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Wilderness Adventures - September Week 4

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. The stories on this page are ordered by date with the latest story at the top. Therefore, you must start at the bottom and work up to read a series of articles in order.
23/09/2005 12:27 PM

Yet Another Bear Attack

This one yesterday resulted in death. A forestry worker north of Prince George started walking when his vehicle broke down when he was attacked by a Grizzly bear and the body was found 7km from where he had broken down. Very little information was given on the news yesterday so presumably there will be more information given out today.
This series started last week with the comment that there seemed to be an unusual number of bear attacks by both blacks and grizzlies this fall in both Canada and the U.S. Prince George in north central British Columbia has always had a large concentration of bears and not a few deaths, mostly to personnel working as timber cruisers for local mills, tree planters or for forestry. The lightly populated region provides good habitat for bears with dense undergrowth for cover, high wild berry production and numerous rivers teeming with fish. A longstanding conservation policy in BC protecting bears and a moratorium in the last few years banning grizzly bear hunts have resulted in higher than normal bear populations competing for limited food sources. The unusual weather this summer and fall may have contributed to lower than normal food sources as well.
A few years ago when I lived in Prince George a friend showed me a hunting camp on a lake that he and his family used on a regular basis. On telling me that they had problem bears in the area, I cleared out because I had already gotten that bad 'raised hair on the neck' feeling. A couple of days later he and another fellow that I know very well went back in to the camp to drop off non food supplies for the upcoming hunting season. Almost immediately they spotted a grizzly sow and her two full grown cubs circling around the lake toward them. It was obvious that the bears had seen them as well and were making a steady beeline toward them. Fortunately, the bears' progress was hampered by heavy downfall and thick undergrowth, and the guys had time to get back to their vehicle and out of there.
The bears in this region don't seem to have the normal fear of humans and almost seem to consider man just another food source, which is highly unusual. Are predator sows teaching their cubs to hunt anything? And is this predisposition to hunt humans rather than fear them something that is being passed down generation to generation? Without extensive studies there is probably no way of coming to any conclusion on that score but perhaps a proactive approach should be taken on the part of the Fish and Game Ministry to determine the numbers in the area and perhaps expand the season on bears.
There is the argument that when man encroaches on bear territory, he does so at his own risk. However, while living in Prince George I can remember one year when the city was plagued by both blacks and grizzlies, and that the RCMP saw and chased out eight bears in the city in one night alone. That indicates to me that it's the other way around and fearless bears in the area have no problem with encroaching on human territory.

24/09/2005 11:27 AM

Tired of Bears Yet?

I'll wrap up this series for now with some additional information on the last attack and put everything together regarding protecting yourself in bear country.
Richard Louie was the name of the fellow killed the other day and evidence points to a grizzly sow with cubs. The sixty year old had just left a forestry protection camp, ie a fire fighting camp, when his vehicle broke down. My condolence goes out to his family. From his picture he looked like he might be a pretty neat fellow to know.
If you've read the series in the past week, you will see that scientists divide bears up into three categories, all of which can cross over into another. There are sows with cubs, rogue bears unafraid of humans and predator bears that consider humans to be a food source. Recognizing the type you are facing in case of an encounter and deciding on your course of action must be immediate. In case of a sow, you need to reduce your perceived threat to the sow, either by backing up or seeming less threatening. In the case of a rogue bear simply raiding your garden, fruit trees or garbage, you need to remove those temptations and contact authorities to come and remove the animal. In case of an encounter with a rogue or predator bear where your life is threatened, be prepared to fight back by whatever means possible.
I felt this series was necessary in view of all the recent bear attacks in North America and because this region relies heavily on tourism. In the case of most bears, you'll be lucky to get your camera out in time to get a picture before they clear out, but there are a few rules you need to follow any time you go out into the wilderness.
If hiking, try to go in the company of at least one other person, carry a bell or attach bells to your shoes, carry bear spray, firecrackers, a sturdy walking stick and if possible, a knife. Most importantly, stay aware of your surroundings at all times. You aren't likely to surprise a sow or end up between her and her cubs if you make her aware that you are in the area. Generally, the same goes for a rogue bear. When camping, keep your foodstuffs locked away from your living space or high in a tree. Keep your camp clean and burn all garbage or dispose of it in bear proof bins located in most parks.
If faced with a bear that doesn't look like it's moving off, get your bear spray ready, light firecrackers and throw them in the direction of the bear. Shout and windmill your arms to make yourself larger and thump a stick or club on a stump or tree. Bluff as much as possible, because in the case of many bears, that's what they're all about. If the bear perceives you to be larger or meaner it will move away.
Most bear attacks seem to be the result of surprise encounters so making noise and staying aware of your surroundings and watching the bush around you, including your back trail, is your best bet. And follow your instincts. If you start to feel uncomfortable with your surroundings, back out of there and retrace your back trail out of the bush.
In conclusion, considering the number of people going into the back country nowdays, it is no surprise that there is the odd attack but if you compared the number of humans encroaching on bear territory to the number of attacks, the percentage is minuscule. So enjoy your back country experience. Just be cautious and aware of your surroundings, be prepared for the unexpected and the unexpected is less likely to occur.

