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 - Sept., Week 1/2007
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.
A Little Of This And A Little Of That
was a real mixed bag when it came to weather, although
it did end up being a nice day. It just took its time.
A good snowmobiling buddy remarked on how cold it was
this morning and it was. There was a really
chilly wind and quite a bit of cloud but once it cleared
up, it was quite nice. I sat out on the deck for a little
while in late afternoon and in the space of a few minutes
several of the fishermen in boats out on the lake before
me had caught fish.
Saturday, September 8.
I got switched onto something else yesterday just after
starting this article so there isn't a a lot there. Today's
a different day, though. First of all, the weather
is absolutely exquisite! It went to freezing last
night leaving a good layer of frost on the truck window
but it was bright and sunny all day. Our temperature only
hit 17.4C putting it well over 65 degrees Fahrenheit,
and the breeze was still pretty cool in the shade, but
in the sun? Wow. Beauty! I like the distinct contrast
between shade and sun this time of year. In the
shade you feel like you're freezing to death and in the
sun, you're roasting. It looks like the weathermen
might have been right for a change and we're going to
see nice weather from that big high pressure system off
the coast for a few more days anyway. Me, I'm just holding
my breath afraid I'll jinx the weather if I expect it
to be as nice as it was today.
Our found dog was starting to really perk up and be a
lot more active today and Andy was starting to talk like
we would have to keep him if no one claimed him. Scary
thought. I'm definitely not into a third dog but
it's true, it's too hard to place an old dog like that
and best to let him live out his days in a friendly environment.
However, we had not even finished our conversation about
it when the phone rang this morning. Dog's owner
saw his mug shot on one of the posters we put up in Anahim
Lake and was pretty excited that someone had found
him. It turned out that his owner was a lady I had worked
with at the mill and Andy knew her husband quite well.
When she came to pick up Dog she pointed out that he was
nearly deaf and his eyesight was going, which I had already
guessed. Apparently he loved boats, which we already knew
and was a terrific swimmer. He was probably close
to fourteen years old and his name was Roach.
Now that's an original name in anyone's books!
Roach's owner proudly pointed out what a great bear dog
he was in the bush and she relied on him a lot when she
went mushroom picking. He would step in front of
her and block her, and start whining if there was a bear
in her path. Once she turned away and went in
a different direction, he was fine. Apparently it was
while she was on the other side of Charlotte Lake picking
pine mushrooms when Roach and their other dog took off
after something. When she arrived back at her truck, the
one dog had come back but Roach had not. She and her husband
have spent every day since back in the area they thought
the dog might be, not realizing he had already arrived
at our place. He took off Wednesday evening and was swimming
across Nimpo Lake to our neighbour's the next morning.
We've spoken to quite a few people that saw him going
around to different places along the lake before he took
to the water. So that means he walked around Charlotte
Lake and all the way to the east or south end of Nimpo
Lake and either walked around it or swam across it to
the Short Arm. It would have taken him all night
of steady going to do it because Charlotte Lake is miles
from here and a huge lake so just getting around it to
this side would take awhile.
All I can say is, that is some dog. No wonder
he was so tired and didn't move around much the last couple
of days. Although yesterday evening he followed our other
two dogs who snuck in behind us when we walked over to
the neighbour's. That's something they weren't
supposed to do and I was surprised to see the third dog
there as well when I went to run our two off back home.
As I mentioned before, the dog was positively perky this
morning and after his owner had called us before coming
to pick Roach up, he was looking down the road and even
took a few steps down our driveway before I had him jump
back up into the back of my pickup. His owner verified
what I had already suspected. He wouldn't have
been with us for much longer but instead would have continued
heading home to Anahim Lake.
One other thing that was kind of funny though. Roach's
owner was really surprised that all three
dogs were getting along. Apparently she doesn't dare bring
another dog into the yard and Roach gets into dog fights
with other dogs all the time. Which explains Roach's and
River's caution around each other for the first couple
of days but by this morning they were touching noses (as
good as swapping spit in the human world so far as I can
see) and getting on fine.
