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/2012
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.
Rolling over an image will give you its description.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
The Down Hill Slide
weather continues its down hill slide, which is to be
expected at this time of year, of course.
We had to go to Williams Lake yesterday and it started
to snow for the first time on Wednesday night.
Oh glory! Great, we're thinking, the roads are going to
be a mess tomorrow for driving in. But it turned out to
be the weirdest night.... the temperature started going
up through the night and was 6C by the time I went to
bed and the snow had turned to light rain. When we got
up in the morning it was still four degrees above freezing
here, although it was a little cooler once we got up on
to the highway.
It wasn't bad at all driving in but it rained most of
the way back out yesterday evening and it was not very
warm at all when we go there. In fact, it was a lot colder
than it had been at six that morning! But we made it without
having to deal with slick roads, and now we probably don't
have to go back out again for another month or six weeks.
The snow has built up considerably in the past couple
of days on all the mountain ranges surrounding us, including
the Itcha Illgatchuz, which seem to have acquired
quite a blanket in a very short time. There was a distinct
chill on the air today, especially where you were exposed
to wind. Brrrr! We went for a walk this afternoon when
the sun came out for a while at around three degrees above
freezing. (It had already dropped a degree.) We decided
to go into the woods and wander around there and stay
off of the main road and out of the wind, which was really,
really pleasant! It's that wind that's a killer.
It's bringing cold air over snow covered mountains and
water that's dropping in temperature in a real hurry,
so by the time it gets to us.... it's cold! Mind you,
we're spoiled from all that nice fall weather and I admit
We still have our two baby loons alive and kicking
but we're both concerned that the smaller one isn't going
to make it out before freeze up. It just isn't
growing as fast as the larger one and doesn't look like
it's ever going to catch up. We saw a loon out on the
lake just past the island while fishing a week or so ago
and it seems to have something wrong with its beak. I
just wonder if it's the same one that I saw its Mom trying
to feed a month or so ago.
Both Mom and one of the youngsters were in front of the
house and she would dive down, get a fish, bring it up,
and then try to pass it off to the baby. It would take
it from her and then drop it. She would dive back
down, bring it up, and pass it off to the youngster once
again, beak to beak, and again he would drop it
and then look down at the water. He looked kind of dumbfounded,
actually. This went on for ages and I got loads of photos.
Not great ones admittedly because I didn't want to go
out onto the deck and scare them off so I took them from
inside the house, but I couldn't really see a problem
with the beak then. But then I wasn't nearly as close
as we were in the boat weeks later when the loon with
the weird beak kept popping up beside us while fishing.
The loon that I think Mom was trying to feed was
the larger of the two babies and it acted like no loon
I had ever seen before. Right from the time it
was young it would not leave its parent's side and stayed
close all through the summer and fall, while the other,
smaller one would range all over the place by itself.
I think the larger loon might have benefited a lot from
sticking so close to its Mother and probably got fed a
lot more than the other.
We're pretty sure this was a new pair nesting on the back
bay this year and maybe Mama has a new way of doing things.
Maybe she feeds the heck out of one in the hopes that
it will get big enough and make it out of here before
freeze up, sacrificing the second baby if necessary. But
I'm inclined to think that the one baby was just a real
sucky one that wouldn't leave its Mom alone so she fed
it more than the other.
In any case, all the mature loons are gone now so all
the babies on the lake are on their own. Unlike their
parents, we haven't seen much sign of them exercising
their wings or trying to fly yet, although listening to
the youngsters trying to get the hang of making a proper
loon call has been hilarious. I don't know why but this
year, one of them for sure is having a real problem. It
almost sounds like a little kid that's trying to learn
how to whistle or blow through a toilet paper roll and
just can't quite get the hang of forming his mouth right.
One of them, and I'm pretty sure it's the Mama's
boy, doesn't even bother to sound like a loon.
He just kind of cranks out a caw sound more like a crow
when it flies overhead, or a Whiskey Jack in the fall
when they tend to be looking for food.
