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 One/2009
you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes,
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go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.
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of the Day.
Mexican Standoff With A Grizzly
story is not about me and am I ever glad. It's actually
something that happened to a visitor to Nimpo Lake this
fall. Mike is from Delta and he was the fellow that helped
our community association out a lot last winter and spring
by paying for, picking up, and storing the new chairs
for our hall over winter until local folks (and Miriam)
could bring a few up at a time as they were able.
Mike was up hunting this fall with his son
and I actually just heard he got a moose this week and
only by the skin of his teeth. The end of the hunt was
coming up pretty quickly but it was worth the wait because
the bull was a real beauty! He just sent me the following
email about an event that occurred between him, his son,
a grizzly sow and cub, and a wolf, of all things! As I
said, I'm glad it was him and not me.
son Tim, (Colleen's son too) and I attended our first
hunting trip together in the Chilcotin last month. Sans
I am 62 and Tim is 27, we have hunted small Vancouver
Island deer many times but this was Tim's first Moose
trip. I go each year. Opening day, September 10, 2009
Tim and I were at a ten acre lake (a pond) about 25 kilometers
up a logging road behind Towdystan. I wanted to show this
secluded lake to Tim, as a couple of years ago, I watched
7 wolves chase and try to kill a cow moose there. They
did not as we intervened with one shot in the water.
We stood by this little lake listening, waiting for about
25 mins with no sign of any game. So being it was close
to lunch time, and the temperature was rising unusually
high, I suggested that we return to Nimpo Lake for lunch.
We were about 400 meters from our small 4x4 Samurai. The
trail was in very open pine tree forest and along this
trail was a small, perhaps 300 foot by 300 foot, grass
meadow before another 50 meters of forest and then the
reforested area of an old clear cut, and 100 remaining
meters to our soft top Samurai.
Tim and I, were one behind the other on this trail, when
across the trail dashed a small animal. Small as in indistinguishable,
because it was so quick. I only saw the motion it was
so quick. Tim, who was in front, quickly dashed to our
right about 50 meters. During this time while Tim was
dashing to my right, another animal crossed the trail.
A tiny small bear. A cub! Unusual, and my mind was saying,
"So tiny, why? They should have been bigger, now
being about 7 to 9 months old?" My mind was focusing
on this small image it had seen, while my legs were still
propelling me forward to this small meadow. My son called
out to me and said, "It's a wolf dad!" I said,
"No son, it's a small bear. Leave him alone."
Tim also stepped into the same meadow as I, but about
50 meters to my right and about 10 meters ahead of me.
There in this meadow was a full grown wolf, a very small
bear, and one very large mother Grizzly!
My camera was in my vest pocket. No, I did not reach for
it! But, there were 5 very concerned participants within
a 50 meter circle with the cub between my son, the wolf
and the cub's mother!. All of us were frozen in time for
a few seconds. A real Mexican Standoff?
I spoke quickly to my son and told him to back step and
move back without turning away from the mother grizzly.
"Do not raise your gun but remove your safety, you
will have 1, maybe 2 seconds to shoot if necessary."
I stepped into the meadow further so the sow would clearly
see and smell me. Tim, was a touch down wind of her but
at the distance he was, she knew exactly where Tim and
the wolf were. She too was frozen. Gauging this situation?
Clearly, either the wolf had been tracking the cub or
she may have been teaching the cub to hunt, or we all
just met in this tiny meadow at that point in time? I
don't know. I knew that I wanted to be out of this situation
quickly and alive! As I stepped further into the meadow,
I raised my Browning 7mm magnum semi automatic rifle,
outfitted with a 3 to 9 power Khales scope, as high as
I could above my head in both hands. This was to show
her a larger size? My safety was off. I feared deeply
for my son for he has the same calibre rifle, but bolt
action, also fitted with a Leopold scope. Neither gun
was good for this type of close situation. If she charged
or attacked, Tim, was going to have 1 shot, one bullet,
and zero time to aim. I might have two. I had never taught
Tim, a point and shoot method of firing and now was no
time to begin such a lesson. Scopes at this distance would
take time to sight and time we did not have! This sow
,would need only 1 maybe 2 seconds to reach Tim. 3 or
4 to reach me.
As I moved into the meadow, my voice in a loud clear manner
said the words, "Hey!" over and over again.
The sow now fully realized there were three targets. She
made a short sound, almost like a woof, and the cub was,
within a second, under her. The cub was no longer between
Tim and her. She turned her head to my direction. At once,
immediately, the wolf seeing her eyes shift off him and
Tim, darted into some small buck brush at the end of the
meadow. Leaving 4 participants.
I continued to position myself to shoot her if necessary.
I did not want to. For whatever reason, the cub went into
the same buck brush but not in the same direction as the
wolf, leaving three in the meadow to resolve this Mexican
standoff. The sow made a small woof sound and took two
strides away from us. Turning her powerful body towards
us but she was also backing away. A couple of more steps
and she too was following her cub into the bushes. She
stopped twice to stand up and look back at us. Her massive
head raised high, her nose clearly smelling the air, her
front paws clearly visible above the buck brush. She stood
an honest 8 feet tall. I returned to this spot later in
my month there, to measure the buck brush. Tim and I made
our way the remaining 100 meters to our truck very, very
determinedly. We did not run but walked with great purpose.