There was one thing that we were bang on about. Right
from the moment we saw how comfortable the dog was prancing
around on the spare tire in the back of my pickup, even
though the rest of the box was empty, and that he preferred
to sleep in the truck, we knew he probably spent a lot
of time in the back of one. Which is one reason why we
thought he might belong to a visitor. But I had
to keep from laughing out loud when I saw Roach jump up
into the back of his owner's pickup and head straight
onto the spare tire on which he gracefully balanced.
The back of the truck box was full of crates for mushrooms
and the top of the jockey box and the spare tire was pretty
much the only open Real Estate. No wonder he was so comfortable
Anyway folks, happy ending to the dog story. To my relief,
we're back to being a two mongrel family. My dog loving
partner is very happy to have found the
owner and very sad and already missing the dog. Which
is pretty much the norm around here.
Roach....that's quite a name.
Case Of The Missing Dog
figured I would post this here because local people read
this blog as do visitors. Our neighbour, Dave, came over
to tell us of a dog that showed up soaking wet
this morning and when his neighbour tried to leave
to go fishing, the dog insisted on going out in the boat
too. Dave's wife had already put in several phone calls
around the lake to see if a tourist had lost their dog
but no one was too sure what to do with him until someone
Andy suggested Dave bring the dog over to our place because
we've already got two dogs and usually at least one of
us is home all the time. After bringing the animal over
Dave and his wife went out with their boat and tried stopping
at all the part time residences around the lake to see
if anyone had lost a dog.
Several of the people he spoke to said they had
seen the dog
swimming across Nimpo Lake this morning, but no
one knew who it belonged to. This afternoon Andy loaded
the dog up in the supercab of my truck and took him around
to everywhere he could think of to find the owner of the
dog. Several people told Andy the same thing they had
Dave. They saw the dog swimming across the lake but had
no idea who it belonged to. That's a pretty fair distance
for any dog in good shape that's a good swimmer. It's
a heck of a distance for a dog that seems
to be pretty old as this one does. Old, but not decrepit.
Andy just called me out to point out that the dog had
jumped into the back of my 4x4 with the tailgate up. No
Anyway, this old dude is a German Shepherd, possibly a
mix, with a really good dispositioin. He's really friendly
and gentle, gets along great with our cat, is accustomed
to riding in vehicles and boats as well as in the back
of trucks. Oh, and he's obviously a great swimmer.
I gave him a treat when I gave our two dogs one and he
was so delicate about taking it out of my fingers he's
either extremely polite or never seen a dog biscuit before.
And Andy said that he ate quite slowly tonight when he
fed him so he's never been starved and he hasn't gone
long without a meal. Oh, and he's obviously accustomed
to being in his owner's house because he keeps trying
to get in the door when it's open. I'm afraid he's out
of luck though. It would hardly be fair to let him in
the house when my two dogs can't come in. Life's
not that tough though. He now has his own blanky in the
back of my truck, his choice of two dog houses, or a nice
soft mattress in the garage. Like I said. Life
is tough for dogs around here.
Okay. So one neutered male, predominately light brown
mixed breed possibly with some German Shepherd in him,
no collar, seems to be an older dog and is very obviously
a people dog with good manners. We're thinking visitor's
dog because no one recalls seeing him around before. If
you are missing a dog or know of someone that is you can
call about him at 742-3724. I'll be doing up some posters
and Andy will hang them up around Nimpo tomorrow so location
info will be on those. Oh, and Dog's mug shot is
up on the right.
It was a beautiful day today. Fog was on the lake thicker
than pea soup at daylight this morning and the temperature
dropped to one degree from freezing last night. It didn't
get above 13C today and the air was very crisp, but it
was really nice in the sun. Some heavier cloud started
moving in early this evening but I see it's clearing right
off and there was some pretty color on the mountains tonite.
Andy was pointing out that the 'Horse and Rider' are finally
starting to show up on a mountain across the lake. When
the snow melts to a certain point a shape shows up that
(with some imagination) looks like a cowboy riding a horse.
But it's never shown up this late in the year before.
Usually it starts to show up in July but with a
combination of high snow levels in the mountains this
winter and low temperatures this summer, there's a whole
lot more snow up there than there normally is at this
time of year. It might melt before winter hits.
