to -12C or 10F last night and warmed up to
at least two degrees above freezing. I'm sure it got warmer
than that but I was away for most of the afternoon and
didn't see the temperature until after 4:30. I came home
from Nimpo on our road rather than the ice road and the
gravel road is starting to break up and get mushy, especially
with the the sun shining most of the day and a good wind
picking up moisture.
So now I've decided that our dogs are pretty much
useless feed burners rather than watch dogs. And
that I certainly can't rely on our dogs to save me from
grizzly bears, moose, or anything else that might be in
the backwoods during our walks.
I often step off the trail and go through the woods a
short bit to a spot that overlooks a little meadow. Actually,
you can't really see much of it through the trees, but
it's still one of my favorite spots. It's also the one
that River decides he's scared to death of every once
in awhile, especially last fall. And who knows,
with grizzlies around, maybe he had reason. Anyway,
I take a little break there to let the dogs nose around,
when quite some distance away I see a branch move. There
was a breeze but beetle killed pine boughs actually move
very little in the wind compared to green trees so I watched
the branch a little more closely. Then I see a brown head
move slightly beyond the brown of the branch and I can
start to make up the broken up outline of a brown body.
Okay... moose? The head moves forward a little more and
about that time, a hoof reaches forward and paws the snow.
Okay! Horse! (The natives let their horses run wild here
to fend for themselves.) I immediately look around to
see if any of the dogs had noticed it. Nope. Admittedly,
the wind was cross wise to us and the horse so the dogs
might have difficulty smelling it just as the horse would
have difficulty smelling us, but still....
I watch the horse some more while I keep stealing
looks at the dogs over my shoulder to see if anyone has
noticed anything and now, I can actually vaguely
hear the horse pawing the meadow grass below me a couple
of times. Still no action from the dogs. Then suddenly,
River spotted the horse and stood stock still, ears up,
and alert, watching it. I wasn't surprised because he
has eyes like a hawk, I was just surprised to see how
long it took him to notice it. But he was a couple of
feet to my left and the horse may only have been noticeable
as it moved forward. Still nothing from the other two.
"C'mon you guys! Are you dogs or mice?!!"
A couple of times I muttered, "Just stay there, Riv."
Just to keep him from taking off down the hill after the
horse, so he stayed put. Then I hear a low guttural growl
from behind me. I'm pretty sure it was Cat, but when I
turn around to look, she's staring at River. She hasn't
seen anything, she doesn't know what he sees, but she
knows from his stance that it must be something important.
I hushed her and kept an eye on the horse, kept River
in place, and kept looking at the other two. They still
couldn't see or smell the horse so I decided it
would be a good training exercise to back out of there
slowly and see if I could do it with the two dogs never
seeing the animal. Mainly because the occasion
may come when I will have to do just exactly that if there
is a bear, moose, or caribou nearby.
As I started leaving and the dogs came with me, albeit
some coaxing required for River, I could see a new section
of the meadow and two more horses behind the first. Unfortunately,
so could River, so now he definitely wasn't into
coming until he'd studied the new horses to death,
and of course Cat's wondering why River isn't coming with
us. So I snuck back to him, slipped a leash on and came
away down the path with the other two dogs never even
being aware that the horses were there. So much for thinking
I had bright dogs. It's a sad day indeed when my hearing
and eyesight beats that of at least two dogs and nearly
three, all of which are hunting breeds. Maybe I'll start
wearing bells on my shoes this spring after all.....
Lower Mainland Surprise
would seem that the Lower Mainland got an itty bitty surprise
this morning. I guess that big low pressure system
out in the Pacific spun off some dirty weather that they
weren't expecting down there, resulting in a surprising
amount of snow and icy roads in Vancouver. They're expecting
more snow and very high winds that have already knocked
out power to several homes. Forecasters are also predicting
ten to twelve inches of snow on the Coke from Hope to
Merritt and in some of the passes. It definitely won't
be pleasant traveling in the next 24 hours.
Our friends from up at the store went out to a snow golf
tournament in Likely over the weekend and Leah called
on Saturday morning all excited wanting to know how much
snow we had gotten here. In Likely it had dropped
eleven inches and was still snowing so she was
quite disappointed to hear we had only gotten a little
over an inch overnight. I'm sure they would have dropped
everything and been out here snowmobiling in a jiffy had
we gotten the same dump of snow as they did in Likely.
Not gonna happen! We're in the rain shadow
of the Coast Mountain Range, while Likely is on the west
side of the Cariboo Mountains. All that moisture being
picked up between here and there gets dumped on Likely
as clouds are forced up into colder air and there is just
no geographical comparison between us. The same thing
happens to McGregor all the time. Those poor sods
have got to be buried in snow! Every other day
we watch the weather it seems they're under a snowfall
warning. In any case, it's been snowing in the mountains
to the west of us for a couple of days now, so maybe our
friends will find powder tomorrow. Everyone's supposed
to be going up riding tomorrow if the weather is half
decent. Except me, of course. My computer beckons.
Yesterday was no great shakes with a bit of a wind blowing
and overcast skies but today was pretty nice, at least
until a little later in the afternoon. Apparently
we were supposed to get some real garbage for weather
but it was fairly sunny and quite warm getting
up to a degree over freezing, even though it dropped to
-14C or 7F last night. It was way too warm on my walk
today because I wore too many layers, as usual. It was
a good thing in the end though, because Andy burned a
slash pile and we had a little weinie roast. By the time
we had the dogs over the coals it was getting a little
ugly with heavy cloud, and too many layers of clothes
was just perfect!
I'm going to keep this pretty short tonight. I've got
a lot of work to get through tomorrow and may have to
spend the first part of the morning just getting this
finished up with new photos and all.
Last week's articles can be found at March
Week Two .
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!