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 3/2009
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of the Day.
Winter, Winter, and more Winter
definitely getting an early leg up on a full blown winter
this year. We've gotten flurries off and on throughout
the week but we ended up with another good four
inches of snow on the ground yesterday morning
and a skiff this morning. But it sounds like we haven't
received nearly as much snow in the past week as other
places, including Charlotte Lake, which has at least a
foot or more snow than we do.
Even so, Andy has spent a considerable time this week
on the Bobcat trying to get our own driveway cleared and
the snow pushed back on the sides because there's no way
of knowing how much more snow we'll get. Today he spent
time clearing a neighbour's long, hilly driveway and clearing
out the entrance to two of other neighbours' driveways
so that when they do get in this winter, they won't have
a hardened snow bank pushed up by the grader on the main
road to get through. Now if the snow would just let up
for a day or two, he'll be able to get firewood tomorrow
instead of spending all his time plowing.
Anyone else with an ATV or pickup with a plow has
been very busy this week plowing out people's
driveways and business parking lots. We could definitely
use one more person in the area with a plow truck to help
Our temperatures have actually been really good for the
most part with only a few degrees below freezing most
nights, and one or two degrees above during the day. But
last night it went down to -15.5C or 4F and never got
above freezing today because the sun never made
it out much except early this morning. We have those clouds
rolling along the mountains to the south and the sun is
low enough in the sky this time of year that we just don't
see much of it and it doesn't put off enough heat to burn
the cloud off. Probably our nicest day this week was Thursday
when it got above freezing, the sun was out for part of
the day, and there wasn't much of a breeze. Otherwise,
it's pretty much typical November weather and I finally
had to break out my daylight lamp. Actually, that was
on Andy's suggestion after he came home a couple of days
ago to find me muttering about winters and the lack of
sun. We've seen snow flurries every day this week
and I'm just not used to that here.
Still, even though there isn't much sun right now, there's
still cool stuff to see in the winter. The neighbour sent
me great pictures of a muskrat living down on the Dean
River where it exits Nimpo Lake. Andy has seen it several
times and he pointed it out to me this afternoon when
we went up to Nimpo. It's in exactly the same spot as
where our neighbour took the animal's picture and he says
there's a family of them there.
We watched a coyote taking his time crossing the
frozen part of Nimpo Lake in front of our place today.
Actually, he was over smelling around the same place where
some bald eagles and ravens have been hanging out for
the past few days, so he must have got scent of some carrion
on the ice. It will have been something that fell in trying
to cross that slush when it was still soft, or a bird
or muskrat that was frozen in overnight. In any case,
he took his own sweet time leaving that spot and then
moseyed all along the shore in front of some docks just
across the bay in search of food, or maybe just curious.
He sure hasn't been going hungry. He's in really good
Oh Geez..... Andy just called me outside because he was
taking the dog for a walk and saw all the snow that has
fallen in the past hour or so, unbeknownst to us. There's
at least an inch already and it's still coming down.
More decks to shovel. More long hours on the Bobcat for
We're supposed to get a break in the weather tomorrow
afternoon, and then the next system moves in early Monday
morning with snow expected for the next three or four
days after that, or possibly until the weekend. That will
make the snowmobilers happy. A couple of people have already
been out carving up the back trails, which is actually
nice because hopefully those tracks will harden up so
that I can start walking the trails again. At this
point in time though, it might be better to ski them.
Or strap on a pair of snowshoes like Andy did this evening
in order to go check on a neighbour's place.
I haven't been walking for any distance for at least a
week now, with part of the reason being that first big
snow we had. It had accumulated on the trees so much that
I did not want to walk anywhere near them while the wind
was blowing, including along the main road. Some trees
have snapped or bent over the road and I suspect the back
trail has its share of sweepers on it now. But in most
places along our road, the snow seems to have dropped
off the trees to where they're quite safe now, the exception
being down past the gun range where neither sun nor wind
has affected a protected grove of trees. Now I just have
to see if the trees are clear of snow in the woods where
it's also protected from sun or wind. Maybe we'll take
the sleds out tomorrow and beat a path down on the back
trail that will give a good walking base through the winter.
One may as well start doing winter things since
it appears to be winter now.
Not So Winter Wonderland
have a winter wonderland out there, but it's not so benign
It started snowing on Sunday, hard. They
were mostly fine flakes but they didn't let up and by
Monday morning we had nine inches of fresh snow on the
ground. I don't know how many times we went out Sunday
to shovel off the decks, but at one point the snow was
so heavy and wet that I could barely push it. Another
wild snow storm started yesterday afternoon with such
a strong wind that it was driving monster flakes into
the front windows. It only lasted an hour or less but
we ended up with another couple of inches of snow.
