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 3/2008
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of the Day.
ground is finally drying out after our hard rain the other
day. We got a full inch of rain in a very short
period of time, some of it mixed hail and rain.
There were some major rivulets in our driveway and we
had a washout on a slope where stumps had just been pulled
and the ground freshly backfilled. The rain sure brought
on the green though and it's nice to have the ground moistened
up again. It was getting dangerously dry and crunchy
in the woods.
Our leaves are starting to pop on the aspens and will
be full out within the week while some of the smaller
shrubs have a way to go yet. The fish have been feeding
like crazy on Nimpo Lake and there's a pretty good bug
hatch on the water right now.
We went out fishing early this morning and got one small
fish that we returned. Another couple out on the lake
while we were did much better with four fish. We didn't
stay out long because it wasn't much above freezing last
night and when clouds moved in and blocked the sun, and
a north breeze came up, it was ruddy cold out on that
water! It's a lot nicer this evening having warmed up
to about 55F and although there's still a breeze, the
sun is shining.
It looks like there's a high moving in for the central
and north coast so we should see some sunshine for
the next few days. Nice change from the lower
mainland hogging it all. Mind, they've got troubles of
their own coming up.
That high heat last weekend after a chilly spring brought
a lot of rivers up very quickly throughout BC. Prince
George has some flooding and there's a threat of flooding
around Smithers (huge snow load again) Hope, the Okanagan
and I expect the Thompson will be coming up as well. The
Fraser River is coming up really fast with all
the tributaries and may be a threat in the lower mainland.
A few people have told us that the rivers down in the
Bella Coola Valley are roaring right along so there will
probably be some minor flooding down there as well.
Personally, I think a lot of people with places along
rivers in this province are very fortunate that it cooled
down again and that hot weather didn't hang in any longer
than it did or they'd be in a load of trouble. Even we
have noticed that there's a lot of flotsam on the surface
of Nimpo Lake from all of the runoff from the mountains.
And you should see the mountains! Wow.
They've gone from pure white to half black in about the
shortest period of time that I've ever seen. The lake
level would normally have dropped substantially this long
after ice off but it's way up right now and small wonder
when you look at those mountains.
Just to let you folks know so that you don't waste your
time checking for a blog, I won't be writing for a week,
but I'll try to pick it up again next weekend. Before
I go though, I want to tell you about our new attraction
on the lake. The Wild Trout Coffee Company &
Store is going to open up at Wilderness Rim Resort and
will be serving specialty coffees, lattes, cappuccino,
specialty teas, pop and milkshakes. Cora will also be
serving gourmet ice cream in lots of different flavors
including my favorite...Mmmm.... licorice! Starting June
1st. you can get Fish and Chips, and Chicken strips and
fries for take out. And get this. You can drive
in, come by boat or come by plane. You can't say
that about every ice cream parlor, can you?
Have a wonderful week, folks!
The Long Weekend
out of a long weekend probably isn't that hard to do for
many people this time around. I don't know about
anywhere else but our weather has definitely gone south.
It started degrading yesterday with about a half centimeter
of rain and while we had some sun this morning, it's clouded
over, gotten pretty chilly and pretty blustery outside.
The weathermen were calling for a couple of systems to
pass through for the next few days starting yesterday,
but at least most folks got a pretty nice weekend with
lots of sun. In fact, several records were broken
around the province for high temperatures on Saturday.
At least it's not so hard to have to go back to work when
you had beautiful weather, and then you don't. Except
for me....I was into the 'work outside' mode for a few
days so it's a great disappointment to have nasty weather
move in when there's still so much to do.
I was kind of hoping that we could get a lawn in before
our spring rains started. Andy got the last of the pine
stumps pulled out Sunday, or most of them anyway, and
it's time to get things leveled and seeded. Unfortunately,
weather and some other chores have set that project back
a bit. It will be June before we get seed in and the ground
will be warmer then, but it's going to
take a while to get things smoothed off to that point.
Pulling loads of stubborn stumps out of your yard
tends to make a bit of a lumpy mess and since
top soil is pretty much non existent in this country,
we're going to needs lots of manure!
Actually, I'm often amazed how anything grows in this
region. When Andy was pulling those stumps out with the
Bobcat, many of the roots came up hugging rocks
and boulders, some as big as a loaf of bread.
Below that the roots were in clay, some of it yellow,
some of it grey, but none with much in the way of nutrients,
I'm sure. You have to wonder how those trees grew at all
and no wonder it takes 200 years to get a one foot
diameter tree here, if that big. Those poor pine
trees probably got more nutrients from rain falling out
of the sky than they ever did from the ground
in this region!
Well, it's four hours later now and it's hailing like
the bejeezus out there. The positive side is that it will
help bring the green on. Actually, it was phenomenal
how the grass greened up over a period of three days there.
And there are green buds breaking on all the aspens and
shrubs. We had to transplant five maple trees from my
garden area to the back of the cabin a couple of days
ago, and they were already bursting into bud. I was hoping
to get them moved before they did that because the roots
were so entangled that we had to dig them out with the
bucket on the Bobcat, and all of the dirt fell off of
them. We ended up having to plant the trees with bare
roots. Not really a good thing for a high survival rate,
but it couldn't be helped.
I got the trees as tiny little four and six inch high
sticks that I dug out of the lawn belonging to a friend
in Saskatchewan. Somehow, in only about three years
they went from nothing to five foot high trees.
