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 Two/2008
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of the Day.
I know we were all asking for it but now that we have
some unexpectedly high temperatures, it'll just
about drop you in your tracks! We're definitely
not used to it!
I got up to sunshine this morning and the temperatures
headed upward in a hurry. I don't know what the temperatures
were during the hottest time of day since I was outside
all day, but I know that around four this afternoon,
it was at 22C or 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
I had been working for about an hour or two when I realized
that I really needed to get a cap on because the sun was
getting to me. Pretty bad, eh? Complain when it's cold
and complain when it's hot. Actually, I most certainly
am not complaining. I don't know how many times I commented
to Andy today just how much I love this kind of weather.
And no bugs! Only had to fight off one mosquito this morning.
I don't know if it's too hot for them as well? Or if the
warm weather is still too new for many to have hatched
out yet. It's glorious in any case, and I'm taking full
advantage of it before bug season does start
and we get driven back inside.
I decided to get risqué today and actually clear
away last year's leaves and mulch away from my perennials.
So I guess if it gets cold again, they'll have
lost their blankets. I started building a new
garden area in a hot part of my garden while Andy helped
friends get their dock moved across Nimpo Lake and hooked
up. When he came back we finished it off. I had a raised
bed that I built last fall for veggies this year, but
put it in the warmest, and most protected part of the
garden. That is now where we want to build the greenhouse
which meant my brand new raised bed had to be moved out.
I've been thinking about it for a few weeks now and decided
to put a three tiered growing area on the back side of
a dirt berm we built in the garden last year. The front
side will be rock garden but I just wasn't sure what I
was going to do with the back before the weeds took it
A tiered vegetable garden. Perfect solution!
It's hot, protected, and if nothing else, I should be
able to grow some zucchini and some salad greens there
just in case the greenhouse doesn't get done until next
A couple of people have been out fishing today,
and what a perfect day it would have been for that, but
most people were doing spring chores as was evidenced
from different sounds around the lake. Our boat is in
the lake now so perhaps a little fishing will happen tomorrow.
I'm pretty pleased with what I got accomplished today
and I could handle a break.
Last night was incredible. Right around midnight
all the loons on the lake set up a ruckus. With
the sound of their laughter echoing around the lake, it
was impossible to guess how many there are, but I think
the numbers might be up. The moon was shining on the water,
little water skeeters were making trails in the water
in the moonlight, and every once in a while you could
see fish doing slow rolls up to the surface after the
bugs. While I stood outside with the air warmer than it
has been for nine months, the loons just went on and on.
I considered going in for my camera to record them, but
I was just enjoying the moment too much. I shouldn't have
been so selfish though. It would have been nice to share
the night with you folks.
was our first official day of spring. Actually,
it may qualify as our first day of summer. Although I
wasn't in the house much I saw that it got up to 20C or
68F at one point in time and it's still 15.7C or about
58F. That's a phenomenal difference from the last
few weeks and since it was dead still until this
afternoon, it made it seem even warmer than it actually
was. In fact, it almost felt humid. It was a wonderful
When I got up this morning the lake was grey and glassy
and you could see fish rings all over the lake. More than
anything I would love to have gone fishing, but we had
already laid out our plans for projects to be worked on
today. Unfortunately, they mostly involved being inside.
But that's okay. Maybe tomorrow will be better and if
there's no wind, maybe we'll sneak out for a quick fish.
I just about cried yesterday when I noticed that not
one, but two fishing boats, were out on Nimpo Lake all
day. We got beat on being the first out after
ice off again!
I'm always so surprised at how quickly things pick up
when spring arrives here, and it's particularly noticeable
when it's so late coming. Everything's quiet, quiet, quiet,
and then suddenly, boom! Planes are coming in, folks are
moving their docks back to their summer mooring, summer
residents are back, including our closest neighbour, and
we even spotted our first osprey last night.
I finally put a hummingbird feeder out today, which is
a little late since apparently they have
been around for awhile. But everyone that I've talked
to that put feeders out had problems with them freezing
I haven't seen any fresh bear tracks on my back trail
yet but with this sudden warm up, the bears should
be coming out of hibernation if they aren't out already.
Mind you as cold as it's been, they probably stuck their
noses out of their dens, and then promptly reset their
alarm clocks for June. There was sign last week of a moose
still hanging around, but the meadows have been ever so
slow to green up this year. That's probably been a draw
for keeping them here, because there won't be anything
green up higher yet, but I don't imagine they'll be here
If the first bug patrols out this evening on my
walk were any indication, the mozzies will be
getting too ferocious for moose to stay down at this elevation
for much longer.
