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 4/2006
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.
Traveling In Cold Temperatures And Snow
cold and snow are not the ideal conditions for traveling
We had to pop down to the Okanagan this week, leaving
early Monday morning intending to return today. However,
a nasty winter storm was forecast for today so we decided
to put a rush on our errands and smoke back north last
night. Unfortunately, that storm was moving a lot faster
than predicted because we had snow flurries for at least
fifty percent of the 500 mile trip back and ran
into near blizzard conditions the last 100 miles home.
There were high winds and blowing snow even though you
could often see the moon and stars above. We could only
guess that the warm front moving in was sliding over the
stagnant cold front and creating localized squalls.
Our entire drive down Monday was on compact snow and ice
but at least the cold temperatures helped with traction.
When we left Nimpo Lake early in the morning the
temperature was -28C or 20 below zero Fahrenheit.
Thankfully, it was warmer than that the rest of the way
but not by much.
I felt really sorry for our two dogs because we had to
take them with us and they had to ride in the back of
the truck under the canopy. We had a quilt in there for
them and I warmed another at my feet with the truck heater
and put that in there for them as well. Still though,
it couldn't have been a very pleasant trip for them. They
were the other reason we came home early. -22C or -5F
is almighty cold for the 'sunny' Okanagan and since they
had to be in the truck during the day while we did our
running around I couldn't see putting them through that
any longer than absolutely necessary.
I had to do a bunch of walking around in the little town
of Summerland Tuesday afternoon, and it was just miserable
with a bitter wind on top of the cold temperatures. I
don't know what it was with the wind chill factored in
but I know it wasn't long before most of me, including
my well padded behind, was numb! My partner is
going to get the short end of the stick when it comes
to Christmas presents this year because I valued the skin
on my face more than the shopping. Sorry, honey!
I have to say that even though we often get colder temperatures
in the winter than most places in British Columbia, it
really is a dry cold. Laugh all you want at that old joke,
(..but it's a dry cold..) it really does make a difference
to one's comfort level once Nimpo Lake is frozen over.
But places like the Okanagan with its huge lake, or Vancouver
with all that ocean, are just nasty and damp. Throw
in cold temps and a little wind and you've got something
that will easily beat Siberia for misery so far as I'm
Vancouver was getting hit again last night with that big
system. You do have to feel sorry for them because the
people down there just are not equipped at all for snow,
freezing rain and power outages. They smashed the
all time record for snowfall with 36.6 cm or about 15
inches, last set in 1975. Now, their big concern
is for flooding because it's warmed up and the snow has
started to melt.
In any case, it's nice to be home. I can't stand all those
wall to wall people for long, especially the ones that
don't know how to drive in slippery conditions. Not only
do you have to look after yourself, you have to watch
out for all those other people on the road that still
drive like it's summer.
Last night I listened for a few moments to the odd calls
that Nimpo Lake makes when freezing up. It's got a pretty
good layer of snow on it and the groans of ice growing
are muffled, but when it's quiet, you can still hear them.
Today is a bright, sunny beautiful day. I saw the dogs
watching something and finally spotted what looked to
be a pair of foxes, black as night, bounding through the
snow around the edge of the lake. I went for a walk this
afternoon and at only about 5 degrees below freezing,
it was glorious. I stopped off to talk to our neighbour
plowing out his driveway with his fourwheeler. He
said that Tuesday morning, the thermometer by his bedroom
window registered 43 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, while
the one on his deck registered 40 degrees below.
A snowmobiling buddy down on the Main Arm registered 40
degrees below F as well while at the other end of Nimpo
Lake, Mary's thermometer registered 38 below F, while
our thermometer showed that it got down to 39 below. That's
pretty darn cold for November!
definitely have winter temperatures now although we are
warmer than some places in the province. Nimpo Lake temperatures
have been ranging around -21 or -22C or 8 to 10 degrees
below zero Fahrenheit. But many places in the province
are at 40 below F and colder (Celsius is the same
at that temperature) with the windchill. So far, we've
been lucky. A little breeze kicks up on occasion but none
of the winds they've been forecasting with warnings on
Amazingly, the snow just keeps drifting down day
after day. It's only a couple of inches each day
at most, but it adds up after awhile. We almost never
get heavy overcast and snow like this when it gets cold
but it's the same for most of British Columbia.
