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Wilderness Adventures - Sept. Week 4/2006

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.

29/09/2006 12:03 PM

The Country Inn Fire

The Country Inn in Nimpo Lake burned to the ground last night and it's a devastating loss to our community.
I had just finished the article below and was gettting ready to upload it to the 'Net when Andy came rushing into my office and said one of the businesses up on the highway was burning. That was an understatement! Monsterous conflageration would better describe it. About all I could do for a few seconds was stand and stare and utter, "Oh, sh...t, oh sh...t, oh sh...t!!!" Where do you start? I dove for the phone and called 911. Our new service actually works surprisingly well. When I reached the Fire operator I asked her if she had received report of the fire. She had. Had she reached the Ulkatcho Native Band's water truck? No. One number had no answer and the other was out of order. She couldn't reach anyone. I told her to call the RCMP because they would know who to roust out of bed. She had. I then called the Dean on Nimpo to ask if they knew the fire was just behind them. They had just seen it. Is it coming down toward the resort? The worried owner said she didn't know. I asked her if they needed a fire pump but she had hung up.
I scrambled to set up watering hoses while Andy grabbed our fire pump and hiked it down to the lake to set it up. About that time our neighbour called and left a message asking if we had seen the fire and was setting up his pump. I tried to call Vagabond Resort and two other operators, also sitting below the fire, with no answer.
By this time you could see the lights of a police car and siren from another vehicle. You could hear the fire crackling and the roar of the flames from the tall, two and half story, tinder dry wood frame building. First there were small explosions like gunshots, then larger ones, probably gas or propane tanks, and sparks were shooting quite high in the sky. We were deeply concerned that the store with its gas and propane pumps on one side and the restaurant on the other side of the motel wouldn't have a hope against that fire. Nor would the businesses across the highway and below it should sparks start fires there. Probably the biggest concern was for forest fire. Beetle killed trees surrounding the Country Inn were lighting off like roman candles and should the fire get into the forest behind the motel, there wouldn't be a hope or a prayer.
We were expecting the power to go out at any time so although many around the lake had sprinklers going vehicle lights were pointed down toward the water all over as people put in fire pumps not dependent on electricity, and someone with a flashlight walking around the Dean looked to be searching for sparks landing on the ground. Andy had flipped on the truck radio so that we could listen to talk on the highway and mill channel. Someone was trying to find the key to the water tanker truck at the mill (we probably need more organization on that score) while the highways guys had already organized their water truck.
Andy had finally reached Lora at Vagabond and although they had a fire pump, they didn't have enough hose to reach from the lake to the house. I watched the sparks dropping out of the smoke from way up in the air and made the decision to go get Terry's fire pumps and 1000' feet of hose from the other end of Nimpo Lake.
I passed a water tanker truck filling up out of the Dean River as I headed to the north end of the lake all the while calling on the radio to Nimpo Lake Resort. Those terrific folks down there already had the hanger doors open and Logan was loading fire pumps and hose onto the apron when I arrived with Mary and the neighbours in vehicles close behind me. We had my truck loaded in minutes and Logan jumped in with me as we dodged indian ponies on the road back out to the highway.
I knew they would have the highway blocked off but we felt that we could take the fire pumps and hose over to the other side of the lake in the boat from our place and start putting water on the businesses below the Inn.
Logan found Wayne on the radio channel up at the fire and he confirmed that everyone was being kept away from the fire and that the police had the highway closed.
