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 3/2006
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. Check out the
of the Day.
you probably noticed, there was no article yesterday.
I had just finished a long proposal and email and with
only a few seconds away from sending it off and starting
on an article for the blog ...boom, my battery backup
started squealing, the power flickered off and on three
times in a matter of seconds, then gone. I managed to
get everything saved and my computer shut off, then
looked around at a very dark place that was quickly getting
darker as daylight faded. I got the candles lit,
hunted up a couple of flashlights, and called a neighbour
at the other end of the lake to verify the power was out
Supper was a simple affair with homemade soup out of the
freezer, crackers and a jar of pickled asparagus. We can
cook quite easily because our stove is gas but cooking
a big meal is a lot more complicated when you can't see
well, you don't want to be opening the fridge door up,
and you can't use the water. I think a good generator
is the next major purchase on the agenda. Power
outages are going to become more and more common for us
so we might as well get set up so that it just doesn't
One example of that is how technologically dependent we
have all become. I am always on the computer while Andy
usually watches television or is on his computer when
not working outside. So when the power goes out, for a
few moments you're usually left wondering what else there
is to do. I love reading but get to do it so seldomly
anymore that a power outage actually offers the only opportunity
that I can sit down and read a book.
But, last night after supper, Andy suggested we take
a drive and see what had taken the power out because if
it was off that long it must be something major.
So we loaded up a pop for him, ice tea for me, heavy gloves,
jackets and our two big spotlights and away we went.
The perfect definition of a romantic evening in
the Chilcotin? Driving up and down the highway
hanging out the windows of the truck in -12C temperatures
shining a spotlight up on the power lines and fine snow
dust dancing in the spotlight beams. Romantic, I
tell you. The only thing that could have made
it better is that we should have brought some nice, hot
chocolate in insulated mugs with us rather than the cold
We ran across the Hydro guys from Bella Coola when we
hit Anahim Lake, also slowly driving up and down the roads
with their spotlight on the hydro lines. The electricity
had just been turned back on, but they'd isolated everything
east of Anahim, including Nimpo Lake, until they could
figure out what knocked out the power.
We turned around and went back, toured the mill yard and
then headed south of Nimpo Lake toward Towdystan. We had
been talking on the radio to a highway's guy and friend
of Andy's that was also out driving around looking at
hydro lines with his girlfriend. You can tell there's
a lot of nightlife on a Monday night in this area, can't
We were out for well over two hours when finally, just
as we were driving back through Nimpo Lake the lights
came back on. That meant getting back to work on the computer
when we got home doing stuff I was now five hours behind
on. Which also meant I had no time to get an article written
for yesterday. Long story to describe such a little thing,
The ice had been broken back to our shore in the last
few days but this morning we woke up to cold temperatures
and Nimpo Lake frozen clear out past the island in one
night! Andy surmised that all that broken ice
had to melt into the water, chilling it quickly. As soon
as the wind and temperature dropped, the water was going
to freeze immediately, and boy, did it ever!
It's been sifting down really fine snow all day. It's
only built up an inch or so but I guess that's an inch
we didn't have before! A small group of Trumpeter
Swans circled the open water out on the Main Arm
a few times before finally landing. It was hard to see
at that distance in the grim light, but there were two
distinctly grey/black swans with the group that have to
be this year's offspring.
Even colder temperatures are predicted for the next week
for the entire province so I guess we're going into the
deep freeze for awhile. The lake should freeze up good
and solid though.
GreyCup Sunday, everyone. For you BC fans, bringing home
the GreyCup has to make you pretty darn happy. For the
Americans that like football but aren't too sure about
the CFL, our GreyCup is the equivalent to your Superbowl.
To us, anyway.
The big storm expected to come rolling in today materialized
but not in nearly the devastating manner the weathermen
have been predicting for the past week. Vancouver got
far less rain than predicted and although winds
were high and most of the ferries were cancelled again,
the damage wasn't that bad. There were a few more
downed trees and power outages for some areas, but all
in all, the storm sailed through quickly.
