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Wilderness Adventures - March, Week 2/2006

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.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you at the bottom of this page.

19/03/2006 7:11 PM

Bobcat

Nope, not the furry kind. The really heavy, compact kind that could, conceivably go through the ice on Nimpo Lake if one weren't careful...however. It was very effective today for building a ramp down the bank onto the lake ice for the snowmobiles.
Another beautiful, sunny day again. A bit blustery, but that's to be expected this time of year. It got slightly above freezing with lots of heat in the sun whenever you could get out of the cool breeze.
We've been watching movies purchased by friends of ours who vacationed in Alaska all last summer. Since we're probably going to be heading up there this coming summer for a visit ourselves, we were highly interested in seeing what the country looked like. Over the years, I've gathered from books and movies a general idea of what Alaska looks like. Big everything, bigger even than Texas...(sorry guys). Big mountains, lots of snow, water, streams, moose, bears, caribou and, well, just everything! And beautiful in a big way of course.
These movies are pretty personalized and realistic. I don't think they were geared strictly to the tourist as some of them also seem to have been for the centennial year.
There is no question after watching these movies as they went from region to region that Alaska is big and beautiful and more. But I was surprised to find myself comparing Alaska to our area here, and finding we stack up pretty favorably. Although we have no Denali, we do have Mt. Waddington at over 13,000 feet and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region has more than 8,000 pristine lakes, 10,563 miles of clear, cold rivers and streams and 9,320 miles of remote and untouched coastline. We offer fabulous ocean and freshwater fishing, and if you want to see moose, caribou, grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, deer and more, just bring your camera!
It occurred to me that the reason Alaska seems to be such a spectacular place to most people is because the majority of the North American population lives in the city and just are not exposed to wide open, snow covered vistas, and mammoth wildlife every day of their lives. While those of us that live in west central British Columbia in the West Chilcotin, are. Don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward to Alaska being one of the most incredible places I'll ever see in my lifetime!
I just count myself fortunate that there doesn't seem to be a real big gulf between our wonderful lifestyle and the country we live in, and that found in Alaska.

18/03/2006 6:01 PM

It's That Time Of Year Again

The coyotes were howling last night. I have to assume it's mating season for them now. It's about the right time of year. I was out getting wood last night and I could hear Nimpo Lake snapping, popping and grumbling but didn't think to look at the temperature. It was no wonder the lake was making so much noise, it was -20C this morning which was a bit of a surprise because the last few nights haven't been that cold.
Another glorious day in the Chilcotin and we watched as our various snowmobiling buddies crossed the lake with their trucks and snowmachines on trailers headed for Perkins Peak. We chose to stick around home and get some work done today because we want to go sledding next week. I hope the boys had as good a day as we did.
Some visitors are out vacationing with their snowmobiles now and although we saw them go out for a ride across Nimpo Lake yesterday evening, I don't know if they went up on Perkins with the other guys or not. We'll have to give a call and see if they're up for a ride in the next day or so.
I've been watching a few people out ice fishing on Nimpo Lake the last while. Mostly off the tip of the small island. I've been thinking it's time we dropped a line in the water as well. We haven't had a good feed of Rainbow Trout for a while and the fish will be awesome in that supercooled water right now.
I went walking on the trails out back and have begun marking trees killed by the Mounatin Pine Beetle with marking tape. The needles on these pine trees turned red last summer, so it will be easy to find them this fall when we go to cut firewood. If they're marked, it will be easier to tell them from those trees that will be turning red this coming summer.
We haven't determined if it's the tree's flood of sap in its effort to fight off a beetle infestation or not, but beetle killed trees that have only been red one summer are still way too green or 'wet' to use for firewood. But just try to determine how long each tree has been dead when everything around you has turned red! So, I decided it might work to mark those trees that have already turned this year. That way we know they're at least two years dead and hopefullly dry when we go to cut them down in the fall. That's if no one else decides to do so first!
For the past three years we've been using standing wood from out of an old burn or forest fire. The wood is iron hard, most of the dirty, burnt bark has peeled off, and the heat that wood throws off is just incredible. It's the best for cold temperatures. We usually try to use poorer wood for spring or early fall when you don't want as much heat anyway. Now, however, most of the trees in the burn have blown down or will be down by this coming fall, so a new source of wood nearby in the form of beetle killed trees is fortunate in that respect. Not so fortunate otherwise of course, but you just have to make the best of reality. Most of us joke about how much improved our view will eventually be once the beetle killed trees are all gone. And that we'll all have a lifetime supply of firewood close by. You just have to find the positive in everything you can, that's all!