I guess we'll see what happens later on here but the loons
only have six more weeks maximum to grow and learn how
to fly before the lake freezes over, and Andy's pretty
sure the smaller one just isn't going to make it in time.
Every time we walk past him in the back bay lately we've
been trying to come up with some ideas on how to net him
once things freeze up and try to overwinter him but I
don't know how it would be done. I don't know how you
could do it without the bird panicking in a net and I
don't even know how you would do it out on the lake. Usually
there's only about a one or two night space when the lake
is freezing over fast and these guys get caught in a small
pond farther out. The ice is often too thick to break
with a boat to get out to the thinner ice, and of course,
you don't dare walk out on it.
I wonder how young loons even know when to fly or
even where to go? Adult Loons seem to be one of
the few birds that leave their youngsters behind to fend
for themselves while they head to their winter feeding
grounds, often leaving three months before the babies
can go. It's funny that it works that way when you consider
that geese and ducks and other water birds seem to take
their young with them. I know the loon takes a lot longer
to mature and is so heavy bodied that even though they're
fantastic fishers and swimmers, they are awkward fliers,
and under those circumstances it's no wonder that their
numbers are smaller than other birds. They almost seem
to be on the edge of being an evolutionary mistake, yet
they range far into the Arctic, so they can't be. Unless
climate change is gradually making it harder for them
to nest early enough for the babies to make it out before
winter. In any case, enough seem to make it out
over a period of years to keep the population going, so
I guess Mother Nature knows what she's doing.
Check out the Picture
of the Day.
I've put up a series of photos of fumblebeak losing the
fish Momma keeps giving him.
The Never Ending Summer
have to thank the number of people that have gently reminded
me how much they like the blog. I recognize it as a very
polite way of saying, When the heck are you
going to get back at it!!!!
I will state my husband isn't that polite about wondering
where the blog is.
Fact of the matter is, this fall has been so amazing
that I just could not force myself to sit down in my darkened
office in front of a computer when I could be outside.
Having said that, I neglected my computer duties to such
an extent that this past week or so since the weather
has turned sour, I've been on the computer a considerable
amount of time just playing catch up on the paying stuff.
I'm still not caught up by any means since I now have
to start into my calendar printing for this coming year's
clients, but I'm breaking out for today to write a blog.
I can't stand my dear partner's sad, lonely, heartbroken
eyes any longer when he asks how he's supposed to stay
up on the local news when there's no blog. Really?......
I have to emphasize that this is probably the nicest
summer and fall I have seen for years and years.
Every day was sunny, warm and while there was the odd
windy day, most days were calm all through September and
the first part of this month. While the nights were getting
chilly, it didn't take long in the morning for things
to warm up enough to get outside and do stuff.
I'm just thrilled with what I got done on my project list
this fall, some with Andy's help since he runs the Bobcat,
but lots of my own stuff including building a fence around
the propane tank. The ugliness of propane tanks
is a pet peeve of mine, especially when they're
about 12 feet long, painted silver and plopped in the
middle of the lawn. I've been wanting to camouflage it
for years but this is the first time it hit the top of
the list, mainly because Andy was off helping neighbours
for a while and this one I could tackle myself.
Years ago I cut a bunch of strips 3 1/2 inch wide, 3/8
thick and 8 feet long when I worked at the mill on the
strip machine and just paid the mill the going rate. They've
been safely stored in our shed for about seven years so
I finally dug them out and spent a few days getting them
all painted up and dried. Not so easy when you mix hydraulic
oil with an oil based paint and then slather it on. Sun
or not they took a long, long time to dry.
