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 - Oct. Week 1/2006
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.
Snow Rolling In?
been some pretty white looking cloud hanging over the
mountains all afternoon and evening. There's no question
that it's snowing over the mountains. It's just a matter
of whether we're going to get it tonight or not. That
isn't necessarily a good thing when your cement footings
are drying and you're trying to get the pony walls up
on the porch we're building. One thing about bad weather
coming in, you're certainly encouraged to get a
move on when it comes to building projects and winterizing.
It's already dipping toward freezing tonight, even though
we have some pretty heavy cloud out there and we've kept
a wood fire going all day.
I know I haven't had much time to write lately, so...
I have to tell you a story from last winter and I'll post
it below just as it was initially written. However, after
getting a call from a fellow named Shawn down in Vancouver,
who denied all, I agreed to withdraw the story in the
first week of December of last year when I first wrote
the article. It turns out however, that our 'community
intuition' was true, and this guy pulled the wool over
my eyes. So, I'm a sucker. But that only happens once
06/12/2005 Interesting Story
Sometimes you hear some interesting things in this country.
Goes kind of like the Ballad of Sam McGee. Or many of
the stories of the past did.
This is a more modern story that fits with our day and
age and our unfortunate reputation throughout North
America as being prime producers of top grade
marijuana, better known as BC Bud. British Columbia,
particularly the lower mainland, is known for
it anyway. To the best of my knowledge, that was never
something that was in production in this part of the country.
Until, possibly, now.
The only reason I might give this rumour any kind of weight
is because I know the party involved very well, and that
party is a pretty sleazy and questionable individual and
stands out because we just don't have many people like
that here. This person operates a tourist based business
in the area and supposedly sold out to a Vancouver based
concern that was going to utilize the operation as a private
'school'. Supposedly, the previous owner was going to
stay on for a few more months and one of the reasons was
to put up a large building for the 'school'. Interestingly,
said building purportedly has no windows, a combination
lock, and no one is allowed to go in there. And
the power has been blown several times down at that end
of the lake.
Nothing unusual, especially for a bunch of backwoods types
like us, if we all didn't watch a lot of news televised
out of Vancouver. Repeatedly, people living on a block
are asked if they had any suspicions about their neighbours
before the cops busted a grow-op in a house
in the neighbourhood. The answer used to be no, but most
people have wised up down on the Coast and spot the tell
tale signs of a marijuana grow-op or meth lab in their
neighbourhood a lot more easily.
Logistically, this would be a lot different area for that
sort of thing than Vancouver would be. We have a
very small police force, many of which are not
trained in that area of expertise and with little equipment,
no judge to issue a search warrant (nearest is 200 miles
away so any suspicious material is long gone by then),
no nosy neighbours (most places are pretty private here)
and a couple of properties are near the main highway with
private drives so the comings and goings of vehicles strange
to the area are not as noticeable. Prime pickings for
Asian influence possibly?
I kind of wonder what we've got cooking out here.
But it's all conjecture, and the magical thing is that
nothing can go unnoticed for too long in this country.
Especially since the property across from the one in question
has just gone up for sale and lot lines laid for a subdivision.
Darn! Here come the nosy neighbours!
07/12/2005 Better & Better!
This time there are some facts to accompany the rumour
mill. This goes with the Interesting Rumours story
from yesterday. One of our local pilots flew over
that long building about which we are all suspicious and
said every building had snow on the roof except for that
one. Normally that only happens if you have a lot of heat
escaping a building, either because the building is heated
but has little or no insulation in the ceiling, or has
insulation but the building is producing an abnormal amount
I did want to track down the rumour that the electricity
had been blown several times at that end of the lake.
I spoke to our local meter reader today on another matter
pertaining to that area and asked him about the perceived
problems there. All he said was that the transformer
had been blown and was replaced. That's a primary
hydro line at that end of the lake but only two people
are utilizing it during the winter so you wouldn't think
there would normally be a problem with overload. It's
too bad that they have a law under the Privacy Act that
means BC Hydro can no longer report abnormal electrical
usage to the RCMP.
I was talking to a friend today who not only already knew
all about these 'suspicions' but had passed them on to
our RCMP Members posted here so I guess we'll see if they
go check things out.
Okay, we're back to October 2006...titillated yet?
Our little community finally has a pretty good idea of
what actually happened over at that end of the lake with
the strange building and the sleaze that owned the lodge
has since lost it to the bank and the previous owner.
So the rest of the story comes tomorrow. Oh, and I also
got some more pictures of the Country Inn Motel from Oscar
at the restaurant which I will post tomorrow. See you
then, I hope.
today was certainly a varied one.
