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 4/2010
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March Goes Out
March goes out like a lion and a lamb, what
will April be like? Today was a real mixed bag. This morning
started out sunny but cool because it dropped to -8C last
night. That's the coldest it's been in a while. Then the
clouds moved in from over the mountains and we had little
mini blizzards off and on for part of the day. Andy came
back from getting the mail and as he was crossing the
lake with the ATV, he said he couldn't even see
our house for the snow coming down. By late this
afternoon it had cleared off again and was warmer than
it had been all day. We went out for a short walk this
evening after supper and it was beautiful out but it looks
like it could get cold again tonight if it stays clear.
That will help to tighten the lake up a bit hopefully.
The ice road is getting a little too mushy over at the
From looking at the satellite picture on the news tonight,
there's a pretty big system coming in from the
west which explains our cooler temperatures. For
the past while most of our weather systems have been sweeping
up from the southwest bringing in warm air from Hawaii's
direction. Systems coming straight in from the west is
more normal for us and since the east is getting really
warm temperatures right now, I guess that means it's our
turn to be cool. Speaking of which.... I guess Ontario
has just seen the first March without snow since record
keeping began in 1845 so it's already pretty dry there.
And we thought we might have forest fire
problems this year. Guess we won't be seeing the Ontario
firefighters out here this summer!
We've been in Williams Lake for the last couple of days.
When we left there yesterday just after noon it was 10C
or 50F but it dropped quickly as we climbed up out the
valley. They haven't had any kind of winter at all
and Williams Lake is all open water already. Alexis
Creek is pretty much bare of any snow and they're burning
grass there. Tatla Lake still has some snow but what they
still have is going down fast. And us? Well, we still
have lots of the white stuff on the ground. It's going
down but it's still got a long ways to go.
We saw hundreds of Canada Geese on the fields at Tatla
Lake and loads of Trumpeter Swans on the river near Redstone
and even a pair at Pollywog swamp but we haven't seen
any around here yet other than fly overs. Even though
the river is open in places by the bridge they're just
not coming in. That makes me wonder if Lonesome Lake is
still frozen over. In any case, it will
be interesting to see what April brings for weather and
how soon our migratory birds can hope to get on our lake.
At least the lake ice is finally making noise again.
It was grumbling pretty good last night as the temperature
dropped and I even heard it a couple of times today, so
it's finally waking up. It's just been way too quiet this
winter. Probably because it was so cold so early, and
had so much snow on the surface, insulating it from the
extreme temperature differences that seems to result in
all the noise we normally hear.
The Blue Ice
ice on Nimpo Lake is getting a very decidedly
blue tint to it. Not the dark ice you get just before
it goes out, although there's certainly some dark looking
ice out on the Main Arm, but the baby blue you get in
April. Yes, I know. It is nearly April.
My partner reminded me of that today when I made this
same comment. I meant mid to late April. There's no danger
of the ice going out any time soon, because there's still
just too much of it. But it's definitely in the process
of breaking down and unless we get a cold spell, it may
go out extra early this year.
Tonight I could see the first bald eagle sitting
out on the point on fish surveillance. Or I have
to assume that's what they're after. When that hole opens
up in early spring (the same one the white pickup went
into this winter) at least one bald eagle, and up to three,
will spend hours by the tiny pool of open water. Later,
if Trumpeters and Canadian Geese or ducks come in and
can't find open water elsewhere, they'll camp on that
little bit of lake.
We've been seeing more and more bald eagles coming in
lately. I saw two matures swing over the bridge that goes
over the Dean River yesterday.
For those of you that haven't put in your guess
yet on when the ice will go off of Nimpo Lake, the Ice
Off Pool is officially closed on March 31. So
if you want to put in your guess, you need to do it quickly!
Next weekend is going to be fun. On Saturday morning at
11:00 a.m. in front of the Nimpo Lake Store, some community
members will be getting their hair dyed some very funky
colors. Included in this brave bunch are Richard, the
owner of the store, and Oscar, so named for a disposition
that so closely matches Oscar on Sesame Street. It's mostly
the guys that have agreed to do this, although there is
one young Mom that has volunteered as well. Apparently
a few of us are going to bleach the victims'.... er, volunteers'
hair, so that it will take the crazy colors to be applied
after. The reason for all this craziness?
Raising money for BC Children's Hospital Foundation. You
can donate at the event or send your donation to www.bcchf.ca.
Everyone is welcome and the more the merrier. Oh yeah.
I think we're serving up hot dogs and other goodies as
well so there will be food, folks!
There is another little fundraiser/event on the weekend
after. We're having a Bingo on Saturday, April 10 starting
at 1:00 p.m. It will be held at the Nimpo Lake Community
Hall and there will be hot and cold refreshments, hot
dogs and pizza for sale. There are loads of awesome
prizes donated by local businesses as well as businesses
in Williams Lake. Fees from the sale of bingo
cards will go to the Nimpo Lake Community Association.
We need to raise some money this year for some desperately
needed improvements on the Hall, including the purchase
of Lifetime tables.
The last couple of days have stayed warm and when I came
home from poker last night there was a warm wind blowing
and it was still well above freezing. In face, it never
made it below freezing overnight and got up to at least
8C in the shade that I know of. When we did
have sun today it was much, much warmer than that. Unfortunately,
it started clouding over this afternoon and is still heavily
overcast out there.
There was a gale force wind today which might have cooled
things down a bit but it sure did a good job of carrying
away the moisture from melting snow. Mind you, our
'spring' got a bit of a set back the night before last.
