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Wilderness Adventures - May, Week 4/2007

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' - 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.

31/05/2007 9:27 PM

The Best Time Of Year

On a quick run into Nimpo today I looked around me and realized it really is here! Spring...or summer. I'm not sure which. If everything just turning green is spring, then I guess that's what it is, although I associate spring with mud. To me, the first, fresh green leaves on the trees is summer because they'll only be there about three months at the very outside before they turn a different color and fall off.
Today's the last day of May and it's amazing that the leaves are out on the trees already, even though not fully by any means. That's a bit early for this area, although I admit that the climate does seem to be changing and spring is here a little earlier some years.
Today was another beauty but this time with lots of sun. A fairly brisk breeze all day as well but that was required to keep the bugs down and the air cooler for working outside. I forgot to check the temperature until a little later this afternoon after it started cooling down, but it registered around 20C or 68F. Tomorrow is supposed to be a cooker with temperatures around the 30's for the central interior. That will melt some snow!
The Fraser River is up about a foot and a half over last night and I've noticed a drastic change in the amount of black showing up on the mountains. In fact, there's quite a difference in just the past week between what the mountains to the north (second picture from the top) looked like then and what they look like now. They're no longer a pristine white by any means! I've put a new picture from this evening up at the top so you can see the difference. It's 9:30 at night though so the light is poor and it's much more difficult to see all the bare spots on the mountains.
Of course that's one of the best parts of summer is being able to take pictures in the late evening and we still have 21 days to go to the longest day. Right now we have about the same lighting conditions on a cloudy evening as we would have at 4:00 in the afternoon in the month of December. A five hour gain in daylight just on this side of the day. The downside is that it's starting to lighten up at about 3:30 in the morning and if you're not a morning person, that's nothing to celebrate! Last week we finally gave up and taped black plastic to the French doors upstairs in our bedroom so we could sleep at night. I guess that counts as a first sign of summer too.
I attended the Spring Fair at the school in Anahim Lake last night and got to take a look at some plants while I was there. In fact, that was the main reason for being there because I find it difficult to pass up plants anywhere. Makes a lot of sense to buy more when I'm in the process of moving the ones I have and am running out of places to put them. But shopping for something you love isn't supposed to make sense. Some people shop for shoes, I shop for plants. Well, and tools. I really like tools and hardware stores.
These plants had been brought up from the Tatlayoko Valley and from the look of it, it was one heck of a dusty ride up in the horse trailer. It was difficult to identify many of them under the uniform layer of grey. Many of the shrubs and trees that we would all love to grow came up from the Okanagan, and although rated zone three, their chances of making it here are pretty slim. Still, they say hope springs eternal and I plunked down some of my poker money on a couple of pretties who's dead roots I'll be crying over by next spring. But as Andy always says, "No guts, no glory!"

30/05/2007 12:36 PM

No Waves On Nimpo Lake

This morning is one of those calm, muggy mornings where the lake is glassy and grey. It's the age of the bugosaurs and everywhere you look you can see trout doing a slow roll for lunch. They certainly don't have to work very hard for it. Bugs are probably easy for them to see on the surface and there's a good variety at the buffet. Lots of mosquitoes and we even noticed a mayfly in the house last night.
Even though the lack of wind makes it easier on the bugs, I like it when Nimpo is flat and every time a boat cruises past, the waves look like molten silver. I'm not the only one that likes it like that. Quite a few fishermen in boats have headed out this morning in the hopes their lures or flies will prove more attractive than the bounty already flitting over the water.
Yesterday was a beauty with the temperature getting up to 23C, putting it somewhere around 76 degrees Fahrenheit with some overcast. It would have been unbearably hot if there had been a lot of sun yesterday. There's an even more solid ceiling over us today with heavy overcast and the temperature is only at 16C or around 60F but it's early in the day yet.
Our warming trend is supposed to continue for another couple of days and then temperatures cool for the weekend. The areas throughout the Province in danger of flooding may just dodge the bullet if this weather continues. Obviously a long slow melt is preferable to a fast one and that's just what has been happening so far this year. In fact down in the Lower Mainland, the level of the Fraser River is dropping rather than rising. I don't know if that's a good sign or not. To me it would indicate that the spring melt hasn't even begun at higher elevations but the weather guys on television are putting a lot more positive spin on it.
It would be ironic if so many millions of dollars have been put into building up dikes this spring and then Mother Nature pulls a fast one and the flooding never comes. That would be quite a relief to a lot of residents along the rivers in this province but I would be very surprised if that turned out to be the case.
I apologize for no article yesterday. I seem to be doing that a lot lately but as I mentioned before, if it's nice outside that's where I'm going to be so fitting in work that has to be done on the computer with what can be accomplished outdoors often means no blog. That will continue to be the case throughout the summer, especially from mid June until the end of the month. I have good friends coming out for a couple of weeks so I'll be wanting to spend some time with them. Hope everyone understands!
Andy got our deck off the back of the house built yesterday (Project number 6742...yep, the list continues to grow faster than we can keep up with.) while I mucked around with moving more plants. No easy task when digging holes in cement-like clay full of rocks and roots and moving plants that have developed surprisingly large root balls in the same type of soil. I don't know how they managed to grow so big in soil that must have zero nutrients. Maybe that's why the roots have gone so deep. Searching for food and headed to China to find it.
We're not the only ones with work projects. Everyone is going great guns around the lake taking advantage of our short summer season. Here and there you can still hear the odd chainsaw while someone tackles their beetle killed trees. Up on the hill you can hear a processor cleaning up the trees near the carwash. The planes are pretty quiet so far, probably because the tourist season hasn't really gotten going yet. That makes the loons happy, I'm sure. They hate those planes and set up a real ruckus when one is taking off or coming in. In fact they'll start up long before you see one on the horizon so they must have great hearing.
Okay folks, I'm back to work now. Have a great day!

