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Wilderness Adventures - Oct., Week one/2010

This 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 the smog!
If you would like to see pictures of wildlife, mountains, lakes, exciting snowmobiling, events and more, and read some great contributed stories and ongoing blogs, just go into Archives on the lower left side of this page.

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03/10/2010 11:22 AM

Trying to Make a Detour for Highway 20

I realize that it's been a few days since I posted a blog but frankly, not a lot has been happening other than the struggle to open the detour on Highway 20. That first spell those guys worked 42 hours straight through trying to put in a passable route around the wahouts.
For some reason someone decided to follow the old logging roads through cut blocks over to the Smoky Lake Road, another logging road. But in spots the road runs through low areas and bogs and meanders all over the place, otherwise the detour could have followed the Cariboo Flats FSR until the road went no farther, a new road could have been cut up over the hill for only a short distance and it would have joined the Smoky Lake road up on higher ground. It would also have been much shorter. Now as it is, the dump truck drivers keep dumping fill and culverts into the bogs to put a road through, and it's still not working great. The result is a very long, rough, bumpy and slow detour that takes anywhere from an hour to two hours to traverse. The long detour may easily have started out that way because there were only the local guys and limited equipment and it probably seemed easiest to follow existing routes. But big equipment did come in fairly shortly and I'm surprised that the road guys didn't decide to go ahead and push a new road through rather than continue to throw gravel and fill at the roundabout detour. It's unfortunate and a tedious route that we may be stuck with for a long, long time.
I guess several times people in small cars have slowed everyone following the pilot car, so the pilot car keeps having to stop and wait for the small vehicles to catch up. It would make sense to me to limit the types of vehicles that are permitted over the road to pickup trucks and larger vehicles, but I guess that would go against someone's mojo.
There are large rock trucks from Williams Lake taking rocks off the detour road on this end and around by highway to dump into the holes made by the McClinchy River where it ate into Highway 20. I'm assuming something has been done to stabilize the telephone poles along that route since we still have telephone. It would be interesting to see what the whole mess looks like now that the river has subsided a bit. At least I'm assuming it has gone down. We haven't received any significant rains to speak of either here or in the mountains so the volume of water should be reduced by quite a bit now I would think.
The people of Bella Coola have done a remarkable job of pooling their resources and start clean up of the mess they have down there. I particularly feel badly for the guys with hayfields down there. The long dry summer allowed them to take off a wonderful bounty of hay for feed but I can't imagine what that hay looks like now if it was under water. There are still a lot of people that can't go back to their residences but the highway is open now from Stuie and Firvale to Bella Coola and they're working on getting access to the more isolated places.
Large machinary has been sent in to the top of the Hill to try and start repairs there from this end while machinary in Bella Coola works from that end with intent to meet in the middle.
Sound familiar? Shades of yesteryear when the catskinner from Bella Coola touched blades with the one working down from Anahim Lake on September 26, 1953 as they finally finished pushing through a road now known as the Freedom Highway. You can find more about that on The Freedom Highway. A couple of days ago we won a contest sponsored by CBC for a song to be written about the best highway in British Columbia. There were several entries from the Sea to Sky Highway, to the Highway of Tears and Roger's Pass but everyone was encouraged to vote for their favorite highway and we won for the most votes. A song will be written about the highway by Hanna Georgas by October 22 and will be played on CBC radio thereafter. I look forward to hearing it. Thanks to everyone that took the time to support the Freedom Highway and vote for it!.
One thing that I haven't had time to talk about much is our fantastic fall colors this year. We were afraid autumn would be a bust with the dry summer and many of the leaves drying up on the trees for lack of water, but they put on a real show through September. We're already into October and the aspen are still hanging onto their bright yellow dresses while the buckbrush and willows are their happy burnt orange and the rosebushes are a stunning red. Even though it was too dry this summer to have blueberries, the ground cover is still doing its part with a dark purple mixed in happily with the kinnickinnick.
While parts of September were a washout with a lot of rainy days, we did see a few remarkable fall days, and the first three days of October have been warm and pretty with lots of sunshine. I hope that holds up since I've still got two greenhouses full of tomato plants that are doing their jolly best to produce red tomatoes. That probably can't go on much longer since we're due for a cold spell but as long as the sun shines, they'll continue to ripen.
As usual, the fishing in September was excellent, although it didn't really come on gang busters until later in the month and that may have been because of the hot weather all summer. Still, when it did start getting good, it got great! The fish were big, fat, and heavy duty fighters! We lost more flies than you can shake a stick at but we still managed to get the fish we need. It was nice because it meant a nice batch for smoking and canning. Now all I need are a few more fat ones for fillets to put down for winter eating, and I'll be a happy camper. I'm just not sure when that's going to happen though with Andy working long days. But we've still got the rest of the month.
Since I don't have any fresh shots of Highway 20, I'm going to post some of the past month's autumn pictures including a stunning sunrise picture that Andy took late in September.
The week's blog with pictures of Highway 20 flooded out can be found at September Week Two .

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!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!
Orange and black sky.
Autumn colors with a boat on Nimpo Lake.
Yellows and oranges of a meadow with mountain behind.
Blue and orange colors of fall.
Black bear along the road.
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