It was well below freezing last night and cloudy all day
today and we found that our water pump suctioning
out of the lake for watering and emergencies had frozen.
The cast is cracked and it's had the bird so we kind of
screwed up there. At least it was really old and wasn't
a big monetary loss.
We had to mix cement and pour it for porch footings this
morning. We were very fortunate to have our neighbour
over helping and he loaned us his cement mixer, which
was bonus. We have had quite a deep hole in front of the
door for the past week, (which makes getting in
and out of the house a bit of a challenge) and
wanted to pour footings in the bottom for our porch frame
to sit on. Because of the depth of the hole, we had to
mix the cement, wheelbarrow it over, pour it down a plywood
ramp onto some boards. From there you had to shovel the
cement into the footings. Like I said, thank heavens for
the neighbour! I managed to get covered with cement from
head to toe. Much more and I would have looked like a
That done, I still had to go to Nimpo for a little while
and on my return, cleaned up some emergency computer work
I hadn't finished before pouring this morning, and then
started cleaning smoked rainbow trout off the bones for
canning this evening. Thanks to Mary down at Nimpo Lake
Resort who did the smoking, we now have our smoked trout
treats for the winter. It just took us a long time
to accumulate our measly seven or eight fish this year
not because the fishing was ever bad, we just
didn't have the time. But that's okay, it's all we need.
We have a couple of boxes of tomatoes and peppers that
need canning so that has to be fit in somewhere between
pie baking for the benefit dinner on Sunday and calendar
orders of which I have many. Right now, I feel like
I'm up to my behind in alligators, and just about
when I think I can see some horizon, I get another order,
a scream for help, someone wants a web page built or a
client wants a complete redesign on their calendars. I
think I am going to start charging setup fees for redesigns,
especially for the 'habitual' clients. The ones that want
changes every year. Actually, there's only one that's
bad for that but I'm starting to lose patience with doing
things for free in my business. There's just the
very rare time that I actually miss having a job where
you just work for eight hours a day, five days
a week and the rest of the time, your time is your own.
But, then again, I like the freedom that working for myself
brings. Like when you want to go fishing...except that
we have no time to do that right now. Oh yeah, see the
car up on the right? Anyone want to buy a car? Besides
getting the porch built, we have to build something over
our holiday trailer and get that car under some kind of
cover before winter hits.
There were some guys on the lake this morning in a flat
bottomed river boat dragging a gang line dripping
with more jewelry than Elizabeth Taylor. They
used absolutely no finesse when fishing but rather just
yarded trout in, one after another without even playing
them. Just meat fishermen rather than sport fishermen.
I'm glad we don't see many of those or this lake wouldn't
have trout for long. You get the odd bunch that have three
guys in a boat, haul in fish, go back to shore to dump
their limit and back out again. Our Conservation Officers
have a monster region to cover and there's just no hope
of them being out here enough to prevent that kind of
thing happening. Unfortunately, the fishing here
is excellent right now so 'meat' fishermen can easily
take advantage of that and of the good weather.
It looks like we may be losing the Chilcotin's Gate Restaurant
by the end of the month. That, on top of losing the motel
is going to be devastating to our little community. Cindy,
the owner, may be selling to a church group that wants
to set up the building as a bible school. It's really
too bad. There's been a restaurant there for a lot
of years that also acts as our post office. It's
been a meeting place 'forever', whether inside at a table
over a cup of coffee, out on the step or down in the parking
lot. We'll miss it a lot.
Okay, I really have to get back to work. As I mentioned
before, there may be a day or two between posts, simply
because this is my busiest time of year, so thank
you all ye' faithful, for your patience!
think the entire community would like to express their
condolences to the Simons of Nimpo Lake for the loss of
husband, and father, Tom. Reported missing a week ago,
Tom and his truck were found by a parks person on the
Eagle Lake Road. I think very highly of Tom's family and
can only wish them the best.
We had our community meeting tonight. I'm not sure
that our local RCMP Corporal really understood the seriousness
of his actions on the night the motel in Nimpo Lake burned
down. A breath of wind, and most of the businesses
in Nimpo on both sides of the highway would have been
gone and the possibility of a massive forest fire would
have been a very real one. However, he insists that his
concern for everyone's safety regarding power lines came
first, never mind that many people and homes and businesses
could easily have been wiped out because no one, including
the four water tankers standing by, were allowed to put
water on adjoining structures. Fortunately, a pretty
sharp cookie from Anahim arrived eventually and vociferously
convinced said Corporal that water could be put on the
store and fuel tanks on the hot side of the motel
fire without any danger from power lines.
