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 - Nov. Week 1/2006
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.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you
at the bottom of this page. Check out the
of the Day.
Seeing The Signs
definitely seeing the first signs of winter in earnest
now. Temperatures dropped last night to -10 celsius and
the lake had frozen over close to shore and out quite
a way in the bay adjacent to us. When the fog
rolled away from the mountains there was lots of fresh
bright white up there and the Dean River has frozen over
almost entirely on the surface. I can tell you that
the water coming out of our tap is pretty darn cold right
now. At least we've gotten over the wicked winds
we had for a couple of days. It's a short reprieve though
because there's another huge system coming in from the
coast tonight that's expected to bring winds between 50
and 70 miles per hour to the central coast. I don't know
how far inland that wind warning extends but we're
definitely set to get some snow for the next three days
as is most of the province.
I spent the better part of the day working with three
other community members on an inventory for Nimpo Lake
for the Community Development Program. We're looking for
financial help and mentoring from programs that exist
in British Columbia that could assist us in marketing
our area a little better.
I'm fortunate that I know what the area offers to visitors
because of the research I did before developing this web
site, but it really is remarkable how much we do have
and you see that when you start listing all the activities,
accommodations, etc. and especially if you take
into account what small populations Anahim Lake and Nimpo
Lake have. Unfortunately, the template we were
sent to fill out electronically was repetitive and onerous,
so not only did we spend six hours with my laptop working
on it today, we'll be spending Sunday as well. Fortunately,
two of the members, Richard and Leah from the Nimpo Lake
General Store, are young, tireless and enthusiastic and
Richard types well, which gave me a break from the laptop.
The day before yesterday, my little net full of
suet for the chickadees was being raided by a whiskey
jack, which was making really short work of the
fat. Meanwhile, the big jay is still zooming in on the
birdseed and consuming it at a great rate. While I was
watching the whiskey jack I realized that there was no
sign of a chickadee anywhere, which was really odd for
the time of morning. Just about then I saw the hawk
gliding by on the wind so those little chickadees
know when he's around. I've let the bird seed run out
in the feeder and will leave it now for a few weeks. At
least until the big birds clear out and the hawk realizes
that the 'All-you- can-eat' buffet is now
closed. It's colder now but not so cold that the small
birds can't fend for themselves and can do without the
seed. Besides, it'll make our neighbour happy. He's fed
the chickadees in the area for years and always
used it as an excuse to go straight home from snowmobiling
rather than going on to someone's house for a beer and
a visit. I don't think he's very happy about my
feeder and keeps accusing me of stealing his birds.
Jokingly, of course... I think. He too is unhappy with
the jay, complaining that it's been coming over to his
place and stealing the peanut butter he puts out for the
chickadees. It is true that the food that fat old jay
eats would easily supply ten chickadees. I'm hoping he
moves on. The jay that is... not the neighbour....lol.
We went out to supper at the other end of the lake last
night and got to visit with an old snowmobiling buddy.
Apparently he had found this web site and this blog. He
didn't realize there was this kind of resource in the
community, "a Nimpo diary," as he called it
and seemed quite enthused. He must have been. He read
clear back to last year and that's some tough slogging!
Anyway, as usual, it was really great to get positive
feedback. Now if I could just find the time to write more
often this time of year. It'll get better soon.
I just got the CD today as promised by Bill and
Anita Miller out of Quesnel. It's loaded with
pictures of their adventures out in this country from
this summer and fall. I can't believe the effort Anita
put into naming every picture by hand on a separate piece
of paper so that if I posted one of the images on this
blog, I could accurately describe it. Man, that's
going the whole mile and then some! I owe someone
dinner next time, that's for sure. I'm really looking
forward to taking a look at the pictures so if you start
seeing some great images up on this blog for the next
little while, you folks know who to thank.
Wow, I just had a chance to look through those pictures
of Bill and Anita's. They are just awesome and stunning.
What to choose... what to choose. Posting the blog for
the next while is actually going to be fun with photos
like that to play with!!
Don't forget to check out the Picture
of the Day
you had a great weekend and one a little less hairy than
much of British Columbia has had.
Agassiz, in the Fraser Valley, has beat a 100 year
old one day record for rainfall with 150mm or about six
inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Streams,
creeks and rivers are flooding the lower mainland and
in many areas on the Island. Some areas have declared
a state of emergency and some residents have been evacuated.
