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 3/2006
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The Last Day Of March
a pretty one it is too! Another calm, sunny morning. It
won't last of course. By afternoon the wind will be gusting
which is a good thing this time of year.
Well, spring is nearly upon us, and no, I do not go by
the usual day in March because in the Chilcotin
you could have a howling blizzard, so that date
means little. Tomorrow is the first of April and tomorrow
night we turn our clocks forward. Now that I get excited
about! Being the night person that I am, I always like
it lighter later in the evening, and of course, darker
later in the morning doesn't break my heart at all. Not
that it'll last long anyway before it's light at 3:00
a.m. in the morning. Personally, I would like to
see Daylight Savings Time a year round thing in British
Columbia but I've expressed my opinion pretty
strongly on that point elsewhere in this blog so I won't
rehash it here.
Being off Daylight Savings Time is most noticeable in
the dead of winter when the days are the shortest, and
you're eating supper in the dark. But once you get past
that 'break' point at about the middle of January when
you really start to notice the longer days, it all seems
down hill after that.
By this time of year, it's light way later than you're
likely to be outside simply because of temperature. The
sun might still be up after 6:00 in the evening, but it
doesn't have a lot of strength at that height right now.
On the other hand, 5:00 to 6:00 in the evening in July
can be the hottest time of day in a real scorcher of a
summer with the sun still not down after 10:00 at night.
In any case, I always look forward this time of year and
the time change, it's just that then I have to rely on
clocks because otherwise, you'll look outside to see that
it's still light at 8:00 at night but you haven't eaten
I heard that little screee you get just before looking
up in time to see a pair of mature bald eagles fly
across in front of the house over Nimpo Lake,
doing acrobatics as they went. I actually think they must
have been scared up from where they were by some people
that were walking on the lake. Needless to say, I couldn't
get the camera out and started up in time for what should
have been a real close up shot, even with the warning
of that funny little screee sound.
Does it ever seem odd to anyone that a bird that
is supposed to be one of the proudest symbols of anything
in flight has one of the most pathetic, wimpy sounding
calls of anything I've ever heard? On the other
hand, take a gull or raven, what we consider to be strictly
garbage or scavenger birds and for which we have little
respect hereabouts, and they have clarion calls that you
can hear for what seems miles! How right is that?
Sorry, it's Friday. My nonsensical pondering day. Must
be left over from the Friday-is-the-last-day-of-the-work-week
and a generally useless day production wise. Even if I
haven't been in the rut for awhile. Oh well, sometimes
all you have is bits and bites.
The guys were going to go sledding up to Wilderness
Lake today. Unfortunately, no one called until
late last evening and with trailering required, it was
just too short a notice for us. I would really like to
have gone because I understand from so many of our buddies
that it is an awesome ride, and because this year is probably
pretty close to done for sledding for us. But that always
leaves next year, doesn't it?
Besides, I'm starting to get that 'spring' itch! I started
looking out at the garden today trying to estimate how
long it will take for it to be out from under the ice
and snow. This is such a hard time of year. The fun, winter
stuff is just about done but it's much too early for the
fun, spring stuff.
Anyway, tomorrow is going to be the start of a new week,
so maybe I can put some different pictures up. Our
friends from Quesnel, Bill and Anita are sending down
some pics of their ride here and I look forward
to seeing what they look like.
Playing In The Air
was doing some flying today even though it was pretty
blustery out. Someone landed on Nimpo Lake in a
pretty little blue and white plane on skiis but
I noticed they really had to power up once landed to get
turned out of the wind. It must have been a bit of rock
and roll flying up there today, but they looked like they
were having fun and it was fairly sunny most of the day.
Yes, I know there's an American flag in the picture. There's
a Canadian one next to it. I just didn't get it all.
Wind is not my favorite thing at all. If it was, I would
have stayed in Saskatchewan. But the advantage of having
a lot of wind during breakup is that it starts to dry
up the mud and carries the moisture away.