A massive cold front has been pushing down from
the north for the past couple of days and has met up with
a big low coming in from off the coast of Washington
and Oregon. The result has been a good dump of snow on
Vancouver and the Okanagan. That means there are a lot
of accidents and cars in very odd configurations in ditches
throughout the lower mainland. We've been watching some
of the newscasts, and when you see transit buses, tow
trucks and plow trucks in the ditch besides the requisite
number of cars and pickups, you know things are not
going to be good.
Temperatures are supposed to continue to drop every
day this coming week so it isn't going to be a
pleasant one. It's pretty early too when you consider
that we've had two cold spells this fall already, and
now temperatures that you don't normally see until late
The Main Arm of Nimpo Lake has frozen out on the other
side of the big island in front of our place in the last
couple of days, but I understand that farther down the
Arm toward the north, the lake is still open. Although
we haven't drilled and measured the ice in our bay in
front of the house, with cold temperatures like this,
the ice will build fast. It's unfortunate that
we have as much snow as we do on the ice because it insulates
and slows the freezing, causing poor quality ice and overflow.
Already you can see dark channels under the snow where
the ice has opened up, let water bubble up and refrozen.
We held a Christmas Bingo at our Nimpo Lake Community
Hall yesterday afternoon. We had collected donations from
businesses in Williams Lake, Tatla, Anahim and Nimpo Lake
in the hopes of raising money for upgrades to the Hall.
The turnout was okay but not as many people came as we
had hoped for. The most probable reasons were snow,
extreme cold and really lousy roads and I doubt
that many people from Anahim Lake felt like traveling
in those conditions. The same for people from Charlotte
Lake and Tatla. However, we got a good number of locals
and we made a little over 200 dollars. If nothing else,
perhaps we can improve the lighting or put some paint
on the exterior of the new addition.
Lots of thanks to those Directors that helped out with
the event, and especially to Leah, who organized it all.
We were just watching the news at supper and the roads
were definitely nasty and getting worse with Abbotsford
in the Fraser Valley receiving about 16 inches of snow.
Many sections of highway throughout southern British
Columbia were closed, many areas, including some
of the islands, are without electricity and it doesn't
look like there will be school for the kids tomorrow.
Snow day!!! That'll make them happy.
I probably won't be writing for the next three days or
so. For those of you in Vancouver and area drive safely
and as for the rest of the province, get your toques and
mukluks out folks, it's gonna get cold!
missed out on posting the last two days because we went
to town. Since it was for dentist appointments we would
normally just leave early in the morning and come back
the same day. However, they were calling for more
snow and generally nasty weather conditions, and
deer on the side of the road are hard to see in the dark,
so we decided to go into Williams Lake on Wednesday and
stay overnight. Besides, the Nimpo Lake Community Association
is putting on a Bingo to raise money this Saturday, and
we ran around town collecting donations for prizes from
the different businesses in town most utilized by the
people out West.
It's been snowing for the last three days. Just
snow flurries but it's built up to about three or four
inches of snow here. Williams Lake got fresh snow
the night before we got in and another dump the next morning
totaling about six inches all together. The roads were
a little slippery going in and no better coming back.
But they're utterly disgusting around Tatla. I've
heard people complaining about the Tatla Lake highway
maintenance area all fall and now I understand why.
Our roads aren't bad but you can tell where our maintenance
area stops and Tatla's starts. The line is even more
obvious on the other side of Tatla where their area stops
and Alexis Creek's starts. Most of Tatla Lake's area doesn't
look like it's seen much in the way of a snowplow. There
was still several inches of snow on the highway all ground
up by vehicles both coming and going and I didn't see
any sign of sand at all.
Once you hit Alexis Creek's part of the highway
maintenance, suddenly there's clear roads. Coming
back, even after the little snow, you could see a line
thawed down the centerline where the sanding crew had
dribbled mag out with their sand to run off the centerline
and into both lanes. There, it melts any ice or snow off
of the highway. The demarcation between the two
maintenance areas was sudden, with Alexis Creek's
area ending with a bang in black highway. Trust me, you
don't see black highway again in Tatla's area, and won't
for the rest of the winter. They're just doing a pathetic
job. In fact, ever since Interior Roads got the maintenance
contract for the Cariboo Chilcotin area with the lowest
bid, the entire road system went from being maintained
by the best out of 20 provincial contractors to being
the worst. Numerous lawsuits have done little to
improve the situation.