It depends on whether this warm spell the weatherman is
promising in the Lower Mainland comes as far north as
us. It looks like sunshine for the next week for Vancouver
as well as higher temperatures so I'd sure like to see
our area get some of that.
Well, That Didn't Last Long
that sunshine yesterday was just too much of a good thing.
It was pretty grim out most of the day with it trying
to spit rain off and on. It started clearing up early
this evening and isn't actually too bad looking out there
right now. Not much rain has registered in the rain gauge.
Less than 1/2 an inch of rain has fallen
but it's just enough to keep things cooled off and the
ground damp. Today temperatures maxed out at 14C or less
than 60 degrees Fahrenheit and that's as good as it got.
It's been cool enough to have to start a fire in the wood
stove most nights but by most appearances, not cool enough
to cause a lot of the tree leaves to turn color. However,
a little drive into Anahim Lake today painted an
entirely different picture. Many of the trees
and shrubs along the highway were displaying the yellow
and red caused by a few good frosts. I guess winter is
coming after all.
Actually, I was watching a short item on the news today
that talked about the snow storms in Argentina and how
glad they'll be there to see spring come. Sometimes you
forget what a mess wet snow is until you see an item on
it at the most unexpected time. That will be our picture
in a couple of short months or less.
There are still lots of people out fishing on Nimpo Lake
and I was speaking to a lady up at the store that said
she actually had a nice little trout jump into
her boat this week. You don't hear about that
happening very often! I can see it now in next year's
brochures for our visitors. "Fish so bountiful
you don't even have to put a rod out. Just wait 'til they
jump into your boat!" I would like to have
that happen to me some time. It would be just too cool.
Nothing else new on the home front. Andy keeps having
to come back inside and wait between rain showers to continue
with his building project.
everyone else, we're just waiting for that high pressure
system off the coast to build and bring us some summer.
Woo Hoo. Sunshine!
turned out to be a glorious day and we actually saw some
sun. Not that it started out all that great. It was pretty
grey and grim this morning with low cloud hanging in.
It rained yesterday so everything was pretty wet this
morning and I figured it would just get wetter, but the
sun actually broke through and most of the day was absolutely
exquisite. Well, that's normally not the term you
would use for an average day but those have been such
When watching the weather at noon things were looking
pretty hopeful for the rest of the week with a big high
pressure system moving in from the south. But
by the time we watched the weather this evening it looks
like a big nasty is coming straight in from the west and
is going to nail us head on. Wind, rain and more rain.
Maybe their satellite pictures are wrong. We can only
The weathermen on both channels were showing clear sunshine
for the coast for the weekend. If we don't get some of
that I just might have to go throttle one of them. Or
I took a walk along the back trails this afternoon and
although it's still a little wet in the woods from that
last rain, this has to be the nicest time of year to go
wandering. There's the odd mosquito floating around but
otherwise all is well with the world when you can see
a myriad of mushrooms, kinnickinnick still as green as
it would be in spring, but the other undergrowth starting
to turn color with fall temperatures. Things are
only starting to color up now from cold temperatures this
past week. The wild roses always turn early because
they're end of cycle and concentrating all their energy
in producing rose hips.
The wild gooseberry bushes are probably my favorite for
fall color. We don't have a lot of them around here but
they're a pretty burnt red once they turn. Probably the
prettiest wild shrub in this part of the country is scrub
or swamp birch. It's a thick growing shrub that has perfectly
round little leaves that are bright spring green throughout
the summer but turn a brilliant fire engine red in most
falls. Sometimes I would come on a meadow filled with
it while moose hunting and the sight would be stunning.
I saw an interesting sight today. A man in a canoe out
on Nimpo Lake with a bicycle in the front of the canoe.
Now you see a lot of strange things in the Chilcotin
but I admit that's stranger than most. Talk about
taking eco-adventure to the max! I really would liked
to have given him a yell as he paddled past the point
and questioned him about the bike, but it didn't seem
polite to invade his privacy. Still....that's one to ponder
There were a few boats out on the lake today and lots
of fish rising! Loads were rising just behind the boats
as they cruised along on the water. Must be frustrating
to see that if you're not catching any. Been there!