28/05/2007 8:40 PM

Fish For Supper

Fishing for rainbow trout on Nimpo Lake is just fabulous right now. We went out this morning for a couple of hours after the neighbour yelled up that the fishing was good. Nothing like guilting your partner into taking you fishing by publicly writing about having too many chores to do. Actually, we're both guilty of working and not stopping enough to smell the roses.
The water was just right this morning and the sky as clear as a bell. It could be a little cool on the lake when the breeze came up, only because it's picking up the chill off a lake not long out from under the ice, but the rest of the time, rocking in a boat with the sun shining and good hits on our lines is a recipe for a perfect day.
Andy brought in all the fish while I was zero for zero. None of them were really big but they sure were tasy little critters. Every fish on our lines turned out to be fighters, particularly the ones Andy landed. I had a couple on but couldn't bring them in while Andy had lots more nibbles than I. The trout really liked his fly today and it was after noon before anyone really warmed up to mine. He was using something that he normally never would, but it just happened to still be on the line from when the girls went out fishing the other day. I don't know what the name of it is but I would call it a Disco Party fly, that's how flashy it is. Kind of like John Travolta on steroids. The fish sure liked it, though. I stuck with my usual. Anything red and black with silver ribbon along the lines of a Royal Coachman. It normally does very well throughout most of the year but perhaps not this early. That's okay because I didn't really care whether I landed a fish or not. I was just enjoying being out in the boat. I figure if you're in a boat you can't be working and that's just cool.
We kept passing through swarms of those little flies I mentioned yesterday that the fish really seem to like. They're kind of annoying to deal with but there sure were a lot of fish jumping for them today. There were fish flopping around us the whole time we were out.
Those flies aren't the only thing the warm weather and that rain the other night has brought on. Mosquitoes and black flies were out in force today. We decided it was probably because the weather has been so cool for so long that now that it's warmed up, everything is coming out at once. The bald eagles are out in force as well, cruising above the lake and checking out the loons. I'm assuming they're on a reconnaissance mission mapping out where all the loons are nesting, since loon babies are one of their favorite snacks and pestering the adult loons seems to bring them particular joy.
The attack of the dandelion has occurred as well.
'Tis the season. I went out with my tree spade and bags in hand after spotting a good crop blooming down in front of the dock. It's always up to me to spot them, and dig them up because there is no way Andy will tell me about them. He likes them and gets a kick out of discovering a new patch and letting them go to seed. Then he shows them to me. There are few things in this world that I really hate with a passion but dandelions are definitely one of them and I'm determined to stay on top of them. However, it doesn't help when your partner is blowing seed heads on the wind at every opportunity. One of the few things we disagree about. I'm still trying to figure out how to teach the dogs and cats how to spot them and dig them out but I'm not holding my breath that it will ever happen. It's difficult for most of our animals to raise enough energy to make it to the food bowl much less do something constructive.
Bugs and dandelions aside, I still can't think of a single solitary place I would rather be on a pretty day. Come fishing, everyone!!!

