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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week 3/2008

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' about the Lakesounds just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture of the Day.


22/05/2008 7:33 PM

Spring Deluge

The 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!

20/05/2008 11:44 AM

The Long Weekend

Coming 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.

18/05/2008 9:08 PM

Queen Victoria's Birthday

As 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 their computers.
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 ingenuity!
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 at May Week Two.

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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!
Mountains just on the other side of Charlotte Lake.
 
Overlooking Charlotte Lake to Coast mountains.
 
Umbrellas and tables at Charlotte Lake.
 
Lake and mountains in the background.
 
Fourwheelers lined up.
 
A tree tied to framework of a motorcycle trailer.
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