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Wilderness Adventures - Oct., Week 4/2007

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 stories like 'Lake Monsters' - 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.

31/10/2007 8:17 PM

Halloween Blizzard

Well folks, we've got our first blizzard of the year. There's probably close to two inches of fluffy white out there that's fallen in 45 minutes or less. I think it started snowing just a little later here than in Anahim Lake where we watched fireworks at the Stampede grounds tonight.
Driving home became quite a challenge by the time we hit our road where the snow was coming at a fast and furious rate, making it difficult to see. You know, those mesmerizing designs created by snow driving into your headlights? Not conditions you would want to be driving in if you were sleep deprived.
The Anahim Lake community got together and donations were collected so that John Mclean from the store in Anahim could host a fireworks show for the kids. So of course besides kids, most of the adults turned out. Aren't we all kids at heart? I think we were all disappointed that there was no bonfire because standing around was a chilly proposition this evening. And since everything in this country operates on Chilcotin time, things didn't start until at least a half hour late. I know my butt was pretty chilled by the time the night sky was lit up so we didn't stick around long. It was a good little show but the snow started toward the end and it was time to clear out.
At least the snow held off for all the little trick-or-treaters. In fact, I was thinking earlier today that it was odd that it didn't even seem to be threatening snow. I think last year was one of the few where I haven't seen snow on Halloween, but good old Mother Nature came through true to form this year. So much for climate change. This is one weather event that has been pretty much the same for as many years as I've been in Canada. Guaranteed snow on Halloween. That's okay. The dampening effect on party goers always makes the cops happy. Incidentally, that's a subject I'll probably be discussing in the near future.
First, I'll cover last night's meeting about a forest fire buffer zone being cut around Nimpo Lake. It looks like the government has made very little effort to ease the hoops we'll have to jump through to get this done. And there's no grant money for it. On top of that, this couldn't come at a worse time. It will be very difficult to make this project attractive to the two mills that can get cutting permits for the area in view of our high dollar and low lumber prices. Right now, sawmills are shutting down all over the province because they just can't make any money shipping wood across the border.
The Ministry of Forests representative that spoke to us last night seems like a terrific fellow but he can only do so much. Dave Bedford, another fellow that's been dealing in this kind of thing for years, will probably be our biggest help once we determine where we want to cut the buffer zone. The Forestry Rep. said that a 2km wide buffer zone means zero percent chance of a forest fire jumping the guard. As the zone is made narrower, the risk increases. We all see what happens with a narrow guard. The Lonesome Lake fire had no problem swinging around the Atnarko River and jumping numerous CAT guards and Mother Nature was the only thing that stopped that fire!
I think many of us are in favor of a 2km buffer and it will be just a matter of convincing the mills that there's enough big timber there to make it worth their while to come in and cut. We also have to convince residents living around Nimpo Lake that this can be done without ruining the viewscape. And in cases where we can see the logged off areas we all have a decision to make. Do we want to continue to look at red and dead trees that then turn grey and dead for the next ten years? After which they all fall down like a pile of pick-up-stix and create an even greater fire hazard, look terrible, and make the area impassible to hikers, fourwheelers and snowmobiles. Or do we bite the bullet, put up with a clear cut swath until the young trees start growing up again? In ten years the aspen and pine will blanket the cut in youthful green. The alternative is to put up with miles of fallen grey forest that won't decay or rot for at least 50 years and more likely 100 because most of the logs will be off of the ground.
We saw the same situation at a fly-in hunt camp on a lake where we went limited entry hunting for moose a few years ago. A massive forest fire went through there fifty years ago but wasn't hot enough to knock down trees. It was only hot enough to kill them and they stood where they died until a really harsh wind came up. Then it knocked most of them over at the same time. This was a mature forest with some really huge trees and when they fell, they fell in all directions and on top of each other, many 10 and 12 feet above the ground. The result was an impassable forest of pick- up-stix. It's still that way today and probably will be for another 50 years. If we allow the same thing to occur here, we effectively close that resource to access by one and all for generations to come. Five years ago if someone had said, "We're going to clear cut the timber across the lake from you." I, and everyone else would have been tearing down doors to prevent it. Now.... I don't see any choices here.
Our biggest danger from a large forest fire is from the south and west side of Nimpo Lake because that is where our prevailing winds come from. And there's some very large, mature pine stands in that direction. If a firestorm really got going, the lake would not prevent sparks and burning debris from carrying across the water to our side. However, if a wide buffer is cut on the other side leaving a 1000 foot setback along the lake shore that is not cut, then most of us living on Nimpo Lake won't even see the clear cut buffer. It's possible that fire could still start within that 1000 foot setback that is full of wood, but a lot of it close to the lake is spruce and aspen, and not enough timber bunched together to really get going. Or at least not so much that it couldn't be put out and it has no place to go in any case.
So now we've got the maps, we know the score, and we know we're on our own. Our committee, more or less appointed by our Chairman/Dictator, is going to have to sit down, figure out where a buffer is most effective and how to utilize existing logging blocks, waterways, natural wetlands and meadows. Then take it to the residents to get their input, then onto the mills and try to convince them that is an economically viable opportunity for them. We'll see what happens I guess. Apparently though, our best possible timeline if everything falls into place and we get a timely consensus from area residents, is for logging to start next winter. That means we have to dodge the forest fire bullet at least one more summer.
Let's see. Rainy the summer before last. Rainy this past summer. What's the chances?
You know, I just realized how ironic it is to be discussing a blizzard and forest fire in virtually the same breath. Only in the Chilcotin, folks!

