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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week 1/2014

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 some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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Check out the Picture of the Day.

06/05/2014 11:00 AM

Ice Off!

Yahoo! Ice off!
Yesterday morning a good part of the lake was still frozen and this morning most of it is open!
The ice had finally opened up along the shoreline and in the reed beds for the past week so the birds that have come in have been crowded into those little waterways. A bit of a sticky situation when the male loons start coming in because they’re pretty territorial. Then it snowed this past week for two days and two nights. Thank heavens the ground was warm enough to keep it melted for the first day or so but by the end of 48 hours three days ago we had at least four inches of snow on the ground, the trees, and the lake.
The only thing we could hope for was that the ice that was looking pretty rotten and black a few days before after a couple of days of 20 to 27C days (68F-81F) was that all that wet snow would help to sink the ice. Obviously it did because by yesterday morning while all the previously open water along the shoreline was frozen solid, the snow had mostly melted off the ice and by yesterday afternoon it started to simply disappear. A little breeze came up in the afternoon and started moving the rest of the ice around and Voila! Open water!
I think I’m calling today ice off for this year unless it turns out that there’s a big patch of ice on the Main Arm yet or if an ice sheet out in front of us on the Main Arm doesn’t disappear by this evening. There’s a little ice crushed up against the shore by the public boat launch and there’s still a patch glued to our dock in the back bay, but I expect all of that to be gone by this evening. We have a brisk little breeze switching between the south and the north and that tends to break up the ice pretty quickly.
The ice this year was just like that of last year, it just kind of melted away, so it didn’t do any damage to docks or anything while moving around the lake.
We had two stunning days in a row last week with temperatures on the second day, May 1st, reaching 25C or 77F here, but many people down the lake and in Anahim Lake reported even warmer temperatures of 27C. It may have gotten higher here as well but I was outside all day working because who’s going to be inside on a day like that? It was absolutely amazing with sunshine, a slightly warm breeze and the feel of summer on the air. Unfortunately, with two barn burners in a row the mosquitoes were starting to get a little wild in the woods when I walked the dogs and even working out in the yard toward evening. So while it was a shock for everyone to see a 30 degree drop in temperature and several inches of snow on the ground in little more than 24 hours, it didn’t really make me all that unhappy. Well, it did…. I was just as teed off as the rest of the population throughout BC and Alberta that got a dump of snow, but there was actually a positive side. The hard frost and snow went a long way toward kicking butt on those frisky mosquitoes that had ventured out and were already biting with a vengeance. I haven’t seen a single one of the obnoxious little buggers since!
It finally warmed up again and yesterday was another really pretty day with most of the snow melted and temperatures that eventually hit about 15C or 59F. Because it froze so hard the night before I was able to get out on the back trail first thing yesterday morning before it thawed out and I was walking in the slime left by melting snow. I went out again first thing this morning and while not frozen, it had been warm and breezy enough yesterday to dry things up a little bit.
Today isn't quite as nice as yesterday's perfectly clear blue sky day although it started out being clear and gorgeous this morning. But by the time I got back from my walk cloud had moved in and the wind is switching back and forth. Just one day of ice or no ice can make all the difference in the world! Now with the ice off any breeze blowing over the lake is blowing over water just barely above freezing and that cools things off drastically when you’re close to the water! Still, it’s not that bad out and once I get a phone call that I’m waiting for, I will be closing out this blog or finishing it later and heading back outside, even if it has dropped two degrees in the past few minutes. Geez… spring….
At least it is spring, even if it is up and down. The hummingbirds are here and not only did I put out one feeder last week but had to put out a second on the opposite side of the house because there were so many males and they were all fighting over the feeder by my office window. The loons are an absolute delight to listen to and the females are in now as well so you can see and hear pairs all over the lake now deciding where they’re going to nest. The song birds are out in force and as usual, too many bald eagles have returned.
Yesterday I got a trench dug along the ridge in front of the cabin and planted some raspberry canes my Brother-in-law kindly dug up from his own patch and sent out for me. I even got the fence posts in on either end to hold wire to contain the bushes and now I’m just waiting for the wire that Andy is bringing back from town with him. Actually, he’s bringing back a whole truck load of building materials as well as gardening necessities for me. So this spring is going to be another busy one with projects. That is, once he has his Bobcat fixed. He’s been working on it for days now and I expect he’ll be working on it for several more days once he brings back the parts he needs today, just to get it put back together. I’ve been missing it being in working order because I have a bunch of little jobs for it, as does Andy. For that matter, so do neighbours down at the end of the lake that are relying on Andy to come do some landscaping for them. You just don’t realize how handy that little machine is until it’s broken.
Our weather is supposed to change and start raining on Thursday or Friday so I’m going to get outside while I can.
Up on the right I've put a progression of photos for the past five days in order and today's blue water. I love blue water! I was definitely ready for it!

Last week's blog is at April Week Three.

Anahim Lake Highway cam looking West.

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!
Blue water and fresh snowy mountains.
Bright white snow on the ice with water opening up.
Fresh snow on Nimpo ice with grey open water along the shore.
Snow on trees, lake and red flags at rest.
Snow lines a deck railing and lands on Nimpo Lake ice.
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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