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Wilderness Adventures - Sept. Week 2/2006

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.

You can search this site for a subject of interest to you at the bottom of this page. Check out the Picture of the Day.

14/09/2006 7:45 PM

Jingle Bells...Jingle Bells..

Do you know that I was driving through a snow storm today? Actually, the entire three hours that I was gone from home it snowed. It started out with a hail sleet cross when I dove for the truck door. By the time I hit the highway it was snowing big, fat, furry flakes and it didn't stop. The flakes got smaller after awhile but it sure didn't slow down much and it was sticking everywhere except the pavement which really surprised me, because that ground and the gravel roads should still have a lot of heat but apparently not. I'm wondering what it will look like up in the hills when the clouds clear away from the mountains. I'll bet it won't be just a little dusting of white like it was yesterday evening. The temperature hasn't climbed much above freezing all day so you can bet it's a lot colder at higher elevations. I should have guessed something was coming. Yesterday the little birds were going nuts in the trees, hitting the bird seed hard, and even the Robins were bouncing around all over the place yesterday evening. I haven't seen much bird action this summer but when they get active it's usually a pretty good indicator that something nasty is coming down the line.
I feel especially sorry for those folks vacationing here right now. I'm not sure there's anything more desolate looking than an RV sitting in a snow storm with awning sagging and snow melt dripping off the roof. The RV'ers must be going, "What the heck...?!!!" And of course everywhere I went today, including the restaurant, there was a big crackling fire blazing away with people taking turns backing up to it. We've had a fire going since last night of course, and if things don't improve we won't be letting it go out before spring.
Last night we got nearly a half inch of rain and with this snow we most definitely do not need to worry about forest fires in the near future. That, friends, is a huge relief!
Last I heard a lot of forest fires broke out all over British Columbia the last few days because of lightning strikes. I believe Forestry was battling several hundred including the two huge fires down near Osoyoos and Manning Park. Our province doesn't have it nearly as bad as the five U.S. States that have lost about 1,000,000 acreas between them and many are still out of control including those in Washington. I don't know if any of those States got the weather system that just hit us but I'm pretty sure most of the province was supposed to get rain so we should be in good shape. Only a month or so to go and most of British Columbia will be out of any fire danger.
Okay, gotta go, we've got company. I just couldn't resist updating you on our Christmas weather!

13/09/2006 8:01 PM

Oops! That's Snow!

A heavy lot of clouds cleared away from the mountains this evening to reveal fresh snow. You know it has to be coming but it's a bit of a surprise after our long, hot stretch. Shortly after that little reveal, it socked back in, big grey clouds rolled back and we had a couple of lightning strikes that were pretty darned close. The boom from the one was right overhead and the kind that you can feel in your chest. Another followed right after that and though not as close, I still didn't have time to count to two seconds before the thunder boomed again. And then came the hail. Hard, fast and cold, it came straight out of the north and buried the sill on the our north facing door. You could just about watch the needle on the thermometer drop and steam started coming up off of the lake almost immediately because the water temperature was so much higher than the air temp.
No walk tonite with this weather and mr. black bear is just going to have to trundle around on his own. Besides, we're listening in to the radio to see if the fire lookout spots any fires started by lightning. The sky is really low so I should think she'll have a hard time spotting smoke at any distance, but you never know. I'm hoping that hail storm dampened the ground quickly enough to prevent a fire starting from a lightning strike, but it's pretty darn dry out there.
Tonite's blog is going to be short. It's been a long day, I'm way behind work and we've got company coming tomorrow so writing the next few days is going to be hit and miss, but I'll leave you with the picture of a nice sunrise taken over Nimpo Lake the other morning. I suspect that's the last we'll see of the sun for a while.

12/09/2006 8:14 PM

Rainy? Not.