29/10/2007 10:38 PM

Quick Note On The Forest Fire Meeting

Hi everyone. This is just going to be a really quick note and reminder this evening. For those of you that reside here, please don't forget there is a meeting at the Nimpo Lake Community Hall tomorrow night regarding a forest fire break surrounding our community. Your attendance is important!
Our weather today was cold. It started out clear and sunny, though chilly, but it looked like it was going to be a nice, crisp fall day and I was looking forward to a walk. I made the mistake of waiting until afternoon in the hopes it would warm up a bit. Instead, it cooled down because it clouded over and a little breeze started up. Temperatures never did make it above 3C or 37F today and it hit freezing before the sun went down. It's already -4C so it's going to be a cool one tonight.
Pressure is climbing so we might see a little sun tomorrow. It won't last though. We've got a huge system boiling in from the Alaska Panhandle that looks like it may slide as far south as northern Vancouver Island. It looks to be packing quite a bit of punch, anyway.
Oddly, it was warm enough yesterday evening to rain a bit and we woke up to some pretty white mountains today. The Itcha Ilgatchuz Mountains got a really good dump from the look of it. There were places here and there on the back trails in the shade where there was snow on the ground and the ground is starting to freeze in pretty good.
Those same mountains would be a treacherous place to go down in a plane now. Has anyone seen the news? Five small planes crashed or disappeared in the last 20 days in BC and four out those five went down in the mountains. From what I can tell, it's unprecedented and I don't know if we've just odd weather conditions this fall or what. In the most recent one that occurred yesterday, only a little girl survived the crash and that was a miracle looking at how that plane landed on its nose. As the Transport Safety Board says, although many pilots do have training for the mountains such as our bush pilots, it's not a requirement and so many do not react quickly enough or fly in unexpectedly extreme weather when they shouldn't.
Okay, this turned out longer than it was supposed to and I've really got to get this uploaded before midnight. With no time to change the picture of the day you'll just have to enjoy that grizzly for another day or so.

