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/2012
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of the Day.
I've finally, FINALLY, finished my calendar season and
maybe now I can dedicate a little time to the blog. I
do have some other stuff coming up but for a change, none
of it has to be done yesterday. Whew! Leisure time. Woo
Yeah, right. That doesn't really happen around here,
mainly because now the winter projects will start raising
their ugly heads going, Pick me, pick me!!
The other night it dropped to -13C or 8.6F and the ice
grew from our shore at the front to a third of the way
to the island. Last night the temperature dropped to -15C
or 5F and the ice is all the way out to the island so
the whole South Arm of Nimpo Lake is now frozen over.
I don't expect that to change unless a good wind comes
up. Half the ice at the front is covered in snow from
our little snow storm last night while the remainder is
glassy clear because it froze up after the sky cleared.
The back bay froze over about a week ago but every time
the ice tried to grow in the front here a wind would beat
it back over the course of the day, so we've been hearing
klinkers for at least a week now. I love that sound. It's
like a series of glass chimes ringing all day.
As usual, heavy fog rolled in this morning
and while it has lifted slightly it's still heavy enough
to block out the sun which is low on the horizon this
time of year. So even though you can see blue sky above,
it just looks like a gloomy, frosty, grey day. Hopefully
things will get better once the lake freezes over completely
but for now, when a breeze from the south rolls Charlotte
Lake fog over us, and we have our own lake producing copious
amounts on its own, the grey will continue.
November has been a remarkably gloomy month this
year. It's always our worst month in terms of
grey overcast and fog, but this year it seems especially
bad. I don't know if that's because it came on the heels
of a gorgeous, sunny summer and fall or we really are
having fewer sunny days. On the rare day we have sun,
it seems we are in Williams Lake or down in Bella Coola
and so miss them anyway. On Sunday, the sun broke out
for a little while so we went for a walk. It didn't last
long before cloud moved in from over the mountains but
it certainly made the day seem glorious for a while and
improved my mood drastically. However, given another day
or so of this and I think I'm going to have to break out
the SAD light because I can see my mood spiralling downward.
Thankfully, our loons have been long gone now and
there have only been a few little duck type birds, grebes
and mergansers out on the lake for a while now
and for the last two days there have only been two on
the entire lake, but we did see a very strange sight yesterday.
A blue heron, or what we think was a heron, was picking
his way carefully across the newly formed ice just off
our shore. He went out for quite a way toward the edge
and then kind of bent over, turned around and came back.
No doubt the ice was moving under his feet and he decided
closer to shore was safer. Then he moved carefully and
slowly across in front of our shore and headed around
our point, nearly falling on his beak a couple of times
on the slippery ice since there was no snow on it yet.
The last time I saw him he was headed past our flags and
around the point. I stepped into the kitchen for a moment,
came back around the counter to look out the window again
and he was gone. I don't know if he went through
the ice or flew off but we never saw him again after that.
I have no idea what he was looking for or what he was
up to. Nothing that he was doing made any sense at all.
It was as though he had never seen ice before and he was
on this little tour. I'm guessing he was an immature,
this year's young, because he wasn't as big as the size
in the bird book shows he should have been, and his long
feathers weren't as long as they should have been.
The illustration in the bird book shows that the mature
Blue Herons have long fronds of brown and white feathers
flowing down the chest, a cap of longer feathers along
the back and a long crest of black feathers flowing back
from the top of the head. This little guy was kind
of feather challenged. He did have longer feathers
on his chest but it definitely didn't fit the elegant
trail in the bird book illustration and the crest on his
head was equally sorry. He looked more like a punk rocker
with a very bad hair day. It didn't help that a breeze
was blowing his do every which way. In any case, he didn't
look too sure of himself and I don't know what eventually
happened to him but I hope he succeeded in his quest,
whatever that might have been.
We went for a walk this afternoon and with the fresh
snow and grey sky, everything is pretty much black and
white with shades of grey now. The sun never did
make its way through the cloud and fog and the trees have
no color with no sun. Besides, pine and spruce tend to
take on a black hue in winter. It never did get above
-3C or 26.6F this afternoon but it might not drop much
tonight if it doesn't clear off. Mind you, as usual at
this time of year, it often clears off at night, the mercury
plunges, and then it clouds over in the morning before
the sun can warm things up.
Things don't look very good in the weather forecast
either. There's some heavy stuff coming in from
the Pacific and on the radar it looks thick enough to
not let a lot of sun in for the next week or so. They
are forecasting rain for the next seven days for the Lower
Mainland so it doesn't look good for them either. But
then, the forecasters aren't always right so maybe things
will pick right up.
There's not much new in the back woods. There doesn't
seem to be many creatures moving around and with a fresh
skiff of snow nearly every day, if they were there, we
should be seeing evidence of it. There are lots of little
squirrel tracks and the odd grouse track but I haven't
seen a single rabbit track yet. I don't know what's up
with that. No moose or deer tracks at all although
someone has been driving the back trails every morning
with a vehicle. I heartily hope they aren't hunting
because it's way too close to a lot of residences for
one thing, and I always hate to see an animal slaughtered
this close to home. Especially since there are enough
roads and trails farther out that a hunter can tap into.
You'll see from the photos on the right that we
went down the Hill last week. We had to go to
Bella Coola on Friday and noticed the same thing we did
two weeks before.... the water is still flowing. There
are lots of little streams and creeks that are running
right now that should have been dried up long since this
summer, and probably were. Certainly this time of year
is when you normally see the lowest water levels in the
rivers and creeks. You can't quite walk across the Fraser
River but it looks to be darned close at the bridge at
Sheep Creek. So we were really surprised to see water
running down in the Bella Coola Valley this past week.
Two weeks ago most of the creeks were running but since
there had been rain high up as well as snow and some melting,
it did explain the extra water. But to see it running
more than two weeks later was really surprising. We
did notice our own mountains were showing a lot of black
a few days ago that they hadn't had the week before,
so the only thing we can think of is that there has been
an inversion layer with warmer air aloft or it's been
raining up there. Or the sun has been shining like crazy
up there while we've been socked in down below here.
We left a beautiful day up here on Friday morning and
even from the Hill we could see that the mounmtains were
in the sun. But as we dropped down into the Valley as
we neared the bottom of the Hill we could see the heavy
overcast and fog moving in. The mountains towering over
the valley had a good dusting of fresh snow and while
it stayed reasonably dry while we were in Bella Coola,
it started to spit rain as we were leaving. HorseTail
Falls was running both times that we went down, which
is rare after July from what we've ever seen.
There is another set of falls on the right coming back
up the Valley toward Anahim that we've never seen running
past mid-summer but there was a huge ice waterfall when
we went by so it too has obviously been running up until
very recently. Boy, something has sure been happening
at higher elevations that we haven't been enjoying under
the cloud cover below. It's too bad it's not possible
to have a webcam on one of the towers up on the mountain.
It would be interesting to see what goes on up there at
times when we can't see past the clouds we're under.
This is the start of a new week so you'll find last month's
November Week One.
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!