I had planted the small seedlings in a clump in a protected
area, curious to see if they would even make it through
the winter here. I had planned on moving them last year
before they got too big, but we were just too uncertain
on where to put them because we were falling pine trees
all over the place. Then once those were all down, summer
came, the bugs got bad, we got company, had to go to the
Yukon, and next thing you know, it was fall and too late
to transplant them. You know how it goes. We had intended
to get to them this year before the sap came up in them,
but it's pretty hard to move plants when the ground
is still frozen. As I said before, when things
move around here in the spring, they move fast!
On our way to supper on Friday night to the other end
of Nimpo Lake, we passed a nice black bear with
a really healthy coat chowing down on fresh green grass
shoots along the highway. He must have been awfully
hungry because he didn't move far off of that green grass
when we went by. We saw him again on the way home that
night, across the highway this time and still eating.
I figured the bears might be out late this year because
it's been such a cool spring, and sure enough, quite a
few people are suddenly seeing them now. Down in
the Lower Mainland they've been having problems with bears
wandering into heavily inhabited areas looking
for food because of the late spring down there as well.
They've probably been pushed down from higher elevations
for lack of food but humans and bears never mix well.
This time of year I'm always careful walking in the back
woods. The other day I decided to walk down the road and
was going to come back through the woods. Just as I was
going to enter the trail I heard a pretty good crack low
in the trees ahead of me and decided to head on back to
the road. River came right with me with his ears
peeled backwards so he had tuned into something as well.
The crack was definitely too loud for a squirrel but could
just as easily have been a moose or caribou. However,
no point in taking a chance on running into a grumpy,
hungry bear just out of its den if I don't need to. Within
a few weeks the bears will have gotten their fill of grass
and will have moved onto ants, of which we seem to have
lots, and the strawberries will be out. They're not as
likely to be so grumpy then.
I don't have time to change out the picture of the day
today, since we have a dinner date but I like the one
that's on there anyway.
Queen Victoria's Birthday
Canadians know, it's Victoria Day weekend, but
for the Americans... that's the reason why I haven't written
a blog lately. The weather has just been too nice the
last few days to be inside on the computer and I expect
many Canadians are away on the first long weekend that
you can actually go camping. Hopefully, they too are avoiding
For the last few years on the May long weekend,
people down on the Lower Mainland have been drowned out
by downpours and even I've felt sorry for the
city dwellers huddled under their blue tarps while their
tents sit in water. To actually be able to go camping
or to the beach on the first long weekend that you can,
and to have glorious weather, has got to
be making a lot of people pretty darn happy.
Our weather for the last few days has been absolutely
stupendous! We actually got up to 75 degrees
one day near the lake and it was closer to 80 degrees
away from the water. Up until yesterday afternoon, it's
been full sun with very little cloud. Yesterday the clouds
started moving in a bit and for a while there it looked
like we might get rained on, then they moved on out again.
Today was mixed sun and cloud, but that was a blessing.
Temperatures cooled down a bit and with some cloud periodically
blocking the sun, you didn't feel like you were as likely
to suffer heatstroke while working outside.
Yesterday wasn't quite as productive as today or the days
previous. We actually headed out to Charlotte Lake
on invitation from some folks we met this winter and did
some snowmobiling with. Their invitations to the barbecue
listed the fete as being a, "The end of snowmobiling
and beginning of quadding season." That seems
as good a reason as any for a party and party it was!
Quite a number of people quadded out to Charlotte Lake
with two fourwheelers pulling trailers. We met up with
a few of our friends at the end of the old Charlotte road
which was deactivated years ago and has loads of big rocks
on it. They had lost a few members of their group and
while some headed on to the party, one chose to go back
to look for the lost while three waited on the road. There
wasn't much we could do to help since we were driving
the truck (We only have one fourwheeler and I wasn't keen
on riding the fender for that many miles over rough ground.)
so we headed onto the party as well.
Eventually, the entire crew arrived with one member
of the group pulling in with his trailer sporting some
very interesting modifications. It would appear
that his motorcycle trailer had framing that was just
too light for the rough and rocky terrain. A weld broke
right where the reach (tongue) meets the frame on the
trailer itself so they jimmy rigged a tree to act as a
tongue for the trailer. They found a tree that had the
same circumference for quite a length and ran it under
the trailer frame and extended it out the back for about
six inches. They tied it onto the frame with nylon rope,
then determined the length of the reach before cutting
the tree. They tied it onto the back of the fourwheeler
with more rope and in they came. Talk about Chilcotin
Our hosts have a beautiful place on Charlotte Lake
overlooking both the lake and the mountains of the Coast
Range sitting on the other side of it. Their beach
consists of rock, gravel and sand and goes out for quite
a way to the water, which still had some ice on it, incidentally.
They had umbrellas and deck sets with comfy chairs, a
great barbecue and buffet table set up, marvelous food,
and one of the neatest fire pits I've ever seen. The food
was marvelous and I toast the cooks. Combined with
the super company and magnificent view, it was a really
nice evening. The bugs weren't even much of a
problem! Which was probably a good thing for four people
that chose to camp out there last night.
Actually, the bugs haven't been too bad here either during
the day. You'd be hard put to find a mosquito. But this
evening? Hoo! I couldn't resist following the sounds of
slapping fish to our lake's edge tonight. Not far out
from the dock there was a continuos slow roll and in many
cases, you could just see the noses of the
trout as they came up to the surface for bugs. I tried
laying a fly line out but not for long. The mosquitoes
found me and they were ferocious, so I beat it back inside
again. Our season has started!
Just so you know, if tomorrow's another nice day I probably
won't be writing an article until Tuesday.
I've started a new week so you can find last week's articles
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!