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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week One/2010

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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14/11/2010 3:30 PM

Fall's Arrival

Today has been an absolutely amazing day. It's the middle of November and at 48 degrees Fahrenheit, or 8 Celsius. That's pretty wild and I love it! I think everyone does. I was out and about in Anahim yesterday and everyone's mood really reflected the nice weather. Every time one of us mentioned how nice it was we knocked on wood. Although it was spitting some rain yesterday afternoon there's been no snow to speak of yet this year. Today the sun is shining and there is a wind alternating from out of the west to out of the north, but at least it's not a cold wind. We're hoping it will settle down a bit so we can take up the ramps on the new plane dock at the back and tie the dock off to trees before freeze up. But right now the water is just too rough in the back bay and would make it too difficult to do the job. It's rare for us to get much movement in the water at the back, but it does happen with a north wind.
So we opted to go for a walk on the back trail instead. The surface of the trail was a little goopy because this warm air is drawing the frost from the surface of the ground, but it will freeze up soon enough. We're supposed to have some cold arctic air move in early this week, so that will take care of the goopiness. I don't mind dodging a little muck on a day like today on a walk. It beats what's coming! As Andy says, every day like this is one day less of winter and that makes me a happy camper. Winter is nice in its own way, but seven months of it can get a little tiresome. At least this time of year you get lots of sun through the windows because it's so low in the sky, but it still has some heat. Once December comes it seems to lose some of it's brightness, maybe because of the low angle, and definitely loses its heat.
Anahim Lake has been frozen over for two weeks now and the bay at the north end of Nimpo Lake was also starting to freeze over. The Dean River at the bridge on our road was frozen over everywhere except at the bridge, but that may have opened up today with the wind and warm air. The lake is starting to look a little sluggish when there's no wind and I expect the temperature of the water is getting very close to freezing, but it's not frozen yet! In fact we've only had a tiny bit of ice form on our north shore in a couple of spots, but the back bay hasn't begun to freeze over yet.
We haven't heard or seen any loons lately and I hope it stays that way. As much as I love to hear them, hearing them in December the last two years has been scary in view of the fact that we've had loons freeze in and be killed by eagles the last two years. I would really prefer to not see that happen again.
We're thinking that our spring must have had something to do with the loons being bigger or possibly maturing earlier this year. We're guessing that loons that survived first nesting had lots of time to grow up and get out of here before freeze up. A second batch of eggs or babies wouldn't have survived our cold May and June. Which explains why what young loons we have seen this summer were quite large. But who knows for sure? Our couple never did have any babies with them in the back bay this year, which saved us the pain of watching them be harassed and eventually killed by eagles.
We're seeing the usual interesting ducks and such congregate along our shore line as it gets closer to winter. We had a whole group of Common Mergansers (or at least that's what our book says they are) swimming around for a day and one had a really peachy breast. The muskrats are gathering winter food now and we had a family of otters swim by our point a few days ago, so there's lots of life around yet.
12/11/2010 11:00 AM

Floyd Vaughan Celebration of Life

Hi Everyone. It's been quite a while since I last wrote and I apologize for that. I've had concerned readers contact me asking after my health and I really appreciate it. Not writing the blog has in small part to do with my health in a funny sort of way. I mentioned before that I have a problem with my hip and it seems to really be aggravated by long trips in the truck and long periods of time spent in my computer chair. So I make an effort to get up and move around quite a bit, and I only stay in this computer chair as long as necessary. So if I've spent a good part of the day working, as soon as I'm done with what I'm working on, I get up and leave the office. That means not spending the extra hour or two every day writing a blog. But it's been so long, that I've decided to make an exception today, especially since I'll be away from the computer for most of the afternoon.
So.... lots has been happening. The detour has been shut down because Highway 20 at McClinchy is now open and freshly paved. Thank heavens! Andy's finally off work. I keep telling him that he's supposed to be retired...:-) Most of the truckers have moved down into the Bella Coola Valley now where excavators are clearing debris from the creek beds and trucks are hauling it off. They figure they may be working down there into December. That's a good thing. It helps the local economy tremendously when these equipment operators have money in their pockets.
Operators working on the detour and Highway stayed at places both here in Nimpo and down in Tatla Lake which also helped tourism operators a tremendous amount. After those road closures from fires knocked the heck out of tourism this summer, the floods helped to make up for it.
Our fall has been a mixed bag. As I mentioned before, September was kind of a washout, but parts of October were really nice and this month certainly hasn't been bad at all. It's been dropping pretty good at night but most days the temperature makes it above freezing and last week we actually had a week of really warm weather. We've had a little rain and a little snow that has melted, which is good. It means there's moisture in the ground to take plants and lawns through the winter but also helps to drive the frost into the ground.
We've gotten pretty much all of our fall chores done and things picked up and put away before snow comes. It's helped that we haven't gotten the dumps of snow we did last year. In fact other than for today where we've got low cloud, a lot of days have been mostly sunny and it's been pleasant working outside. We should enjoy it while it lasts. Predictions are for a long, cold winter with lots of snow for British Columbia. I thought we had that last year already when everyone else had little in the way of winter, so maybe it's our turn to be balmy. Yeah... sure.
We had a great Halloween dance at the Hall two Saturdays ago. Sure had a different crowd though. Not that many of our regulars showed up but we got a lot of young people and they sure like to dress up. We had some great costumes but Barrie Wilson's was still the best. He and Dawn came as hippies and boy, did they look it! Besides hippies we had Elvis, Batman and Batwoman, and a very tall, very ugly witch! Sadly, I didn't get a picture of one of our neighbours dressed as a girl. Wow, was he a knock out! Actually, that was the strange part about the evening. Guys came dressed as girls and the girls came dressed as football and hockey players. Must have been something in the water. Made it quite fun, actually. The fireworks were great thanks to Richard and Leah Simon from the store. For anyone that would like to donate toward the fireworks, the donation bucket is at the store because two thirds of what they purchased are going to be used at the ice party this year. Yep, another New Year's on the ice! We got such a good turnout last year and so many people commented on it that everyone wants to do it again. We just have to organize a little sooner this year.
So now for the really sad news.
Last Saturday a Celebration of Life was held for Floyd Vaughan at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall. He died October 22nd of his injuries from a motorcycle accident in Kelowna, a devastating loss to his family and friends. For those of you that have followed the blog for a while, I was pleased to reprint a lot of Floyd's great stories from when he was a bush pilot here. He's an old timer in these parts as he and his family came in here in the sixties. He's long been considered the best bush pilot in these parts and will be very sorely missed. I know I've never in my life seen such a turnout for one man with folks I haven't seen in years crowding the Nimpo Hall. I know at least a couple of hundred passed through before I made my escape shortly after it started. I don't do well around that many people, even hiding in a corner.
There was never a better story teller than Floyd if you could get him going, except maybe for Duncan Stewart. I'm hoping that I can talk Lora, his wife, into letting me have a copy of his stories. Last year he and I had discussed me putting together a book and though he was modest about the suggestion, I think secretly he was tickled at the thought. It's something I would still like to do.
Last month's post can be found at October Week One . I hope you all understand why the blogs have been so few and far between. I'm hoping this hip thing will start improving.

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!
Duck with a peach breast.
The lake one November afternoon.
Two people dressed up as hippies.
People in costumes.
Hockey costume.
Elvis costume.
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