27/05/2007 8:10 PM

Hummingbird Action

I never paid a lot of attention before to the local hummingbird population when it came to mating season. I always thought that the Rufous Hummingbird, which is all we have around here, had a red throat all the time. I'm used to seeing the Ruby Throated Hummingbird over in Saskatchewan and its throat always seems brightly colored on the males.
I've decided we either have one of the laziest hummers that ever existed and it lives here, or I'm seeing a male trying to attract a mate. This hummer likes to hang out in the top candle of a small spruce tree just off the balcony on our house. Although I've often seen Hummingbirds sit still a lot more than you read about, I've never seen one that will sit in the same place for an hour at a time with only the odd break to go grab something to eat at the feeder.
For the last two nights this little guy has been spending time on his perch, turning slightly every few minutes. He looks mostly orange brown with markings from the back and side and most of the time his throat looks like it's covered with black feathers. But every once in a while when he would turn in our direction, you would see this amazing flash of fluorescent red that looked like the old signal lanterns on ships. The colors would flash for only a moment and then be gone. For the longest time it looked like it must be just the direction the hummer was facing, but after watching this for two nights, I'm beginning to wonder if the feathers can be ruffled or turned either by the bird or a breeze to display the red for a mate.
It's funny because, this guy looks like a little miniature lighthouse sitting up on his perch turning a quarter turn every once in a while until he's gone full circle. That or else he's a sightseeing Hummingbird and he's just taking in the view. I don't think so, though. By tonight he was starting to get a little teed off at me trying to get a picture of that flash of red and even chased a chickadee into a bush. Probably decided I was too big to go after and decided to take his ire out on something smaller. Unfortunately, the only good pictures I was able to get were of him at the feeder rather than on his perch, but you can see from the top pic that he's humped up like an old man on a branch surveying his kingdom. The last picture isn't very clear but it still shows the brilliant red he can display on his throat.
Today was very breezy and even though the sun was shining all day, that wind was cold! It ran mostly out of the north today, which is a little unusual but it can happen when a high is moving in. Those couple of really warm days and then yesterday's rain brought on summer in one fell swoop. The leaves are actually breaking out on the aspen and lots of the little shrubs, and the kinnickinnick is standing up and glowing a bright, waxy green. The sudden change in the trees was quite noticeable when we went for a walk yesterday evening, and we had to take the bug spray with us. Besides the mosquitoes there's been a good hatch of the little black bugs that look like mozzys but aren't. I think the trout in Nimpo really like those and there's certainly been some movement on the lake to indicate it.
I haven't had a chance to ask anyone but I'm assuming the fishing was good today. That or else the fishermen out there were a very determined lot because bouncing around on those waves all day can't be a lot of fun. Heck, there were even a few whitecaps out on the Main Arm off and on today. There's good weather forecast for tomorrow so I look forward to that, as long as it isn't too windy. Maybe we can get some fishing in.....naah....probably not. Too much to do.
I've come to the conclusion that if you really enjoy camping or fishing, do not move to a lake! Just visit. It seems once you move there, you'll never get the chance to fish or camp again because there's always too long a chore list.

26/05/2007 3:18 PM


We've actually been getting one little rain squall after another since yesterday evening. Which is actually a good thing. There was lots of moisture deep in the ground but the surface was as dry as a bone. A wild wind came up yesterday and with all the dust blowing around, for a moment I thought I might have been dropped into the middle of a dust storm in the Sahara desert.
We've been watering for the last couple of days both to keep the dust down and get some lawn going, but there's nothing like a good rain. Mind you, today it might being going a little overboard. A gentle rain is one thing. A torrential downpour is quite another. However, in view of the approaching fire season we'll take anything we can get.
We've been in pretty good shape around here so far but I was told that there's been some fires around Alexis Creek and a nasty slash and burn that got out of control just east of Williams Lake needed some serious attention. You know forestry considers a fire to have the potential to spread fast when they use bombers and retardant on it right away.
If nothing else, the rain will definitely encourage the mosquitoes to come out en masse. I'll try to look at that on the positive side and consider that the tree swallows will be knee deep in food. If swallows have knees. I do admit I like that unearthly luminescent green displayed by the needles on the pine trees just after a rain and I'm glad we still have a few young trees around.
Hopefully, this rain will bring on the fishing. There have been a few fishing boats out on Nimpo Lake and a personal float tube but I don't know how those folks are doing. Our neighbour said last night that he tried several different flies and kept getting nibbles, but no takers. Andy said the same thing happened this morning with a couple on the line but nothing that would stay on. I don't know if the fish have soft mouths right now or they're just not that hungry yet. They just came out of a long winter with cold, cold water so maybe they're just like me with mornings. They just haven't woken up yet. Suits me. I don't mind if they don't start feeding until about the middle of June. We've got friends coming out around that time that are avid fisherwomen and I'd like to see the trout fishing really hot for them then.
I've been slacking off on the computer work lately and sneaking outside because the weather has been so nice for working but I don't really have that excuse today so I guess I better quit this and accomplish something that constitutes work. Have a great weekend everyone!
24/05/2007 8:07 PM