We got some very mild temperatures this morning and a
hard rain. That certainly didn't help the conditions of
the side roads or highway and since I had to get out and
about on business today, I was not impressed.
Warmer temperatures at Nimpo Lake and the hard
rain turned our road into a slushy, slippery soup.
The highway was a real mess until about half way to Anahim
Lake when cooler temperatures started tightening up the
road a bit but fresh snow made it difficult to see whether
there was ice underneath. Anahim Lake itself had knee
deep snow pushed up into the center line and slush in
the tracks, making for difficult driving. I'm not sure
what was up with that. I assume the highways boys
were concentrating on the highway to the top of the Bella
Coola Hill since that road is a really rotten
stretch to keep up on and often sees a lot of snow.
One little storm after another swung through, alternating
between rain and driving snow making it very unpleasant
for anyone working outside today, but at least we didn't
get too harsh a winds. I had to stop at a friend's and
deliver calendars. There was a big spruce that had snapped
off part way up the trunk in the last wind. It was
lying right across their driveway and exactly where both
their vehicles are normally parked. It would have
crushed both trucks had they not been at work that morning.
We lost some snow to our the Pinapple Express today but
that big Alaskan low is moving down along the coast of
British Columbia and temperatures are supposed to drop,
so maybe we'll keep what snow that hasn't already melted.
We also lost most of the ice in front of our place
as the winds whipping up on Nimpo Lake last night and
today kept breaking up the ice that had grown
nearly out to the island and crushed it against the shore.
The ducks are happy though. They can feed close to shore
Nothing else new around here other than that I am listing
a house on the lake about mid week so you may wish to
take a look at that. A girl from Germany staying over
at Escott Bay in Anahim Lake has generously offered to
loan me some pictures for this site. She's assisted the
owners of the resort with their trailriding and pack trips
for the last couple of summers and has taken lots of pictures.
That will round out Bill and Anita's pictures very nicely
and make for great variety on the site.
a result of that last storm about two million people in
the Vancouver region are under a 'boil water advisory'.
I guess a number of mudslides have put a considerable
amount of mud and debris in the water reservoirs, increasing
turbidity to up to 90%. In other words, the water's
just a little muddy, folks! It just makes better
coffee to my mind but I guess they figure it's possible
that some people might be at risk and have told people
to boil their water as a precautionary measure. Of course
there were stampedes on the stores for bottled water and
many stores down on the mainland ran out of it early this
morning. I guess most of them wouldn't approve much of
what we drink. Our water comes out of Nimpo Lake,
a very clean lake but with the usual beaver and fish reproduction
stuff happening, not to mention fishing boats, fishermen
and runoff. But as Andy mentioned today, that's probably
exactly why we don't get colds or flu or sick in any way.
Perhaps because our bodies are exposed to bacteria on
a daily basis, we've built up a strong immune system.
I still remember when we were kids growing up at the 'old
log house' (our name for our first Canadian homestead)
we drew water from a spring near a meadow. After breakup
you'd often notice little creatures swimming around in
the water buckets, most of them tiny see-through things.
You really didn't start to complain until you got creatures
big enough that they stuck between your teeth...lol.
Most power customers have had their electricity
restored down south now but a few are still doing without.
It sounds like the Bella Coola Valley had its fair share
of troubles after this last storm as well with many people
doing without electricity for some time. Power was finally
restored at the other end of Nimpo Lake at about 8:00
last night but there is still no power up to tv hill,
so no television or radio for those without satellite.
There's probably a tree across the line or heavily weighted
lines snapped together and shorted out. The cause will
have to be found before replacing the breaker for that
line or it will blow the power out for the residences
in the area again. If it's not fixed before the
CFL football final GreyCup game on Sunday there'll be
a few extremely upset people around.
The breeze has pounded back the ice in front now so that
there is only a small area that's frozen out from our
shore. There's still ice right over to the eastern shore
but high winds are expected in the next two days and that
may well disappear as well. The sun came out for a little
while today and it warmed up above freezing. That was
of huge benefit to the trees, causing a lot of the heavy
snow to finally fall off of the boughs and make them less
likely to snap.
