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 3/2007
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.
Here Come The Winds
getting hit with some pretty wild winds coming straight
at us today. Gusting in at over 27mph from the
Southwest, that brings them straight onto our point and
it feels a lot faster than that. It quite possibly is.
Unfortunately, our wind indicator is in a somewhat
protected spot simply because we haven't found
a better spot for it since spring when we set it up over
by the cabin.
One of the few pine trees that we have left that has a
really thick, pretty top on it has snapped off. Since
all that's left is trunk with the top dangling by the
bark, that will have to be cut down. Sad Sack is
still hanging in there. I don't know why we haven't
cut that tree down yet other than I think my partner has
a strange sense of humour and knows it drives me crazy.
It wouldn't be so bad if the tree only leaned one way,
say when the wind comes out of the south. But yesterday
it was coming out of the north and Sad Sack was twirling
round like a drunk over the roof on the house. Which indicates
it doesn't have much of a root system holding it. That's
apparent when you can watch the ground moving above the
roots when the tree moves.
This is our first major wind since spring and at that
time, many of the trees were still frozen in by frost
in the ground. It will be interesting to see how many
we lose today. We generally have at least one nasty wind
storm in the fall that takes all the leaves off of the
aspens. So far, many of ours are still green so maybe
they'll stay on for awhile yet.
One bunch of people that really seem to enjoy the
wind are the pilots of Nimpo Lake's floatplane charter
company. Today the planes are taking off into
the wind and I'm sure it's only taking them a few seconds
to get off the water. Those planes are in the air and
banking on their sides already before they even reach
our point. It must be exhilarating to fly into a wind
like this and have such tremendous lift. Probably
a little frightening for the passengers, though.
The roofing project is finally done! Today's a good indicator
for seeing whether the roof will blow off or not. Lol.
It will be good to get our travel trailer under a protective
roof now, anyway. And now we can get on with many of the
other jobs that need doing around here before the snow
We got 1cm of rain yesterday so that puts us at
well over an inch of rain in less than three days
while temperatures are still pretty cool. Our highest
temperature today is 13C or around 55 degrees Fahrenheit
and I don't think it got much over 14C yesterday. Mind
you, yesterday there was one cold north wind blowing.
Today's not bad at all with a warmer wind, you just can't
stand up straight. And the sun's shining. Trust me, it
isn't likely to be cloudy with gusts like what we have
right now. Those clouds are getting blasted across the
sky at a pretty good rate.
There isn't that much algae in Nimpo Lake this year but
this wind will turn the water over and it should be a
lot cleaner in a few days. I don't know what that will
do to the fishing but it will stir a lot
of feed up. I was watching a couple of guys out
on the lake this morning fly fishing from their personal
pontoons or float tubes. They were getting pushed
around pretty good and that was before the wind really
came up. It must be difficult to make a lot of headway
in those things when there's anything but calm water.
And I don't know what you do when chop comes up. Head
for shore as quickly as possible before you get blown
to China, I guess.
Okie Dokie. That's today's update and I have to get some
work done before the power gets knocked out and I lose
the computer. Have a great weekend!
Snow On The Mountains
clouds finally cleared away last night and you could see
the Coast mountains a bit before it got completely dark.
Today once it cleared off and the sun was shining on the
mountains, the white reflection of fresh snow was
stunning. There's a lot of snow
up on the really high ones but quite a bit fell on the
lower ones too. It's just that at lower elevations it
will melt to some extent during the day. And since today
was quite warm in the sun for several hours, it will
I wish I had gotten a picture of our first fall snow for
this year. However, I was on my way to the neighbour's
property on the fourwheeler when I noticed how gorgeous
the mountains were in the sun and that deep blue backdrop
that you get in autumn skies. I didn't turn around and
get the camera because it looked like our sun would last
all day. Not to be, though. Thick grey overcast moved
in with a frontal system coming in from the Pacific and
Alaska. Suited me. I was working in the sun, roasting
my butt off and the black flies were having a heyday.
The overcast didn't bother me at all for a change.
Today I decided to do a trade. I don't do heights
at all. Not in any way, shape, or form. I've tried
many times to get over my fear of heights but it just
doesn't work. I can get up a ladder if I have to, but
I can't get back down. Kind of like a cat up a telephone
pole. My maximum extent of up is changing a light
bulb from the seat of a kitchen chair and that's pushing
it. However, Andy brought back the tin yesterday
for the roof on this new building he's been working on.
Our neighbour kindly came over this morning and helped
me to push the tin up to Andy on the roof, but any attempts
I made to help straighten felt from below were pretty
pathetic. I just couldn't get up high enough. But....
This morning the BC Hydro contractors cut down the trees
along the power line on our neighbour's property that
we hadn't already taken down. They left one heck
of a mess of criss-crossed trees but they did limb the
trunks and cut off the tops.