Good Weather Continues

Somehow we hit the jackpot this week when it comes to weather. We're enjoying yet another magnificent day in the Chilcotin while places like Calgary got snow. Gotta like it! It's certainly a nice change.
Our temperatures have been hovering around 20C midday or pretty close to 70F and that's in the shade. In the sun it's hotter than Hades with not a cloud in the sky.
It's nice to see a few people out fishing on Nimpo Lake and the odd floatplane goes out. The leaves are actually trying to come out on the trees so maybe that will happen before the first of June after all. We're seeing an amazing number of birds this year but not much in the way of butterflies and such. Although the bugs seem to have arrived suddenly so it will be time to break out the bug dope. We'll try to delay that routine as long as possible!
Well, this is a little annoying. I had a whole article done and my computer froze up. I didn't save constantly as I usually do, so I lost it all. Since I'm not keen on rewriting everything, I think I'll quit here. Oh, except to tell you to check out the picture of the day. Although the osprey has been back and hunting Nimpo Lake for fish for a little while now, he's usually too fast or too far away for me to get a picture. That's him up on the right as well. They sure are a pretty bird.
One last thing. The owners of the resort that was supposed to go on the Property for Sale listing have left it up to their Realtor to list on this site. That doesn't seem likely to happen so just to let anyone that's interested in knowing more, you can contact the owners at Stewart's Lodge and Camps on Nimpo Lake at 250-742-3388.

23/05/2007 7:53 PM

Awesome Weather....Finally!

We're finally seeing some splendid spring weather at Nimpo Lake and it's well deserved, I might add. I don't know how long it's going to last which is why I've spent the last few days outside and the reason why there was no article last night. By the time I dragged my heiny in the door last night I was just too pooped to pop much less write. Being outside without a cap on the day before may have had something to do with that. We haven't been seeing a lot of sun or heat, and when you suddenly get blasted with both, it kind of takes the stuffing out of you. That, and I've had the dubious pleasure of being on the wrong end of a maddock for two days, which is much like being on a chain gang.
Unfortunately, I have to move all the plants in the 'garden' over to another 'holding' pen so that we can get the Bobcat in there to place some big rocks for a rock garden/wall sort of thing. The ground that I'm moving the plants to was only recently occupied by several large pine tree stumps and all their rotten little roots. Many of said roots are still there and chopping through them and hardpan clay to make a hole big enough to put a large perennial root ball in brings back memories of home. And I don't mean the good ones either. I mean the ones where you couldn't wait until summer was over so you could go back to school for a rest.
Summers where I was raised meant clearing land the hard way. After blasting the stumps out, (which was the best part) you still had to spend the rest of your young years picking roots and rocks in summer because frost would push up a fresh crop of rocks every spring. Tree roots still attached had to be grubbed out with a maddock as did those ever endearing wild rose bushes. I swore after those years that under no circumstance would I ever live where I had to dig or pick roots or rocks. I don't know what happened to that promise!
Meanwhile, poor Andy has been trying to get a water pump working that we can drop into the lake for watering, especially during fire season. Fall came on us fast and hard last year and a surprise frost cracked the casing on a pump we still had out. I had to interrupt him in that important business to do some carpentry work because I couldn't move plants to a different spot until some lattice was put up.
I know none of this stuff seems all that important, but the working part of spring and summer is very short and out in this country the term, "Make hay while the sun shines." applies. Besides, until those plants are moved we can't move the monster pile of dirt that came out of the ground when the porch was built last year. Once the dirt is moved then a friend will be dropping off a truck load of rock and a few loads of manure in exchange for Andy doing some driving for him. But the manure can't be moved until the road bans are off and the rock can't be moved until the area it's in dries out enough so that an excavator can be brought in. So my 'garden' area continues to look like a dog's breakfast until all this stuff falls into place. In the meanwhile, I've fallen behind in computer work in the last few days so I'll have to keep today's article reasonably short.
Our guests over the weekend left yesterday but at least they got one really nice day for weather. They left behind some very nice gifts and I would like to thank them here for that, and just for being really nice people to know. We both hope to see them back here when the weather's a little better and the fishing great.
Five otters were doing the dipsy doodle through the water from our back bay and around our point over to the other peninsula this morning. Boy, did their presence ever cheese off the back bay loons! Otters must eat the eggs or something because the loons definitely considered them a major danger. I know one thing, those otters sure can swim. They would surface for air, making a funny snuffling noise then dive again. I would have the camera pointed as I waited for them to come up some distance from where they dove. I was always way off because they had covered at least three times the distance I expected them to and they were gone again by the time I got the camera refocused.
Something sure set off the loons last night just before midnight and I wonder if the otters were swimming around then. I don't think I've ever heard the loons make such a ruckus, and it wasn't just the closest ones. Loons all up and down Nimpo Lake were in on the sing along and it was fantastic listening to them.

This is the start of a new week, so you can find last week's articles at May, Week Three.

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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!
Black patches on Itcha Mountains.
Snow on Itcha Mountains.
Hummer hunched like an old man on a branch.
Hummer hunched like an old man on a branch.
Rufous Hummingbird at feeder.
Bright red throat flash.
Osprey against blue sky.
Floatplane goes to outlying cabins.
Red jacketed fisherman on Nimpo Lake.
Storm over mountains and Nimpo Lake.
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