The news tonight showed one clip after another of flooded
roads, highways, and houses as well as a clip of an eight
foot deep mudslide that has closed the highway between
Hope and Princeton for probably the next 72 hours.
A pineapple express coming in from Hawaii has made a beeline
for our coast with a nasty low to the north. Between the
two, it's packed a double punch of rain and snow all over
the province and there's more coming tomorrow.
As predicted, our temperatures have been very mild. Yesterday
you could literally watch the snow melt off of
the Coast Range to the south. Last night it poured
the snow down and it turned into slush as it hit the ground.
When we woke up this morning the mountains were covered
by a fresh blanket of snow bright white in the sunlight.
I don't think it ever went below freezing last night and
by this afternoon much of the snow had melted in the front
yard where the sun could get at it and the mountains were
showing bare ridges again.
The wind started early this afternoon and to be honest,
I'm not sure I've ever seen rollers that big right
on our shore. The wind was out of the WSW at around
25mph whipping spray up out on the Main Arm of Nimpo Lake
and bringing whitecaps right to the shore in front of
the house. This bay is normally protected by a point and
two islands and it's very rare to have the water that
wild and wooly right out in front. The wind just happened
to be coming in from the right direction I guess. It calmed
down later but I noticed the wind has whipped up again
and there's a wind warning out for the whole north
and central coast. Heaven help anyone out on the
November can be a nasty month and probably my least favorite
of the year but rarely do you see violent weather. Usually
it's just a long, cloudy, dreary, cold month with poor
light and not much happening. Just a slow roll to coldsville.
So this weather is certainly unusual for the time of year.
It just doesn't seem to be quite normal to have rain beating
against the window and temperatures well above freezing
in November. But hey, the lake level is slowly coming
up so that's a great thing. Although I'm not sure the
Fraser Valley and Vancouver area populace would agree
with me, it's good to have water levels coming up going
into winter. Those areas, along with the Island
were in drought for much of the fall and without water
tables coming up, could be in serious trouble next year
if it were another hot, dry summer. Much the same
applies to us.
This is supposed to be an El Nino year and I'm hoping
warmer temperatures means more moisture. You can't
snowmobile worth a darn on the rocks and since
Andy bought another snowmobile, we gotta get snow so he
can test it out! He's picked up a sweet little Ski-doo
Renegade 600 with a 136" x 16" track on the
REV platform. That shorter track makes the machine
fast and maneuverable going around sharp corners
and in tight places. The wider track should translate
to a wider footprint and create better floatation on the
snow. The sled only weighs 35 pounds more than the fan
cooled sleds so it'll be easier to throw it around, turn
tight corners in deep snow and dig it out of stuck.
That last one is kind of key.
Andy's big Polaris is a great machine for breaking trail
and there probably isn't a hill it can't climb, but with
a 159" track length, it's a big, long, bear of a
machine. He can start it from a stop going up hill in
deep snow, but when you bury that thing, it's a horse
to get out! He'll keep that snowmobile for the beginning
of the season for breaking trail or deep powder, but the
Renegade will be much better for later in the season when
there's a good, hard base and not much powder and way
more fun to play around on. Andy's only worry is
that I'll like his new machine so much he won't get it
back and he'll have to buy another. I don't think
so. I like my Summit and I like the position we're in
now with four good mountain machines. It means if we get
company or another couple to come riding from a long distance
away, they don't have to trailer their sleds and we don't
have to borrow machines for them. Hear that Harold and
Boy, look at that. At least another month before we can
think about going snowmobiling and I'm talking about it
Our cheeky blue Jay is still hanging around gobbling up
seed like a house 'a fire but I haven't seen that hawk
again. Hopefully that means he's pulled out for some place
I've got to take a trip down to Tatla Lake tomorrow for
a meeting and will lose the whole evening so just to let
you all know, it may be Wednesday before I can post another
There's A Time To Talk
a time to not.
Today while I was out on the deck clearing it of snow
a hawk flew past right in front of me toward the flags.
A bird in the tree next to me let out a little squawk
and that hawk turned full circle right back toward the
bird. Talk about a fighter jet! Those black
headed ducks don't have anything on this guy. He had to
do some fancy maneuvers through the dried out branches
of the beetle killed pine to try and get at the bird.
The bird let out another few squawks while he tried to
dodge the hawk and then took off across the front of the
house, the hawk right behind him and catching up. I
almost could have reached out and touched the hawk he
was that close as he went zinging past me concentrating
fully on his next meal. I was so focused on the
hawk that I didn't even notice what kind of bird he was
chasing, whether it was a junco, my little blackbird,
or even a chickadee. I dove back into the house to grab
the camera in case the aerial acrobatics continued but
by the time I got back outside, both birds were long gone.