Boy, yesterday's title sure was a serious expression of over - optimism. Our 'rain' left little drops in the dust. Today, we got very little more in the way of lightning quick showers. The upside is that it was pretty easy to judge the freshness of our black bear's tracks on our walk tonite. He was all over the place this afternoon. He crossed our trail in the woods and then I found a new place that he came out of the woods on the same corner as we do where the tracks were a day or two old. But once we got down to Rainbow Lodge's corner there were fresh tracks crossing back and forth across the road repeatedly. One set showed him running back across the road from the lodge property and his claws were digging in pretty deep to get purchase in the gravel so something must have scared him or the lodge dog put the run on him. I'm assuming that Richard, the owner of the lodge, is still throwing the fish scraps from cleaning his guests' fish out in a pit in the woods. According to the neighbours, this has attracted bears before and certainly seems to be the main destination of this one. The only danger with that practice is that we do all walk the road and woods and someday there might end up being a run in. Mind you, his wife walks the same road and it doesn't seem to bother her. A problem bear was created last year and everyone that walked the road ran into the same bear fairly regularly on the same corner crossing from Richard's to the woods on the other side. Actually, there's even a trail coming up out of a ravine from the lodge referred to as the bear trail because bears have followed it for so many years.
Who knows. This year may not be any different from any other but because the dust creates such a clear and perfect canvas for tracks it may just seem that there's more movement on the part of this bear. I really enjoy seeing what's out in the woods near our place. There's a lot of real estate on this side of the lake that is nothing but miles of forest and meadows between the highway and Nimpo Lake so there's plenty of isolation for wildlife. Our most common track to see is normally moose but I'm not seeing a lot of fresh tracks this year. A few, but not a lot. That is most likely because of the long, hot summer. Most moose fled to higher country this spring and won't be down until later this fall when it starts cooling off and the rut begins.
I'm definitely seeing more deer tracks than ever before and of course the otter tracks about a week ago. It still seems strange to come across a water mammal's tracks trucking down the trail deep in the woods and far from water.
We're supposed to be seeing cooler weather for the next few days but it doesn't seem to be slowing down our visitors very much. I looked out over Nimpo Lake yesterday morning and I swear there were more fishermen out there at one time than we've seen all summer! There were even people out in their slickers humped up in their boats in the rain this morning. Now excuse me, but my daddy taught me to come in out of the rain! Mind you, the fish were jumping way out of the water all over the place so it was kinda' tempting...
I would really like to thank some kind folks from Washington State for their kind email this morning. I did try to reply and got a bounce back from their mail server so just in case I can't get through...
I admit to getting depressed sometimes with trying to keep this site up in the search engines so people can find it and learn about our area. Without lots of visitors to our communities, many of our businesses would be lost. Sometimes trying to find the time to write a daily article that I think might be of interest to someone can be a real struggle too, especially in my busy season. But when you get a great letter like I did this morning and like I have from many of you super people that have contacted me before, it just makes my day!!!! And it certainly makes it all worthwhile. So if I haven't thanked you all for awhile for patiently coming back to read the daily blog and for your emails of encouragement, don't think I don't appreciate it lots! I certainly do. And sometimes it's just the lift we all need from time to time.
Thanks everyone!.

11/09/2006 8:12 PM

Rainy Monday

Well, maybe not quite. But it is sprinkling tonight and that's positive. Even though what we're getting for rain is barely settling the dust, it's more than what we've gotten in a month and if nothing else, some of the plants can pull some moisture in on the leaves. The weatherman is calling for some showers over much of British Columbia so I hope he means us as well. We can use all the help we can get. Of course, so could those living near the Tatoosh Fire.
Two of the three fires down on the Canadian Washington border are still classed as out of control. The third is considered 60% under control. There's still some concern that the Cathedral Fire and Tatoosh fire might join although the newscasters say they are still six kilometers apart. Now that doesn't seem to be very far to me...in the neighbourhood of only four miles. So if they're saying it isn't as likely now that the two will join as it was before, I'm assuming they have their mileage wrong. They've certainly had their acreage wrong for the past week. I've heard newscasters on two different news channels give the fire size as anywhere from 24,000 hectares a week ago to 42 hectares tonite. That seems a little strange if the Tatoosh fire is still out of control and growing at a rate of anywhere from 50 to 100 hectares a day. I don't think the people on the British Columbia news channels have a clue as to what they're talking about when it comes to forest fires and never have. They've certainly never gotten the information correct when it came to fires out in this area. That's when they bother to report on them, that is. Then again, the Forestry Service isn't the most reliable source either.
Things are starting to turn color at a good rate now. It seems only in the past week that much of the grasses and low lying bushes have turned gold or red. The nights are much cooler now with frost a real possibility every night and fog rolling in off the lake many mornings.
No new bear sign on our walk on the back trails tonite so our black buddy must be laying low today. I'm going to post a cool picture by Leah of that bear sneaking out on the shore of the Atnarko River this weekend on the Picture of the Day. See if you can spot him!
Last but not least, my heart goes out to all that lost a loved one in 911. Like most, I still remember exactly where I was that morning. It's just too bad that those who caused the grief haven't been wiped out yet.
You've probably noticed that this is a short post. I'm afraid paying business comes first and it's starting to get into my busiest season of the year, so many articles may be quickies like this or every other day. I'm sorry about that but just wait until sledding season. Then things will pick up!