28/10/2007 6:44 PM

Happy Sunday

Good day folks and a very happy Sunday. I'm happy because I have another week before the clocks have to be turned back. You have no idea how bleeping happy that makes me. While this weekend would normally have been the one that lost us that additional hour of light in the evening, we've been spared this year. Now the dreaded occurrence doesn't happen until the first week of November, or next weekend. Honestly, I don't know why the powers that be don't just leave it alone! Leave us on 'Daylight Savings' time permanently because any excuse I've ever heard for switching has always sounded really suspicious to me.
Personally, I haven't met anyone that would rather have more light in the morning than in the evening. Actually, that's not entirely true. My partner loves the mornings and actually gets excited about dawn arriving earlier. Whereas I, on the other hand, look at dark mornings as just another perfectly good reason for rolling over and going back to sleep. Why would I want it light earlier? So I'm hoping the fact that the States changed the dates for our time change and that Canada was forced to follow suit means that slowly, ever so sneakily, over time, the time change will be abolished forever. Make my day!
Today cannot be described in any other terms but dreary. There was heavy, grey overcast all day and it actually spit rain now and again. The temperature never really got much above 5C and is sitting at 3C or 37 degrees Fahrenheit right at the moment. At least there wasn't much of a breeze today or it would not only have been damp out, but damned cold. Yesterday if you were outside for any length of time at all you got a chill clear through and you just couldn't warm up, it was that raw out.
I've determined that my powers of observation suck. I don't know how many years I've been walking over the trails in the woods behind our place, but until today I never noticed how much dwarf mistletoe there was infecting our pine trees. Maybe because I never knew that's what it was until that scientist identified it for Andy's niece and I last winter.
Earlier this summer walking through a block of trees along the road with Andy I found some in a couple of trees growing close together and pulled it out. But I never thought it was that widespread. Today, walking along the trails, numerous small pine trees have at least one clump of it wrapped around a branch. I wonder if it's more noticeable now because of its fall color? The pieces Mazy and I found on the snow last winter were a bright shade of green and were fat and juicy looking little things.
Here's an interesting little note according to National Geographic News. The word mistletoe derives from observations that that the plant would often appear in places where birds had left their droppings. "Mistel" is an Anglo-Saxon word for "dung" and "tan" is the word for "twig," according to the USGS. Roughly translated, mistletoe means "dung on a twig."
According to the same source, The exchange of a kiss under the mistletoe is linked back to the ancient times of the Druids. When enemies met under mistletoe in the forest, they had to lay down their arms and observe a truce until the next day.
I realize that when the parasite is spotted in a forest of coniferous trees it causes a lot of consternation among foresters. But it obviously dates back a long, long time so it can't be completely devastating to a forest. Certainly not to the degree that the Mountain Pine Beetle is. It would seem that the forest industry was always more concerned about how the dwarf mistletoe affected their bottom line because an infestation could reduce the timber harvest by as much as half. Otherwise, some of the benefits may be a larger variety and number of birds and more diversity in growth on the forest floor.
The parasite steals nutrients from the tree, stunting it and eventually killing it. Apparently one of the results of a parasite attack on a live tree is 'witches broom' which is another term for a distorted tree branch with a thick clump of needles growing in an unusual manner.
Anyway, it would seem we have quite a lot of it in our forests here and I'm not sure if anyone knew that. I always wondered why we seem to have such strange looking stunted pine here and there along the back trails and I'm beginning to think that dwarf mistletoe may be the reason.
One more note. I've just received word from some folks from Chilliwack that they've just purchased the Batnuni Ranch, famous from Rich Hobson's books about he and Pan Phillips' adventures east of the Itchas. They take possession in the spring and I expect they'll be having a few adventures of their own. I very much look to hearing from them then. Happy move, folks!

