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 - May, Week 1/2006
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. Check out the
of the Day.
Another Bear Attack
saw the report of a bear attack that occurred yesterday.
A 41 year old male park employee was walking in
on a hiking trail in Banff National Park (in the Rockies)
when he was attacked by a black bear. Fellow employees
heard his cries for help while out riding their bikes.
When they ascertained that the bear was between them and
the victim and they couldn't scare the animal away, they
rode as fast as they could for 20 minutes back to where
they could put in a call for help. They then rode back,
got to the attack victim, and tried to keep him warm (as
it was getting dark and cooler) and kept talking to him
to keep him out of shock while the bear moved around in
the bush nearby.
When park wardens arrived, they shot the bear and got
the man out of there and shipped to a Calgary hospital.
The warden speaking to the media said that it was
pretty obvious that it had been a long, drawn out attack
and that the victim had fought off the bear over a period
of time. The warden also said that the bear only
weighed about 120 pounds and appeared to be starving.
They have to do tests to verify that this was indeed the
attacking bear, and what's very unusual is that the warden
actually admitted that this appeared to be a predator
bear. They usually avoid using that term.The trail
into the area will remain closed until they can verify
that this was the only attacking bear. It sounds like
the victim is in good conditon and has not suffered critical
If you would like to know a little more about bear attacks,
I've written a series covering the different types
of bear attacks and you can find the beginning
of that series at September
page. Make sure you start at the bottom of the page to
start at the beginning of the series.
We haven't seen much in the way of bear sign around here
yet, although the odd one has been seen by neighbours.
It's still quite cool yet (-5C last night) and some may
still be denned up. It would be just as well. There isn't
a whole lot for them to eat out there right now. The grasses
are only just greening up in the meadows.
Our fighter jets were back yesterday but
this time they were overflying Anahim Lake. I guess one
was quite low when he broke the sound barrier and just
about scared the pants off of everyone in the area that
heard the sonic boom.
Lots happening around Anahim and Nimpo Lakes this
weekend including the canoe races. I'll cover
that tomorrow as soon as I have more info.
A Question Of Economics
attended a meeting last night that directly impacts our
area's economic viability.
Our region developed an unusual joint venture in the mid
'90s between a lumber mill that had previously operated
in the area, the local native indian band, and community
members who bought shares in the venture. This three
way partnership succeeded very well for a number of years
and was very profitable to all three partners.
Unfortunately, there was no measure taken to reinvest
some of those profits in a maintenance and upgrade fund,
nor was either a short term or long term strategic plan
ever drawn up. Such a plan is generally not needed when
times are good, but when times go bad...it
helps to have some vision of where you are going. Particularly
when you have three very different partners involved.
A number of factors in the last few years have severely
impacted the continued viability of this partnership and
the lumber mill. Rising fuel costs, a higher Canadian
dollar, and the US tariff on our lumber have all contributed
to lower returns. In addition to that, the venture borrowed
money for an expansion to the sawmill that not only had
a huge cost overrun, but since the expansion was only
a partial one, it really didn't contribute much overall
to the bottom line. In fact, it took two years to
reach pre-expansion production levels. It also
put the venture deep in debt at a time when we have all
kinds of other problems on our plate. See above.
Now two of the partners want to see massive expansion
continue, including building a dry kiln and we will have
to borrow millions more to accomplish that when we still
owe a sizeable debt for operating expenses and the last
expansion. In other words, we're running in the
red and these people want us to borrow yet more money!
That might make sense if the mill had a viable future
for the next 20 years but the trees are turning red out
there. That means they are already dying and dead.
Although the one 'director' admitted that in wet land
our pine is only viable for milling up to 5 years, on
high ground it may be viable for up to 15 years after
it is dead. Wrong!
Lodgepole pine in this country is notorious for falling
down only a very short period of time after the death
of the tree. I have 13 years experience working in planer
mills as a lumber grader. Even if the wood didn't fall
down, if you tried to run that lumber through the planer
mill after it has been standing dead for a couple of years,
it will explode in the planer. You won't have enough
left over from each board to make match sticks!