You know it's funny, but remember when I was talking about
weather being the first topic of conversation, especially
in Canada? Well, I think that the topic of fuel prices
might soon supersede that age old priority in our passing
conversations. Prices have come up enough that it's on
everyone's mind and is definitely having an affect on
some people's driving habits, although not as much as
it probably should have. I've always been pretty fuel
conscious but am even more so now, and I suspect that
our summer tourism season is just not going to be quite
as busy this year because other folks are really noticing
how much those higher prices cut into their wallets. Watching
the news last night they were doing interviews with people
at the pumps and you could see that people are starting
to feel the pinch. In an economic slowdown, what's
the first thing to go? Luxury items and recreation, and
cut backs on vacations. Throw high fuel prices
in on top and the latter really takes a hit. Hopefully
though, perhaps Canadians that might have traveled farther
afield will opt to check out their own country or province,
and maybe even check out the Chilcotin!
Oh, I see that there's a hummingbird at the feeder outside
my office window already. It sure doesn't take them long
to discover a feeder and I'm always amazed that they can
do it in only a matter of hours. Especially since I have
not seen a sign of one around our place this spring until
The First Beaver
first Beaver took off of Nimpo Lake today. Since
it belongs to Tweedsmuir Air, Duncan is probably just
putting it through its paces before the season starts.
It sure is nice to hear that big engine winding up before
taking off of the lake. There's just no sound like it.
Of course the loons were complaining vociferously
about the whole thing, as they usually do. I don't
know what they have against planes but when they start
sounding off it usually means someone is starting their
taxi out onto the lake, or a plane is coming in for a
Speaking of loons....we've had a lone loon hanging out
in front of our place for the last couple of days. I don't
know if it's the same one that kept getting caught in
the middle of the mating pairs before the ice went out
or not, but it definitely seems to be by itself. It's
a big loon and definitely full grown male so it's not
like it's a young one that was born here last year and
returned to the nesting area. We figure it's more
likely that its mate was killed over winter and
there are no other singles on the lake that it could pair
It has finally cleared up somewhat this evening and we
actually saw a little sun. Otherwise it's been heavy cloud
and either rain, or trying to rain, all bloody day. A
breeze has come up now too so maybe that's what blew the
system out. I didn't get much of a chance to look at the
thermometer today since we were working on the cabin again,
but at one point in time it was up to 9.8C.
Again, thank heavens for good neighbours. Both had been
working around their places since early this morning but
dropped what they were doing to come over and help us
for a couple of hours to finish up the flooring. It looks
awesome and we couldn't have done it without them. Well....actually,
we probably could have but only with difficulty and not
without a referee. Their help was certainly appreciated!
There's a big, nasty low pressure system pushing
in onto the north and central coast tomorrow that
is supposed to be bringing lots of rain, but after that,
the weather is supposed to turn nice for a few days. Maybe
even some sunshine! I'll believe it when I see it, of
course. I started to clear away last year's stems and
leaves from my perennials the other day and then stopped.
It seemed foolish to take away that protective mulch when
it's still as cool as it is. I keep telling myself that
spring has to come sometime!
Oddly enough there was no mention made of the potential
for flooding down on the Lower Mainland on the
weather tonight, even though they're talking temperatures
up to 30C inland away from the coast. Their weather has
been pretty cool as well and you would think that if temperatures
are going to rise that quickly, then there should be a
major melt of higher elevation snow pack over the next
few days. Or maybe they don't want to raise the alarm
as they did last year and then have the flood danger fizzle
I just wanted to point out a mistake before I go. Last
night I listed the earthquake that occurred in China as
being an 8.9 rather than 7.9 on the Richter scale. I've
changed it down below to reflect the true number, just
so you know.
hard to complain about our own overcast weather after
seeing what's happening around the world. Getting
up to news this morning that China had an 7.9 earthquake
with thousands dead and that the States got hit yet again
with a force 4 tornado and 22 dead, wasn't the nicest
way to wake up. Between those disasters, last week's US
tornados and the cyclone in Burma, you kind of have
to wonder who teed off Mother Nature. She is most
definitely in a butt kicking mood of late.
Andy wrote down the figures for me that he heard on the
news this morning. Did you know that there have been 910
tornados in the States with 95 people dead already, and
that in their worst tornado years prior to this they haven't
reached that number of tornados until August? And what
are the chances of one country being hit by a devastating
cyclone and its next door neighbour being hit with a devastating
earthquake within days of each other?