26/10/2007 7:45 PM

In Fond Memory

This is only meant to be an important note, not the main article for the day as you'll find below.
Sam Whitefish died in a head on collision on the way out here from Williams Lake yesterday evening about where the pavement used to end at Chipman Road. Until an autopsy is done it won't be known for certain, but the coroner seems fairly certain that he had a heart attack and probably died from it even before the accident occurred.
The fellow he hit is also from out here and on seeing the oncoming vehicle in his lane, put his truck pulling a backhoe on a trailer into the ditch, but Sam's car still rammed the back end of the trailer.
Sam was probably one of the first people I met when I came into this country to work at the mill in 1988. A big, jovial man of Native background with a toothy smile and happy laugh, I count him as my friend. Sam and his good friends Chuck and Wendy were a three headed team that went everywhere and did everything together. And if you needed them for anything, they were quick to help.
For the last few years Sam has suffered badly from diabetes and all the problems that go with that. He was scheduled to have a badly needed transplant for a rare kidney match to be donated by his brother. Unfortunately his brother died in an accident and for some reason no one attending the accident knew that he held the key to Sam's future good health. With bad luck going to worse, Sam only just lost his Mom, and even worse, was apparently scheduled to have his legs amputated next week because the diabetes was so bad. He was going to have to move to town and leave his beloved Chilcotin for good.
Some things may seem pretty final, but maybe they do happen for a reason.
Happy Journey Sam.