Last night at about midnight, a whole flock of Canada
Geese winged over the lake. I have no idea where
they were going but they sure were travelling late at
night. They must have some built in compass!
We probably only have a week left to snowmobile right
from the front door here, but snowmobiling up in
the Rainbows is still just excellent and probably will
be for a couple of more months. So if you are
thinking of coming up for a little sledding holiday this
spring, you can do that as well as cross-country ski and
I think that the down hill skiing is open as well.
Both the Anahim
Lake Inn as well as the Country
Inn in Nimpo Lake provide year round
accommodation as well as The
Dean on Nimpo and Wilderness
Rim Resort I believe that Escott
Bay Resort also has rooms available
or will soon. Nimpo
isn't technically open for business yet but I know
that Mary can always find you a place to lay your head
for a little winter vacation and The
Timber House Bed & Breakfast offers
lovely year round accommodation right on Nimpo Lake.
So bring yourself and your sun tan lotion along with your
favorite winter toy for a super, late winter, vacation!
think that my favorite time of day in the Chilcotin is
an evening such as this.
Although many 'morning' people would probably disagree
with me vociferously, but being a night person, I rarely
see dawn in this country. When the temperature is above
freezing, the flags are barely curling in the breeze,
and the snow on the mountains is a bright white from the
last rays of the sun, I don't think there's a better place
in the world to be.
The Chickadees have taken to invading the feeder for their
supper over an hour later than in the dead of winter now,
probably because of the longer days. The Juncos are in
their favored spot, picking through grass seeds on the
ground. There are birds playing in the meltwater
over under a big spruce tree and there's a crowd
of Chickadees twittering in the pine trees.
I like the noise of evening just before everything settles
in for the night, and this time of year it's as though
everything waits in quiet expectation for spring to come.
I was down at the other end of Nimpo Lake today
and Mary and Logan of Nimpo
Lake Resort had just come in from dropping
a couple of beetle killed trees, doing some clean up and
burning the branches. She said she'd been working in a
tee shirt all day so it must have been warm! It was a
little cooler and breezier on our end of the lake today
because the wind was out of the west.
The lake was doing a lot of grumbling last night and a
little this morning as the snow on top started to warm
up in the sun. The ice road is still in pretty good shape
until you get down toward Mary's end. It drifted pretty
badly there in spots and there's some fairly good ruts
to negotiate. The ramps up to dry land are still
holding but the pools of water and soil are growing larger
on both ends of Nimpo Lake. Freezing temperatures
at night are helping to hold the snow and ice so far.
The guys were talking about some of the snowmobile trails
and getting back out to improve on them this spring before
they become impassible. We haven't put a work party together
yet but I think we'd better be getting to it pretty soon
or we'll be out of luck until next year.
A Sad Day
learned of terrible news today. A good neighbour's Mom
was badly injured at the mill Saturday. As I understand
it, she was on weekend cleanup when her arm was caught
in a conveyor and a massive shoulder and arm injury resulted.
I guess it goes to show you that even with the modern
emphasis on observing safety procedures, a lumber
mill is still a very dangerous place to work.
Our hearts go out to her and her family.
I was told that the medi-vac (plane) arrived here very
quickly so that's a positive, and hopefully the fast transport
to hospital will have helped.
Restaurant in Anahim Lake
has been taken over by new management. Dawn over at Marg's
Takeout is running it now and I can attest from my meal
this evening that the cooking is great. The place was
pretty crowded so other people obviously think the same.
Lots of mud around now, (you should see my poor truck)
so breakup must be here. We're starting to get a
pretty good pool of water just before you ramp up off
of the ice road on this end of Nimpo Lake. I can
hear the red-winged blackbirds singing like crazy over
in the meadow now too, but they haven't invaded the bird
feeder yet. Still though, I could see lots of fresh
snow up on the Ulgatchuz and Itcha Mountains on my way
to Anahim Lake today.
This article is going to be short and sweet because I've
been pretty busy all day. Back tomorrow!