17/03/2006 1:22 PM

Blustery Day In March

Well, you can tell it's March in the Chilcotin. You can't really tell from one minute to the next what the weather is going to do today. One minute it's blowing snow, the next moment the sun is trying to shine through. As they say in the Chilcotin, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes!
I posted the pictures on the right a couple of days ago and forgot to mention what they were about. This little bird house is usually inhabited by tree swallows in the spring. In fact there's usually a major dog fight between mating pairs as to who actually gets to use it. If the one pair finishes up soon enough, a second pair of swallows will take up residence and raise a brood of chicks.
Tree swallows are a really pretty little blue and white bird that shines with every color in the rainbow when the sun hits their feathers just right. Since the house was built just for them with just the right size hole for an entrance, that is normally the only bird that tries to nest in the house. That doesn't seem to be the case this year though. A little while back I saw some Chickadees trying to remove the nesting materials from last summer and thought they might just be clearing it out to store sunflower seeds because they like to have little caches all over the place and I thought it too early for them to be nesting. But...maybe not.
For a couple of weeks I've seen first one Chickadee, then a second enter the house, then leave after a few minutes while the other would sit on a branch just in front, watching. They sure act like a breeding pair of tree swallows would and it looks like they might be feeding young. It would be nice to thinks so. But I guess we'll know when we clear out the bird house this spring and see if there's a huge larder of sunflower seeds in there.
A big flock of Canada Geese went over yesterday headed north and since we've already seen the Trumpeter Swans a few times it would seem spring is in the air. Hopefully not so much so that we lose all our sledding snow. This time of year is the absolute best for snowmobiling because the days are longer and the weather warmer. There is still overflow and spider holes on Nimpo Lake, although most of it is frozen, it does thaw by mid afternoon. At least it looks like the lake is a long way from breaking up yet.
In the meantime, I have to get back to work. The computer is calling my name. "Enough with the fun stuff," it says!

16/03/2006 1:01 PM

Great Day Snowmobiling

Wow, we just had a super day yesterday and it was a great ride. The weather was beautiful when we met at Dot Island on Nimpo Lake. There was a bit of a system over the mountains though. We had a good crowd but we were all used to riding with each other in the past with the exception of one couple out visiting friends. Most of us knew them, but just hadn't ridden with them before. However, they were pretty good riders and it is nice when you have average to excellent riders on a trip, because the 'stuck' quotient goes down quite a bit and you can go where you might not with someone new to the game. Not that we mind that either. Sometimes it's a lot of fun to show someone new to our area the beautiful views we have here.
A couple from Naramata that normally ride by themselves also joined the group and stuck with us for the day which was terrific because they're super people and both really know how to ride. Prudence does remarkable things with her little 550 fan cooled but a few of us did manage to talk her into taking our sleds up the hill and see how she liked a little more power. Her husband has been trying to talk her into upgrading for some time with little success but she was liking the ease with which the bigger machines went uphill yesterday. I still believe the best riders are those people that have the smaller or older machines but have learned to keep up to and surpass the big boys. Then you put them on a mountain sled and watch out because you won't ever catch them!
The trails going up the mountain from Nimpo Lake are still in pretty good shape, even with our warm weather, so we'll see how long they last. We did try to take our new visitors up to see the remarkable 360 view from the top of Trumpeter Mountain, but as so often happens at that elevation, the weather socked in and it was just too tough to see going up. Even if you could make it to the top you wouldn't be able to see anything sitting in the clouds, so we turned back.
The snow was really funny yesterday. There was fresh snow that I call cornstarch snow on top of a windswept base, which broke through to sugar snow. It was really slippery stuff and you could bury a machine, although not easily. That gave us a lot of space to play and I really like it when conditions are like that. Temperature variations, such as warmer in the afternoon, can effect where you go and jumps can result in a lot harder landing this time of year, but at least you can go just about anywhere, including in the trees, without getting too stuck.
We had some fun playing on the 'Cornice' side then scooted over to 'Lunch Bowl' and played around there for a little while before deciding to come off the mountain on the Telegraph Creek Trail right from the top. The first part of the trail is a bit tricky first time broken out, and there's a lot of winding through the trees. It's been a few years since I've been on the trail when I helped to mark and clear it and many of the ribbons are gone. We all decided we need to make up a work party to re-mark some of the trail and clear out some dead fall. We try to disturb the land as little as possible, which is why our trails are often narrow and wind around quite a bit.
It was a great run down with few 'stucks' and we only lost one experienced rider for a little while. He was in the lead, took the wrong turn and ended up piled up in a duck's breakfast where three creeks meet and there's no place to get turned around before getting stuck. Fortunately, the guy behind him knew better and led the rest of the group away and down a better route. The rest of us didn't realize what had transpired until we got to the bottom of the trail, and shortly after, Bill caught up after cozying up to his shovel for awhile.
Nearly all the way down the deactivated Telegraph Creek Road, part of the group decided to head over to the Lookout Tower on a newly built trail there to show the new people the view from on top of Little Kappan Mountain. The rest of us decided to head on home because it was getting late in the day and we have animals to feed. I haven't been over that new section of trail yet but that leaves something to be explored and I'm looking forward to it.
The whole day was just a great one with good company and a special camaraderie, especially with people that we rarely see socially but we do make up for lost time on these rides.
Just got an invite to snowmobile with our snowmobiling buddies on Perkins Peak Saturday. That requires trailering down toward Tatla Lake and since the whole day will be used up, I guess I need to take a serious look at my 'to do list' to see whether I can get away with snowmobiling all day. I would like to because one of our friends is heading back south until summer when we'll be gone, so we won't see him until next fall at the earliest. But there's that 'work' thing, even if it is at home. Hmmm.

