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Wilderness Adventures - November Week 1

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.
You can search this site for a subject of interest to you at the bottom of this page.

07/11/2005 8:27 PM

Winter Vacation in Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake

If you're planning your winter vacation now, this is just a reminder that British Columbia is a winter wonderland. Many of the ski hills on the lower mainland are reporting record snow falls and some are open three weeks earlier than they have in the last twenty years.
Now is a good time to think about booking your winter recreation holiday in the West Chilcotin. Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake offer accommodations in winter. Both the Country Inn in Nimpo Lake and the Anahim Lake Inn offer warm, cozy rooms for the adventurous snowmobiler, snow boarder and cross courntry skier.
The Dean on Nimpo offers deluxe accommodations in the lodge where there is also a restaurant and lounge. Wilderness Rim Resort has some gorgeous cabins that can hold from small to large groups and if you come around Christmas or after, you can snowmobile right from your cabin door into the mountains.
The Timber Guest House offers private bed and breakfast accommodation with a 360 degree eagle's view of the surrounding country.
Although some resorts do shut down during winter, some such as Escott Bay and Nimpo Lake Resort might still squeeze you in for a winter holiday. If you would like to know a little more about the lodging available check out Resorts Page as well as the Motels and Bed and Breakfast Page.
Last I heard, there was a good base building up in the Rainbow Mountains and there was about a foot of snow at kilometer 24 at the base of Trumpeter. The weather has been very cool this fall as can be seen by the early freeze up on the rivers and shores of lakes, so if it keeps up, it'll be a spectacular year for winter sports.

06/11/2005 6:01 PM

The Good, The Bad, and the Damned Fine

You know, just when you think you're having the nastiest week possible, there's a little ray of sunshine. Actually, in this case it was two big rays of sunshine. I was having the absolute worst week duking it out with a virus on both my business computers. When things were at their worst, I was very down. Then I got two emails. First on one computer just as I got it back up again, then on the other once it was fixed. Both emails were from people that have been reading this blog or daily article.
I assisted the one lady and her husband from Bavaria in finding accommodations this summer while they were vacationing in the area. I had hoped to meet them while they were in Nimpo Lake but was unable to. However, she was kind enough to send an absolutely awesome email and indicated that they enjoyed reading the daily stories.
The second was from a couple near San Antonio that have purchased a ranch in the area and plan to spend their summers here in the future. They too indicated that they enjoy reading about the country and I very much look forward to them becoming a part of our community.
The emails couldn't have come at a better time for lifting my spirits and I doubt if either party has any idea how much I appreciate their feedback. Because, you see, both had to be reasonably clever to find how to contact me since I don't have any contact information on this site. I've been meaning to change that. I would like to give people the opportunity to comment on the articles, add their own input, or just send an email. I just haven't had the time to make the changes and in this world of spam, I'm not about to just throw an unprotected email address on this page.
But the fact that these wonderful people were willing to overcome the little challenge of finding a way to contact me is remarkable. And boy, did you make my day!!
Thank you.

We went out fishing this morning. It was an absolutely calm, frosty, sunny morning with the water icing up near the shore. It seemed only fitting that since we were first on Nimpo Lake this spring after break up, we should be the last off in the fall. Only one fish that got away, and no more bites, but that's ok. It was just for fun anyway before the boat comes up on shore and the dock is moved to a sheltered bay for the winter.