10/09/2006 4:41 PM

Close Encounters With A Grizzly Bear

The promised pictures of bears are up. A young couple that run the store in Nimpo Lake went salmon fishing down on the Bella Coola and Atnarko Rivers this weekend. Leah's partner, Richard, had been fishing on the other side of the Atnarko River from her when they were told by other fishermen that there had been a sow and cubs over there all morning. Richard had no sooner crossed back when one of the bears came sneaking down to the water. Leah, who is not all that familiar with bears close up actually got some pretty good pictures, albeit a little fuzzy because she was shaking. I hardly blame her. If you look at the top picture on the right, you'll see from her arm and camera strap in the image that she was way too close to a bear playing in the water. She had been mistakenly told that the bear she was sharing the river with was a black bear and was a little shocked when I told her she'd been that close to a grizzly. If you look at the fuzzy picture on the right, you'll see the claws on the bear are several inches long. The sure sign of a grizzly and one reason they have difficulty climbing trees as adults. The silver tipped hairs, the hump on the shoulder, shorter snout and the smaller round ears are another tip off. Whether a black bear or grizzly, it's not advisable to get close to either because both can be completely unpredictable and move faster than greased lightning when peed off. However, she did provide me with some great pictures for the site and much better than the ones we took last year because I wasn't about to get as close as Leah did. I admit it, I'm chicken because I know I can't move as fast as bears can. Anyway, thanks Leah! I hope everyone enjoys the pics and her story as much as I have.
Our local bear has been getting pretty cocky. Yesterday, there was fresh bear scat full of berries on the side of the road so I started tracking him. Sometime yesterday morning he wandered through our two closest neighbours' yards eating berries and although I couldn't find tracks inside our gate, he was certainly just outside of it. Which might explain our dog's somewhat fearful bark the night before. It looks like the bear was just wandering around leaving tracks in the dust as clear as could be. I ran into the one neighbour returning from biking yesterday evening while I took pictures of the tracks, then our other neighbours came out to look at the tracks on their walk. We're all hunters and all agreed that he's a big boy. The tracks were perfectly formed in the fine dust so you could even see the wrinkles in the pads of his feet. I couldn't resist posting the picture at bottom right and hope you can see the detail. No one knows what the bear actually looks like because he seems to be pretty shy but only one other neighbour had been aware that he's been around for a couple of weeks now because she's been tracking him on her walks as well.

09/09/2006 11:30 AM

Property In Nimpo Lake For Sale

I have a new property to put on the listing with a house but with commercial zoning. Unfortunately, I don't have the exact acreage right now, other than it's probably somewhere between one and two acres and located between the motel and restaurant in Nimpo Lake with highway frontage. The house is wood sided with two bedrooms and bath upstairs and one bedroom and bath downstairs. The house sits back from the highway a nice distance with a privacy fence so I'm not sure if it has a view of Nimpo Lake and the Coast Range but I suspect it does. There is also supposed to be another small cabin that can be used for storage. The main benefit of this property is the frontage. There's easily enough property in front of the house to erect a building for a business and still have ample parking left over. The price is pretty nice too at $120,000. I'll try to have the photos and listing up on the Property For Sale page today. The pictures I have right now are not up to date because I know that there have been quite a few improvements in the last couple of years. Bear with me. When I get fresh pics I'll post them.
There are three properties for sale in the properties listings that will have their contact number changed. The folks that own them are not in Nimpo Lake very much anymore and although they have been getting messages on their answering machine regarding the properties, they've ended up playing telephone tag a lot. So if you have been one of the people trying to reach these folks, the contact number will be changed today. If you would like to know more about the properties or view them you can call us at 250-742-3724. Ask for Andy or Jane.
My apologies for no article yesterday. I got to working on a project that had a deadline and then...gasp...I went for a friendly game of Texas Holdem. We don't get out much around here but sometimes it's a nice break to get away from the computer.
Today has a mixture of cloud and sun and although we got a tiny shot of moisture last night, it doesn't look like we're going to get much in the way of some desperately needed rain. I did talk to a girl that went salmon fishing down on the Bella Coola River and she got some great shots of a black and grizzly that were sharing the river with her and her partner. She is kindly allowing me to use those pictures on the web site so I look forward to posting those tomorrow.
Evan, one of the fellows that I played poker with last night and who you've seen in the waterskipping races in this blog earlier this spring, said he had a grizzly cross between his truck and trailer in Anahim Lake yesterday. From what I hear, there's still a grizzly sow and cubs hanging around the Two Mile Reserve this summer as she does every year.
A Native lady was saying that there's a grizzly tearing heads off of dogs up toward the old Ulgatcho Reserve and she thinks it's one that was wounded a while back. Not a pretty thought really.
Okay, check out the Property For Sale page and look for those bear pics tomorrow!
For last week's articles, check out September Week One.

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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!
Orange sunrise.
 
Dark grizzly bear.
 
Bear head in the water.
 
Wet grizzly bear.
 
Fuzzy bear.
 
Grizzly bear fishing for salmon.
 
Bear tracks in the dust.
 
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