So as I mentioned before, I feel kind of bad to be complaining
about our sorry weather. Still, it's the nature of the
human beast to find something to complain about and weather
is nearly always at the top of the list. Maybe it's because
there is absolutely nothing that we can
do about it.
If the politicians are screwing up, a niggling feeling
deep down tells you that it's your obligation to write
letters and get a campaign going, or if big business is
taking advantage of the little guy, you should help with
the outcry. Or if you disagree with how the justice system
is doing its thing you know you should be getting on the
bandwagon, getting petitions filled out, going to school
to become a lawyer so that you can get into politics so
that you can change the world.....hopefully for the better.
I don't know about you but I always have a little tinge
of guilt if I complain about how things are being done
in our world but I'm not making the effort to help affect
change. But with the weather? There is really sweet
patoot that you can do about the weather. It's
just a great subject for a totally guilt free bitch fest.
When you gripe about the weather, you don't have to be
politically correct, you don't always have to have a smile
on your face or put your best foot forward, and you don't
have to worry about sinking your fellow gripers into a
deep well of depression. Chances are that if the weather's
that bad, they're already there.
Oddly enough, there are probably few things in the world
that can (legally) take the human mood from one extreme
to another the way a change in the weather can. I'm
assuming that's a world wide phenomenon and it's not just
us Canadians that are obsessed with weather, although
we may be a little more cognizant than folks in other
countries. After all, I have to assume that in a place
like Hawaii where the climate seems to always be pleasant,
and it's warm or warmer with little seasonal change, weather
may not be the first topic of conversation.
In any case, I haven't really gotten around to our own
weather, but it's not great, I assure you. Cloudy, overcast,
trying to spit rain, with a raw wind and temperatures
that only made it to 12C or a bit above 50F today. Gray.
Just plain gray.
Fortunately, we didn't have to be out in it all day today,
although we did have to go back and forth
in it. Andy decided to tackle the floor in the guest cabin
first thing this morning. I gathered things weren't
going well when he came upstairs to wake me up, and asked
me how much we paid for the new flooring since it was
probably going to be used as firewood or thrown into the
lake. That's never a good sign.
Thank heavens for good neighbours!
One of ours told us earlier this spring that he had run
into the same problem with clicky laminate flooring as
Andy had when he tried to put it down. He finally figured
out the best way to lay it and it had nothing
to do with the instructions. In fact, I'm pretty sure
the instructions were designed to keep the professional
floor layers in business because our other neighbour ended
up so frustrated with his project, that after days of
fighting with it he called someone in to finish it up.
He'd had it!
Our neighbour offered to help us lay the flooring whenever
we wanted to get at it, and Andy finally decided that
taking up his offer was the best course. Things were working
okay, but they really started working when
the second neighbour showed up after lunch and between
all four of us, the flooring clicked together beautifully.
But it does take at least three, and four people
are better, to put the run together then hold
it at the angle it needs to be in order to click in easily
to the run behind it. The other half should be completed
tomorrow and that will be absolutely wonderful! That doesn't
mean there won't need to be a whole bunch more work to
be done, but that will be one nasty job out of the way.
You gotta love it when all your neighbours are handy in
one way or another and generous with their
Mother's Day to those to whom it applies. As for the rest
of you shopping for a Mother's Day gift.... Remember,
flowers good...vacuum cleaner bad.
I wish I could claim that one but it was actually said
by one of the young Ivy League type newscasters that deadpanned
it after a little blurb on the things you should be getting
for your Mother for her 'special day'. Pretty funny, actually,
and it's definitely good advice that my own Father should
have taken to heart long ago. I remember he got
Mom a chainsaw one year, because he needed one.
It didn't go over well. She hates getting practical stuff
and while it didn't fit as a practical household item,
in her books it still didn't qualify as a proper gift
When Andy and I were down in Bella Coola last week I picked
something out that I thought my Mother would like as a
Mother's day gift, then found something really cool that
I thought sure she would like. She really
likes wilderness stuff and these were hot pads (oven mitts)
with grizzly bears on them. Cool! Andy looked at me and
said, "Are you sure? Those do qualify
Back to plan A.
Maybe from watching my Mom wanting non practical gifts
throughout a ranching/farming childhood when money was
short and my father would spend weeks agonizing over what
the heck he was going to get her, I ended up going the
other way. I hate getting impractical gifts from family.
They know me so it makes no sense to me to spend money
on things I will never use or never wear just because
people are afraid to buy something practical, thinking
the person getting the gift will think it offensive.