The sun succeeded in making its way through heavy, black
clouds as one squall after another passed through but
it wasn't around for long. I was really hoping the temperature
would come up. It had stayed right around freezing Sunday
night but had dropped to a couple of degrees below by
yesterday morning and wasn't coming up very fast. I
wanted that heavy wet blanket of snow to melt off the
trees, but no such luck. Lots of them were bent
over and once when we were outside yesterday the top half
of a pine tree in our yard snapped off under the weight
of the snow. There were a few more in the yard that were
bent over from the weight so we've had to park our trucks
well away from them. Andy tried knocking the snow off
of the one tree before it broke, but the ice build up
was just too much.
We've had pretty good winds yesterday and today that's
helped to knock some of the snow off, but a lot of the
trees are just too coated and too bent over, including
trees along the power lines throughout the area.
We figured the power would go out with the combination
of the heavy snow on the trees and wind and and it finally
did yesterday morning. We had a bump Sunday night,
and another at about five in the morning that knocked
out power to neighbours across the lake. Ours finally
went out around 11:00 and didn't come back on again until
about 9:30 this morning. It didn't last long though. By
10:30 there were several bumps, power on, power off, and
it finally went off for good for about three hours. This
time it didn't just affect our road, it took out power
in Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake. At least this time we didn't
have to wait for so long to get it back. I saw the Hydro
guy fueling up at the store this morning and congratulated
him for getting our power back three hours earlier than
expected. Shortly after I got home it was out so I don't
expect he got very far down the road before he was called
back again. Normally, since our Hydro repair comes
up from Bella Cool or out from Williams Lake, we have
at least a three hour wait before they even get here.
At least we have our generator so we can power up the
fridges and freezers and water pressure tank if the power
is going to be off for any length of time. It's a little
awkward winding extension cords through the cat door and
throughout the house, but it works! For a change I actually
had a real lamp to read by last night instead of a flashlight.
That is one benefit of a power outage. No power, no electronics.
All that's left to do in the evenings is read a book and
I don't get to do that very often.
While we were getting our snow, apparently the Bella
Coola Valley was hit with a massive amount of rain and
snow right to the docks. I guess there were trees
down all over the place and the entire valley was without
electricity, and in some cases phone, so their first taste
of winter was no picnic either.
I just checked and it's nearly -2C now, so no more warm
up for today. The sun has disappeared and it looks like
another squall is coming in but at least the trees have
shaken some of that snow in the wind. I'm still not liking
the looks of a couple of them, though. We may just have
to bite the bullet and get an arborist from Williams Lake
to top a couple of trees when they're out this way next
time. The one tree is a big spruce next to the house and
could inflict some serious damage to the roof, the porch,
or my truck if it breaks off.
I was amazed when I got up yesterday morning to see that
it looked as though the lake had frozen right out to the
island, except the 'ice' looked grey. Then I watched
this muskrat pop up through it and decided it had to be
slush. The snow came down so thick and so fast
Sunday night that it lay in the water and because the
lake is so cold right now, it didn't melt. Andy and I
went down to the dock yesterday after a morning of shoveling
and clearing the driveway with the Bobcat so he could
test the 'ice'. It was slush all right. He put his foot
right through it, which means it will make ugly ice. It
hardened up enough that when we got another couple of
inches of snow last night, it sat on top and stayed white.
I think that the slush has turned to ice now, though,
because the wind has blown some of the snow off and polished
it. I kept hoping the wind would be strong enough to break
it up like it has the better ice from the past few days,
but so far, it isn't budging even though there are whitecaps
out on the Main Arm.
The bald eagles are enjoying the slush. I've seen
them several times out there this afternoon picking away
at something frozen into the ice in a few different spots.
I think that sometimes bugs or freshwater shrimp, or some
sort of feed must end up on or in the ice when it first
freezes over, and again when it thaws in the spring, because
they're often out there pecking away at something. Aside
from a few other birds, I've seen little moving around
while it's been stormy for the last few days. Although
I did hear a pack of coyotes on the eastern side of the
lake the other night. They had someone's dog upset because
it was just going nuts barking.
So, in the end, this fine winter storm has resulted in
ugly ice, (porous ice that won't hold as much weight as
good, clear ice does) one broken tree with more possible,
a lot of bushes and small trees that may not ever stand
up straight again, and a power outage that I'm hoping
hasn't damaged anything. It's not bad when the power goes
out and stays out, but we had four or five bumps this
morning and another six or seven later on. That can't
be good for some stuff like freezers and fridges. But
hey! If you like snow, we've got lots of it!
Unless we get a Pineapple Express, we're already well
on our way to having a good base for snowmobiling this
Last week's articles can be found 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!