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 Two/2010
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of the Day.
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
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
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!
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
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!