On Thursday I was on my way home from Anahim Lake and
it was starting to spit rain. It got a little more serious
about it Thursday evening, peppering the front windows
with streaks of rain for a few hours. I'm thinking to
myself that this is really going to muck things up around
here when I noticed that the sound changed. Sure enough,
the rain had starting to turn to snow, and by the time
I went to bed it was coming down pretty good. I was afraid
that we would wake up to six or eight inches of snow but
we were lucky that probably less than half an inch fell
not including the rain. The latter definitely did muck
things up again, but at least the new snow had all melted
I took a quick pass through to the greenhouse today so
I could peek through the door. It's the first time I've
been able to open the door even part way for months now.
The rest of the garden is still well and truly
buried under snow but the snow is melting. I haven't
even ordered my seeds yet because with all this snow,
I just don't think about it. But I know that suddenly
the snow will be all gone and I'll want to be getting
ready to plant in the greenhouse and out in the garden.
I'm sure Andy would dearly love it if I didn't have vegetable
plants occupying the window sills in the house for two
months before they go out to the greenhouse. But.... it
is prime real estate this time of year
so it's hard to pass up a sunny window ledge.
Bella Coola's Spring
were down in Bella Coola this week and their spring is,
as usual, so much ahead of ours. While the Valley isn't
the miracle of green that it is by the end of April, there
was still lots of sign that their spring had arrived,
especially the closer we got to Bella Coola and the warmer
air that's just one side effect of living at the end of
an ocean inlet.
Around Firvale and Stuie you could see little buds fattening
up on the weeping willow trees and fluffy 'blooms' on
the still leafless poplar and birch. Farther west
around Hagensborg we started seeing green grass, the rhododendrons
perked right up and the odd daffodil bloom. The
closer we got to Bella Coola the more green leaves there
were sprouting on willow bushes along the road and in
the townsite itself there were several forsythia bushes
in full yellow bloom. In ditches along the highway holding
warm, stale water, there was skunk cabbage coming up so
the bears will be out of hibernation soon if they aren't
already down there.
While I still haven't figured out where the forest
fire was at Stuie, we finally got a good look at the remains
of the one at Hagensborg. I had only caught a
glimpse of the tail end of it on the side of the mountain
the last time we were down and coming back from Bella
Coola. This time I kept an eye out for it and saw the
whole thing where it had burned up the side of two mountains
and part way down an intersecting valley. I was shocked
at how close it had come behind several residences and
a bed and breakfast there. There isn't much valley floor
there on the south side of the highway before the steep
mountain rears up behind the homes and since the whole
mountainside was burned, I can only assume most
of these folks had fire pretty close to their back yards.
It must have been hell down there last summer while at
least three fires were burning in or above the Valley.
The smoke will have been terrific and since temperatures
got up to 40C or 105F it would have been stifling in that
valley. I'm just really surprised no homes seemed to have
been destroyed. You would have thought that embers would
have literally been raining down on the properties from
the steep mountainside behind them but there didn't appear
to be damage to any of the properties there.
No wonder there was concern, especially on the part
of forestry officials, about how to evacuate Valley residents
if it became necessary. The road up the Hill was
closed at that time because of the Heckman Pass Fire so
the only avenue of escape to anyone was to fly out or
go by boat. Pretty hard to evacuate an entire population
by boat. Small wonder so many resources were poured into
the Valley to fight the fires and pretty gutsy on the
part of residents to stick around through it all.
It looks like everyone's gearing up for another
forest fire season this year. Hard to believe
when I look out the window and see the amount of snow
still on the ground. But other than around Puntzi Mountain,
we're pretty much the only ones with snow.
There looks to be about three feet around Heckman Pass
but that's a drop in the bucket compared to what you often
see up there this time of year. Once you drop down the
Hill there's not much of anything, and there's very little
snow east of Tatla Lake. I guess unless we see a rainy
spring, things will be hopping this summer and personally,
I do not want to see a rainy spring or summer.
Maybe a couple of hot summers in a row will knock the
mosquitoes back from their record numbers. Selfish, I
know, but I'm not partial to the murderous little beasts.
Our weather right now is really strange.
The weather forecasters keep promising us sunshine but
we haven't seen it in days although annoyingly enough,
it seems to clear off most nights only to cloud over again
by morning. I think we're just getting stuff that's spinning
off those systems moving in from the Pacific and the Lower
Mainland is getting our sunshine, yet again. But our temperatures
remain high for this time of year. It's only been dropping
a degree or two below freezing at night while yesterday
it reached about 10C or 50F and today it's already 8C
or 46F and that without sunshine. I can't imagine how
much warmer it would be if we had a little sun to go along
with it. Even without sun the snow is melting nicely
and the snow on the lake is looking decidedly mushy, not
to mention the ice which is looking a little blue.
While I know we have two feet of relatively solid ice
on the ice road, Andy put a chuck hole in the ice just
off the other boat ramp with his truck the other day and
it's getting a little mushy there. That's where our ice
will go first and unless it gets colder and starts to
tighten up a bit more at night, I think I'll start traveling
the road pretty soon. No point in taking out the tranny
on my truck again because of the ice going out.
Today I'm showcasing another place out on Charlotte
Lake, this one called Charlotte Lake Resort. They
offer a wonderful wilderness experience away from the
hustle and bustle, and though there's no electricity or
phone, they do have a radio telephone if you need to call
They have three rustic cabins with propane fridge and
stove as well as wood heater, and solar lighting. The
cabins overlook crystal clear Charlotte Lake and the spectacular
Coast Mountains. The Resort also offers RV and camping
sites and the use of the lodge where you can gather with
your group, sit, visit and enjoy the magnificent view.
I've put some pictures of the resort up on the right so
and if you would like to know more go to their site at
I know I've been a little lax on blogs lately and again,
I apologize. But it can't be helped at the moment. This
is the start of a new week so to find last week's articles
go to March
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!