And yet these people seem to think they can convince the
shareholders that a huge, entirely unnecessary, and very
expensive expansion is the way to go. Unfortunately, they
probably can because many of the shareholders from Anahim
Lake and Nimpo Lake just do not have the intimate knowledge
required to make a decision of this nature and so
they're boondoggled by fast talking 'used car' salesmen.
This is akin to maxing out your credit card, overspending
your income, and then borrowing the money to buy a new
car because it will get better fuel economy than your
last one. However, the interest payments on that
new car you bought will exceed the savings you will see
from a more fuel efficient car. Add to that: You're
only five years from retirement so your ability to bring
in your present level of income will end at that time.
Ideally, you would continue to drive your old car, pay
off your debt load, and save the money to put down on
the new car in future. But you would only do that if you
found another job or source of income after you retire.
Otherwise, you have to get a cheaper car or continue to
run the one you have. I'm not sure if you see the analogy
here, but it sure looks clear to me.
However, if you look at the massive debt load from unnecessary
overspending by a huge percentage of the people living
in North America now, it would explain why the suggestions
in the meeting last night might be considered acceptable.
Of course, it also explains why so many people
are going broke in North America, are living pay
check to pay check and going broke with little equity
to show for their efforts.
So one has to take a long hard look at the underlying
motive of two out of three of these partners for wanting
to run the mill deep into debt.
In the analogy above, the primary reason for going deep
into debt for a new car that you can't afford to pay for
is 'status symbol'. You can come up with
all sorts of sane reasons. Lower maintenance costs, better
fuel economy, dependability, etc. But face it, for most
people, it's status. Nobody wants to be seen driving around
in a beat up old vehicle that's paid for, because
it just doesn't look good.
Unfortunately, the underlying motive for putting the mill
deep in debt isn't about status. I suspect the reasons
are a lot more sinister in nature and there's no question
in my mind that the whole thing will be detrimental to
the community shareholders in the long run.
always amazed at how quickly things change here once the
ice comes off of Nimpo Lake. The country really starts
hopping. There's always that quiet time between solid
ice on the local lakes and ice off when it isn't safe
to drive, four wheel or snowmobile on the ice and yet
there's no open water. But once there is, out come the
boats and planes.
There have been quite a few private float planes
that have come in on Nimpo Lake the past week and although
Anahim Lake doesn't see the same degree of traffic
because it isn't considered a floatplane base on the same
scale as Nimpo Lake, I'm sure it has seen some traffic
Tweedsmuir Air is a chartered air service on Nimpo Lake
and Duncan has had his Beaver on floats out nearly every
day, probably to resupply his outpost cabins before the
summer season starts. No matter what resort, motel
or campground you stay at when visiting here, you are
able to book flightseeing tours with Tweedsmuir Air
to take a look at the breathtaking country in this area.
You can also charter the service to go into lakes only
accessible by floatplane for some premium fishing for
the day or for canoeing or hiking in the alpine.
Now is a good time to consider booking your accommodations
for your summer vacation and there's lots of variety to
choose from here from rustic to luxurious cabins, resort
lodging or fully equipped and comfortable motel rooms.
Campgrounds are available with easy parking for
large RV's and full hookups both on Anahim Lake and Nimpo
Lake and all with a view. Most have tent sites
as well. If you would like more information on the different
types of accommodation available to you, simply use the
navigation menu on the left.
If you are a hiking enthusiast, you'll find that the West
Chilcotin has lots to offer! There are extensive
hiking trails in Tweedsmuir Park that are marked, or you
can set out on your own just about anywhere. If
you would like to access the alpine, you can drive or
fourwheel to your take off point in some cases, or you
can charter Tweedsmuir Air to drop you off on a high alpine
lake and go from there.
You can explore the activities available to you in the
area, check out the transportation options, weather, dining
and businesses as well as learn about wildlife here by
exploring this site. It has fairly extensive information
for the traveller to our area. There's also a great photo
gallery with a little of everything. If you have
any questions about lodging or the Anahim Lake and Nimpo
Lake area, feel free to use the contact page and
I'll do my best to reply.