Next time I'll take pictures!
Regards Michael Owen
I think it's probably a good thing that Mike seems pretty
bush savvy and knows how to react when in such a dangerous
situation, because in this case, things could have gone
very badly. It's wonderful that it didn't, but what an
experience. And to see a wolf in the same place as a sow
and her cub is amazing. A once in a lifetime experience
that probably only the rare conservation officer has ever
seen, and then probably only on a kill.
Our weather yesterday and the day before can only
be categorized as dreck, with yesterday being particularly
dreadful. The fog started to lift Friday
morning, got only so high above us, and then seemed to
decide it was going to just stay there for the day. It
was heavy, low, spit rain off and on, and was cold. Yesterday
morning managed to beat that for ugly. We and our new
neighbours decided to do some clean up on their property
yesterday morning. The Hydro tree fallers had dropped
a bunch of beetle kill near the power line, and as per
Andy's instructions of earlier this summer, limbed it
and let it lay where it was because Andy knew he would
get to it this fall. So Andy cut firewood while Marilyn
and I hauled in trailers full of wood pulled behind our
ATV's and Ed cleaned up slash on the ground and limbed
a hairy old beetle killed tree in preparation for falling
it. In no time we had the area cleaned up and now have
a bunch of firewood in the yard ready to be split.
This morning has dawned clear blue and glorious
with a heavy rime of frost on everything. Actually,
we had an early Thanksgiving dinner last night and by
the time our company went home, there was a pretty heavy
layer of frost on their truck windows that had to clear
before they could leave.
There's the last remnant of mist rising from the lake
and there's already fishermen out on the water. Small
wonder. The fish are rolling like crazy out there, including
a good sized one just out in front of the house. It would
be nice to think we could get some fishing in today, but
more likely it will be chores getting things ready for
Hail Mary Hail
we had a hail storm at Nimpo Lake today that you would
not believe! I heard it drumming on the roof while in
my office and it just seemed to get louder and louder.
I went out to the front room and there was some serious
sized hail coming down and it did so for a while.
The hail stones were large enough that they were really
chopping up the water on the lake. Once it finally
quit I had to actually shovel it off the back deck in
the hopes that the water left behind would dry up before
freezing tonight. We normally don't get a lot in the way
of hail storms, so this was a bit of an unusual event
for this time of year.
By the time the hail quit this afternoon there was quite
a bit more fresh snow up on the mountains, and I wouldn't
be the least bit surprised to wake up to snow tomorrow
morning. If we make it past that, then it looks like we
may have a few nice days coming our way. It certainly
looks that way for the Lower Mainland, so hopefully the
high pressure system that's building in will come up our
way. I wouldn't mind another week of nice weather.
It just makes going for a walk or working outside so much
more pleasant, and we've still got some fishing to do.
The trout have been rolling over at the surface like crazy
I've still got one and a half greenhouses to put to bed
and it would be nice to have some sun so that the remainder
of the tomatoes ripen up, and be able to start clearing
plants out. I've got a whole mess of Swiss Chard over
in the neighbour's greenhouse that I have to do something
with. I keep giving it away and we eat a lot of it, but
it just keeps coming back and is still as tender as could
be, so I guess I'll be freezing a bunch for winter. At
least I can grow the easy stuff without messing up too
I mentioned in a blog a little while back that after coming
back from the Yukon that I had a real mold problem in
the new greenhouse. So I'm looking for suggestions or
ideas if anyone knows how to get rid of it. I figured
bleach might work, but it may just damage all the good
guys in the soil. I also figured I could dilute some 35%
Hydrogen Peroxide down to 8 or 10% and spray everything
in there, including the glass and soil. But I was talking
to my sister yesterday and she suggested what many people
have, pull out all of the soil and replace it. Unfortunately,
that just isn't an option. I don't have any soil aged
enough to put in there for vegetables. (I've mentioned
before that we don't really have soil here. You have to
get cow manure and then age it for at least a couple of
years before moving it.) So I need a solution that will
work with the existing soil. I didn't think it would be
that critical but a lot of tomatoes that I've brought
inside from the greenhouse that were close to ripe have
in many cases, developed rotten or moldy spots on them,
so the mold spores are definitely there. So I need
some way of sterilizing the greenhouse without killing
some small seedlings that I will be overwintering in the
greenhouse. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions,
or has had the same problem, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any ideas or comments are always most welcome and would
definitely be much appreciated in this case.
I've started a new week so you'll find last week's articles
Week Two. And a final comment.... I
want to thank a visitor to Nimpo Lake this summer for
sending me an email today. He met Bob, the fellow from
Texas that had stopped in before we went to the Yukon,
while staying over at Stewart's Lodge and learned about
this website from him. So, thank you Bob for letting folks
know about the blog, and thanks to you John for your really
great letter today.
We've got wood to get in this weekend, and I've an early
Thanksgiving dinner to put on as well as putting on a
portion of a meal for some tourist association people
over at Charlotte Lake Tuesday, besides the usual chores.
So I may not get a chance to write for a couple days or
so. Have a good weekend, 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!