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 4/2009
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read stories like
'Lake Monsters' about the
go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
Thursday night I was outside getting wood for the stove
when I heard a loon call from out on the lake.
It wasn't just a single call either. He wound right up
and went on with a long call that you usually only hear
in spring or during the summer, but rarely in the fall
and certainly not this late. I told him he needed to get
his butt out of here because he's got two more weeks of
open water at most!
We were over at the neighbour's for diinner last night
and she knew the loon I was talking about. Apparently
another neighbour figures there's something wrong with
its wings or shoulders. They're guessing they've somehow
been damaged or injured and the bird simply can't fly.
It's really too bad that loons are such terrors when captured.
Otherwise you could hope to catch it, put it into a carrier
and haul it down to Bella Coola where there will be open
water all winter. But from everything I've heard, if they
don't beat you to death when you try to capture them,
they'll just about beat themselves to death in a cage.
So unfortunately, this loon will probably meet his
end when the lake freezes over and either an eagle,
fox, or coyote gets him. I don't think they eat much of
anything besides fish and without open water....
It was a pretty nice day yesterday, with a little sunshine
and temperatures that actually got to a couple of degrees
above freezing. However, it rained most of last night
and all this morning, and then this afternoon it started
snowing. Apparently we're supposed to get about
four inches of snow, which means nothing since
the weathermen rarely forecast for our area. We could
get very little snow or we could get ten inches of it.
It doesn't matter one way or another to me. Once you have
snow on the ground, more doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
Henry, one of our snowmobiling buddies, called Thursday
night and mentioned that there was between three and four
feet of snow above kilometer 24. The guys were all going
to take a ride up on sleds today to check it out, but
the rain this morning pretty much put the kibosh on that
idea. It's a bit too early for snowmobiling anyway. This
rain and then a hard freeze will develop a good base for
sledding but at this point in time, I think you risk hitting
rocks and stumps under the snow because there's no bottom.
There's a real cold spell predicted for next week
after this warm up, and that will freeze the snow hard.
We've got quite a bunch crowding around the bird feeder
on the deck every day now. There's a small Downie woodpecker,
and then a big one with a long beak more like a Pileated
woodpecker than a Hairy one. A few grosbeaks have arrived,
along with some nondescript birds a little smaller than
the chickadees. The Whiskey Jacks are hoarding the suet,
and I saw a scrubby looking squirrel on the feeder Friday
morning. I like most of the visitors but the Whiskey Jacks
and the squirrel could definitely take a powder. We never
used to have the jays hang around here before but I think
neighbouring visitors started feeding them and now we're
stuck with them. It doesn't take Camp Robbers long to
learn where the grub is. At least they're not as bad as
magpies. On the prairies, we used to have to feed our
dogs and cats in the house or else the animals had to
fight the birds for their own supper. The rotten things
are really, really smart too.
woke up at daybreak yesterday morning to the sound of
snow sliding off the roof. I'm thinking, "Hmmm. Now
that doesn't sound right." Then I realized it might
be because we had gotten a whole bunch of snow overnight
and I'm going, "No, no, no more snow, please."
Andy's gone and I had to be up at Nimpo Lake for a workshop
all day and did not feel like fighting snow to get there.
So I drag my sorry behind out of bed and look out our
bedroom door to the deck below. No snow. Cool! Back
to bed I go and just start snoozing when another great
crash and slide occurs just above my head. Even half asleep
I guess that there is definitely something wrong with
this picture. Finally, I realize I'm hearing the
soft pitter patter of rain on the roof and about
all you can do when you hear that in the middle of winter
is roll over and cover your head with a pillow. There
is nothing worse for driving than rain on snow because
it will freeze eventually and driving or
walking anywhere is most likely to be a hairy endeavor.
Which of course, is exactly what happened.
I drove home very carefully from Nimpo Last night without
mishap but walking on the road today was deadly. Even
with my 'chains' on my boots, I was skating down the road.
It actually paid to walk on the back trails in the woods.
I might have been sinking through the crust formed on
the skidoo trail, but at least it wasn't slippery and
I wasn't taking a header every few minutes.
We actually had a really nice day today.
The sun shone most of the time with only a few clouds
moving through and it actually got to two degrees above
freezing. It's supposed to be much warmer tomorrow but
I'm not sure that's going to happen out here. It only
dropped to just four degrees below freezing last night
and still took a good while to warm up. This evening it's
already at -7C or 19F and dropping fast so who knows if
it will make it above freezing tomorrow. Another sunny
day would be nice though.
I heard my first burble from the lake ice tonight!