Our roads aren't great, but they're much better than Tatla's.
That's because the local guys that do these roads really
care about the people around here, and they do their best
with the equipment they've been given, most of which doesn't
work properly, or at all, or is underpowered for the job.
Unfortunately, we have another eight years to put up with
this maintenance contractor in the Cariboo Chilcotin area.
I'm just hoping not too many people are killed
on our highways in that period of time because of road
conditions. I spoke to some folks from Charlotte
Lake that were in Williams Lake while we were. They had
a bad accident on their way in this week up around Riske
Creek. They rolled their truck and totaled it. I don't
think they were hurt too badly but both are in the their
late sixties at the very least, and it's a lot easier
to get banged up at that age.
I saw a strange looking bird when I looked out the
window this morning, hopping around in the snow with what
looked like an enormous orange beak. I looked
at it through the binoculars and identified the orange
beak as a rosehip stuck on a normal sized black beak.
The bird was a Bohemian Waxwing, and I have never seen
one here before. Besides the crest, soft peachy grey color,
bright yellow fringe on the tail and little red points
on the wings, it had very distinct yellow, black and white
racing stripes on the wing. Like Andy said, Ski-doo
colors! He's a pretty big bird but he's awfully
brave. We have three cats and I'm a little concerned with
the confident way that he's jumping around in the snow
after rosehips or sitting on low branches close to the
ground. He might not last long.
We're expecting a nasty little deep freeze to come
in. The jet stream has dipped way to the south
bringing arctic temperatures down from the north. It's
a province wide deep freeze and even Vancouver is expected
to have well below freezing temperatures. It's not too
bad here right now with temps. at around -10C or about
15 degrees Fahrenheit. I think all that's saving us right
now is heavy cloud cover. Once that lifts....it's
gonna be cold!
Things are going to be haywire around here for the next
week so I'm not sure how often I will be able to post
articles. We've got the Bingo tomorrow and I'm backed
up on web page orders and calendars. If I don't get caught
up here, my clients are going to fire me! In the meanwhile,
thank you all for your patience. I hope
you're busy making preparations for the holidays and won't
even notice that articles are few and far between for
the next week.
I actually have a number of great images from our friends
in Quesnel of their adventure trips this summer to places
like Kluskus and Taseko, but I would like to post a little
bit of history along with the pictures taken around Kluskus.
The old Native Village actually has an interesting
background and of course the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage
Trail goes right by there. It will probably be
the first part of December before I can research the area
and post that information here, so hang in there!
Still Air and Boiling Water
a really still day with everything covered in a heavy
layer of hoarfrost. Not a sound or breath of wind.
The prelude to the cold spell we have coming I guess.
Last night too was dead silent, everything muffled by
that fine sifting of snow we had.
Many people in Vancouver are still under a 'boil water
advisory' and have been for a week. I confess, I just
don't get the water thing happening down there. Those
same people are buying boxes and boxes of bottled water
daily and using it for all their household needs, when
it's been made clear that the water is perfectly safe
to drink, as long as it has been boiled.
It's true that the water looks pretty thick and
colorful when they show a glass of it close up
on the television, and as straight water, certainly wouldn't
be attractive to drink. But I can't see not using it for
all other purposes. They're even saying don't let your
pets drink the water. Are you kidding me?
Have you seen some of those mud puddles or what's in the
ditch water that your dog sloshes through lapping all
the way on your walks? What comes out of the tap has nothing
on what's laying on the ground out there.
Actually, what's really laughable is that for some dogs,
their favorite treat is horse manure. Dogs absolutely
go AWOL over horse apples and I don't know why, but having
owned a horse breeding facility, I can tell you
that it doesn't matter what the breed, whether
delicate poodles, Jack Russells or Australian, they all
love them. You cannot convince me that there is anything
in the water coming out of the tap in Vancouver that has
nearly the bacteria that those goodies on the ground do.
What is this world coming to? I love my
dogs but ...I also figure that their immune system is
going to be a lot stronger by letting them be dogs.
This is going to be short one today but if you didn't
get a chance to read yesterday's post, you'll find it
Week Three. Bundle up and
stay warm folks!
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!