Don't get me wrong, I really like pretty things for the
garden or the yard, and I have a deep and abiding love
for wind chimes of all sorts. But I also love tools. Any
kind of tool. In fact, I finally convinced both parents
in my early 30's that tools would be much more appreciated
than clothes, shoes, or jewelry that I would never wear.
My Dad caught on pretty quickly and my first practical
birthday present of a brand new Craftsman Skillsaw was
a glorious gift!
It only follows that if I like tools, I'm going to buy
tools for my partner. Of course I have to admit that I
pull the same thing as my Dad did on my Mother. I like
it, I want it, so I buy it as a gift for Andy. Fortunately,
he doesn't seem to mind. Our only difficulty is that we
both brought enough tools to our relationship that there
really isn't much that we need. You know? All your young
life you look through tool catalogues going, "Geez,
I want one of those some day!" Except one or the
other of us have it now. So you go through the catalogues
going, "Darn, we've got one of those already."
Anyway, I digress.
Good luck to everyone that had to shop for Mom today,
and hope none of you end up dead in the water as
my Dad often did in years past because of bad
gift choices. In the meanwhile, not a lot else happening
on the home front. It's still darn chilly with the wind
we've had sweeping over water barely above freezing the
last few days. Even without it our temperatures
haven't been anything to write home about. Although
it hasn't gone below freezing for the last couple of nights,
it hasn't gotten much above 10C or about 50F either. Throw
a damp wind in, lots of cloud, and it's a little raw outside.
We're still staying pretty dry for this time of year.
It rained a bit Friday night and spit some yesterday,
but nothing major. Fortunately, it's staying cool enough
to keep down the mosquitos, but don't worry, there's still
the odd one out there.
We've got to go do the dinner thing so I don't have time
to change out the picture of the day, but I like that
one anyway. Hope you folks don't mind. Have a good Sunday!
Bella Coola Day
had to go down to Bella Coola yesterday so we got our
green fix at the same time. Wow...what a difference!
It's like stepping into another world.
When we hit the top of the Bella Coola Hill there was
still lots of snow on top of course. Probably between
one and two feet in places. Then about half way down the
Hill as we came around one corner after dropping several
hundred feet and suddenly ended up on a south facing slope,
there was the first tree with green leaves half
uncurled. From there on the change was immediate
from budding birch to looking down on a valley of nearly
full leafed aspen at the foot of the Hill.
Going through Hagensborg is always a pleasure with neatly
trimmed lawns and flower beds, bright bulbs and fruit
trees flowering, while here and there the bright splash
of huge rhododendron flowers perched above the bushes
and the loud but welcome yellow of forsythia heralds a
spring five weeks ahead of ours. Yet everyone down
in the Valley complained how cold the spring had been.
We stopped off at the greenhouse on our way back from
Bella Coola and I was surprised when I stepped inside
to see how small most of the seedlings were. The proprietor
said that it had been such a long cold winter and spring
that it was pointless to start the seeds too early, as
the plants would be far too leggy by the time they could
be set out this year. I guess they've been having frost
every night so even though they are ahead of us by leaps
and bounds, they too are going to be way behind
on the growing season.
For that matter, I set my plant purchases out in the warm
sunshine on the deck this morning, but when I noticed
it had clouded over I went outside to find my plants just
about collapsed in the cold. I had to pull them
back inside again and put them on the window ledge after
the temperature dropped from 65 degrees in the sun to
only 48 which is only about 9C. Some of the plants are
still looking a little pathetic and I don't know if they'll
make it now, or not. So much for trying to push spring.
But hey!! The ice hasn't been out three days and
already our neighbour across the lake was out flying this
morning after bringing his floatplane to his dock
yesterday. I thought I heard a plane this morning and
when I went rushing out of my office to the deck, there
was Floyd just landing on the water. Sweetness! Everything
in Nimpo is normal now! I don't know what I would
do if the floatplanes from Tweedsmuir Air and locals weren't
landing and taking off from Nimpo Lake throughout the
summer. It sure would be awfully quiet, but I suppose
with rising fuel prices, a real slow down in plane traffic
might become a sad reality. I hope not. It's definitely
the best way to see this country!