We've definitely got a Pineapple Express coming
in so the temperature will go up and our snow
will probably go down. Too bad. It would have been an
awesome base for snowmobiling this winter.
weather hasn't improved much. We only got about
12 or 13 inches of snow in total yesterday, although there
was a little more toward Anahim Lake. Unfortunately
it got pretty cold last night and has frozen the heavy
snow onto the tree boughs. Sadly, we lost 12 or 15 feet
of the top of one of our pines that was still green and
hadn't been attacked by beetles yet and could easily lose
many more now that the wind has started up. These are
just the perfect conditions for bringing down both trees
and power lines.
At the other end of Nimpo Lake, my mother is melting snow
for water and using coal oil lamps for light because they're
still out of power down that way. Three fuses blew simultaneously
on the power line and they're waiting for a lineman
to come from Williams Lake. He's had to make stops
all the way out to repair downed lines, including a long
section at Kleena Kleene. Apparently the lineman from
Bella Coola couldn't make it up because they have their
own set of problems with extensive damage to the power
lines from heavy snow, freezing rain and downed trees.
We are in much better shape than many other places in
the province. All the way from Prince George south, power
is out and BC Hydro is even calling guys out of retirement
to repair lines. Vancouver Island, West Vancouver and
the Fraser Valley areas had devastating weather yesterday.
High winds of 60mph and gusting to hurricane force knocked
down trees all over highways and onto houses and power
lines. The highway to Squamish was closed for
most of the day because so many old growth trees had fallen
on the highway and most ferries were cancelled because
of high winds and waves. Apparently there was a tsunami
warning for the coast because of the earthquake off the
coast of Russia but they said if there was a tsunami swell,
it wasn't noticeable in the waves being whipped up in
the wind at high tide.
An emergency worker was just in the process of being
interviewed when a huge tree came crashing down on a house
up on the hill behind him and sheared off the
deck on the front of the house and took out part of the
roof. It looked just like a knife slashing down, falling
with a lot of speed and force. A good part of the news
hour last night was spent on footage showing debris and
trees all over the streets and hanging in the power lines.
A huge framework of steel girders of a building
under construction blew down and crushed several
cars, power poles and took down power lines. Fortunately,
all the construction workers were on coffee break in a
cement underground parking lot.
There was a tremendous amount of rain with the storm and
if streets weren't blocked because of downed trees, they
were blocked because of flooding. About 250,000 homes
were without electricity yesterday and many would still
be without power today. A lot of people, including
emergency coordinators admitted that they had never seen
a storm like that in the Vancouver area.
I felt sorry for one poor fellow in Chilliwack. His home
had been completely flooded and badly damaged last week
when the river overflowed its banks. I think the news
reporter and camera man were on site to do a short story
on the man's misfortune when two trees came crashing down
on his roof. Sometimes, you just can't win.
After watching the news last night and seeing all the
flattened cars, including a police car that had two officers
inside when a tree came crashing down on it, damaged houses,
downed power lines, flooded streets, breached sea walls,
and a suburb that had to be evacuated because of the trees
being blown over, I really have to be glad I'm living
where I am.
The big low off the coast of Alaska is still sitting
there churning more storms on to the coast of British
Columbia. We're supposed to get hit again on Saturday,
and our temperatures are noticeably cooler, but otherwise,
we're in pretty good shape.
Yesterdays big slush floe has frozen hard and definitely
become a permanent part of our shore and the lake was
frozen several hundred feet out from our place this morning.
Past the floe the ice was much thinner though because
you could see it undulating with the ripples of water
being pushed under it by the waves. To our east the lake
is frozen right to the other shore and is glassy smooth
past the flags as you can see in the picture taken this
morning up on the right. Our back bay, right to the Dean
channel, looks to be completely frozen over as well. How
long it will last with this wind kicking up is hard to
tell. Already, quite a bit of the ice farther out
has broken up into klinkers and you can hear the musical
sound of the pieces rocking against the more solid ice.