Life Is Good!
we scored two fish this weekend! Our new found friends
from Quesnel, Bill and Anita, stopped by to say goodbye
this morning before heading back home. Aside from the
gift of nice gloves (I'm going to score those when someone's
not looking!) they kindly left two beautiful cutthroat
trout for us that they caught while out snowmobiling this
weekend. I guess the ice fishing was pretty good,
which was probably a blessing since the weather hasn't
been too co-operative.
Bill, Anita, and the rest of their group went back up
to the Rainbows yesterday but it sounds like the mountains
were socked in with cloud a good part of the day. Bill
was telling me that while waiting in the parking lot for
their group, other people from Quesnel showed up to go
snowmobiling. He said by the time they got headed
up the trail there was a long line of machines behind.
I guess he and the guys got to go do a bit of riding into
some pretty rugged country with little sign that anyone
had been there before them and eventually the weather
cleared up in the afternoon making it a little nicer for
everyone riding up there.
We watched the bunch go across Nimpo Lake toward Trumpeter
Mountain on Friday with Bill in the lead. I figured
he was doing pretty darn good since he'd only been up
there the once with us and here he was already leading
a wagon train of his own! It sounds like the weather
socked in on them up there as well around the Play Bowl
so they didn't go right to the top of Trumpeter itself.
But Bill did find the Telegraph Creek trail that we came
down last time without finding the entrance
to it, so he was doing really good. I wish
now that we had ridden more of the trails up there with
he and Anita last week so that he could have taken his
party to more places. It would have been nice to
take them over the Cutoff to Kappan tower or down the
Charlotte Lake trail.
Maybe next time.
Bill and Anita said they've left something up there for
us on the trail before Goat Lake, so now I'm really
curious! Especially since Friday is the soonest we can
go up there now. They're also going to be sending me a
cd with some pictures of their snowmobiling on it, among
others, so I look forward to posting some of those on
this site. Look for 'em.
Hope you guys had a good time because Nimpo Lake
sure enjoyed having you here!
weather changes so quickly from minute to minute right
now that you just don't know what's going to happen!
One moment it will be nice, the next, hail will be just
pouring down. A minute or two after that, the sun is shining
through. We went from watching a system move across
Nimpo Lake at us today where almost everything
was obscured, to having quite a nice evening. The Coast
Range is standing out quite clearly now and there's lots
of blue sky. We got quite a bit of hail last night and
some again today, which is weird for this time of year.
Temperatures were so warm yesterday that our ice
road is starting to fall apart. If this keeps
up, I don't know how much longer we'll be able to drive
on it. We did test the ice depth both in front of the
house and out on the ice road yesterday. 21" thick
in the front bay and fully 31" thick on the ice road
in the back bay. It just goes to show you how much the
snow cover on the rest of the lake insulates the ice.
The biggest problem with the ice road is that it starts
to deteriorate where you ramp up off the lake onto land.
Invariably, when it warms up, dirt begins to show and
drain down onto the lake. Since the darker color quickly
draws the heat of the sun, it isn't long before the lake
begins to slush in that spot.
There's been record setting temperatures all over
the province of British Columbia for the last couple of
days, so I guess it isn't just us. At least our
snow held better this year and for a lot longer into spring
making for some pretty nice snowmobiling. It may still
be good for a while if it cools down again. Of course
the Rainbows will be good for snowmobiling for some time
Connie King's Grizzly
mentioned yesterday, I have corrections to make to the
story of Connie King's attack by a Grizzly. In my discussion
last fall about bear attacks on people called Predator
Bears , I mentioned the story of a
hockey player that lived out here for years and in 1968,
he was badly mauled by a grizzly.
Yesterday I received an email from a very nice gentleman
who is Connie's son, Dave. I called him and he indicated
that the story I had written about the attack was not
quite correct and related the actual happenings to me.