I was surprised to see that the flames didn't look nearly as high or widespread from our turnoff coming back as when I had gone. Andy was waiting for us when we got back and showed us from our lake shore that the fire was staying at the Inn and since the building had such a deep basement beneath it, it had burned so hot and so quickly, it looked like it had collapsed in on itself.
He told us that Len had walked his excavator over from his business to try and keep the fire burning inward and there were four water tankers standing by along with lots of people, but the police weren't allowing anyone to do anything because of the power lines. We have to wait for BC Hydro to come up from Bella Coola to turn off our power because no one has the authority to do it here and that could have been an absolute disaster for the entire community. With our dry woods and gaseous beetle killed trees a firestorm would not be out of the question. For a fast moving community with their own equipment to be refused the opportunity to protect other businesses next to a fire like that is unthinkable. I can understand the police's view of 'Safety First' regarding live power lines, but since most have just been transferred to Anahim Lake this summer, I don't think they have a complete understanding of just how fast this whole country could go up in flames and that the very capable locals are willing to take the risks to prevent that from happening.
We watched from the shore for a few minutes and it was evident that the businesses below the Inn were no longer in immediate danger from the fire. It hadn't crossed the highway and we were so lucky to have a cold, clear and completely calm night. Without a breath of wind to move the fire and with it died down enough to stop throwing sparks so high in the air, I figured I could drive Logan back home to his bed at the other end of the lake.
Thanks again, Logan.
I would still keep the fire pumps and hose in the truck here so that if a breeze did kick up or the fire got out of control, we'd have them. It was getting pretty late on my return and BC Hydro had finally arrived to disconnect the power. There were lots of people and water standing by for that to happen so there wasn't much for us to do on our side of the lake but watch the flames die down. IRL finally opened the highway up so people stuck at the road blocks could finally go home to bed and a phone call let us know that the fire seemed under control.
Today, all that's left are smoking ruins and my heart goes out to Art and Mary who had only just moved all their possessions in to manage the motel, but most especially to Ted and Deana, the owners.
Ted could always be counted on to send his visitors to the other businesses for activities or dining and never hesitated to make arrangements for travellers to stay at the other resorts if he had no vacancies. I relied on him heavily during the 2004 forest fire season for rooms. When I was desperately arranging accommodation for firefighters, helicopter pilots and Forestry administrators, many of the resorts and lodges bent over backwards to help out in their busiest season, but some did not. But I could always count on Ted to find room or a bed somewhere for people on short, or no notice, and he was always quick to let me know as soon as he had a room open up.
Although this provides opportunity for other lodging providers in the region, many are or will be shut down in another week and the Country Inn comprised fully one quarter of the businesses on Highway 20 proper. Its loss really is devastating.
The picture up on the right shows the flames from the motel which apparently were much higher after I left to get pumps but Andy was busy and didn't think to take pictures. I didn't take many but the 'reporter' in me required a couple. The light on the right is the restaurant sign and the one on the left is above the propane tanks on the side of the store farthest from the fire. Those close to the lake below the fire are of the Dean on Nimpo resort and restaurant while the Waterfront, Eliguk and Vagabond are just to the right and below the flames along the lake but their lights aren't visible in the picture.
Although I do have a short 25 second video of the fire including explosions, I also have the sound of the neighbour standing next to me trying to set up his camera in the dark to take a picture and the conversation between he and Andy. Unless I can edit it I probably won't put it here. Just bad timing. Any other moment in time last night would have been much better. Besides, I'd feel a bit ghoulish about it since it regards someone else's misfortune.