I'm still very unhappy at the RCMP Corporal's attitude
and lack of knowledge but to do him credit, when pressed,
(mostly by me) he did agree to go with our Community Association
Chairman to BC Hydro and see if something can't be done
to speed up the process for shutting off electrical power
to structures on fire. I guess if we get nothing
else but cooperation from the local constabulary, it's
better than a kick in the butt.
There was a good turnout from the community tonight. Some
people directly involved in the fire last week didn't
show up but I suspect that's because they were still PO'ed
at what occurred and I frankly don't blame them. Our
new 911 system doesn't help us a bit if it impairs our
ability to fight fire. Surprisingly, our community
preparedness is unbelievable in view of the fact that
we have never really organized as a fire fighting community.
And if nothing else, this meeting, as well as the last,
brought home how important a good communication system
We went to dinner at my mother's and Terry B's last night
and of course the subject of the fire came up. It's
amazing how you can brainstorm on a full stomach and good
spirits with people that have a whole lot more smarts
than I'll ever have. The most critical suggestion
that came out of that dinner party was brought up at the
meeting tonight and will probably be adopted.
We have three radio stations sponsored and run by Terry
B. We have a person that knows how to break in on those
stations so that we can broadcast emergency information
from handheld radios. (Told you we had smart people here.)
Set up two old fashioned fire station sirens, one in Anahim
and one in Nimpo. You would hear them for miles. Once
everyone hears the sirens, they know to tune into one
of the radio stations to get the emergency announcement,
whether that's about a structural fire or a forest fire,
or evacuation notice, etc.
We are also working on a phone tree or emergency PHAN
where everyone has so many people that they have to call
in case of an emergency so that no one gets missed
next time in case of an evacuation notice such as occurred
this summer during the Dean forest fire.
We are also going to list everyone that has fire fighting
equipment, (which is pretty much all of us) and Henry
down at the other end of the lake suggested a good light
on a boat that we could use to load up equipment to take
to any fire on the lakeshore of Nimpo Lake.
The Corporal did make one suggestion that I think
is very valuable. As he stated, Anahim Lake is
a short term posting for the RCMP members, and usually
is two years or less. It's very difficult for the police
to get to know the country, the people, and their emergency
preparedness when they are constantly changing out RCMP
members. He suggested that each community, Anahim
Lake, Charlotte Lake, and Nimpo Lake set up Safety Committees
that have guidelines in place for their respective communities.
They could pass these guidelines on to incoming RCMP and
it would provide some continuity and be an immediate and
comprehensive source of information for the police regarding
emergency preparedness of each community.
The sad part about the whole thing is that
we have all moved out here because we value our independence,
self sufficiency and general lack of smothering laws and
bylaws and over governance by Federal, Provincial, Municipal,
Regional and God knows what other kind of governance.
Now we must self govern and organize just to keep from
being controlled by outsiders that don't know what the
hell they're doing and who by their very 'well intentioned'
actions are putting us in danger.
Ironic, isn't it?....welcome to the 21st century.
Oh yeah. Last note of the day. I guess we don't have to
worry about running into our black bear on the back trail
anymore. Someone with a bear tag shot it.
Too bad. He seemed awfully well mannered. The bear, that
Such is life.
This Fall Day
the end of our warm Fall weather may well be near. The
last couple of nights the temperature has dropped well
below freezing and even though the sun has been shining,
it never really gets that warm outside. In fact, any
breeze and it's darn right nippy. Many of our
autumn colored leaves on the aspen and low bushes are
starting to drop and things are just beginning
to look a little bare.
I've been hearing an unusual number of chainsaws since
the Country Inn burned down. Of course this is firewood
cutting season, but I'm more inclined to believe that
the motel fire may have been a huge wake up call for us
all. Like us, many people have been waiting for our beetle
killed pine to dry before cutting it down because otherwise,
it makes lousy firewood. However, watching that
fire Thursday night certainly clarifies how deadly volatile
the red pine is. We've all dodged yet another
bullet but I think it best to have as many of the dead
trees downed as possible by the time next spring hits.
Richard over at the Waterfront was moving his docks today
and Tweedsmuir Air will be pulling their planes out and
shutting down Stewarts Lodge within the next ten days.