I'm assuming the hawk got dinner. I don't think
the hawk would even have known that bird was sitting in
the tree if it hadn't made noise. It just goes
to show you that there's a time when it's prudent to keep
your mouth shut. Especially when a hawk has just gone
zinging past you.
You don't see hawks around here very often which is why
I was so taken by surprise. Nothing like the prairies
where you see one sitting on every second fence post.
I have no idea what type of hawk the bird was. It was
white with bright reddish brown spots on one side with
a more solid brown on the other, but that pretty much
describes most hawks I think.
It has finally warmed up. Yay! It's just above freezing
with a mixture of low cloud and blue sky. The horizon
is really murky today. It has been the last couple of
days. There seems to be a lot of smoke in the air.
At first I thought that since this huge system moved in
from the southwest out of the States, it might be carrying
smoke from that fire in California. It seems highly unlikely
though. We got smoke from the Washington State forest
fire this summer at around 350 miles away, but it's doubtful
that smoke would travel the distance it would have to
from near Palm Springs. Besides, I think that fire is
pretty well out now.
Andy said it was really murky looking along Highway 97
and Williams Lake as well and he thinks that it's just
all the mills burning slash throughout the province. It
makes sense. There's snow on the ground to prevent the
spread of fire but the slash piles aren't too wet or cold
yet so they burn really well. From what the weatherman
said, there's a warm air layer pushing down the
cold air that we've had for the past week so it's probably
holding down the smoke as well.
I got a call from Bill Miller today from up in Quesnel.
We snowmobiled together last spring with he and his wife
and look forward to doing it again this year. He
said that at around six inches, they've got enough snow
on the ground right now to go sledding! His wife,
Anita, is putting together a CD of their fourwheeling
adventures out this way this summer and I'm pretty excited
about being able to post some of their pictures on this
blog. In October they tried to make it in to Pan
Phillips' Home Ranch on fourwheelers. They didn't
get in all the way but they did make it to Kluskus, a
place that holds a lot of history for the area. They also
made it to Tsacha Lake and nearly to Eliguk Lake, a fly-in
lake that has a lodge operated by the Schillers of Nimpo
Lake and that have an ad on this site at Resorts.
So I very much look forward to seeing what Bill and Anita
have for me and I hope you folks do too.
Ho Ho! I see that hawk has come swooping by again. I hope
I haven't inadvertently invited him to the dinner table
by feeding the birds. Normally that wouldn't be
a problem because we have a dog that has a serious hate
on for predatory birds and he usually runs them off the
property. I know, doesn't sound possible because
he doesn't fly, obviously. But trust me, no bird can stand
the way he bellows and jumps after them. The noise alone
would stun them. The other problem for the small birds
now is that they like to hang out in the trees near the
house but those trees are now dead and their needles dried
up from the pine beetle infestation. So the birds no longer
have protection from branches full of big fat green needles
and they can be seen a lot easier.
I was just downstairs stoking the fire and heard a thump
and rattle on the temporary deck railing and all the chickadees
cleared out. I couldn't see what it was but I wonder
if it was the hawk hitting the railing while after a bird.
Since the cat came pelting through the door when I opened
it, it seems likely. He's had his own experiences with
eagles and owls and size or not, he knows a bad guy with
wings when he sees one. We'll see what happens tomorrow.
If the hawk continues to hang around I'll cut off the
bird seed for a while. I hate to do it because it's harder
for the chickadees to find seeds now with the snow but
there's no point in providing an 'All-you- can-eat'
buffet for the hawk either.
It's Snowing, Again.
a quick note, folks because as usual, I'm knee deep
in alligators. I keep picking up more clients,
and I have a printer that has decided to smear ink on
one of my client's Christmas cards. This software on my
computer has decided to develop a glitch so it slows down
my ability to write articles. And they said computers
were supposed to save us all time. Yeah....right.
It's snowing again. Just little tiny flakes
but it's building up. A big system has come rolling in
from the south and is dumping snow and rain all across
My partner decided to try returning home from the Okanagan
today because there was a blizzard there and they were
calling for freezing rain in Williams Lake tomorrow afternoon.
He only made it a half hour out before having to
turn back because the roads were so brutal and
there were vehicles all over the road and in the ditches.
