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 One/2013
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The Ice Up
There is nothing like being able to step outside onto
your deck at ten in the morning in a T-shirt, something
we havent been able to do for a number of days.
Our cold spell has been pushed out and a little warm front
has moved in so that it never got below -4C or 25 last
night and at eleven this morning it has come up
five degrees in the past hour to 4.6C or 40F above.
We have a real rarity this time where our warm front is
actually coming down from the north which means everyone
south of us is colder. It also means that an inversion
is setting up so that not only will everyone south of
us probably remain colder while higher elevations will
be warmer, but most valley communities in BC will probably
also be under cloud or fog for the next few days and hopefully,
well stay in the sun. Although generally when cold
meets warm, you get rain or snow so who knows? All
I know is this is a far cry from the 20C temperatures
weve had for a couple of nights and below freezing
temps weve had during the day.
All in all, it hasnt been a bad November. We got
one dump of four inches of snow a couple of weeks ago
and a couple of smaller snowfalls to total only about
five inches, but most of that has settled in the sun or
turned to sugar in the woods.
We came out a little better than Williams Lake who
broke records for this time of year with a 22 inch snowfall.
It did nothing to make the residents there happy, let
me tell you! The worst part about it was that there were
snowfall warnings out for the Prince George area but nothing
south of that so what hit Williams Lake took everyone
there by surprise. My sisters husband is a logging
truck driver and like most of the loggers, didnt
go out to work that day so they were standing at their
living room window watching highway trucks go through
town with chains on. Like he said, you know the
roads are bad when the highway truckers chain up!
That was one of those times when we Chilcotin types got
to be smug. Its rare so we have to take advantage
of it when it happens. :-)
The cold spell also froze both our front and back
bays over in a single night, right to the islands
in front and clear down to the Dean outlet in the back,
so the resort docks are now secure for another winter.
You can see the progression of ice in the photos up on
the right. The water is still open out on the Main Arm
and probably will remain so now for a while with this
warm weather, but it means if we dont get snow that
we should build some really good ice over the next few
weeks for an ice road over to the boat ramp to go up to
I saw the two baby loons right up until the night
the front bay froze over and there was a little
area of open water in the middle of the bay the next morning
where they like to hang out, so I wonder if they stayed
there all night keeping the ice open. If they did, they
would probably have ducked under the ice and swam to the
Main Arm in the morning when they could see that it was
open. Or they simply flew off. Unfortunately, that seems
unlikely because when the young ones stay that long they
usually stay too long, and get frozen in. But one can
hope. At least nothing was frozen into the ice closer
in so we didnt have to watch the Eagles get it.
These two never have learned to call very well, and certainly
not loudly, so unlike other years, we wont
hear them and know whether theyre still here or
not until the Main Arm freezes up.
Andy has been helping a neighbour down at the other end
of the lake for weeks now but got one day off to get some
wood in and to get the cabin dock moved over to its spot
for the winter. He got it done just in time. The next
morning the bay was frozen over hard and he would have
had to break the ice all the way over to the other shore
to get it moved. Or leave it and risk having it ripped
to shreds by the ice when it broke up in the spring. Otherwise,
everything else that needed to be done to get ready for
winter is done, other than we need to get wood when hes
finished down at the north end. Its not emergency.
Our wood shed is still nearly full and weve got
a few week's supply under the deck, but he likes to have
everything brimming over with cut wood.
Up until this week when it got cold, we really didnt
need a lot of wood to keep the house warm. The sun has
been shining for at least part of most days and the temperatures
have been pretty reasonable. In fact, Ive
only missed a couple of days of walking in the past month
because its been lots warm enough for it.
An ATV went through on the back trail a couple of weeks
ago after that four inch snow and until these last few
little snows, the trail was excellent for walking. I just
went out two days ago and drove over the trail again with
our ATV with the wood trailer behind and its perfect
for walking again.
I saw a flock of birds on my walk today that Im
sure were Cedar waxwings. All I could see was their silhouettes
as they flew away from me up into a grove of trees farther
from me. They looked like Pine Grosbeaks but I could see
crests when they turned their heads against the light
and grosbeaks definitely dont have crests. Im
not sure Ive ever seen a whole flock of them before.
Later this afternoon the dogs set up a ruckus as
they always do when theres a large bird like an
eagle around, except this time they were just going ballistic
so I went out to check on them. A large blue heron was
sitting in the top of a tree in the yard but when he saw
me he flew down the driveway and settled on top of a spruce
there to nap for the rest of the day. They sure are huge
With that, the Waxwings and that Rail that the cat brought
into the basement, were definitely seeing an array
of birds uncommon for around here. Fortunately, the cat
hadnt had a chance to hurt the Rail and Andy was
able to catch it and turn it loose outside. We keep
expecting to find a loon or duck in our basement one day
because the cat has a real affinity for water and seems
determined every year to catch a water bird. So far, hes
only succeeded in coming in dripping wet from falling
into the lake. I think he gets so focused when he jumps
at a bird swimming near the shore that he forgets that
hes going to land on water. Sadly, because of him,
I no longer get to watch birds around the feeder which
we took down. There was no point in providing the cat
with an all you can eat easy buffet. I have a friend that
has built a bunch of bluebird nesting boxes that she will
be selling at the Christmas craft fair in Anahim Lake,
and I would love to buy a couple to put out in the open
area at the end of our driveway. Unfortunately, Trouble
cruises that area and much farther afield so I would have
to put them down at the T intersection a mile away for
the birds to be safe from him.
Aside from feathered birds we also had an interesting
mechanical bird doing some surveying in the past weeks
carrying a large sensor on its tail and more on its wings.
Yesterday the pilot seemed to be doing an east west grid
over Nimpo Lake on a tight 30 minute turn around and even
tighter grid pattern that was only 600 feet apart and
only 300 feet off the ground. Apparently the government
has started funding geological surveys in the area again,
something that I dont think theyve done in
a number of years. The question is, why? It makes lots
of sense to me that large resource companies would do
geotech surveys but the government? Hmmm. Heres
a totally outlandish guess. The feds are trying
to get BC to stop fighting the northern pipeline. It doesnt
really benefit BC to have a pipeline going through the
province putting oil on freighters that could potentially
run aground and completely devastate BCs coastline
and of course, her tourism industry. But if they found
something in BC to add to the pipeline that would benefit
our economy and the people here in a big way, well then
maybe BC residents would get on board with the pipeline
running from Alberta to the coast. I know, it sounds way
out to lunch. But I like conjecture. Its good
for the mind. :-)
I've had to stop writing here today and only just got
back to this now after supper. I decided to write three
more letters to government ministers about the Discovery
Coast Circle Tour. BC Ferries has decided to shut
down our summer run from Port Hardy to Bella Coola which
will just kill our tourism industry. Its
one of the reasons that there was no blog this week. I
have been manufacturing my calendars since October and
I finished up for the last client, this past weekend.
I actually started a blog last Monday when we heard the
bad news so Ive been writing letters and emails
ever since. I dont know how much good it will do
but if I lend my voice to all the others in the business
of providing accommodation in the Chilcotin and Cariboo,
maybe it will do some good.
Hey, I just came across a link of four guys that went
mountain biking into the southern Chilcotin. The guy that
took these photos is one heck of a photographer and he
did an amazing job of showing just how spectacular this
country is. Follow the link at Four
Chilcotins in the Chilcotins.
Last month's blog is at October
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!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!