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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week 3/2014

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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28/05/2014 7:30 PM


I’m finally back, folks. As promised in the previous blog, it was going to be a long time between posts if the weather was nice. The weather hasn’t exactly been nice, but it hasn’t been bad, either, at least not until today. You can thank a wild storm today for the blog because otherwise, I would still be working outside.
For the past ten days we’ve had a mix of cloud and sun and quite a few rain showers. In fact, I think it has probably sprinkled rain nearly every day off and on for a few minutes here and there, but for the most part, it’s been so fine that you can just keep working in it. We’ve been lucky in that we’ve had harder rains but they’ve mostly been in the evening or at night when we’ve already quit for the day. At least with the rain and cloud we’ve had some cool rainbows and a couple of spectacular sunsets.
I’ve actually appreciated the cloudy and cooler days for the past week or so since I’ve been putting in a large new perennial garden and shoveling a whole lot of gravel among other things. Trust me, that is not something you want to be doing under a hot, glaring sun. I did that the year before last right in the middle of summer under blistering temperatures and it just about killed me. So this has worked out very well. I’ve also been transplanting perennials and like any plant, they prefer cool, cloudy weather for a little while.
Everything is really, really slow to come up this spring. When we got that slow rain for a couple of days that I mentioned in the last blog, everything finally popped and grew several inches in just a matter of hours, but everything has slowed right down again and there’s two reasons for that.
We’ve had pretty cool temperatures at night with just a couple of degrees above freezing here and below freezing at the other end of the lake, and it hasn’t exactly been tropical during the day, either. When the sun does come out it’s marvelous, but that hasn’t been happening a lot and that’s the other problem. You would think with all that rain our lawn would be coming on gang busters but I’ve only had to mow part of it once. The rest of it is just kind of sitting there and parts that received winter damage aren’t doing much at all. We really, really need some sun to make things grow. I have some sorry looking little pansies in my pots that look exactly like they did when I planted them two weeks ago. Just pathetic looking. My rock gardens aren’t doing much either. I noticed today that I lost a lot of little rockery plants to winter kill this year because of lack of snow and really cold temperatures. What’s left is not doing much and won’t until the sun shines for a while. In a way that’s okay. We’re taking off later in the month so maybe I won’t miss the rock gardens blooming.
This is all shaping up to be a very similar spring to last year. Cool and moist right through June and then a long hot summer. I am absolutely okay with that if we the trade off is a hot summer and late fall and according to some of the long range forecasts, that will be the case. Especially with El Nino starting to shape up.
The other bonus with the cool spring so far is the lack of mosquitoes. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have my face near the dirt and not have to deal with those buggers! I’ve seen less in the past 10 days by far than previous to that snow fall. And I’ve seen none in the woods when I’ve gone walking in the mornings because I think it’s just too cold early on and too breezy and cool the rest of the day. Our breezes have been out of the north for a good part of the time and they have not been warm!
We had some ferocious winds last week that lasted for a couple of days churning up white caps on the lake and blowing any bugs to a place far, far away. There’s a term here used by locals that refers to the lake ‘turning over’ and that the fishing won’t be good after ice off until it does. Well it certainly ‘turned over’ many times over, and the fishing has been spectacular!
Everyone that I have talked to that has gone out has done well with the fishing, and some of the trout are even good sized! We had guests in the cabin for a few days and the fellow seemed delighted to have caught their supper the first night in very short order and they caught five that they released in no time the next day.
For several days now we’ve seen fish jumping in the evenings and the mornings so they’re biting. There have been a few small hatches of non biting flies that I think the fish are after but they might be a little hungry too just for lack of the usual bugs for now. We haven’t been out fishing and probably won’t any time soon just for lack of time, but I prefer fishing in warmer weather anyway. I’m strictly a fair weather fisherman and find no appeal in sitting out in a boat in a north blowing breeze freezing my bottom off. Not worth it. To me, being out in the boat is about taking time off from yard work and projects and having a warm, lazy afternoon on the lake. If you catch fish it’s a bonus but not a requirement. This weather doesn’t suit that vision at all but it hasn’t stopped a couple of our part time residents from being out there every day. They are far more determined than I.
I know one thing, though. When it is time to go fishing I’m going to be ready for them. With all the little sprinkles we’ve had over the past two weeks, wherever I dig, the earth worms are close to the surface and they are everywhere! My worm container is full to overflowing and the robins are having a field day. It’s easy street for them!
Today was the first day in weeks that I haven’t really been able to work outside because I had the cabin to clean for my next guests. Shortly before I finished up with intentions of getting started on a project outside, the heavens opened up and rain started drumming on the metal roof. Then the boomers started and they were loud! The rain stopped long enough for me to take all my cleaning supplies back to the house and the sun popped out. Great, I thought, gardening time! Nope, not to be. We were getting major thunder claps, one after another and the sky was blacker than sin, but darned if I could see any lightning flashes so I couldn’t judge the distance of the storm. Andy was going about the business of changing the oil in his Bobcat but I decided that retiring inside might be the drier option and sure enough it started to just pour the rain down in buckets with thunder booming and grumbling all the while. Then the hail started. It was coming down so hard that great clumps of hail were sliding off the roof by the shovel full and the surface of the lake looked like it was being bombed. It actually lasted for quite a little while and that’s when I finally started seeing the lightning which was when it was right over us.
That was some humdinger of a storm, let me tell you. Since then we’ve had a couple more storms roll over us this evening bringing heavy downpours with them, but at least they’ve been short lived and in between each, the sun shines. The storms are all coming at us from out of the north east right now, or inland, and from the look of the radar, hit the Cariboo and Williams Lake area before coming west our way. But if the weatherman and the radar can be believed, it also looks like we’ve got some really nice weather coming in over the weekend. Heat. Sunshine. Boy, will the trees and the grass and the plants like that!

Last week's blog is at May Week Two.

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!
Three canoes paddle along the shoreline.
Four canoe racers paddle down the lake
Several racers jump into canoes and start to paddle.
Two pairs of racers run with canoes.
Five pairs of racers run with their canoes.
A double rainbow arches over Nimpo Lake.
A purple and yellow sunset.
Button leading to The Chilcotin Facebook Page.
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