28/09/2006 7:50 PM

Dropping Beetle Kill

A big job has landed on everyone's plate in the past year and not one that anyone could foresee two years ago.
Now that this summer has come and gone, most homeowners in the Chilcotin can now see what a job they'll have dropping all the beetle killed pine on their properties. I think that last year we all had the tiny hope that a few of our lodgepole pine might be able to withstand the attack of the Mountain Pine Beetle. It didn't come to pass of course but still, you hoped. Now that all the infested trees have turned red and died, it's just a matter of deciding when and how to take them down. And it ain't as easy as it sounds folks!
Most of us are crowded onto our two, three, four or ten acre lots with lots of outbuildings for the junk you collect over the years. Most of that 'junk' is necessary in this country and not something you would think of holding onto if you lived in a large town or city centre. But here you need spare parts for everything and you don't throw anything away, whether wood, or metal, plumbing or electrical supplies, spare tires, spare fluids, or just 'things' that you might need to fabricate something with. Town is two hundred miles away and few of us are willing to wait for a part, pay the shipping or drive into town if we can just go out in the yard or over to the neighbour's and borrow that critical something.
As a result of all the goodies, we all have wood sheds, storage sheds, fuel sheds, an extra guest cabin or two and a garage. Some people have smokers or boathouses. Unfortunately, those same buildings are among the beetle killed trees, and in some cases, right next to one or two. Some people have trees encased in the edge of their roof or have built decks around them. In the case of our neighbour, he even has a big old pine growing up through the middle of his monsterous wood pile which would require either labouriously moving the wood piece by piece, cutting the tree down and then re-piling it all back in the same spot, or cutting the tree down by standing on top of the woodpile. That one's going to be a little tricky since the chances of the butt kicking back are high and there isn't a lot of room to run on a wood pile.
We all have those 'tricky' ones and it probably wouldn't be so bad if the trees were small. But since the beetle goes for the biggest, most mature pine trees, that's what you're dealing with most of the time. And if one of those babies falls the wrong way, even by just a few inches, it's going to make a really big mess of whatever structure happens to be in its way.
Andy went over and gave the neighbour a hand with just such a tree tonight. We were on our way back from our walk with it just getting dusky when we came on our neighbour unloading yet more tree branches up on the big burn pile near our gate. He had climbed way up into the tree that needed cutting and tied a rope on it, back around another tree and then back to a come-a-long. He needed someone to crank on the come-a-long, putting tension on the tree, while he wielded the chainsaw.
There are going to be lots more cases like that in the next few years. In fact many neighbours around Nimpo Lake have gotten together as work parties and helped out folks that either aren't so good on a saw, are getting older and can't get out of the way of a falling tree fast enough, have lots of trees, or have lots of those 'tricky' trees. There's also that safety issue. Bodily injury is never fun for anyone and you can't ride a snowmobile or a fourwheeler with crutches.
Although we'll leave our trees through fall just so it makes better firewood, we'll start cutting this winter sometime when the ice is on the lake and I can get out there and pull with the pickup truck while Andy cuts the tree down. We're in the same position as many of our neighbours though. Most of our dead trees could do significant structural damage if they fall the wrong way, and many are weighted on one side to do just that.
We keep eyeballing them and wondering if we wouldn't just be better off getting in a Feller-Buncher. Unlike many of the places around here, we don't have to worry about lawns and gardens being torn up by such machinery, but they do make a mess of the delicate natural duff that makes up most of our acreage. However, that might be a small price to pay when you compare the cost of repairing the roof or side of your house, cabin, or garage. Andy's pretty handy with a chainsaw, and we have received the kind offer of help falling trees from our friend Bill up in Quesnel, but it's still all going to be 'tricky' and will mainly require putting a cable on each tree and trying to convince it to fall where we want it to.
It took a long time for the fog to clear off this morning and will stay later and later as fall progresses. I suppose that might be the only disadvantage of living next to a lake in the fall but it's offset by the warmer temperatures we have close to Nimpo Lake versus away from it. Often there's a five degree temperature difference and that means we have greenery and flowers a little longer and less frost. Take a look at the picture up on the right given to me by Lora over at Vagabond across the lake. She zoomed in on our little peninsula the other morning and it looks like an island surrounded by fog. Oh, and you can also see all those lovely beetle killed trees that have to come down. At least we won't want for firewood any time soon.
This was supposed to be uploaded sooner than this but the Country Inn was burning up across the lake as I finished this up and it was time to get the fire pumps out. More on that tomorrow.

27/09/2006 8:46 PM

Mix And Match And Short And Sweet Wednesday.