26/10/2007 2:46 PM

Moonlight Beaver

Our clear cold moon has done a fine job of lighting up the night this week. Night before last and long after dark, I had to go out to a storage shed for packing material and decided to take a little walk down our road to spread some scent around for our four legged nemesis. It was dead calm and the moon shone so brightly on the water, even in the back bay, that I could see a tell tale V trail in the water. I put the flashlight beam on the head of the little wave and was immediately rewarded with an explosive tail slap and the beaver disappeared. I waited around for a few minutes but there was no more sign and so turned to go back up to the house.
On the southern horizon at the base of the mountains but over a few miles of tree line were several twinkling orange glows. It almost looked like the orange mercury lights from a secret research station or isolated refinery far out in the tundra that you see on the movies sometimes. Totally alien to the environment. Although I was pretty sure it was fire, it's easy to let your imagination have fun for awhile at night in this country. Why not? There's not a lot to entertain ourselves
I went into the house to get the binoculars and reported the presence of the beaver to my other half, who promptly got dressed and brought some attitude and a light with him.
We walked back out to the back bay and weren't there for more than a few moments and there was the V in the water again. This time I could see the beaver at the head of it but only barely. Another tail slap but surprisingly, he didn't stay down long and continued on his merry way within moments. To chew off more of the alders along our shoreline, no doubt. This bugger is definitely nocturnal and just will not show himself in daylight. Although he comes back to his lodge and does a little work there and continues to stash his feed bin a bit, he's doing it all at night.
I showed Andy the orange fire at the base of the mountains and the moonlight was so bright that you could clearly make out a line of several huge slash fires in the binoculars. Smoke and flame ringed a hillside behind the slash burn and far to the west we could just barely make out more flame and smoke just peeking above the foothill there. Humidity was high, the air well below freezing and no wind made it a perfect time to burn slash from logging. I just can't remember there being any logging over in that direction. In fact, neither of us could figure out where that would be where it was accessed by logging road. But it was unquestionably slash burning so no worries there. Sure was neat to watch.
I like clear nights with a full moon. I like being able to walk around outside without any need of a flashlight listening to the quiet and seeing my breath in the cold. Once your eyes adjust, more and more things come into focus and you can hear the tiniest sound. Fish plopping in the water, the tiny splash of a muskrat or grebe, and the murmur of the ducks. The only thing neater is a moonlit night in winter with snow on the ground and in the trees. Then you could probably read a book by the light of the moon but there's no sound at all then. It's like everything is covered in cotton. Most birds are gone and the lake is often frozen over so you can't hear the bird or animal life that you can this time of year.
I woke up this morning to what I thought was an extremely heavy frost because the ground was white. I didn't think it could possibly be snow because the sky was dead clear last night and it was at least 5 degrees below freezing when I went to bed. But apparently a tiny snow squall came roaring over early this morning and dropped just a fine mist of snowflakes for a moment. Our temperatures aren't going to get above 4C or 39F today and will probably remain low for the next few days. You can tell that the water temperature is plummeting because the surface of the lake just doesn't move at all in the mornings. There's sure lots of splash rings from fish jumping out on Nimpo right now though.