Okay, gotta go. Need to get some work done on the computer
tonight since I goofed off outside most of the day because
it was so nice. If goofing off is trying to mow
a lawn with a blade on a lawnmower so dull you could have
ridden to Texas very comfortably on it.
You know, I got that lawnmower second hand in 1994 and
I don't think the blade has been changed since then. I've
chewed through rocks and sticks, and brush and dirt with
that poor thing for years and it's always started
easy and run well. But I couldn't keep that thing running
for the life of me today. It kept bogging down so badly
that it took well over an hour to mow a piece of lawn
the size of our living room. Finally, when I finished,
I flipped it over and had a look at it. There wasn't much
left of the blade, the ends were split and pieces of metal
were ready to break off. I don't know if pitying
inanimate objects is a sane thing to do, but I kind of
felt sorry for that poor old machine. After Andy
changed the blade it was like that lawnmower was a supercharged
Amazing what a little maintenance will do.
Now if we just had a little more lawn to cut.....
not much new happening on this holiday Monday other than
I feel sorry for those people trying to camp out. I
don't think the weather is particularly nice anywhere
in BC this weekend, except maybe for the southeast
corner of the province and parts of the Okanagan. A couple
of big low pressure system have come spinning in off of
the Pacific and they're packing some moisture.
Our weather for the most part has been nothing to write
home about with temperatures topping out at 14C or about
59F. That's topping out. Average has been
around 10C or 50F. Not warm in anyone's books.
It's been mixed sun and cloud and trying to spit rain
for the last couple of days, but today is just plain gloomy.
We were wandering around our property line on Saturday
afternoon checking for signs of beaver damage. We
ended up watching two people in a boat in our back bay
catch a couple of fish in a short period of time and could
finally no longer resist going out fishing ourselves.
As long as a watery sun tried peering through the clouds
it was pretty nice out, but once it clouded over and a
tiny breeze sprang up, it was suddenly too unpleasant
to be out on the water. And it hasn't been that warm since.
We got a couple of nice trout before it got too
cool though and tried as I might to get some decent
pictures of loons following in our wake, they just ended
up too blurry. Even as fast as the shutter is on that
camera I don't think it's fast enough for a rocking boat.
This weather is not helping local ranchers at all
when it comes to getting in their hay in. It's
been a cool and wet summer so there's lots of hay in the
fields. But lots of hay means it takes longer and more
heat to dry so a cool fall is not the right recipe at
all. When we came back from town last week we had to drive
right by the ranch at Kleena Kleene, (his property listing
is on this site at Commercial
Properties for Sale) and his fields
were just loaded with hay bales. I'm guessing he was getting
around five or six ton to the acre. I figured he was done
haying but when I spoke to him at poker on Friday he said
he still had quite a few acres to do. I feel for him and
he's not the only one. There are a lot of
ranchers in the area that depend entirely on putting up
dry hay of their own.
The weather this summer and fall has certainly been good
for the mushrooms. Take a walk in the woods on our back
trails and you'll see a wide variety of colors, shapes
and sizes. Some are as big as a bread basket! Don't know
what those are but they don't look edible.
Weather conditions should have been just right for
a good crop of pine mushrooms and I understand
that people are picking them by the bucket loads. Unfortunately,
mushrooms, like anything, follows the old rule of economics.
Excessive supply more than meets demand so the price is
very low. A dollar a pound for number one grade is quite
a bit less than the hundred dollars a pound brought in
a few years back. At a dollar a pound it's not worth
fighting the bush taking a chance on getting lost or running
into a bear as happens to some of the Natives every year
out here. It's just not practical to carry a rifle
and hunt for mushrooms so they have no protection from
bears in the deep pine stands where the mushrooms grow.
Just a quick note to any of you pilots and World War Two
buffs out there. Terry Brandt from Nimpo Lake is having
the grand opening for his antique flying museum next weekend
down in Hood River, Oregon. He's got stuff that you won't
see anywhere else in the world folks so you might want
to make a date to go down and see it. If you would like
to get a little idea of what Terry's museum has to offer,
you can check it out at WAAMuseum.