Our neighbour had decided that he was going to help Andy
screw down the tin on the roof all day, so I decided to
go plug away at the neighbour's newly downed trees. Using
the chainsaw and pulling some of the tangled tops out
with the fourwheeler, I got a pretty good pile of limbs
happening for a major bonfire by supper time and Andy
and the neighbour got nearly all the roof done. Only a
couple more sheets to do tomorrow.
I know that I'm beat, and I'm pretty sure the neighbour
is probably pretty tired too. Sadly, I'm about thirty
years younger than he and I know I'm dragging
my sorry heinie a lot lower than he is tonight! I'll
tell you, hats off to the older fellas in this country.
They're amazing. No rocking chairs around here, and good
luck to the young bucks that try to keep up to some of
Temperatures are still dropping below freezing at
night, with it hitting about -2C last night, but
we got up to 11.7C or around 58F at one point today and
I don't think that was the warmest part of the day. During
that time I was donating blood to the black flies. But
we were at least as warm as Williams Lake and Prince George
so that's not too bad. We got more rain last night but
I was trying to get a picture of all the trout jumping
on Nimpo Lake yesterday evening. They were just
plopping all over the place but they were too fast for
my camera. Still, see if you can see some of the rings
from the fish splashing in the picture up on the right.
Oddly enough, the evening was quite pleasant and yet there
weren't all that many boats out on the lake. Maybe
real fishermen prefer the challenge of snow, hail, sleet,
cold wind and hard rain that we had yesterday morning.
Andy was saying that everything from Williams Lake to
Nimpo is either yellow or brown and probably half the
leaves in the Willy's Puddle are blown off of the trees.
They must have gotten much colder weather for a spell
than we have because some of our trees are only just turning.
I would say we could be in for some nice color this fall
if that high pressure system off the coast had been a
little stronger. But it looks like it's broken down and
we'll be getting some colder temperatures associated with
that low off the coast of Alaska. Oh, and rain. Of
Speaking of Surprises....
know that I am going to be blamed for this. I just know
it's going to be my fault that it snowed this morning
because I mentioned the possibility in yesterday's blog.
So Murphy's Law says it has to happen.
I got up at dawn this morning and couldn't believe
my eyes when I saw white on the ground. I had
decided it was a heavy frost on the grass before going
back to the bedroom window. Nope. There was snow on the
porch roof below and it was close enough to see that it
was, unquestionably, snow. There was also some sludge
coming down out of the sky. A mixture of heavy snow and
rain, and I couldn't think of a single solitary reason
to not go back to bed. Maybe stay there until spring.
When I did finally climb out later this morning there
was still some snow in places, a heavy fog laying out
over the lake and a fair bit of water in the rain gauge.
2cm or just a little less than an inch in fact, which
is quite a bit considering that it fell just this morning.
Lo and behold, I'm looking out the front window and on
the lake gliding out of a heavy shroud of fog is a fishing
boat with a couple of guys in slickers. Now I
consider myself a reasonably hardy soul but anyone crazy
enough to be out fishing on Nimpo Lake in that kind of
cold, damp, weather that early in the morning has more
cajones than I ever will. It was enough
to make me go downstairs and start a fire in the wood
stove. All I can say is they have my admiration. I'm the
first to admit that I'm strictly a fair-weather person.
When I go fishing, I like sunshine. Ditto
for hunting or snowmobiling, or even working outside.
It must come from being born in Arizona. Sunshine is my
friend and I don't do very well without it.
Anyway, maybe they know something I don't. A watery sun
is trying to peek through a heavy layer of overcast. A
really brisk breeze out of the north has come up and pushed
great clouds of fog off the lake so if it keeps up, it
may just clear up and be a nice day.
Andy took off before daybreak this morning for Williams
Lake to pick up the tin roofing for our latest project.
He said that while it was a mixture of snow and rain here,
by the time he reached Tatla Lake, it was just really
heavy rain. I know the weatherman mentioned rain
for the coast and interior of BC today, but I don't recall
him saying anything about snow. For us, anyway.
Nelson got snow the day before yesterday and I'm pretty
sure the rest of the province was laughing at them. It
is a little early, that's for sure. Not unheard of, but
I'm curious to see what the mountains will look like when
the clouds clear away. I wouldn't be surprised to see
lots of white on them. If we got as much rain as we did
sitting just around freezing at this elevation, then unless
there's an inversion layer, it will be a lot colder up
It's funny how there can be such a variation in
weather patterns from year to year in this country.
I can remember lots of years that I would be out hunting
moose from mid-September on, and it would be so hot with
so many bugs out that even if you did get something, you'd
better get it in fast or the meat would spoil. In many
cases, because it was so hot, the animals hadn't even
moved down out of the high country yet and though they
might be in the rut, you could easily miss it. I'll bet
they'll be heading down early this year!
In any case, it's noon, the temperature has come up to
about 5C or about 41F and it just might turn out to be
a nice day. The fishermen think so because there's
a few boats and planes heading out onto the water now.