I'm still trying to get dates for two popular upcoming
events. I was just at the restaurant the other day and
a few of us were discussing the lack of info. We really
need more posters. The canoe races should be happening
soon as well as the water skipping races. If you
haven't seen snowmobiles racing on water then you've missed
a great event. It's hilarious!!
Don't forget to check out the Picture
of the Day
to see some gorgeous hiking country.
No Flash After All
like our weather might hold to some resemblance to spring
for a while.
It was another really nice day today with warm temperatures.
Although not quite as breathtaking as yesterday because
we had some thunderheads off and on all day and it was
a little breezy sometimes, it was still a great day. We
got lots done outside today and at one point when
I looked at the lake the fish were jumping like crazy.
It was just before two whole drops of rain fell and then
things settled down a bit. Two fishing boats were
out on Nimpo Lake off and on today but I don't
know how the fishermen made out. We're starting to get
the summer residents and cabin owners now. They like to
sneak in before the summer vacationers and have the lake
to themselves for a week or so.
We had some big, high topped clouds for a while this afternoon,
but little wind and lots of blue sky. That's when
the fighter planes showed up. I'm assuming they're
out of Comox military base near Vancouver and every once
in a while they'll come in and do manuevers overhead for
a short time. They were a little longer today at between
20 and 30 minutes and there were at least two of them
and more probably four. It's difficult to say from sound
alone because they seem to like to play around above the
cloud. You almost never hear them here when it's clear
blue skies. I don't know if it's because they don't want
people on the ground to see them and perhaps complain
because of the noise, see what maneuvers they're doing,
I've noticed that they come up here quite often and I
assume it's because the West Chilcotin, and particularly
out here, probably has the smallest population and the
least development of any place in British Columbia except
for the north. When they start screaming around
overhead, people aren't likely to complain and they certainly
don't have to worry about a busy airspace. We see few
contrails from jets here and yet we're well within 230
air miles of Vancouver.
I like hearing the fighters come in. It
doesn't happen very often but when it does, you know they're
here! They make quite a racket and it's always a challenge
to try to spot them between the clouds. I only saw one
of the little buggers today and he was high, high, high
and showed no contrail at all. I suppose the sound might
bother the odd person if they happened to be outside,
but I love them. I run around the yard peeking up through
the cloud layers trying to catch a glimpse of one of them.
But then I was born in Tucson near a huge airforce base
where breaking picture windows was a common occurrence
when the military tested new warplanes in the early 60's
so that probably puts me in the slightly crazy category
We're starting to get a lot accomplished outside now with
the nicer weather. My partner got the back of the garage
painted this morning and we both worked the yard over
pretty hard today. One of the last things I need to do
is get a series of water hoses set up around the place
for the summer while we're gone. I would like to make
it as convenient as possible for the fellow looking after
the place to water plants and to keep the area surrounding
the house damp in case of forest fire. They're still
predicting a hot, dry summer for central British Columbia
this year and like Smoky the Bear says, "Be
Prepared." Oh wait a minute. Maybe that was the boy
Flash In A Pan
was one of those breathtaking Chilcotin days. It would
appear that there's only going to be one of them, but
that's okay, I'll take it!
This morning started out absolutely beautiful where the
air was completely still, Nimpo Lake was like a
mirror, there was every possible bird twittering
away, a grouse thumping on a log a ways away and the occasional
call of a loon. Little rings would form here and there
on the lake from fish surfacing and every once in awhile
you could here the 'plop' of one jumping nearby. A
small fishing boat plied the far shore and while
I watched, a little muskrat came puttering close to shore,
his little tail like the rudder on a boat motor. Even
though it was only just above freezing, the sun was already
warm. It was just one of those mornings that make you
ever so glad to be alive and brings home why I love living
in this country.
Alas, the weather seems to be changing again with a cloud
front moving in over the mountains from the west this
evening but it does sound like it's supposed to be a little
warmer than it has been.