This is another stage in fall when once you get the calm after a wind, days will go by where all is quiet. You might hear the very rare call of a young loon or the high whistle of ducks gone sonic when they whiz overhead, but otherwise everything seems to be waiting. Grebes, ducks and loons float around on the water looking content and quiet. Maybe they are. The flurry of mating, building nests, and feeding young is over with. There's lots of food, temperatures aren't too cold yet, and all they have to do is get fat until it's time to make the great journey south. Unlike us poor sods on two legs that have to get everything winterized and get firewood in. Perhaps there's something to be said for going south for the winter.
The back woods are starting to show signs of winter moving in. It was slippery trying to walk on the trails yesterday. The frost has started to drive down into the ground at night, then sun shining on exposed spots on the trail starts pulling the frost back out making the surface really goopy to walk on. Many of the puddles on the trail were frozen over and my only company besides the dogs were Whiskey Jacks. Oddly, I'm seeing more and more of them this year where they were rare before. I don't know if squirrels are their main competitors and now that there are so few around because of the beetle kill, the Whiskey Jacks are moving in? Or do they eat insects and again because of the beetle kill, there's lots of insects in the dead pine? I don't know but I had one at the bird feeder yesterday and that too is unusual, although I did have one for the first time last year.
Hey everyone. I got another great little story from John for your Friday night enjoyment.
My brother Don BRECKNOCK was a guide outfitter for 27/28 years and his territory included the east side of the Itchas. Thunder Mountain Outfitters I think he called himself. He was going to sell out and I was actually thinking about buying in. This was quite a few years ago now when I was still in the RCMP.
Don says I better come with him on a trip to the Itchas as he had a party of four from Florida wanting Caribou, Moose, wolf etc. he thought I should come and learn the territory etc. to the Itchas with four dudes and a couple of assistant guides.
Turns out I was chief cook and bottle washer, wrangler, and any other chore that needed doing. HE WORKED MY ASS OFF!!! Well after about 5/6 days in the sticks and working from about 0430 hours to 2200 hours a day, a man gets a little smelly maybe; hell no, stinks is a better term.
Anyways.... there I am in the cook tent, it's late at night and I have just finished a huge tub of dishes and cleaned up the cook tent. Now the dish water is still nice and warm, I'm stinky as hell and decide to take a little bath in the big dish basin. I put the big dish basin on the floor of the tent. Pull up a stump. Strip down to my Birthday suit, sit on the stump put my feet in the dish pan and low a behold didn't I leave a fork in the dish basin. I am picking the fork out of the basin, wiping it off, when into the cook tent comes my brother, Guide/ Outfitter, head honcho, and boss. I look up and say, "Just about finished the dishes Don." If you could have seen the look on his face! "Jesus Christ!" he says. He reefs the flaps of the tent back down, "If my hunters see this I'm out of business!" Well I think we laughed for about 10 minutes. He only wished he had that on video. What advertising that would have made. Timing is everything.
Needless to say I had a change of heart about becoming a Guide/Outfitter.
Johnny B

It's actually funny that John mentions re-using water. When you have to pack water by hand and then heat it up either over a camp fire a or a woodstove, you don't waste it. Having spent a good part of my life without running water, I understand John's method of conservation perfectly. Since I used to have to pack my water for a quarter mile in five gallon buckets while living out here before, I would wash my hair, then use the rinse water for washing my face and taking a bath. Wash water from dishes was used to mop the floor if it wasn't too grubby and rinse water from dishes could be used for handwashing clothes or cooled and used for watering plants. It all works. Still though, it helps if you remove the utensils first....
Oh, and another quick note just for fun. The earthquakes that have been felt for the last little while near the Nazko Cone are actually said to be coming from around Thunder Mountain a few km west of the Cone. Do you suppose its volcanic history is why the mountain was given that name? Anyway, we sure seem to be hearing lots about the other side of the Itcha Range lately. Coincidence? Or time to write some more about Pan Phillips and Rich Hobson.
24/10/2007 1:05 PM

