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!
Wilderness Adventures - May Week One
West Chilcotin Tourism Association Meeting
| Friday, the 13th seems like a good day to have a meeting
for local tourism. The West Chilcotin Tourism Association
is having their Annual General Meeting down at White Saddle
in West Branh. That's down the Tatlayoko road. Items to
be covered are possible closure of Anahim Airport (highly
unlikely because everyone is working very hard to prevent
it), and update and input on a new information sign at
Anahim (which is in a really sorry state of disrepair).
Dave Neads, director on The Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action
Committee is to give an update on the Mountain Pine Beetle
situation. Karl Osmers of Bella Coola Valley Tourism is
to present the new 100 things to do on the Highway 20
advertising magazine. Dave and Petrus to give updates
on the Tsi Del Del/Tatla Agreement (The West Chilcotin
Demonstration Project) which was signed on April 6/05
in Redstone. Now that is a fascinating piece of work!
Based loosely on the structure of the Round Table of Anahim
and Nimpo Lake region, it brings together multiple users
of the natural resources to discuss and agree on how those
resources are to be used. In this case, tourist users
such as resorts and lodges, guide outfitters, logging
interests and the Tatla community came together to agree
on land use in the region. The document is a historical
one, and just shows what a powerful tool good communication
The West Chilcotin Tourism association has an online dirctory
of members at Visit The West Chilcotin. If you would like
to check out some of the accommodations and activities
available in the West Chilcotin, this is an excellent
The Freedom Highway
| The Freedom Highway from Anahim Lake to Bella Coola
was an engineering feat accomplished by locals that the
Canadian government refused to tackle. "The Freedom
Highway" was so named to commemorate Bella Coola's
inclusion with the rest of British Columbia by road -
or by two ruts - as most described it. The government
refused to help build an overland route from Bella Coola
to Anahim Lake where Highway 20 continued to Williams
Lake. Locals got together with $250, dynamite, equipment
and two years of sheer determination and backbreaking
work to build a road up the rock face of the mountains
in the Coast Range.
On September 26, 1953, the catskinner from Bella Coola
touched the blade of his cat to that of the cat driver
last of the boulders out of the way from Anahim Lake above.
It still took 10 hours to drive the 90 miles from the
Bella Coola to Anahim Lake but it was enough to convince
the government that it could be done, and they took over
road improvements in 1955. It is still an 'interesting'
drive and the steepest highway in Canada with an 18% grade.
However, the route now only takes less than two hours
to accomplish from Bella Coola to Anahim Lake. I was fortunate
to see a video put together recently by Jerry Bracewell,
a longstanding resident of the Chilcotin. At a very young
age, she rode 40 miles on horseback crossing streams and
rivers following the newly torn cat trail through the
bush with her two young children from Anahim Lake to where
the cats were to meet. She stayed in camp with her husband,
Alf Bracewell, who was the cat driver from the Anahim
Lake side. She had an 8mm camera with her and was the
only person to get live footage of the dynamiting of rocks,
and blazing of the trail. Jerry was also the only person
to get footage of the famous touching of cat blades and
handshakes over the the blades by the catskinners when
they met that day. The film covers the history of the
road and interviews with many of the people involved then,
as well as more recent footage of the 50th anniversary
of the building of the road. Once offered to the public,
I would advise everyone to watch the movie. It's short,
and to the point, as everything is in this country. But
it is awe inspiring, and a tribute to the guts and determination
of the people here. The picture at top right shows the
type of country locals were trying to build a road through.
The top of the pass is blanketed by clouds.
Showcasing Vagabond RV Park & Resort
| This accommodation is located at the end of the 'Short
Arm' and the sites are right on Nimpo Lake. Two cabins
offer all the amenities and a wonderful view of sunset
over the magnificent Coastal Mountains. If you're driving
an RV, you'll find sunny sites on grass overlooking the
lake and that's great for some amiable evening visiting
round the campfire or over a game of horseshoes. There
are also shady, private sites if you prefer, as well as
wonderful tenting sites. If you would like, your hosts,
Floyd and Lora Vaughan, can arrange a flightseeing trip
for you to see more of this spectacular country or fly
out for some premium rainbow trout fishing on a remote
lake that is floatplane accessible only. On Nimpo Lake
itself, you can troll or fly fish for some fighting Rainbow
Trout, go canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching, hiking, photographing
wildlife, or mountain biking around the lake, or just
enjoy relaxing at your fire taking in the view. If you
would like to know more about this RV Park and Resort,
go to their site at Vagabond
RV Park & Resort. where they have lots
more information and an extensive photo gallery.
Remember The Three Stooges?
| Finally got the pictures developed and back from town
of the three moose on Nimpo Lake. Unfortunately, they
were very disappointing because of the distance. Pretty
tough to see that they are three young moose hilariously
trying to cross the ice on Nimpo Lake. If you want to
read more about the story from earlier this winter, just
go to Three
Scrooges . The same happened with the pictures
of the swans and eagles on the point from Mexican
Standoff on Ice. On the good side, the
pictures of the redwinged blackbirds that invaded the
feeder this spring came out fairly well for those of you
that are birdwatchers. Right now we've been invaded by
a large number of hummingbirds at the two feeders, and
they're beautiful as usual. There are also a number of
tree swallows arguing over the single birdhouse, and the
male loons are chasing one another all over the lake.
Must be nesting time! There was a lot of fresh bear scat
on the road going out to the highway so the bears must
be out of their dens all over due to the early spring.
Still Catching Up!
Going away for any length of time just doesn't pay.
Sometimes it just has to be done ... holidays, or business,
but you play hob catching up with everything. I bought
a new computer for my business while away, but can't
begin setting it up until I've re- organized my office
space, and can't do that until I unpack office supplies
picked up on the trip. Can't unpack until I get all
that meat organized, etc. You know how it goes. In the
meanwhile, I'm up to my neck playing catch up for my
businesses and I don't even want to count how many emails
I have to address.
On the positive side, coming home just reminds you how
great it is to live where we do. The leaves are out
on the aspens and willows about three weeks earlier
than usual, the grass has really greened up and there
are already fishermen on Nimpo Lake. There was lots
of wildlife on the way home. Mule deer all over and
passed a beautiful black sow with one young black cub
and one brown bear cub. She even hung around long enough
for me to snap some pictures that I really, really,
hope are in focus!
Holiday? What Holiday?
| If you've noticed an absence of news from the Wilderness
Adventure front lately, it's because of 'so-called' holidays.
And I use that term very loosely! I was
gone for the last two weeks on various and sundry business
which started with dentist app. in Williams Lake, on to
other annual doctors apps. in the Okanagan and more business,
then to Calgary, then a town north of Saskatoon, the city
itself for business, and finally back home. Along the
way we visited friends, checked on my whitetail deer business
in Saskatchewan, picked up a beef from my old neighbours
and good friends as well as the best roasting chickens
in the world, on to a little store one town over that
sells the best little frying chickens and hams ever, then
on to the butcher of the beef. Aside from the beef I had
ordered 20 pounds of side pork, (if you don't know what
that is, you've never tasted heaven) and some pork roasts
for 'little porkers' for the Bar-B-Que and last but not
least, a mess of double smoked Farmer Sausage from Yorkton
that you can only buy at Costco in Saskatchewan as far
as I know. Needless to say, it wasn't much of a holiday,
but rather a giant shopping trip for groceries. But I
got to visit with great friends, and nothing beats that!
Just got back tonite, so I'll write tomorrow.
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!