This morning was so incredible that it just about made
you squirm to be outside so I rushed through stuff I needed
to do on the computer and then did a fast trip to
Anahim Lake and back. We had an enjoyable time
getting one side of the garage stained this afternoon
accompanied by the fine company of one of our neighbours.
He's in his seventies, single, and some would say eccentric.
I do know that he's afraid of most women and avoids
them wherever possible. He helped me to build
my house in the early nineties and though shy, he's very
comfortable with the two of us and so we spent the afternoon
bantering while we painted, and he sat on a can 'supervising'
with the help of the two dogs that were fawning all over
him. It made the time go by quickly and that side of the
garage looks great. We were a little messy though and
I had to take paint thinner to the side of my truck to
get all of the paint spots off.
Redneck painters. That's us!
Our neighbour was looking at our trees and noted that
a some had not started turning color yet from the Mountain
Pine Beetle attack of last summer. I've noticed
the same but neither of us are sure if that means that
those trees have a chance of surviving or that they were
just able to fight off the fungus for longer and will
still turn red. I guess it doesn't matter. We're going
to leave them standing for the summer anyway and we will
know for sure by fall.
Hey, I learned something today that I hadn't heard before
but always wondered about. Did you know that the term
"booting up" your computer comes from "bootstrap?" Bootstraps
help you get your boots on and booting the computer helps
it to get its first instructions.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Check out the Picture
of the Day
and it will give you some idea of what it was like here.
If you're thinking of travelling to the West Chilcotin
for a holiday, book now because I think summer's
actually got a picture of the strangest thing today. We
were just walking back from the dock when we heard a woodpecker
rattling away on a telephone pole in the yard. Just about
that time another woodpecker came flitting in lower down
the pole. I thought, "This is great, I can
actually get a picture of a mating pair because I have
my camera with me for a change!" So I'm frantically
trying to get the thing out of its case and started up
while the second woodpecker works its way up the pole
toward the other. All the while we're thinking we're going
to see a super mating dance as only seen on National Geographic!
The second woodpecker gets to the top and I snap a picture
of them doing a kind of stretching up thing across from
each other with crests raised, and then, poof! The
first guy takes off with a weird screetching noise
and the other starts rattling away on the pole trying
to call a mate. I guess it was two males and one ran the
other off of that premium noise-making, girl attracting,
pole. Alas, so much for getting to see a great mating
ritual. I guess they weren't gay either. And so much for
being a "Photographer at Large".
Someone was out on Nimpo Lake fishing this evening
but it must be almighty cold. It's just a little too cool
with the water being so close to freezing. We've had a
nasty, chilly northwest wind all day and even though sunny,
it just hasn't been very pleasant shirt sleeve weather.
We're not the only ones with the winter blues though.
I was talking to someone on the phone in the interior
and they were complaining of the same cold and the fellow
told me that they got a blizzard on the Coke highway last
I have a great new property listing to put up. I will
try to have it on the Properties
for Sale page in the next day or so.
This is a completely refinished log home on Nimpo
Lake with everything new inside including fixtures
and appliances, brand new kitchen and bathroom, woodwork
and flooring, and landscaping in progress. The property
sits on one acre of land with good lake frontage in a
quiet cul-de-sac and is very reasonably priced. This particular
bay on Nimpo Lake is always full of bird life including
ducks, geese, ospreys and eagles and is almost a mini
wildlife sanctuary in itself. So if you are looking for
waterfront property, hang in there and I'll have the details
up as soon as I can.
after wave of hail came rocketing in over Nimpo Lake today
and it just would not stop. There would be a white
curtain hiding the Coast Range one moment and clear the
next. With each wave came a quick hail storm and it happened
15 times today if it happened once. We had some pretty
good winds out of the west too. It's not very often you
see white caps on Nimpo Lake, which was disappointing
considering the number of trout I saw jumping just off
of our point this morning before the wind started up.
Fishing crossed my mind but it was a short
lived thought. Especially after seeing the temperature
drop. Old Man Winter is having a last kick at the cat
The loons last night were absolutely amazing!