The Calm After

We are definitely taking a deep breath and enjoying the calm after the storm around here. Yesterday was absolutely wild, with winds that would blow you right off your feet. There had been a wind warning out for the Chilcotin with winds from 70 to 100 kph or up to 60 mph and it sure felt like we got some gusting to that speed.
Our place faces the lake and even though it has a prow front that probably helps to break the wind somewhat, you could still hear the windows and roof creak with the really bad gusts. You know, the kind where you look at each other over dinner and wonder if the roof is going to stay on? Actually, that happened last night. We got a gust so bad during dinner that the very ground this house sits on seemed to vibrate. Who knows? Maybe it did. When you've got a bunch of trees out in the yard that the wind seems determined to rip out by the very roots, the ground probably is humming a bit. It was shortly after that when the neighbour called on Andy to help prop his power pole up. It seems it sheared off at the base but the wires had kept it standing for the moment. They got it propped and braced and I see the Bella Coola Hydro repair truck just pulled in down his road with a new pole for him.
Last night the rain started but it took me a moment to recognize what it was from in my office. The wind was driving it so hard that it literally smacked into the windows. It was funny but the intensity of the rain hitting the windows varied with the wind and as the sound increased it sounded like someone was throwing a million little pebbles against the glass. It would ease off and then it would increase again. It continued like that for a couple of hours last night and since it was coming in sideways, I don't think much landed in the rain gauge.
Our temperature got up to 16.3C or around 60 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday which is amazing for this time of year so that even with gale force winds blowing, if you could get out of it, the air was quite balmy. A walk in the woods yesterday was quite pleasant because you're protected from the wind somewhat. It will be a lot cooler walking today because the cold front has made its way in. Although the temperature was around 9C late last night, it had dropped to freezing by this morning and is slow to climb again, even in the sun. The air has a distinct winter chill to it. It was warm long enough though to melt a lot of the snow off of the surrounding mountains. We were starting to get a good accumulation of the white stuff up there but there's a lot of black showing now.
Bella Bella west of us and just off the coast saw eight inches of rain yesterday. Eight inches! That's a lot of rain even for outer islands and presumably a fair amount of rain melted the snow on the mountains inland. Apparently Young Creek at the foot of the 'Hill' was running higher and dirtier than at flood stage in the spring and all of the creeks and rivers through the Bella Coola Valley were running extremely high. Very unusual considering river levels are usually at their very lowest this time of year.
I don't think there is any longer a question that our weather is changing. Whether a natural progression triggered or speeded up by our pollutants or not, there is a distinct change. I don't ever remember seeing winds like this in all the years I lived out in this country until the last couple. In a region that sees very little in the way of extreme weather events, we are seeing a much wider swing now. It's quite normal for Ontario to be basking in record warm temperatures while we are freezing in the west, and for it to reverse as it did just these past couple of days. The speed at which that reverse happened though is not normal.
Perhaps the weather aficionados are right, and global warming doesn't necessarily mean warming in many regions but more extreme weather events. We have definitely seen a slow progression to warmer temperatures overall in the last few years, helping to fuel the Mountain Beetle epidemic. But there has been nothing slow about the amount of rain that we have received in the past two out of three summers. Those moist summers have in turn brought perfect conditions for record numbers of mosquitoes.
Our winters seem to be changing as well. Aside from the coldest winter temperatures being about 20 degrees warmer than they used to be, we seem to be hit by a Pineapple Express more often in winter. (An unusual stream of warm, moist tropical air coming up from Hawaii that bring Chinook like conditions.) And there is no question in my mind but that our jet stream seems to have gone wonky. Where we used to enjoy crisp, cold clear blue skies in winter now we are often stuck with cloudy, dreary days normally reserved for Vancouver, who seems to be getting our nice sunny days. It's as though the jet stream is farther north in winter than it normally would be, and farther south in summer than it should be. The farther south it is, the more it seems to pull cold air down from the north bringing us cool, rainy summers.
There is supposed to be a strong La Nina event this fall and early winter that will also affect the Pacific Northwest bringing cooler temperatures and more moisture than normal. Although we certainly didn't mind the heavy snow of last winter I'm not sure the Smithers area residents really want to hear that there's going to be more snow this year. I'm certain they've about had it with snow. Actually, they've probably had it with rain too. They got a big dump of both these past few days. It's too bad we couldn't send some of that to California.
I really, really feel for those folks down there with the wildfires. What do you do in the face of such a firestorm? For so many homes to be lost and the numbers increasing by the moment is unbelievable. And there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop fires driven by winds like that. About all you can hope is that they will die down and eventually they will. It's just how many homes will be lost until they do?
While the fires in California are another clear example of more extreme weather events, I think we've been seeing them for some time. We just haven't been recognizing them. Until a pattern starts to manifest itself, there's really no reason to believe the weather is being anything but quirky. After all, that's one thing that's never consistent. So how to you prove more extreme inconsistencies with something like that? Well, I guess that's what scientists around the world have been trying to do for some time now and I for one am not displeased to see the media attention on climate change. We've noted that there are more and more programs and documentaries on television of late about climate change. And the subject seems pervasive in the manner in which it is injected into nearly every show and the whole thing has snowballed. That's probably not a bad thing. Now that we recognize that we have a problem and that humankind may be either the cause or a main contributor, we can work on it. Kind of like an alcoholic or drug addict. First you have to admit you have a problem. Then you can work on doing something about it.
In the meanwhile, I see our gorgeous day is deteriorating a bit with the wind coming out of the north and the temperature falling. That will chase the bears into winter hibernation in a hurry. They've been reporting a lot of bear problems down on the Island saying they're getting really aggressive about raiding for food in preparation for winter. Hopefully any of our bears around here are already fat and headed for den. I haven't seen any sign lately on our trails in the woods. That said, I'm going to see if I can't sneak in a walk before getting back to work.
Oh, one final thing. For anyone local that doesn't know about it, there's a meeting with the local RCMP Members at the Anahim Lake Community Hall at 7:00 tomorrow night for community members from Anahim and Nimpo Lake. For anyone that would like to air their complaints or has some input on local policing, please attend and make yourself heard. Bitching in the coffee shops doesn't count nor does it do any good. Go to the source folks!

