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Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week Two/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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Check out the Picture of the Day.

30/11/2010 5:30 PM

Glory, Glory!

We had a spectacular day today, particularly when you consider that it's the end of November. Wow, is all I can say. It was four degrees above freezing, the sun was shining all day, and though we had a breeze, it wasn't a cold one really. It was strange watching the temperature last night. It went down to -6C or 21F in the early evening but was up to nearly freezing by the time I went to bed. It's done that the last few nights, dropping as low as -17C and then rising 7 or 8 degrees through the night.
It's nice to have a day where the sun is streaming through the windows warming up everything in the house. We were even able to let the fire go out today so the ashes could be cleaned out of the wood stove. We had a great walk today in the back woods. Short because of this stupid hip, but still nice.
This time last year I heard a loon cry out on a still open lake. This is also a far cry from about this time last year when it had been raining for a couple of days, and then it turned to a big dump of heavy, wet snow. There are a lot of aspen, willow, spruce and pine that have still never recovered from that and are permanently bent over like little old ladies of the woods. I don't know if anyone has noticed in the pictures, but the view of the lake is much clearer from our deck now. We had a mass of willow bushes in front that got flattened by that heavy snow last year, so Andy just went ahead and cut them down and will clear out the stumps with the Bobcat next spring once the ground is thawed. It will make a great place for a fire pit.
Days like today are so nice because you can get outside and actually wander around a bit and it's pleasant rather than raw. Or start a slash pile on fire now that snow is on the ground like we did the other day. But winter's really nice for being inside too. I like this time of year for cooking. Comfort food. Yum! It's nice to bring brisket or short ribs from out of the freezer. Southern fried chicken or a pot roast just hit the ticket when it's cold outside and you don't have to worry about heating up the house like you do in high summer when it's forest fire season and temperatures are higher than normal.
That was the only downside of having a monster veggie garden when I lived in Saskatchewan. Drop a seed and you could grow anything! But when it was time to harvest the bounty.... good grief, it was a miserable endeavor! Saskatchewan summers are generally hotter than Hades, although I understand that this year was a sad departure from the norm. The temperatures always seemed to ramp up when beans, peas, beets, cucumbers and other vegetables were ready for canning, freezing or pickling. Picking and cleaning wasn't so bad because you could do it in the evening. I could pick a five gallon bucket of cucumbers and have them cleaned in no time. Same with beans. It took a while to pick a bucket of beans but you could sit around in the evening and snap them before blanching them for freezing. But from there on it would get nasty. It was not nice sweating over steaming water baths in a house already heated up by a sweltering sun through the day. Temperatures often dropped very little at night so all you could hope for was for a breeze come evening. That's when I realized why most farmsteads had summer kitchens that were separate from the house. It made a lot of sense and I just wish I'd had one at the time.
In this part of the country at least, harvest time is late and because it's hard to grow much here, not particularly strenuous. The evenings normally cool down quite nicely so if you do have to heat the house up canning fish, pickles, and such, you can cool it down fairly quickly later in the evening.
I finally got to post a picture taken by our summer neighbours. It's of a red fox that had made itself a comfortable bed under the corner of their guest cabin where it could look out over the view I guess. He didn't seem much bothered by people being nearby and our friends are pretty sure there are no mice under the cabin now!
28/11/2010 3:50 PM

Icy Cold

We've been down in the Okanagan for the past week or so and managed to choose really cold weather to go down in. We left on a Tuesday a week and a half ago trying to beat a snowstorm that was supposed to be coming through. Didn't manage to beat it but we did make it to destination Summerland late Tuesday night. It got pretty cold in Summerland but fortunately, not so cold that the dogs couldn't sleep in the back of the truck on their mattress and warming beds. We were lucky, because by the time the temperatures really dropped, we had moved to Kelowna to stay with our friends and summer time neighbours up here. They were kind enough to turn their garage over to the dogs, for which said animals were eternally grateful. They never had it so good!
While we were in the Okanagan it got down to -35C or 31 below zero Fahrenheit here in Nimpo. I didn't feel the least bit bad about missing temperatures like that but we did worry about the place freezing up while were gone. When we drove through Nimpo along the highway on our way home and could look down on the lake, I was stunned to see Nimpo Lake was now white. It was frozen over for as far as we could see although Mary at the other end said the Main Arm farther down was still open a couple of days later. I guess it must be because we're still getting ice fog overhead.
When we arrived here it was six degrees warmer than it had been in Kelowna when we left and for the next couple of days I think we had higher temperatures than just about anywhere else in the province including Vancouver. We were above freezing one or two days, the sun was shining and everything just looked clean and white from the couple of inches of snow on the ground. The temps last night sure dropped though. It just about made it down to -20C or -4F before it began warming back up again and everything was covered in a heavy layer of hoarfrost. We were fogged in for most of the day today so it never warmed up above -7C and although we could see that the sun was shining on nearly every horizon, it didn't clear off over us until just a few minutes ago ...just in time to get cold tonight.
I'm pretty sure I saw northern lights last night for the first time in a long while, and whenever I stepped outside the lake ice was cracking because of the drastic drop in temperature from above freezing and sunshine during the day to the cold last night. Andy checked the ice off shore from our place yesterday and there's already seven inches, so we missed the lake monsters you hear during freeze up.
So far it's been a great fall/winter, minus the cold snap of course. It's nothing like last year where winter started in September and never let up after the first of November. It's less than a month away from the shortest day and it's all good after that. :-)
We went for a walk in the back woods today. There are lots of rabbit tracks all over the place in the fresh snow. This year must be an upswing in their population because that's the largest number of tracks I've seen in some while. Perhaps there'll be a lynx or two around this winter as a result. Everyone's commenting on the number of fox round this year, and that makes sense if there are more rabbits for food.
Andy got the bird feeder filled and the chickadees are back as are the Whiskey Jacks. When we left there were all kinds of grebes, ducks and mergansers paddling in the lake with geese and swans flying overhead. Now of course, there's nothing around and it seems awfully quiet. But I'm thankful we didn't have to watch any loons freeze in this year for the Eagles to kill.
I'm ready for the lake to be frozen over. It's time. It's wonderful to have the blue open water but this time of year, it's nice to have it frozen over and have a change of scenery. Of course by next spring, me and everyone else will be more than ready for the open water again but I'm glad we have the seasonal changes here.
In case I didn't mention it before, here's a reminder. There will be a New Year's Party on the ice again this year so, for those of you planning to attend, you've got lots of notice!
And for that person that has been wondering what happened to the blogs and how we're doing..... Jim..... Andy is still alive and doing well..... :-)
You will find the last blogs at November Week One.

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!
Red fox under a cabin.
November sundown over Nimpo.
Snow on the lake ice glints back in the sun.
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