Wow, look at all the 'Ands' up in that title! Okay, so it's hump day and things are a little slow. Actually, they're not. I had to fire back down to the other end of the lake to pick up my faxes and remembered to take my camera with me for a change. My charging herd boss and old bossy weren't on the highway today but a couple of broncs were behind that new pole fence at Fishtrap and the colors were awesome. I actually took a lot of pictures driving down and back today just because, as all the locals are noticing, this is a really unusual autumn for the area.
I even stopped at the seven acre property that is listed on this site for some better pictures because it was such a beautiful day and the view from that piece is pretty expansive on a clear day. Everyone that has looked at it so far has done so on a cloudy day when you can't see the Coast Mountain Range. Unfortunately, between a slight amount of haze and having the sun in exactly the wrong place, every picture of mountains that I took while there this morning, showed up not at all at home on the computer. So back I'll have to go again when the sun is in a better position.
Just as I pulled into our driveway I had to stop and take more awesome Fall pics and then here comes another dock being moved into the back bay and I had to watch that. This one was being moved from over at Vagabond and Floyd was tied up along side and back of it moving the long dock with just the one boat.
Anyone reading procrastination in all of these stops? Naaah.
It's hard to go to work on the computer on these nice days but I did finally get some work done. But then we had to go fishing. Mary down at the other end of Nimpo Lake is going to be doing a smoke next week and we need to accumulate some rainbow trout for smoking and then canning for the winter. We have a few in the freezer but not enough so we need to fish for more. So that actually qualifies as work, not is.
We got two beauties, lost one and let a little one go. The water was flat calm when we went out and the sun was really hot. It was actually nice when it clouded over a bit. We just kind of enjoyed the colors, the temperature, a bald eagle, the loons, and catching fish. We were only out a little over an hour but it's nice to enjoy this weather while we can because it can change in a hurry this time of year.
You know, there are terrific benefits to working for yourself and at home. There's the downside too of course. Your business is only worth the work and time you put into it and since it is your own business, you never feel like you're putting in enough time. So you end up working way more hours than you really should. On the upside, when it's time to play, it's time to play. Being able to walk off the job when you want, whether to go fishing, gardening, snowmobiling, skiing, or to just go walking and allowing yourself to do that, is absolutely priceless. And the only boss you have to worry about complaining is your conscience niggling in your sleep. But I think it's essential to know when it's time to go play because you no longer have the Get-up-in-the-morning and drive to work kind of job, that determines your relaxation time. Probably the hardest thing for most people who run their own business to figure out is how to balance their work with their play and having the discipline to do work when it needs to be done, and play when that needs to be done. And yes, we all need play. Otherwise, what was the point of being born?
Okay, I'm back to work! Real work...honest.
26/09/2006 9:29 PM

Running Away

I was able to sneak away from the computer for an hour today. Since getting rid of the second phone line I haven't had time to figure out something different for my fax machine. I had to fax some graphics to Saskatchewan so I had an excuse to run away from home and computers for a short while, and man... is it gorgeous outside!
On the way to the other end of the lake I did nothing but gawk at the aspen dressed in their fall colors. It's good I was going slow because I had a little black and white collie dart out on the highway and try to eat my tire as I went by Fishtrap. Then there was a big old cow partly on the road feeding her calf just before the Dean bridge that I had to slow down for. Just before the turn off down to the north end of Nimpo Lake there was a small herd of nice looking broncs in the ditches and partly on the highway. Lots of pintos with brands, so probably Indian ponies.One big sorrel walked out in front of me so I slowed right down to see what direction he was going to go in. Straight down the road in front of me apparently. He seemed to take a disliking to my truck because he moved over enough to let me by and then he started galloping next to me right on the pavement, neighing the whole time. He finally blasted toward the fence just as I turned off and crossed the cattle guard and I was afraid he was going to go right through the barbed wire. He was a foxy old boy though, he knew exactly how hurtful that fence could be.
I headed on down toward the end of the lake to do my faxing and then spoke to Mary at the resort there. We both had to comment on how fantastic the weather was and she agreed that it was a very late Fall this year. We're used to the leaves going on the aspens in the first week of June and falling off in the first week of September and here it is the fourth week of September. But that's okay, we're not complaining!!
When I got back out to the highway there were the horses and there was the big sorrel back with his little herd. He stepped right out onto the highway when he saw me, and stood sideways between me and a mare with a fine little colt. As I went by he gave me the hairy eyeball and it's almost as though he said, "That's right buddy, you better just slow down, this is my family here!" Yeah, okay, okay! I continued down the highway back toward home but kept 'er slow because I knew Miss Bovine Beauty and her calf were somewhere along the highway and heavens only knows how many others.
This is the time of year when you start seeing the cattle and horses on the highway or just inside the fence lines looking for holes in the wire. It must be the snap in the air or maybe the grass is drying up, but all the farm animals start heading in from open range and heading for a home they may not have seen for many months. They might not be the smartest things on earth but they remember the easy pickings of hay bales and the security and protection of corrals, outbuildings, dogs and humans when the snow starts flying and winter bites. There was a time when a few of the ranchers left their cattle out to fend for themselves in the meadows a long time ago and simply took their losses to winter and predators. I don't think many, if any, do that anymore but maybe there's an ancestral memory that convinces those old cows to hotfoot it out of the hills while the going's good.
We finally got to go for a walk in the woods this evening after a week of not being able to. No sign of our black bear friend but since one of the lunatic neighbours from down the road shot at him, he may have been scared out of the country. We spent a lot of time appreciating the colors of the leaves and the sunset tonight. I know this breathtaking Fall won't last forever but I sure wish it would. Fish were jumping steadily on Nimpo Lake today and this evening so there may have been a fresh hatch of bugs with this warm weather.
I didn't get a chance to look for a better picture of the plane and docks today. Sorry about that folks. I have a new piece of software that is supposed to replace a very old piece of software that I depend heavily on for my business. Unfortunately, my old software, that only works on my old computer, is actually for Windows 3.1 and Window 95. Remember those good old days? You know, when you could actually fix your computer in DOS? I know, someone's laughing at me. (I hate change when it comes to computers.) Well, as you can guess, I haven't updated for a few years so there's a fairly large learning curve. In addition to that, my paper supplier changed their paper and none of my printers like the new stuff. At all. In fact, their method of swearing at me is to print everything crooked. That's the HP brand for you! Add to that a complete loss of a client's lineup of graphics for their calendars. NO, I didn't lose them. The computer did. The old one, when it was networked last week by my brother-in-law. That's its way of getting back at me. I'm pretty sure it learned its tricks from the printers. Or maybe it's the other way around. It is older than both HP's. Anyway, I'm kind of pulling my hair out and that's why I didn't have time to look for a better picture.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