Then began assembly of my fence panels. I chose a day
when Andy was gone because we don't work well together
on woodworking projects, and I happily sawed and nail
gunned away. It worked great and I just needed Andy's
help to put the panels up when he got home. That worked
too until the long panel for the back had to be mounted
a few days later. That didn't work out quite
so well because my measurements were off, the panel was
12 feet long, double sided and extremely heavy, I was
tired, it was late, we were working on a slope between
the tank and two shrubs with no room to move, and as I
said, we don't work well together. We did finally get
it up and screwed on to the posts but it was a dirty bugger
and as usual, the air was pretty blue by the time we were
Andy did some nice finishing work on the gate panel and
Voila! It's done! Kind of..... I should have spaced the
double sided boards more closely together because
you can still see the damned propane tank behind the panels.
So we have to slice some more boards lengthwise that I
can nail in the spaces on the back layer of each panel,
but it won't be easy. There's only a few inches between
the back of the panels and the propane tank now and it's
going to be a little tight fitting in there, but I think
I can do it. However, now it's a matter of time and weather
and it may not get done this year.
I've got a huge new flower bed cleared out, covered
with plastic and a lot of gravel ready for planting next
year as well as a smaller one down in front of
the house thanks to Andy moving stuff with the Bobcat.
Two more planter boxes are full of manure and dirt and
ready for planting next year and everything is pretty
much watered in, lines blown out, pump and hoses put away
and tools put up, so I think we're ready for winter. The
only thing left to do is to drain down the cabin but there
still may be one booking coming so we haven't done it
We got a bit of a start on the inside of our future woodworking
shed and Andy has been working on the newest project for
a little while this fall.
Actually, I think you would normally call it an
OLD project since it's an old 60's vintage travel trailer
that a neighbour gave us to save him taking it to the
dump. Andy dragged it over here one day this summer on
two flat tires which he's spent an inordinate time since
trying to get off the rims. One rim is still on the garage
floor with beat up old tire attached but I think he's
finally going to give up and just buy two new ones. Sometimes
you have to figure out what your labor is worth and I
think he's got about $500 in time invested so far in trying
to beat those things apart. Sometimes you just have to
give up and go fork out some money.
This is a project I'm staying far, far away from
right now and if you saw the inside of this little
beauty, you would see why. He's tested the fridge, stove,
oven and furnace and they all work, and he's sealed up
the roof, so it's probably well worth fixing it up, but
it needs some serious tender loving care. I'll get in
there once we get to the designer and materials stage
maybe but until then..... it's his baby.
We've often thought that there's a lot of gorgeous
country in the Chilcotin that we would like to spend time
going and seeing, but can't take our long, low
slung RV, so this is supposed to be a little junker that
we can take anywhere and not worry about ripping anything
out from under it. I think it will be great but as I said,
the first, messy stage is his to deal with.
Andy's been spending time bringing in wood in the
past week and I've helped a bit. We've got so much great
standing dead beetle kill around that getting wood is
easy, but it's starting to blow down now so it's only
going to be easy for the next few years. Once the wood
is down for a short length of time, it rots and is absolutely
no good to anyone so it will be a sad day once all the
beetle kill has gone. Then it will be back to traveling
miles to find dead wood standing or, cut down green, split
it and let it season for a year or two before you can
use it in the wood stove.
The weather is perfect for working outside now if
it's hard work. It didn't get more than four degrees
above freezing today so you don't have to worry about
sweating. It's heavily overcast and snowing like crazy
over the mountains today with a chilly little wind. It
was really pleasant away from the lake where we were getting
wood and there's no wind, but the breeze coming off the
water back in the yard is raw! But do you know,
amazingly enough we only got snow on the mountains two
days ago? I think this might be the latest I've
ever seen the mountains bare of snow and I mean, it was
really bare! That hot summer and warm fall did a real
number on the white stuff up there this year.
We've had little splatters of rain a couple of times in
the past week. It has still amounted to only about 3/8
of an inch of rain but it was actually good to get it.
We really, really need it. It's super dry out there and
it's not good for plants or trees to go into winter without
some moisture. All in all, we've had to consider
ourselves pretty darned lucky to have had the weather
we have for the past three months. It's been awesome!
is the start of a new week so you'll find last week's
September Week One.
Lake Highway cam looking West.
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!