22/10/2007 5:44 PM

Weather Change

We've had an interesting change in the weather these last couple of days. Saturday was a really pretty day with sunshine and little breeze. Yesterday was pretty decent as well until rain started in the evening. We half expected it because we had just watched the weather at news hour and they had rain warnings with 150 mm of rain expected for the Central Coast and 110 mm, 11 cm or a little over four inches of rain for Central Coast Inland. For us to have gotten that much would have been an extraordinary event but even so, we got a full inch of rain overnight. It would have been quite a pile of snow if it had come in that form.
By early afternoon it cleared off and I dove outside for a walk before it started raining again.
The temperature climbed to an incredible 14C or around 57F today
which is quite a change from temperatures that have been dipping to -6C and not much higher than 5C in the sun. When I stepped outside today, you could feel a warm breeze indicating we're getting what's almost a Pineapple Express coming in from the Pacific. That's when the jet stream carries warm air in from Hawaii and usually occurs midwinter for us. The long line of cloud on the satellite images is packing a lot of moisture and it's nailing our coastline pretty much dead on. So we can probably expect to see warm temperatures for another day and more rain. We're also under a wind warning with winds to 60 mph predicted for the Chilcotin. Which is why I figured I would try to sneak a quick article in now in case we lose power tonight or tomorrow. Surprisingly, according to the weatherman, the same system following the jet stream over us is associated with the high below it that is fueling the Santa Ana winds causing such grief in California right now. There are now 12 forest fires that started this weekend raging in the state and it's a real shame to see all the homes that have burned so far and how many more are undoubtedly going to burn before all is said and done. Thank goodness we dodged that bullet this summer. All I know is that it's quite a shocker to go from very chilly temperatures indicative of an early winter to surprise spring temperatures but I'll certainly take it while we have it.
A walk in the woods today was downright exhilarating with a warm wind and freshly washed pine trees gleaming that luminous green that they do after a long rain. Even the kinnickinnick had perked up quite a bit and I actually had a mosquito buzz past my ear. Well that's okay, he'll freeze soon enough.
We're still at war with the beaver who absconded with an aspen tree Saturday night that I had wrapped with chicken wire. He simply stood up and cut the tree down above the wire. I'm pretty sure it was deliberate. It's not like he didn't have some unwrapped trees to choose from. I'm beginning to feel like Bill Murray in Caddyshack! On the losing end of the stick. He's also made off with numerous willow in the past couple of days
Andy spent a good part of the afternoon over at the beaver's lodge pulling out his food cache where he had tucked it not just in front of the lodge, but packed it in under the dock right in front of his lodge. Pretty smart beaver. Not only is it harder to detect but a lot harder to pull out and it took Andy a strong rake and considerable effort to disentangle and pull out six huge armloads of trees and branches from under the dock. He had taken about the same amount out of the water in front of the lodge and I recognized quite a few of our trees in both piles. That beaver isn't just nailing us though. We found the cut off trunk of one aspen much bigger than anything we had on our property just a little ways from the beaver's lodge and nearly all of the bark chewed off of it. I don't know where that tree came from but someone's going to be missing a beautiful tree from their yard.
I've got another little tale from John Brecknock about Swede, the moonshine maker. Enjoy:

This same gentleman, Swede, used to own a store in Nimpo Lake. Maybe the first store ever in Nimpo Lake. He was also well known for his Home brew, moonshine and hospitality. He was also noted to be maybe his own best customer.
Anyways... on this one occasion Swede was entertaining an Anahim Lake resident and sampling some of his wares. They were both well into it when some of his friends and frequent customers appeared at his door. They of course were wishing to obtain some brew. Swede sent them away saying he did not have any brew left to sell. Now these frequent clients did not believe Swede most likely due to his obvious signs of self-indulgence. They came back to the door on two more occasions insisting that Swede "share the wealth" so to speak. He shooed them away each and every time. One more time they came back to his door banging on it for service. This time Swede grabs his .30-30 and fires a couple of rounds through the door.
Now his Anahim Lake guest sobers up pretty quick and immediately goes to check if anyone was hit. Before he even gets to the door, Swede says, "Don't open the door, we'll count em in the morning.". Only in the west Chilcotin, maybe not!! But true.
Also gotta tell you about his arrow head sales. He used to get chunks of obsidian from up country. He would place them on his wood cook stove and reportedly use an eye dropper of cold water and crudely shape arrow heads thusly. Now I've never tried this or don't even know if it would work. Just another story about Swede.

Thanks John! Keep them coming because I'm still up to my neck in work for a few more days and your stories are way more fun than mine!
You will probably have noticed that this story was brought over from last week where there were several by John but I wanted to keep the dates in the right week. If you would like to read last week's stories, you'll find them at October Week Three .

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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!
White sparkling fireworks in the dark.
Full moon above Nimpo Lake.
Ducks flying off Nimpo Lake backdropped by the Itcha Mountains.
Black bear among orange tinted bushes.
A brown bear in the woods.
A black bear hugs a tree.
Black bear head poking above berry bushes.
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