I had written the story that had been told by many of
the local residents, and interestingly enough, although
their relation of events all sounded much alike, it
appeared that Connie King's mauling may have been mixed
up with an attack on a woman named Mattie Jack down on
the Dean River years ago where she was apparently
buried by the bear more than once. I will try to find
out more about that event and hopefully, get it right.
In the meanwhile, I would like to relate what actually
happened to Connie King as per his son, and of course
I will correct the tale on the other article as well.
Dave said his Dad was feeding the weaker of his cattle
with pellets and would haul them out to the animals by
saddle horse. It was spring and although there was snow
on the ground, there was water from snow melt on the ice
of the lake he crossed to get to the cattle.
He heard noises just over a ridge full of willow and thought
perhaps a calf or cow was trapped in there. He dismounted,
went over the ridge and saw instead a grizzly sow eating
on the remains of a moose or moose hide. When
the animal charged, Connie tried to climb a spruce but
of course the branches of our spruce here were too weak,
so he climbed a poplar tree instead. The grizzly pulled
him out of the tree and proceeded to maul him as Connie
tried to fight the animal off. Dave said his Dad lost
his nose and an eye, and the animal took a strip of meat
off his arm and out of his thigh, but the whole
time Connie never lost his footing as he wrestled with
Eventually the bear backed off and looked at him. Connie
started backing toward the lake with the bear staring
at him the whole time. He backed across the lake, one
bootless foot in the water until he reached his cabin
on the other side, where the native lady staying with
him got him to Pelican Lake. From there he was taken
by team to Anahim Lake where the Catholic Nuns tried to
patch him up as best as possible before he was
taken down to Bella Coola.
Dave was working down in Vancouver at the time, and said
his Dad was in hospital there for quite awhile. Connie
King was 58 years old at the time of the bear attack and
yet he and the animal fought to a standstill.
Just goes to show you how tough some people in the Chilcotin
Hope I got this right Dave. If I've missed anything, let
me know! Although I sat with Connie and others at
the coffee shop in Anahim Lake more than once in the late
eighties, I never considered it polite to ask
him what had happened to him. I'm sorry now that I didn't.
Not only would it have been nice to have that tale from
the horse's mouth, so to speak, but I'm sure he had lots
of other good stories to tell. Connie King died in about
1997, so I regret that the opportunity is lost forever,
as it has been with many of the old timers that settled
Rainbow Mountain Ride
our new friends from Quesnel had quite a snowmobiling
experience today. They, and several other friends gathered
from around the province, trailered up early this morning
to the Rainbow Mountains. Apparently the ride was going
quite well and they were nearly to Mackenzie Cabin
when Randy, their leader and the only one that knows the
area well, fell into a deep hole when the snow gave away
beneath him. I guess he was riding along and saw
a depression, but was on top of it before realizing there
was a hole there that had been filled up with snow. The
snowmachine landed, settled and hit the bank of this hole
(probably a creek bottom) on the other side. The hole
was about ten feet deep from the look of it and filled
with water at the bottom.
took some serious pulling both with another snowmobile
and manpower (Bill said they were fortunate to have big
husky ex-NHL hockey players for friends) pulling on the
skiis to eventually hoist the machine out. Their efforts
were not aided by several extra pounds of
wet slush packed into the track from out of the bottom
of the hole. After getting the machine out, they chose
to head back to the trail head as quickly as possible.
Randy was soaking wet and the weather had rapidly
deteriorated. The wind was howling and low lying
clouds were moving in fast. The biggest concern was for
Randy's well being because he had gotten so wet and hypothermia
is always a risk at this time of year. And, In view of
this, everyone was especially concerned since he was the
only one that knew the way back home.
Bill said that on the way back, both he and Randy rode
over a low lying rock but his wife, who was following,
tried to dodge it. Her one ski dropped into the snow against
the rock, and the whole front end on her snowmobile
was twisted out of line by about five inches, and of course
Anita was thrown off the machine. When Bill realized
she wasn't behind him, he turned back to find his wife
a little bruised and shaken up, and the machine damaged
to the extent that it would only travel in a straight
line and couldn't be turned very easily.