You'll notice that I've moved onto a new week and pulled
yesterday's blog over to this page. No, I'm not trying
to confuse the issue, it's just that I didn't have time
to start the new week yesterday. If you want to see last
week's stories and the pic of a beautiful plane, you'll
find the link below.
The Season Of Change
know, you just plug along in short shirt sleeves never
taking beautiful weather for granted, but still.....And
then. Bam! Get your long johns out because all of
a sudden you are freezing your heinie off. Our
weather changed drastically yesterday with a cold wind
and colder temperatures. Suddenly, it's Fall and no mistake.
I'm not the only person that just can't get warm. That's
the only problem with having balmy weather late in the
year. It's harder to adjust when it changes.
We had a pretty good freeze last night.
Not a few of my plants are looking worse for wear and
ice had skimmed over the surface of the dogs' water by
this morning. Today was most definitely not short sleeve
weather and you'd get a deep chill to the bone if you
didn't change out your wardrobe. I suppose we might still
get an Indian summer with some warm temperatures during
the day, but it will still have that 'winter's coming'
feel to the air. Mind you, cold or not, there's still
a number of people fishing out on Nimpo Lake every day.
I'm always sad this time of year. I enjoy
winters in this country, but this year we didn't get enough
of a summer for it to seem right to have winter coming
already. Although at least we did get some awfully nice
weather this past week or so, it just didn't seem to last
long enough. Of course, we got pretty spoiled last
year with our incredibly long fall and great autumn colors.
Although I could be wrong, I don't think that's going
to happen this year. Trees and shrubs around the lake
are still quite green and just turning, but everywhere
else they're well on their way to yellow and brown.
Surprisingly, even though I had to don ear muffs and a
jacket for my walk today, the kinnickinick is still a
bright vibrant green and some of the aspen in the deep
woods haven't even started turning yellow yet. No
sign of the bear who's track I saw a while back although
the dogs have been pretty alert around the meadow across
from the gun range. It's just as likely they're
picking up the scent of a deer or moose though. Mind you,
with those two dingbats, it could just as easily be the
smell of rabbit.
There are some fellows back working along our main road
today, cutting down trees along the power lines. I'm hoping
they'll make it down to our end where our neighbours have
trees right along the line. We removed some trees this
spring but there's a few crowded up in one corner with
more than one leaning over the power line. Even
if these guys just drop the trees and leave a mess behind,
as it looks like they're doing elsewhere, we can
always do the cleanup and burn ourselves this winter.
Out on the corner where four of us turn in on the same
shared road, it's looking pretty bare where our neighbour
spent winter and spring cleaning up all the trees dropped
by BC Hydro last fall. It looks great but our concern
was for the property adjacent to his where there are probably
hundreds of red trees, many of them pretty darn big and
pretty darn hairy.
The neighbours that own that property haven't been up
here for a few years, but they've come for quite
awhile this year and are going gung ho on the beetle killed
trees. I think they were pretty shocked at how
it looked. I don't know if they'll get them all down on
the corner but it's starting to look pretty good. Bare,
but good. They have a major sized burn pile that we've
offered to set on fire in winter for them. If the Hydro
guys cut a few more trees near the power line there, the
forest fire danger will be lessened considerably for all
I often wonder what the back woods are going to look like
in a few years time. On each of our properties, we've
all had to get used to the new look. But I, like
many others, treasure those woods and back trails.
I wonder if a wind will sweep through some day, knock
down all the dead trees, and make an impossible thicket
of deadfall? Or because the trees are so sheltered by
small regrowth from an old burn, will they just fall one
by one over the years, rotting as they go? I have
noticed that someone has been dumping their limbs and
red needles in huge piles in the woods. It's hard to blame
them I guess. If they're only here for the summer and
can't burn I suppose they need to put them somewhere.
The landfill would be preferable but I guess at the cost
of fuel, this seems the easier way out. Still, it's too
bad. Kind of ruins the 'natural' look in places. At least
they've tried to dump off the beaten track until lately.
We're not seeing or hearing too much from the loons
lately. There are still a few around but they're
a lot quieter. The surrounding countryside isn't though.
No surprise. Locals are well aware that winter can land
on you pretty suddenly in the West Chilcotin so you get
work done while the working's good. Especially with that
nice weather. Aside from our own building project, you
can hear folks hammering nails, using power saws, or running
machinery around the lake here and there. And nearly
every day you can hear gunshots from down at the gun range.
A few folks are sighting in their rifles for hunting season.
It's that busy time of year when you get in your wood,
and try to get as much done outside that you can. And
you want to be keeping track of your tools and implements
because if there's one thing that's a given in this country,
it's that your stuff will be buried by an
unexpected snowfall. It was a lesson I learned at a very
early age from my father. You do not leave
anything laying around from September on that you want
to use again before spring arrives. Because you won't
find it before Breakup and when you do, it will usually
be a lot worse for wear.
As you can see, this is the start of a new week. Last
week's articles can be found at September
Week Two .
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!