Once one pair got going with their maniacal laughing at
about 10:30 at night, the rest joined in or took turns.
What's particularly remarkable is that the loons have
several very distinct calls, and they trade around on
who gets to do what call...or so it seems. I have no idea
if it's a warning signal or just everyone lets everyone
else know where they are for the night. Kind of like the
Waltons. "Goodnight Billy Bob, Goodnight John Boy."
Yes, I know, attributing human mannerisms to animals and
birds is a bad thing, but I really don't know how else
to guess what they're thinking.
I'll tell you one thing, the redwinged blackbirds are
still really, really P.Oed at me! Since
we've gotten back I keep trying to lift the blanket off
of the bird feeder to allow the little birds a chance
at some seed, but it usually isn't very long before the
first scout does a fly by and the next thing you know,
the whole blackbird flock comes screaming in like a squadron
of F14's. I explained why I had shut off the seed in Working
Spring and it still seems to be necessary.
I went for a walk with the dogs today and passed by the
meadow where the blackbirds usually hang out. They
were all singing merrily away until I came by.
It didn't sound merry to me anymore. I'm pretty darn sure
they were swearing at me.
Unfortunately, they and their young need to learn to get
their own food or their babies will grow up too dependant
on feeders. I suspect that is what has happened already.
Young from last year were brought to the feeder by their
parents and that's the first place they headed to this
spring and unlike other years, they aren't leaving!
I managed to get a picture of the Beaver flying by just
as he'd gone up off of the 'step'. It was tough
because the pilot took the plane way down the back bay
and then brought up his rpm's coming back up the lake
into the wind before taking off. Usually you can hear
that deep thrum as he taxis closer but I only just caught
a piece of the plane with the camera as he went by today
because the wind was blowing and I couldn't tell where
Regardless of the weather, it's nice to look outside and
see open water and now this evening, the wind has calmed
somewhat and the sun is shining. If the weatherman
isn't completely out to lunch, the rest of the
week is going to be nice and I can get outside.
Back In The Chilcotin!
am I glad to be home! As most of you probably noticed,
there was a severe shortage of articles this past week.
I'm really sorry. It wasn't intended to be that way at
We had our annual trek back to Saskatchewan to pick up
a beef from old neighbours that raise it for us and to
visit a lot of really special friends that I only get
to see once a year. The only problem is that you sleep
in a lot of different beds in the period of one week because
each of our friends insist we visit overnight at the very
least. However, I won't complain too much because
I think that having such super friends is a very good
problem to have.
My laptop experiment failed me somewhat. Actually, it
didn't. I failed it. The first night we stayed in a hotel
that had Ethernet hookup and boom! I was on the Internet.
Unfortunately, I was so beat that I just didn't have the
energy to write an article and upload it.
The next evening we got into Saskatoon and stayed at a
dear friend's place but had so much to catch up on that
it was a day or two before I could upload anything. A
short stay at another couple of close friends' home resulted
in a late night talking and solving all of the world's
problems, but no story.
At the last place that we stayed with very good friends
north of Saskatoon where I had a farm at one time, I had
the time to write articles. Alas, my dear, dear friend
could not remember the password needed to use the dial
up Internet access. So that article didn't get uploaded
until we got home last night and you can read it below.
I definitely should have made more effort to drive around
the cities and see how the wireless hookup would work
on the laptop, but sometimes your friends just have to
It's been an absolute marvel coming home
but we missed the most dramatic part of spring here. The
fellow looking after our place said the ice went
off of Nimpo Lake two days after we left when
a 20 mph wind came up. It must have been some wind because
I figured it would be another week before ice off. And
the loons are back! He said they came in
before the ice was out and were all hanging around in
the narrow channel of open water just in front of the
We were walking down to the cabin this morning and suddenly
three loons were talking to each other right in front
of the property. Probably males setting up housekeeping
rights before the girls arrive.
Just as we came in last night we watched Stewart's
Beaver on floats fly over and then land on Nimpo Lake
a few minutes later. Duncan seems to be in early
this year but perhaps they have early clients for flightseeing
or for staying at Stewart's Lodge. I see that the neighbour
across the lake has his plane in the water now too.