Bill traded machines with his wife and babied the
snowmobile the rest of the way down the mountain, and
they got back to Nimpo Lake before lunch.
He came over to our place to borrow some come-alongs to
try and straighten the front end of Anita's machine out
so that it could be ridden tomorrow. He returned a little
later with three pictures for me to scan in and put on
this blog and gave me permission to write about their
adventure today. I hope I got everything right and I'm
really glad that no one was badly hurt.
And Randy... if you ever read this...you're not
allowed to shoot the messenger! LOL!
I guess everyone is hoping to go back up to the Rainbows
again tomorrow. I wish them much better weather than we
had today, and sincerely hope they have a wonderful ride.
Just a note to anyone that read this article yesterday,
I dropped one Trumpeter pic off the right to make room
for the Rainbow Ride, because those pictures are just
too good to not be seen. If the page turns out to be too
slow loading as a result, I may have to drop more pictures
Also, tomorrow I will be writing about Connie King, a
fellow that was attacked in this area by a grizzly bear
a few years ago. I need to make a correction in
Merry Christmas In March!
haven't seen snow for awhile, so our little storm is a
bit of a surprise. The snowy picture of Andy B.
on his bobcat trying to clear snow off of Nimpo Lake
belies the bright sun of just a few days before. Duncan
Stewart of Stewart's
Lodge and Camps needed a large area
cleared off in front of the lodge for ice cutting in the
next few days and I'm pretty sure I can hear chainsaws
over at Richard's resort where he'll be cutting ice as
Ice cutting is still critical for some of the local
resort owners because they rely on their ice houses
being full to preserve fish caught by their clients as
well as providing extra refrigeration space throughout
the summer. A well packed ice house, especially one utilizing
sawdust, will provide refrigeration well into fall before
the ice melts. While resorts such as Wilderness
Rim cut ice in February and only down
to a certain depth, other lodges cut in March right down
to water, providing blocks 24" thick and sometimes
up to three feet in a really cold year.
As a result of modern refrigeration many of the resorts
no longer cut ice for their ice houses, probably because
it's such brutally hard work.
Even though the weather outside doesn't much look like
it, spring must be in the air. I noticed Juncos at the
bird feeder today and they're a sure sign of spring. However,
a small flock of four Trumpeter Swans are still
hanging around on Nimpo Lake, probably because the only
open water right now is at the outlet of the lake where
the Dean River exits. I don't expect that to be
the case for long. We have very warm temperatures right
now and they're expected to continue for a few days, so
the lake will start opening up from the Dean into the
Hopefully, it will be snowing up in the Rainbows today.
Where we get only a skiff, the Rainbow Mountains
can get a huge snowfall, and that should make
for some terrific snowmobiling for the folks down from
Quesne. I know that they were considering joining the
guys from the The
Dean on Nimpo out on the lake for some
ice fishing today. The weather at present wouldn't make
that a very fun proposition but it will probably clear
up by this afternoon.
That reminds me, one of the guys staying at The
Dean is Jimmie Rodgers, a celebrity song writer and singer
from the U.S. Apparently he had quite a few gold
records at one time. Remember "Kisses Sweeter than
Wine"? Or "Honeycomb", one of my personal
favorites from when I was a kid. Yes, I know, I just dated
myself. What can I say? My parents liked that stuff! Anyway,
If you would like to get a little background on the fellow,
I did find an interview done with him at Gary
Jame's Interview with Jimmie Rodgers
. It seems as forthright as the fellow himself and his
is a very interesting life story. We got to talk
to him for a bit up on Trumpeter Mountain the other day
and he was fun and personable, and up for anything. Even
though he wasn't the least bit familiar with a snowmobile,
this tall dude did a good job of it and was more than
willing to laugh at himself when he fell off!
Snowmobiling With New Friends
had a terrific day yesterday snowmobiling with new friends.