It never occurred to me how really critical the Country
Inn was until now. There are lots of resorts with cabins
open in the summer and into fall in the Chilcotin but
the majority of them shut down now because the cabins
aren't winterized against water pipes freezing. Many
people have relied on the motel in Nimpo throughout the
winter for years and that just came home to me
A gentleman called me asking about local accommodation
and he was actually looking at this site while we spoke.
I gathered that he comes out here at least twice a year
and has always stayed at the Country Inn. Now he's stuck
trying to find alternate accommodations and it's much
harder than you would think because there are so many
seasonal cabins. Many business people relied heavily on
the motel because it was convenient to both the store
and restaurant and had phones, fax, television and internet
hookup. Just a reminder that the Anahim Lake Inn does
offer many of those same conveniences as does the Dean
on Nimpo. I sympathize with everyone in the position
of having to look for a new home away from home when they
travel here. I am going to try to call everyone
that remains open through the winter here to see just
exactly what they offer and will either put up another
page listing winter accommodation or I'll add a blurb
onto exisiting listings.
I wanted to add that three of the properties for sale
on this web site will have changed because of the fire.
Obviously the motel building no longer exists but the
property may be for sale. The restaurant has damaged siding
which is probably covered by insurance but that should
be taken into account if you're reading the ad. The commericially
zoned property along Highway 20 listed at $120,000 under
page no longer has a water source since it shared water
with the motel and those water lines are out of order.
The owner is entertaining all thoughtful offers.
This is still an excellent property on which to build
a business and one might want to consider the possibilities
that exist with the adjoining motel property.
We are starting to get more and more clarification from
community members as to just exactly what occurred on
Thursday night and why community members were not
allowed to put water on and protect businesses adjacent
to the fire. I believe that the meeting on Wednesday
will be a very interesting one and I will be taking my
laptop and keeping a record of all conversation. I suspect
we'll need that record down the road. It is my hope that
we all walk away from that meeting with some clear guidelines
of what can and cannot be done, what needs to be done
immediately upon a fire being called in, who has what
authority and so on. I am already getting the impression
that our only local authority overstepped his bounds but
since I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt
until after the meeting, I won't say anymore here for
Heroes Of The Chilcotin
owner of the Country Inn, Ted Hlokoff, has asked me to
print the following letter for him and post the picture
on the right that shows all that is left of the multi
Heroes of the Chilcotin
Catastrophic loss for the West Chilcotin. A fire started
in an unused storage room of the Country Inn Motel about
8:30 pm on Sept 28th. Although efforts were made to stop
the fire, it was out of control within minutes of discovery.
The three story building collapsed in on itself within
a few hours.
Located on Hwy 20 The Country Inn Motel was the newest
and largest accommodation within a hundred miles. The
motel has served the Anahim/Nimpo Lake community for the
last 30 years.
Ted, Deana & Kendra of the Country Inn Motel wish to thank
everyone for their support during and after the fire that
consumed the Motel. Our sincerest thanks to the
motel managers, Art & Mary Myra for their heroic efforts
and attempts to extinguish the fire, and in risking their
lives and health to ensure that every single customer
in the nearly full motel got out safely. Thank you to
Russ Lewis from Van-Com, a customer staying at the motel,
for his efforts in alerting Art & Mary to the smoke and
his attempts to extinguish the fire. Thanks to the fellow
from forestry and Art who helped Ted with rescuing bits
and pieces from the motel shop even though the front of
the building was engulfed in flames. Thank you to the
Anahim Lake RCMP, the Ulkatcho Indian Band for sending
their Fire Truck and the many Band members who came with
it to help with the fire. Thanks also to Jim Lowry, West
Chilcotin Forest Products and Interior Roads for sending
Water Trucks and community members. There were so
many who came to help that all names cannot be rememberedů..we
thank you all.
Thank you to our staff at Anahim Lake Trading who make
things easier for us by keeping the store running smoothly
while we deal with our loss. Although the motel and a
few outbuildings were destroyed the Nimpo General Store
and the Chilcotin's Gate Restaurant sustained only minimal
Please remember Art & Mary, their unselfish actions during
the fire meant that they lost everything they owned. They
survived with nothing but their car and the clothes on
their backs. They need your support. Donation containers
are set up in many local businesses and Chilcotin's Gate
will hold a benefit Turkey Dinner on Sunday October 8
at 5 p.m.. Donations can also be mailed to Art & Mary
Myra, General Delivery, Anahim Lake, V0L 1C0.
It is at times like this that we are grateful that we
live in this amazing Community.
Thank you Ted, for the letter. We all wish you the
you will have noticed, we've moved to a new week. If you
would like to read last week's articles or read more about
the fire, go to September
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!