And that was driving a big dually in four wheel drive
with lots of weight in the back! A bus driver stopped
coming from the other direction to tell Andy, who was
helping a guy out of the ditch, that the road was blocked
ahead with stuck cars and the road was extremely icy.
Hopefully he'll make it back safely tomorrow.
A blizzard started in Williams Lake this afternoon
as well so I don't imagine the roads are much
good anywhere along the Highway 97 corridor. Nor the Connector
for that matter. Andy said he was listening to the truckers
talking on the radio about how bad it was, which is why
he tried taking the other route closer to Okanagan Lake.
It's a lot higher up on the Connector so it'll be dumping
snow in a big way up there.
I was talking to friend in Saskatchewan tonight who was
complaining about how bloody cold it was there. I think
they've finally gotten that little cold snap that we had.
What can I say, winter's here. That happens in Canada.
I think we're going to have a beautiful base for
snowmobiling up in the mountains this winter.
It looks like it dumped a lot of snow up
there and with that few days of really cold weather, it
should have frozen down a nice hard base over the rocks.
Or it will have turned to sugar, which would be disaster.
Then you sink all the way to the bottom and it's a bugger
to dig out when you get stuck. Either way, unless we get
a pineapple express this winter, there'll be snow up there.
Okay, I'm going back to work. Things might be a little
hairy the next few days so I'm not sure when I can write
next. Hang in there! Things will get back to normal in
the near future.
End Of An Era
night was the last one for Chilcotin's Gate operating
as a restaurant in Nimpo Lake. It has closed its
doors for renovation and I understand it will reopen as
a bible school. It will be hard on the community because
the Post Office is in the foyer of the restaurant, it
was a popular meeting place three times a week for people
picking up their mail. Wednesdays were a favorite mail
day for those that picked it up only once a week. The
folks from Charlotte Lake and Caribou Flats would make
the drive into Nimpo, do some shopping and have
coffee or a meal while they visited with friends and neigbhours
and caught up on the latest news and gossip. The stairs,
the parking lot, the foyer and the restaurant were all
meeting places to exchange greetings and news in passing.
It's understandable that the owner can't keep the restaurant
open now that we have lost the motel to fire. The motel
directed a lot of business over to Chilcotin's Gate and
people staying there through the winter contributed mightily
to the restaurant's ability to stay open in the off season.
The Gate has been well known along the Highway 20
corridor, especially when it was known as Mary's Place,
for good home cooking and fresh pies. In fact it was so
well known as Mary's that it took years for people to
start calling it by its new name. Because of its location,
it always served as a great place to meet up with someone
coming to visit that had never been to your place before.
Folks could use the pay phone and wait for their guide
in comfort over coffee or if people were traveling in
groups over Highway 20 West they could join up again at
It was about ten years ago to the day on Halloween
when the original restaurant burned down. A fire
started in the garage and tire shop next door and there
was just no way it could be prevented from spreading to
the restaurant, an historic old log building with a stupendous
view of the Coast Mountains and Nimpo Lake. The pines
have grown up now to block quite a bit of the view of
the lake itself, but that won't be for long with the beetle
kill. The owner of the restaurant rebuilt it in a more
modern style and after running it for a few years herself
through winter and leasing it out through summer, she
sold it to the present owner.
Last night was Mexican night and the last hurrah for the
Gate. The community turnout was excellent.
Today seemed weird when I drove up to the restaurant
for my mail. The sign was coming down and the
only soul around was the postmistress. The doors were
locked up with closed signs, no one was visiting on the
stairs or in the parking lot, no one to pass the time
with for a few moments. No laughter or the sound of clinking
cups in the restaurant and no smell of fresh brewed coffee.
The moment was surreal and really, really sad.
Clean up on the debris from the destroyed motel
is coming along nicely. You would hardly know
there had ever been a three story building there and it
looks like the guys will be done and the excavator will
be out of there in the next day or so. I'm really hoping
the owners rebuild the motel, perhaps with a small family
restaurant or coffee shop but it might not happen. That
property is definitely available for anyone that might
be interested in such an enterprise, either alone or in
partnership with the present owners and there's most certainly
a demand for that kind of accommodation. With the owners
of Vagabond retiring and the owners of Wilderness Rim
Resort selling to private interests, there's going to
be a real shortage of accommodation providers in the country.
There you go folks! A prime opportunity for one
of you enterprising individuals to move to a place with
clean air, awesome views and great fishing!
It's the start of a new week so last week's articles can
be found at October
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!