Bill and Anita called us a little while back from Quesnel,
BC after seeing pictures of themselves on this blog,
playing hockey and skating on Nimpo Lake at Christmas
Apparently they've been reading the blog every day for
some time and after seeing their pics, decided to talk
to the person doing the writing. We've had several
great conversations and they decided they would like to
come out this week to go snowmobiling both on Trumpeter
Mountain and to the Rainbows.
They left Quesnel early yesterday morning and arrived
in plenty of time for us to meet up shortly after ten
and head out for a day's riding.
The weather was absolutely magnificent! We couldn't have
asked for a nicer day to take new people up the mountain
and show off the view from up there. The sun was shining
all day, warm enough for us all to be sporting burns,
not a cloud in the sky and no wind, which was really nice.
Especially at the cairn on top of Trumpeter where
wind can sometimes be whipping snow dead sideways and
at high speed. Instead, we had one of those rare
days on top of the world where you just didn't want to
Some guys staying at the The
Dean on Nimpo joined us up there. They
were all riding old, old machines and most of the five
had ridden little before, but they did a good job of getting
up on top, nonetheless.
Our friends from Naramata were up again showing the country
off to a friend of theirs from Switzerland, so it was
pretty noisy at the cairn for a little while.
The beauty of being able to reach that height of land
with a snowmobile is that you can point out all
the landmarks and mountain ranges in this part of the
Chilcotin. It's even better than flying the country
with an airplane because you're stationary and have a
360 degree view all at once.
While up on top of Trumpeter we could hear some guys talking
on the radio and recognized the voices of our regular
sledding buddies. They had trailered over to the
Remarko in the morning and had snowmobiled up to Wilderness
Lake. (You can see pictures of this beautiful
area at the Alpine
Flower Gallery and at The
Mountain Gallery.) Or at least most
of them had. One of them got off on the wrong trail and
was trying to find his way back using the radio, and coordinates
on his GPS. He eventually caught up to them and today
they said it was just an unbelievable ride. The
country is just prime for snowmobiling with lots of rolling
alpine and lots of snow. I guess we're going to
have to bite the trailering bullet one day and check it
out up there.
What was neat about the whole thing was that we were talking
to people many miles and several mountains away but we
were at about the same elevation and on a line of sight
for the radio. It definitely helps to have a radio and
GPS along on a snowmobile ride for safety's sake if nothing
Coming down off of Trumpeter Mountain over to the Cornice,
we came across a long lonely set of tracks coming over
the hill. It definitely didn't seem set up right
for wolf tracks and the pad wasn't big enough or furry
enough to be lynx. I think Bill was correct when he suggested
they were wolverine tracks, and since we were
sitting just above Charlotte Lake, we wondered if they
didn't belong to the wolverine from March
Week One Wilderness Adventures .
Although we were riding really sedately yesterday, it
became pretty obvious that Bill and Anita are expert riders
and are very comfortable in any terrain. That means no
one was stuck yesterday and that's always a bonus! They
kindly let us try out one of their fan cooled Ski-Doos
on the REV platform after I did a flying whip-lash-causing
endo off my machine trying to bring it up on its side,
and man, was that some impressive! What tremendous
maneuverability! The machine is light, easy to
turn on its side, and I can see cornering on tight trails
would be pretty relaxing. I expect they're also a lot
easier to get out of a bad spot if you got stuck than
these big, heavy liquid cooled machines we're riding.
I'm most impressed with that REV design. You sit up higher
and further forward, completely changing your centre of
gravity and the whole front end steering design allows
you to rock the machine from side to side very easily.
We finished off a really wonderful day with supper up
at Chilcotin's Gate courtesy of our new found friends
and I suspect they hit the hay as quickly as we did last
night. I believe they were going to head up into
the Rainbows today and try some ice fishing on a little
lake up there. Although the weather kind of deteriorated
overnight, I hope they had a great day!
This is the start of a new week, so you can find all of
last week's good stuff at Wilderness
Adventure 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!