25/09/2006 10:23 PM

The Docks Are Moving

You know that Old Man Autumn is here and winter's on the way when the docks start to move. They just seem to be doing it a little later than usual this year.
This has been an exceptional year for local accommodations facilities including resorts, lodges, rv parks and motels. The Anahim Lake, Nimpo Lake and Bella Coola area have all received more visitors this summer than they have in the last four years ever since the Queen of the North sank off the coast of Prince Rupert. Rescheduling and shorter hops along the British Columbia coast has resulted in a lot more people doing the circle tour along Highway 20 West either to, or from, Bella Coola while taking the ferry from Vancouver in one direction and driving home in the other. And apparently many of the people who have never been here before have been thrilled with the trip, and as a result of more visitors, there is a later season. And that brings us back to the docks.
The moving of the docks has always reminded me of a solemn ceremony, even though it's certainly not a solemn event! Maybe it's because you can't move a big dock fast that it just looks like a dignified, stately procession. You see, everyone around Nimpo Lake has a dock, but the resorts, motel, air charter service and RV park have really big docks. Not only do you have to be able to pull up a number of 12 or 14 foot fishing boats during the summer season, but it's essential to have room to park an airplane or two.
Nimpo Lake is all about floatplanes and always has been. So much of this rich country is only accessible by floatplane and Nimpo Lake makes a prime floatplane base, and in fact, had three charter services flying out of here at one time. The lake doesn't have wild weather, has many protected bays and has several 'arms' so that you can take off or land in any direction no matter what direction the wind is coming from.
There's only one minor problem with Nimpo Lake and it's a far smaller problem than many lakes don't know what direction the wind is going to be coming from when the ice breaks up in the spring. If the wind is coming from the wrong direction for where you are located on the lake, and starts pushing up ice blocks onto shore, if you have a dock in the way there often won't be enough left of it to make chopsticks once the ice is done.
There's a small, shallow bay behind our place protected from wind and sun and since it's always the last to melt out in the spring, there's never any danger of your docks being destroyed. For years and years, everyone on this end of the lake has been using that bay to park their docks, especially the businesses.
Sometimes when summer ends suddenly and early and it looks like Mother Nature is going to just skip Fall and go right to winter, the bay has a bunch of docks tied to the shore and each other in a matter of days. In a long, warm Autumn like this though, the docks are much slower showing up in their winter home.
Usually there are at least two boats tied up to a big dock to move it, either front and back, or side and back, though not always. Sometimes there'll even be someone on the dock itself with a pole for when they get closer to shore. Since it's simply against the law of physics to move a dock fast, we're back to our slow, royal procession across the water like a stately Queen with her attendants, moving to the low thrumming of the working boat motors.
It takes quite awhile to move a large dock across the Short Arm to the bay, even though it's not a great distance, but it takes an hour or more and a lot of patience to move a private dock from around the small island, even with a larger boat. Everyone waits for flat, calm water to move a big dock because those barrels or floats underneath provide a lot of resistance to movement and the last thing you need in the recipe are waves. I think the most fun I ever had regarding docks was watching Gideon with his Beaver move one resort's dock a couple of Falls ago. You don't see a floatplane pulling a dock very often so I'm posting a picture on the right. I posted it last year but for those of you that didn't get to see this great image, here it is again! Oh, yeah, it's kind of hard to see, isn't it? I think that was taken with the old digital camera. I'll see if I can hunt up a better picture tomorrow but for now, I have to get this posted on the 'Net before I fall asleep on my keyboard.
24/09/2006 3:10 PM