05/11/2005 8:03 PM

Canadas

The Canada Geese are swarming in now. Wow, only a few days ago it was getting awfully quiet around here, and now the air is alive with flock after flock of Canada Geese headed south.
This morning, one flock came in a long straight broadface line rather than a vee or trailing line, which I thought was a little odd until I saw where they landed. They all swooped down onto Nimpo Lake in a tight formation to land off a little point in our bay that is rarely completely frozen over except in the coldest of temperatures in winter. I don't know if there is an underground spring there but it can be dangerous to go too near it in winter. A few people have gone through the ice there. This spot is also the first place to open up in the spring and it's where any birds that come too early end up having to land because the rest of the lake is still iced over. That was the location of the 'Mexican Standoff' on the ice that I wrote about earlier this spring where bald eagles, Trumpeter Swans and Canada Geese were all forced to float in a little tiny section of open water together waiting for the ice on Nimpo Lake to break up.
The fact that these geese came in and landed on that tiny little area in exactly the same pattern that followed open water last spring tells me that they were probably the geese that came then on their way north. They have a whole lake of water to land on but they chose a little tiny spot and something tells me that their memory of this lake is that the area off the point is always open water and therefore safe to land on. Or maybe I'm just trying to impress human thinking on them. We all do that.
Oddly though, all the other flocks that came in later landed in normal formation and all over the lake. This may or may not be a regular stopping place for these geese but it's more likely they are not familiar with the lake. Since it was early in the afternoon and there was a pretty nasty snowstorm brewing over the mountains, they probably decided this looked like a nice safe lake to be on for the night.
Temperatures are dropping now at night and it isn't warming up much during the day either.
Fresh snow on the mountains and it's trying to lay down a little skiff this evening. The weatherman promised us sun today but he gaffed us again. I guess the boat is going to have to come out of the water and the docks moved because it just doesn't look like we're going to get much in the way of fishing weather now. The cold wouldn't be so bad sitting out on the lake at just around freezing if you had a little sun shining on you. But sitting in a boat with no sun sure is a recipe for stiffening up and being miserable in my books.
That's ok. It'll be ice fishing time before you know it. We'll just have to wait until the ice is on!

04/11/2005 2:10 PM

Virus

You know, there's nothing like a virus on both your computers to ruin your whole day. Or more to the point, several days. For some reason or other, the anti-virus program I was running on my newer computer didn't pick up a nasty little trojan in an email sent to me. It was actually an email I might never normally have opened, but I happened to be expecting a zip file from a client right at that precise time so of course I opened the email and zip file. Since it didn't seem to want to unzip properly on the one computer, I, in glorious stupidity sent it over to the other computer to be opened by winzip, thereby infecting both computers. My computers started acting up immediately but fortunately, as soon as I updated my virus definitions for Norton on the second computer, bang, it found and removed the virus. Not so lucky on the new computer. I've spent two days with the help of my brother-in-law on the phone attempting to manually clean the virus out since it wouldn't allow either of my anti-virus programs to run. I think it's gone. Sure hope so. I've hesitated to upload this page to FTP on the Internet until I could be sure it's gone. As soon as I was able to clean the virus out enough to get a new issue of Norton Anti-virus onto this computer it picked up a more recent trojan that had just infected my files. So I think she's all good to go now. I hope. It just goes to show you that even when you are cautious and don't accept anything you don't know in emails, and you think you're protected by your anti virus programs, you can still get caught with your pants down. Not a good feeling and real breezy at the moment.
Snow is on the ground now and not melting so maybe winter is here. There are still some buffleheads sitting on Nimpo Lake out front but not nearly as many as two days ago, and I haven't heard a loon for ages so they must be gone.

02/11/2005 11:01 PM

Going Home

The waterfowl are flocking up and some are already in the air and headed home. This morning there were all kinds of waterfowl gathering up in the mist on Nimpo Lake just in front of our house. Mostly buffleheads, there were also some mallards out there. The little buffleheads are black and white and have a really neat way in the water. They float high and leave a wake behind themselves in calm water, but they seem to be able to really speed up and slow down in the water without their wake changing much at all. They really flock up and like to stick close to each other this time of year. They'll head south very soon now.
Two flocks of Trumpeter Swans flew over today at about the same time. Although I didn't get the camera going in time for the first bunch, I caught the second flock going right over the house. At least you get some warning that they're coming through. They call them Trumpeter Swans for a reason. They have a very distinct, high honking noise when in flight. Many of these birds will be heading for their wintering grounds at Ralph Edward's old homestead on Lonesome Lake provided John, his son, is still feeding them.
I heard John on Monday checking in on the radio. It sounded like he had just gotten home from Bella Coola with his winter supplies. He has quite a trek every time he goes out to civilization. For those of you that think the hardships I spoke of and the books I was talking about in the last few articles applied to times long ago, think again. Many people such as John do not have easy access from their homes to the outside even now days. He must canoe or boat down the lake to the Hunlen Trail where he walks for several miles to where he leaves his vehicle parked. He drives out for supplies and mail, drives back to the trailhead, and then must walk back through several miles of dense, grizzly infested bush. Sometimes in the dark. Then he gets into his boat to continue home, or if it is winter, walks, snowshoes, or skis the rest of the way with his pack on his back. He encounters grizzlies on a regular basis and has had wolf packs follow him home more than once. There's a lot to tell about the son of the Crusoe of Lonesome Lake, but that's for another day.