A quick walk around the place has shown that some of the
garden plants are coming up and grass is greening up well,
but we won't see leaves on the aspens for another couple
of weeks. Usually they come on around the first
week of June unless we have an unusually warm spring like
last year. In Saskatchewan most poplars and cottonwoods
were in full green dress and it's always a bit of a let
down when you come back and have to wait for our trees
to green up, but that's okay, things will move along nicely
now. Spring is a quick season here.
There was someone out fishing on the lake this morning
and boy, do I envy them. We were first on the lake last
year when ice was still on here and there but this year
we don't even have the boat in the water yet.
As you have probably noticed, we are into the first week
of May now, (well...the first week is almost over but
I will probably double up on the articles for the archives)
so if you would like to go see what was happening last
week you can go to Wilderness
Adventure April Week Four..
Is Winter Back?
weather going across Canada is varied and interesting
this week. The jet stream has been doing some very strange
things for this time of year. As a result, some areas
have been unusually cold while places like the prairies
have experienced wildly high temperatures. Until today
that is. It has been snowing right across the western
provinces with a couple of inches of snow sticking
here and there.
Nimpo Lake has opened up a little but is still far
behind Alberta and Saskatchewan where farmers
are already on their fields either harrowing or seeding.
Surprisingly, around the central and northern part of
Saskatchewan and Alberta there are many farmers combining
last year's crop because they were taken by surprise with
lots of rain and early snow during harvest last year.
We noticed that the rivers through the park are quite
low and there isn't much low level snow left in the mountains.
We noticed the same thing a couple of weeks ago
down in the Bella Coola Valley. That doesn't bode
well for forest fire season this year. But hey, at least
we're not in danger from an earthquake-caused tsunami
as Australia and New Zealand are today.
It's always fun to examine people's perceptions regarding
weather. When sitting around with people in shorts outside
at the end of April sweltering in the heat, everyone talks
about how unusual the weather is. Yes...until people begin
to reminisce about other years or talk about stories told
by parents or relatives in the past. That's when
you learn it was just as hot in '95 and hotter in '88,
etc. The first term to get tossed about is always
'global warming' and just as I've mentioned before, while
I think that we humans have definitely contributed to
it, I don't think there is any measurable way to determine
by how much. If we are in a naturally occurring long term
warming trend anyway, it's doubly difficult to determine
how much we humans have contributed, which is why I get
highly irritated at the media who are quick to interview
the environmentalists whenever there is an 'unusual' weather
occurrance. Yes, we have polluted our environment, we
should be extremely concerned about it, we should
be taking drastic measures to put things right,
but lets work at getting accurate facts and figures first.
I know that there has been a lot of flak because the new
Prime Minister is more inclined to follow in the footsteps
of the US and design a package more suited to North America
than the Kyoto Protocol was. I'm afraid I'm behind him
on that one. As far as I can see, Kyoto is designed
to be entirely to the advantage of developing countries
and crippling to the industrialized countries.
It's a shame that the Liberal government signed on to
something that could badly hurt the Canadian economy.
I know that factories and manufacturing plants spew a
lot of pollution into the air, but I still strongly contend
that if you took all of the passenger vehicles off of
the roads in North America, you would change the global
warming dynamic immediately and drastically. So it stands
to reason that if that is the case, we need to look at
alternative fuels a lot more seriously than we do now.
Why our big three manufacturers are still pumping
out gas guzzling SUV's is beyond me. I know that
the present fuel prices are just a killer for a lot of
people, including us, but I think continued high fuel
prices are what it's going to take to convince people
to look at more economical vehicles, at busing and at
car pooling. We started out with the right mentality during
the gas crunch of the '70's but have since gone backwards.
Would I give up my highly useful 4x4 pickup
in favor of something more economical or using an alternative
fuel source? Absolutely. I'm just waiting to see what
those dinosaur car manufacturers come up with in the next
couple of years. I would like to buy North American and
support local manufactering but if they don't get it together
soon, I'll go foreign.
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!