Adventures Of A Summer Resident

A few days ago I sent an email to some folks that read this blog to find out how their summer went and the response was hilarious.
Leacy, a school teacher, and her husband Rick, live in Texas and last year they purchased a property here from Al Elsey, a long time resident that probably knows more about the West Chilcotin than anyone around. We're always delighted to have new people move into this country and Leacy and her husband sound like a lot of fun. I missed meeting them this summer because we were in Alaska, but they were here during the forest fire on the Dean and their adventures didn't stop there! If you aren't familiar with this country, a lot can be learned from Leacy's story and it gives yet more fresh insight about the area. It's funny and just too true! With her kind permission, I am reprinting part of her email here but I have taken out last names just to protect the locals. Enjoy.
"Where to start????? Rick and I arrived in Anahim around June 8th or 9th. Unfortunately we didn't get everything packed as quickly as we thought we would so we left here later than we had expected. We were so excited about spending the summer in our cabin that we drove long days to get there. Our first amazing experience was at the Canadian border. Everything went very smoothly. We were at the border with two trucks, a trailer, a boat, a dog, and two shot guns. We did have all our paper work done before hand and our border experience went quite smoothly……no hassles at all. We then spent the next day driving through the BC wine country. A place that I would like to spend some time exploring - the wineries that is. A few too many people there, but the Canadian wine was very good. We arrived in Anahim late at night and thanks to Nancy, who left a mattress there all winter for our return, we went right to sleep.
Now you must remember that Rick and I are quite the rookies at this country living so we learned about every lesson there was the hard way.
Lesson #1
- Don't arrive at the cabin without bug spray-thank goodness I brought a mosquito net!
Lesson #2 - Don't forget to close the drain valves in the kitchen before starting the pump - the floor did get a good cleaning!
Lesson #3 - Don't turn on the switch to the electric water heater before the tank is full!
Lesson #4 - Parts can be transported into the Chilcotin every Tuesday and Thursday if you know the right people to call - thanks to everyone for their help and thanks to my dad for the over the phone plumbing lessons! (Reading between the lines, I'd say they needed a new heating element for their hot water tank. :-)
Lesson #5 - You can take a shower with only cold water as long as you have a large pot and a good fire in the wood stove.
Lesson #6 - When your water comes out black with dirty just flush it out and everything will be ok - thank you Don & Vyonne for checking on us.
Lesson #7 - We might not have made it without the help and advice of wonderful neighbors like Dan and Terri , Bill and Marg , and Jack and Mary. Rick and I dine weekly on our canned Salmon and rhubarb thanks to Mary and her help with canning.
Lesson #8 - Don't panic immediately when the RCMP comes by at 11:00 pm to tell you that you are on a 2 hour evacuation notice - I wasn't sure if that meant in 2 hours we had to leave or if they would tell us when we had 2 hours.
Rick and I had the most wonderful time. From the people to the wildlife - words cannot describe it. We spent evening after evening watching our resident ducks grow from little buttons to teenage wonders. The eagle and osprey vying for territory, the muskrat swimming by every night and the beaver carrying twigs in their teeth - it was like being part of a Walt Disney Adventure Story for two months.
Because of the forest fire, we were visited by a few Caribou across the lake and a grizzly bear spent about an hour going along the shore. Our cabin is near the exit from Anahim Lake as it goes back to the Dean River so the distance across the lake is not far.
Rick and I spent many hours in our kayaks. We went down the Dean River to Bunting Lake which was a beautiful trip. We spent a few days paddling around Kappan Lake along with multiple hours in Anahim Lake. Kathy and I kayaked around Nimpo Lake and I caught two fish for dinner that night. Even though Anahim and Nimpo are out there (remote), I did enjoy an incredible high tea on Val's birthday at Eagles Nest. A lot of class in the wilderness.
We spent an evening with Al Elsey in Bella Coola and had a wonderful time listening to his stories of the old days. The Bella Coola valley is breath taking. We also spent quite a few hours fishing for the King Salmon (springs) to no avail. Catching one is something we are lookig forward to next year. All in All - we had the most wonderful time….Met some fabulous people…..and can't wait to get back next summer. Because of my relaxing summer in the Chilcotin, my school year has started with me being calm and appreciating my students. I needed the rest and the experience. Thanks to everyone there that made it so."
Thanks Leacy! See you next summer!
23/09/2006 1:23 PM