I've been working on enlisting existing and new operators
on this site and I would like to welcome our newest on
board. Moose Lake Lodge was described in
the listings last year but now has a fancy new banner
up, look up.....way up. (Canadians will remember the Friendly
Giant....lol) and are now listed on the new Guide/Outfitting
page designed for those of you that are hunters. John
and Mary Ann offer some extraordinary fishing adventures
on the Blackwater and Dean Rivers, but they also
offer unbeatable spring black bear hunts unmatched by
Coast or Island black bear hunt operators. Also on board
with a new listing, although they have had a side banner
for some years, is Corkscrew Creek Adventures offering
hiking, trail rides and hunts.
Coming up as soon as I get their new header banner built
will be White Saddle Air Services and the Ranch
Country Inn, both listed on their very own page
Lake Accommodation and activities.
I'm pretty excited about their listing because they have
the helicopter service which allows visitors to access
country otherwise inaccessible. They take people
into the Homathko Icefields, mountaineering Mount Waddington,
heli kayaking, backcountry skiing and heli hiking all
through the mountain ranges south of Tatla, so
they're getting into country not accessible by floatplanes
from Tweedsmuir Air.
Just a reminder to folks that Anahim Lake Resort will
be operating this summer, and don't forget to go in and
check out all of the other great operators and accommodations
we have available here.
Oh, and on the subject of Bella Coola....did anyone
hear about the grizzly bear attack down there?
I guess a fellow was surveying a new route for a power
line about 15 miles from Hagensborg when he was attacked
by a grizzly bear. It grabbed him by his arm and then
his head. He tried to hide under a log but it pulled him
out again by the arm so he went limp. It swatted him about
a few times and then left so he got up and made it out
to his truck. He was flown out to Vancouver with injuries,
but apparently none of them life threatening. He was really,
really lucky and pretty hardy to get back to his vehicle
under the circumstances.
Judging from the actions of the bear, it wasn't
what I would term a 'predator' bear, but more
likely a sow that he unintentionally got too close to,
or between her and her cubs. It's pretty early in the
year yet and a sow fresh out of the den would still be
highly concerned for her cubs and would attack any perceived
threat. Of course as soon as an attack like this
happens, grizzly numbers becomes a main topic of conversation
in the area. Ever since the government, through
pressure from the Green Peace advocates, put a moratorium
on grizzly bear hunting a few years ago, their numbers
have gotten out of hand. To the extent in fact that they
had to be opened up to hunting again. In a perfect world,
grizzly bears would never have to be hunted and mankind
and grizzlies could all live together happily ever after.
Since this isn't a perfect world, and man
has steadily encroached on grizzly territory, and
grizzlies have no natural predator nor do they fear much
of anything, it's all bound to become a problem.
Surprisingly, Bella Coola residents do a remarkable
job of living every day with grizzlies, and parks
people are pretty much on top of how many grizzlies are
in the park and with alerting visitors in the area to
problem animals and removing dangerous ones to remote
parts of the park. While it isn't uncommon to hear about
grizzlies living around or wandering through Two Mile
Reserve or in behind Anahim Lake, we still are not faced
with the numbers that they are in the Bella Coola Valley.
Right now, the valley has more grizzly bears than
any place in British Columbia. With several major
salmon bearing rivers and numerous creeks running through
the narrow confines of the valley and an abundance of
berries, it's not surprising that it makes for perfect
grizzly habitat. However, there are complaints
now that there are just too many grizzlies in that region
and that the number of stalking cases are up. What to
do? I really don't know.
Obviously the high grizzly numbers has been great for
tourist operators that promote bear watching. I just noticed
when we were down in the Valley yesterday that two bear/wildlife-watching
tour operators have expanded their accommodations by about
six times. Proof alone that there's growth in that industry
presumably because of the increased number of sightings.
Since that's the only expansion I have seen lately in
the tourism sector in this area, I guess something
good comes out of the high bear population.
Purists would say that it's our fault that there are problems
or run ins with grizzlies because we live in their
territory and we shouldn't be there. If that's the case
then you could argue that humanity really has no business
being anywhere on the planet, because face it, we pretty
much mess up wherever we live. But since moving
our species to another planet (which we would also mess
up) or a space station or the moon just isn't realistic
right now, then I guess that means that someday,
something will have to give. In the case of the grizzly
bears, if their population continues to grow and 'get
out of hand' then more hunting may have to be opened up.
Personally, I think many could be trapped and moved. I'm
sure Indiana would benefit from having a few grizzlies
right now, don't you think?
As you'll see, I'm on to a new week. It's going to be
hard to beat last week. It was kind of exciting how everything
was happening at once. You're in such a holding pattern
coming out of winter here that when spring finally decides
to hit, the season just kind of explodes. You'll find
last week's stories, including the one about our cool
chimney duck at May
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!