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 4/2006
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
of the Day.
The Country Inn Fire
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Dropping Beetle Kill
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
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.
Mix And Match And Short And Sweet Wednesday.
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?
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 pleasure...really....it
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.
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.
The Docks Are Moving
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 have...you 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
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
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.
Adventures Of A Summer Resident
few days ago I sent an email to some folks that read this
blog to find out how their summer went and the response
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
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
Thanks Leacy! See you next summer!
Night In The Chilcotin
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
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
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!