01/11/2005 7:37 PM

Local Stuff

This is the start of a new week and I'll take a break now from the old legends and stories to catch up on the local stuff. We've had snow flurries off and on for the last week or so and there was a good 6" dump the day before yesterday on Heckman Pass at the top of the Bella Coola Hill. One of the highways guys yesterday said that a pretty good base of snow seems to be building up in the mountains for snowmobiling. The neighbour got a nice moose the other day that took some packing out of a swamp meadow. He said after he shot his he looked around to see a huge bull snorting and pawing at him not seventy yards away. Apparently there were three bulls there together so they must be well past the rut now.
Ranchers up Morrison Meadow road have been having a heck of a time with grizzlies the last three years. One couple say they've lost seven cows to one grizzly sow in the last three years and figure she's killed about thirty head of cattle belonging to different ranchers up there. The sow's been marauding since she was a youngster so it sounds to me like her mother taught her predator bear behaviour and she has carried on with teaching that behaviour to her cubs. Remember my Bear articles of September?
There might be several reasons for increased grizzly numbers in the area. The BC government in all their wisdom put a moratorium on grizzly hunting there for awhile. Numbers climbed so quickly and so dramatically that the situation was actully becoming dangerous.
Another reason for larger numbers may be from the large forest fires we experienced in 2004 and 2003. The Chilko fire of 2003 was the largest in BC and burned over a monsterous area displacing a large number of wildlife. The Lonesome Lake Fire of 2004 not only burned over a huge area, but destroyed a lot of dense grizzly habitat. The animals have to go somewhere if they want to eat and moving into this area is no hardship for them.
The final reason is strictly a guess but I think it's a reasonable one. We've had extremely mild winters lately and a high survival rate among deer, moose and caribou calves. Since there always seems to be a natural cycle where high prey numbers are followed closely by high predator numbers, we may be seeing just such an upswing. That wouldn't be so bad if grizzly bears only attacked wild prey. It's when they start attacking a rancher's livelihood that people start getting cranky.
I haven't heard a loon call for a few days now so I don't know if there are any left on the lake or not. The water has just started icing over in a little bay on the Dean River where it comes out of Nimpo Lake. There was ice on Anahim Lake the other day and the little mud puddles on our back trails where I walk are all frozen over. There are still a few ducks and grebes dotting the lake and river. I don't know how feed in the lake is but the fishing has been incredible for the few brave souls that have ventured out on Nimpo.
I watched a grebe the other day trying to eat a fish that was easily his size. It was way too big for him but he was determined. He kept rolling it over in the water trying to get a good beak hold on it but I think it kept slipping. I don't know how he planned on eating it. It was way too big for him to hang on to, much less swallow. Eventually he lost it. I didn't even think grebes ate fish, but I guess this one does.
Last week's articles can now be found at October Week Three because this is the start of a new week. I really hope you see fit to go visit the page if you're interested in information and stories about the area some of which are condensed from Rich Hobson's novel "Grass Beyond the Mountain".

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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!
A frosty November morning with first ice along the shores of  Nimpo Lake
 
Flocks of Canada Geese come in for a landing on Nimpo Lake
 
Mist rises up early in the morning from a cold lake
 
Bufflehead ducks flock up in the heavy mist
 
Trumpeter Swans fly over Nimpo Lake on the way to their winter grounds
 
Waterfowl going home!
 
Fresh snow on the Coastal Mountains overlooking Nimpo Lake
 
Fog trails over Charlotte lake and the water on Nimpo Lake becomes sluggish from cold
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