The Main Arm still hasn't frozen over, although the water
was so still today that it was like a mirror. But with
temperatures dropping quickly after the sun warmed the
surface of the bay ice all day, it's bound to start making
I'm afraid I have to keep this short tonight because I've
work to do, but I did want to wish all of our American
friends a wonderfully Happy Thanksgiving.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Settling In For Winter
doesn't look like our snow is going to melt so I guess
we're settling in for the winter. Yesterday there were
several snow squalls on the horizon but we didn't get
any more than a little skiff, and the sun peeked out from
the clouds off and on until late afternoon when it cleared
right off. Last night was magnificent with a clear,
cold moon and every star in the sky twinkling away.
It was chilly, though. It was already down to -15C or
5F when I went to bed and still hasn't made it above -4C
or 25 so far.
I'm hoping the sun will make it out from behind some pretty
heavy cloud today so I can venture out on a walk with
the dogs today. Otherwise, with the cruel little breeze
out there right now, with no sun it's a bit chilly for
walking. I went out yesterday and decided to check out
the trail a neighbour and then Andy had run with snowmobiles.
It hadn't settled yet so it was a tough slog through the
soft snow. Good exercise I guess but I was definitely
doing the huff and puff while the dogs bounded through
the snow thinking this was all great fun. Lots of new
smells and coyote and fox tracks to follow as well as
squirrel and rabbit. They were having a ball while I struggled
along behind them.
On another front, JD Brecknock sent me a story the other
day about the Woman Turned to Stone. It's pretty cool.
"WOMAN TURNED TO STONE" As a young fellow growing up in
the Chilcotin I spent a good part of my time hunting,
fishing, chasing horses and exploring the various nooks
and crannies of that which formed my back yard.
Part of the mystique the Chilcotin is the Native Lore,
Tradition and History that makes it the wonderful place
it is. It certainly cast its spell on me at a very early
age. Nine years of age to be exact. My family moved to
the Chilcotin in 1956. There are a number of very sacred
places in the Chilcotin that native people still cling
to and honor to this day. I am familiar with some of them
and also cling to and honor these sacred places. I tend
to gravitate to one or more of these places on my annual
or semiannual visits back to the Chilcotin each year.
"WOMAN TURNED TO STONE" has been a symbol of Traditional
Chilcotin Native Culture for God knows how long and certainly
long before the "May-dah" (phonetic term meaning white
men) came to the Chilcotin. I have never paid a visit
to this site when there was not clear evidence that it
is still revered in the hearts and minds of the Chilcotin
people around Alexis Creek. It is a place that is still
frequently visited by a good many of the Chilcotin people
and a few "May-dah". Offerings and tributes are still
evident and have been ongoing since I was just a "wee
nipper" and certainly over the 50 years I have been visiting
I had forgotten the legend/lore with respect to the site
over the years and simply recall that she was called the
"Woman Turned to Stone". My interest was piqued and I
felt compelled to learn the "Lore" as it pertains to this
Sacred Site. I relied on my resident Eldest Brother's
knowledge of the Valley and his friends and contacts to
try to once again learn about the "Woman Turned to Stone".
Legend is that this woman had gone down to the River with
her husband for one thing or another and both were assaulted
by unknowns. The woman was reportedly raped by the trespassers.
She began walking back up the hill and sat down crying
and humiliated. At that point and time, shamed and disgraced,
she simply turned into stone. Native people have visited
this site and left offerings and tributes at this most
sacred of all sacred places for eons.
Some peoples believe that the "Woman Turned to Stone"
has healing qualities and that if you leave something
in her care that might have touched that part of you that
is afflicted; you will be cured. Some also believe that
the Healing of Spirit is obtainable by paying homage to
the "Woman Turned to Stone" Good Luck is also attainable
by paying homage and tribute.
I have been unable to escape the lure and mystique of
this Historic and Sacred site. Each and every time I have
paid a visit, I too leave an offering. The entire Chilcotin
in itself is somewhat of a sacred place to me and many
other people as well. She brings real focus to Native
On Mother's Day 2008, my Family paid a visit to the site
once again. My brother Slim was quick to caution young
family members that this was indeed a very sacred site
and that it is to be treated and respected as such. Such
was the case then; is today and I hope forever.
The Stone is honored with a variety of offerings and gifts
and has included everything imaginable. Rifle shells and
casings, rosary beads, coin, cloth & clothing; just about
everything you could imagine. I obtained a few photos
of the "The Lady" but I am reluctant to identify the exact
location. Her location is known to many and is not necessarily
a secret. However, I trust that those who may seek her
whereabouts respect and honor her presence, location and
treat the site with the dignity she deserves.
John D. Brecknock
was also kind enough to send some photos that I'll post
here. It is a most interesting stone and I can understand
why the natives pay tribute to it.
My neighbour sent me more pictures of the muskrat family
at the bridge which I'll also post here.
And we're back to a new week again. Last week's paltry
two 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!