Oh, and I want to apologize to those folks that tried
to click on the link in the article below. I forgot to
load up last week's blog when I uploaded everything else.
I'm sorry about that.
That's Right! It's The Labor Day Weekend Isn't
forgot all about it, I suppose because I don't have an
employer or kids in school. Living in the Chilcotin,
whether you're a rancher, logger, or a home based business,
you often have no idea what day of the week it is much
less that it might be a long weekend. However,
I'm sure those people with employers and a regular work
week certainly notice a long weekend, as I did when I
In British Columbia there was an added significance to
the Labor Day weekend for students. The Tuesday after
Labor Day was and is, the first day back to school. Unlike
many American schools and other provinces in Canada, BC
schools always started their school year later.
From a personal point of view, they could have started
earlier in this province. I could never wait to
get back to school. It wasn't just that I liked
learning. It was more that the summer was no vacation
in my childhood. Not to sound hard done by or anything,
but the summer break usually entailed hard labor for us
kids. I know, it sounds like the old-timers that
talk of walking for miles to and from school in driving
snowstorms uphill both ways. We did that, although
it was only a steep uphill one way and I've got the calf
muscles and frost bitten toes to prove it.
After acquiring an Agricultural lease of 160 acres my
family had to prove up on it. That meant that a certain
percentage of land had to be cleared, and certain building
improvements had to made in order to purchase the homestead.
Just like in the old days. That was how most of Canada
was settled and I suspect that was the case in the States
'Proving Up' for us kids meant helping our
parents to blow stumps after the trees were cut down and
trailing behind a stoneboat in the dust and heat picking
up roots and rocks off the fields that Mother Nature
so graciously coughed up every spring when the frost came
out of the ground.
There were huge windrows of brush and branches to burn
and rose bushes to dig out with a mattock. After the fields
were seeded there was haying to be done with old horse
drawn equipment adapted to be pulled behind an equally
ancient tractor. With no running water, it meant that
water had to be hauled by hand to livestock, fences had
to built and mended, and other ranchers' open range cattle
run out of our fields because it was a lot easier pickings
than the skimpy wild grass they usually subsisted on through
Since we heated entirely with wood and three wood
stoves ate up a lot of it, getting in enough firewood
for the winter was an ongoing chore. Then it still had
to be split and stacked. Add to that the general household
and cooking chores, various building projects, animals
to feed when we had them, and weeding and watering a pathetic
garden that only grudgingly produced vegetables in the
hardpan, summer was no picnic.
We often envied the other kids their summers off
to loll around and do as they please. I remember
being shocked one day down at the neighbour's house when
a friend complained bitterly about having to take the
garbage out. That was his only chore and he got a pretty
good allowance for it. Allowance wasn't a word in our
house. Everytime we tentatively brought the subject up,
my father would come back with, "You put your feet
under the table, don't you?" That generally ended
that conversation. Especially since we ate
The upside was that we all developed good muscles and
all my brothers were strapping youngsters. We also all
developed one heck of a good work ethic. Going to work
after leaving school left us all breathless. That
we should be doing work that wasn't nearly as labor intensive
as when we had lived at home and we were getting paid
I always considered myself very fortunate to have been
raised in an environment very similar to that of a century
ago and I know few people of my age that were ever exposed
to that. Although I recognized as a kid and a teenager
that all of our family had to work hard in order to prove
up on the homestead, I had to be much older before I appreciated
the long-lasting benefit. That comes clear in spades nowadays
when I have to work with young people that don't come
from ranching or farm stock. The general attitude seems
to be, "What do you mean I have to work? I'm
just here for the paycheck!"
That brings us back to Labor Day.
As the American Department of Labor web site states, 'Labor
Day constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions
workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being
of our country.' Canada and the US are great countries
built on the backs of people, regardless of ethnicity
or country of origin, that spent their lives working their
I, for one, definitely appreciate the meaning of the holiday
just as I did as a kid.
It's time again for the start of a new week. Last week's
articles can be found at August
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!