14/03/2006 10:02 AM

Feed For All Tuesday

Nope, not a buffet, it's just the name of the software I use for this RSS feed.
Well, it's time for a new week because the last one was starting to really slow down with all of the pictures. Boy, do I love my digital camera! You can find last week's stories and the awesome pictures of a wolverine crossing Charlotte Lake at Wilderness Adventures March Week One .
It was only when I tried to save the past week's Wilderness Adventures Page in the usual format, that I realized I already had a March One from last year, and had to come up with a new format.
So this is a bit of a celebration for me. I have now been writing these stories for well over a year (I did have January and February for 2005 simply saved on a monthly basis when I first entered this dark world of blogging..lol) and decided to count how many individual articles or 'blogs' I actually wrote. Wow...289 stories as of yesterday!
Even I didn't realize how many I had written. Yikes!! I sure hope no one was bored to death....
I have to wonder sometimes what I am going to write about but this area is so rich in history, bountiful in flora and fauna and so breathtakingly beautiful that most days it just isn't that hard to find a way to describe what we offer here.
There is so much more to write about, but it takes a little research or having the opportunity to get out there and talk to people, and find out what's happening. Unfortunately, I just don't always have the time. I spend a lot of time in my home office working and miss a good bit of what's going on outside, and since I don't use the automatic 'blogging' software and do everything the hard way, articles are slower to post.
You may have noticed the lack of a story yesterday and a fit of pique on Sunday. That's generally because I'm backed up with things to do. In this case my partners in the Whitetail deer business in Saskatchewan have separated, which means I'm forced to sell all of my deer in the next month. Fire sales don't generally go well, and I'm expecting to lose about $50,000 dollars on my investment.
This does not a happy camper make.
More to the point, I must now spend the time making up an inviting sales package and contact every deer producer in the industry in the hopes of pulling some pocket change out of this 'duck's breakfast' or at least find the animals a good home, the alternative being to go back at the end of April with a rifle and dispose of my deer the hard way.
Since they're beautiful animals, I would really rather see them go to another farm.
In any event, occurrences such as these can be time consuming and often prevents me from either writing or being able to put the research and effort I would like into what I do write, and I'll reiterate my sincere hope that I haven't bored anyone to death in the past year.
What I do hope is that you've found these stories interesting, informative, funny and more importantly, makes you wanna drop everything and come on out to the Chilcotin!!
For all those wonderful people who have followed this 'blog' on a daily basis, I'm so glad for your patience and willingness to wait for the next one when I've missed a day or two.
For all those who have recently joined in reading these articles, welcome aboard and you'll find more stories about the Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake area on either the Sitemap or under archives on the left. Eventually I would like to expand this site and go into more detail and background on the Bella Coola, Tatla Lake, Chilco Lake and Alexis Creek areas, but that too takes time.
For anyone that would like some specific information on the area, use the contact form over on the left hand navigation bar and I'll help in whatever way I can.
One last note, I know that a few people have been waiting very patiently for the Properties for Sale page to be updated. It does take time to get pictures and a little write up from people for their properties and I hope to get back to that soon.

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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!
Bobcat machine on lake ice.
 
Bobcat pushing up snow.
 
Coastal Mountain sunset.
 
Snowmobiles on Nimpo Lake.
 
Snowmobiles parked.
 
Snow covered cornice.
 
Chickadee landing in birdhouse.
 
A Chickadee feeds young.
 
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