Night In The Chilcotin

Days here are gorgeous and the evenings are beautiful, but the nights are fantastic. In the evening you can hear the lonely questioning call of a loon and the quiet voices of campers around a fire across the lake but once it gets late and everyone has gone to bed....that's the time to be outside!
Last night I was outside looking for Mr. Conehead, or rather our cat that has been forced to wear a cone on his head for the last six weeks because of an injury to his tail. Unfortunately, he's even clumsier as a result and with his hearing impaired because of the cone, he's a lot more vulnerable to night predators. Or, he could just fall into Nimpo Lake. When I saw my own breath, I suddenly realized how still it was out and it occurred to me that the temperature might be just perfect for northern lights. I turned off my flashlight, and sure enough, there was the faint glow on the northern horizon. And the stars! Millions on millions of tiny pinpricks painted across the sky in every direction you looked. It was hard to stop looking it was so beautiful. Over in the east was Orion's Belt, high above the horizon, partly because of our elevation.
I remember a night in Saskatchewan about six years ago when I joined close friends for a campfire party on the one friend's quarter section in the hill country. We all sat around the fire discussing the stars we could see and just peeking over the horizon was Orion's Belt, or that's what I declared the stars to be but I got argument on that. Because Saskatchewan is at a very low elevation some of the star formations seem much lower on the horizon and harder to identify. Suddenly, the northern lights started up, but again, because we were in a low swale, they were harder to see. I remember everyone piling into the front and back of my pickup, many of them with their chairs and beer while our host directed me to a hill behind her property. Away we went in four wheel drive with everyone hanging on for dear life as I bounced over the frozen ground.
The view of the northern lights and stars with no light pollution was absolutely spectacular and although I could have stayed there for hours, everyone in the back of the truck was freezing to death regardless of the amount of social antifreeze they had ingested. It was one of those moments in time that sticks in your mind and came back full force last night while I watched our stars wheeling overhead.
I have never been sure why there is no observatory in this part of the country. We have very little light pollution and almost zero air pollution when there are no forest fires. Our elevation is such that you have a wide range of view and there are lots of hills around that give an even greater view of the night sky.
Anyway, today is a gorgeous, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. Finally! Hopefully our Indian summer has begun. Last night I enjoyed a stunning sunset over Nimpo Lake and the snow on the Coastal Mountains just glowed, first yellow, then orange, then pink. Unfortunately, my digital camera just could do it justice.
I am starting a new week so you can see last week's articles and pictures at September Week Three and tomorrow, I have permission to reprint an email from another traveler to the Chilcotin and it's hilarious!
Oh, one other thing, one of the readers of this blog is having a problem loading it up on her Mac laptop. Is anyone else having that problem? Let me know through the contact page. I don't dare leave an open email address here because since the last time I did that I've been slammed with spam.

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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!
Business fire in Nimpo Lake.
Foggy morning on Nimpo.
Moving the big docks.
Colorful fall plants.
Red bushes.
Two horses in a meadow.
Dock pulled by plane.
Orange snow.
Sunset on the Lake.
Blue lake and fall colors.
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