As you can see, I've finally gotten into a new week. If
you would like to read last week's articles, you will
find them at November,
Week Two and of course yesterday's
weather is posted below.
Chilcotin Weather Forecast
a quick little update from the informal weather center
in the Chilcotin. (That's me..lol.)
I woke up to about 11 inches of fresh snow this
morning and it's still snowing hard. Probably
at a rate of an inch or more an hour. It's really strange
snow though. Heavy, heavy stuff that when you push it
up with a shovel, just stays there in whatever form it
landed. Great for building snowmen and snowballs!
Andy went out at about 6:00 this morning and he said that
whoever went out before him was pushing snow with the
undercarriage of his pickup truck. I guess it's a good
thing our road was plowed yesterday or with about a foot
and a half of snow on it no one would be going anywhere.
That heavy stuff doesn't push worth a darn with
I finally relented and put some seed back in the bird
feeder today. I was going to wait until well into December
until the thieving Jay and killer hawk were gone, but
to heck with it. Those chickadees are going to have a
hard time finding food under all of this snow right now.
We were having a late breakfast today and slowly
into view comes this massive sheet of slush floating from
across Nimpo Lake toward our shore. I couldn't
believe it because I've never seen that before. I don't
know if an ice sheet broke away from someone else's shore
or if the slush formed over a cold water pocket in the
lake. It took a while to get here but it's landed against
our shore now. It'll chill the water quickly and may be
a permanent fixture for the rest of the winter if there's
no wind. The ducks have had to move outside of it and
can no longer dive among our reeds so maybe they know
something I don't.
The power has been off down at the other end of
the lake since early this morning and has effected
places like Nimpo Lake Resort. When I got up this morning
the warning beeper on my battery backup for my computers
was squealing so we must have gotten a power surge when
their power went out. With the high winds last night it
could either have been a tree fallen across the line,
or even a heavy, snow laden branch might have shorted
the electricity out. Unfortunately, there's well
over a foot and a half of snow up on top of Heckman Pass
so I don't know how long it will take the linemen to come
up from Bella Coola to make repairs.
There's a definite advantage to heating with wood stoves,
and having cooler weather when the power goes out. If
it's off for any length of time you can always gather
up foodstuffs from out of the fridges and freezers, stuff
them into coolers and stick them outside in the snow.
And with wood heat you never have to worry about freezing
as many other places do. The only hardship might be finding
your wood pile which I did experience once after that
four feet of snow we had in 24 hours back in 1990. Just
about this time of year in fact.
Getting two good dumps of snow two days in a row is unusual
in this part of the country but they are calling
for another two feet of snow in the Coast Mountains tonight.
That's us! I kind of wondered when I saw the satellite
shots with dopplar radar on the news last night. It's
not very often we're in the 'yellow' and Vancouver was
definitely in the 'red' so I thought we might be in for
it. That's okay. I don't have to go anywhere for the next
month or two and other than breaking my windshield wiper
clearing snow off of my truck this morning, I'm in way
better shape than those that have to travel in this stuff.
Or worse yet, those that have to work in it.
I don't envy the guys on highways right now.
One of their trucks was flopped over in the ditch up at
the top of the hill last night and a grader was going
to try to make it up from Bella Coola today to help get
it pulled out. The only thing working on the local grader
is the wing plow and with a wing plow on only one other
truck, those guys are going to have a heck of a time keeping
up on this snow. The Bella Coola 'Hill' itself might be
of great concern to those trying to keep it clear. This
is just the kind of weather that brings mud and snow slides
down on the road.
A storm like this is kind of cool, if you don't have to
drive in it, that is. It's almost silent outside and all
you can hear is the steady thumping of snow falling off
the trees and every once in a while huge clumps go whizzing
past my office window from off the roof. Which reminds
me, I probably better get this posted if I still have
satellite (the dish may be full of snow) because with
this heavily saturated snow, I don't expect us to have
electricity for long.
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!