If you would like to read the beginning of the series on bears you can go to September3 .
25/09/2005 9:50 AM

A Bit of a Lumber Bungle

A lumber truck rolled on one of the corners on Highway 20 just south of Nimpo Lake before the McClinchy bridge. He was pulling two trailers full of lumber that scattered all over the highway blocking the road for a short period of time. The rear trailer went over first, lost its load then the front trailer. It looked like they either snapped back over or he over corrected trying to keep the truck on the road because he ended up on the other side of the highway in the ditch with his trailer wheels pointing to the sky and the cab on its side. The trailers probably pulled the cab over. The driver got out with a broken leg but the truck and trailers are most likely a total write off. The front axel was torn off and the whole frame is twisted like a pretzel. The driver was one of our 'New' Canadians and probably not familiar with the highway and may not be particularly experienced at driving truck either.
Autumn is setting in full force now. It's been freezing at night creating a lot of fog in the mornings but the day time temps have been pleasant enough. We had fresh snow on the mountains the other day and we're getting really nice fall colors right now with the bright yellow leaves of the aspen and dark reds of the buckbrush and gooseberry bushes. This is definitely the best time of year to be here!
26/09/2005 4:08 PM

Flying Four Wheeler

I have an interesting picture that I would like to share with you. It's just one of those things that makes this country so special. Those of us that live here take something like this for granted but it occurred to me when I saw this picture on the wall of a friend's house that most urban dwellers would probably find this highly unusual. Floyd and Lora ran a charter aviation company using a fleet of floatplanes out of Nimpo Lake for years and this was just a standard day for them. Just freight, that's all. But I find a fourwheeler on the float of an airplane being hauled up to a lake pretty cool, myself. I really wanted you to see this in detail so I've put the picture right into the text. I just hope it doesn't slow down the page load. Take a boo.

A floatplane takes a fourwheeler on its floats from Nimpo Lake to an outlying resort.
28/09/2005 12:01 PM

Blustery Wednesday

No article yesterday. Sorry about that. I was out moose hunting yesterday morning and on business yesterday afternoon. Time just got away from me. No hunting today. It's a blustery day with a huge system coming in off of the Pacific Ocean. Between wind and intermittent rain splatters, no animal in its right mind will be out there today. They'll all be holed up in deep woods protected from the elements and I chose to do the same today. We actually have whitecaps on Nimpo Lake, and that is unusual. We can expect snow any time now, and even though it may melt, expecting the unexpected is key this time of year. So, where in other parts of British Columbia people are harvesting their gardens and looking forward to a mild October, we have to start picking up garden hoses and various gardening tools, and anything else we don't want lost under the snow for the next six months. Even though we could conceivably have another two months of fall, it just isn't something you want to bet on around here. The natives are saying it's going to be a long, hard winter with lots of snow. The chipmunks have gone into hibernation already. Which seems kind of funny since I noticed several out playing around in the woods yesterday. But you never know, we could end up with a nasty winter. It would be nice to have lots of snow for snowmobiling and I'll sure be happy if that's the case. As will all the other winter recreation enthusiasts in the country.
29/09/2005 10:00 AM

Woosh...Quiet

The planes are gone. Or almost anyway. You get so used to the floatplanes taking off of Nimpo Lake past your property that you just don't think much about it. I noticed that they had started to cut back on the flights as we got later into fall. But I only just noticed that I haven't heard Tweedsmuir Air take off for a day or two now. Certainly not this morning. Mind you, it's drizzling and heavily overcast so probably not the most pleasant of mornings to go flightseeing. You get so used to hearing planes and then suddenly...whoosh...it's quiet... for the next six months. Tourist season is winding down now for most of the resorts. My neighbour over at Vagabond RV Park is shutting down her cabins and will only be providing RV parking spots for the next ten days. Although some of the resorts remain open for late fall travellers and hunters, many are boarding up cabins and draining the water systems. Year round resorts such as Wilderness Rim Resort, Anahim Lake Resort and Nimpo Lake Resort can provide winterized cabins or year round accommodation for snowmobilers, skiers and other winter recreationists that like to come here for the snow. Anahim Lake Inn, Country Inn and The Dean on Nimpo are very popular places to stay in winter but make sure you book ahead for rooms. It can get pretty busy mid to late winter when the snowmobiling gets really good.
Fishing has been excellent on Nimpo Lake the last few days. Two and a half to four pound rainbow trout have become pretty common lately. Anglers are finding that running their lure close under the surface has been bringing them great success. The water has been chilling down so the fish are firm. Fewer bugs and less feed are leaving the trout hungry for whatever you drop in. I've been told before by local resort owners that some of the best fishing in Nimpo Lake is in the late fall when the lake makes even the amateurs look like pro anglers. Good fishing everyone!

30/09/2005 8:12 PM

The Last Day of September

Lots of good and some bad for this month of September. It's the last day of hunting season for me. No moose but I really enjoyed getting out without getting killed on fuel costs or having to fly into a different zone because I had a local draw. The weather was a lot more settled today with cool temps but lots of sunshine. We got two inches of rain all told yesterday which seems to have translated into a pile of snow on the nearby mountains. Judging coverage from a distance is tough to do but it sure looked like at least 6 to 8 inches of snow got dropped on nearby Kappan Mountain and Goat Pass. It's nice to see. Getting lots of moisture like this before going into winter is good for the plants and trees and should hold them through unless we get a long hot October. Less stress may help the Lodgepole pines fight off the Mountain Pine Beetle.
Fishing has been fabulous on Nimpo Lake and I've seen some good sized rainbow trout come out of the lake in the last week or so.
The neighbour got a beautiful big Mule deer today. It has a pretty major layer of fat, so maybe the old timers are right and it really is going to be a long, cold winter this year.
On the bad side, the son of some locals that run a resort in the area was killed last Friday in a freak logging accident. Apparently he leaned out of the cab of his feller buncher to remove a sign from a tree. His vest or jacket caught on a lever that moves the boom for the dangle head. It came around and pinned him between the tree and the head. I'm assuming he was killed immediately. I knew the fellow quite well from years ago and he often came out and put his boat on Nimpo Lake in the summer. The funeral is in Williams Lake on Monday. My deepest sympathy to his family.



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!
Grizzly bear standing in river.
 
Grizzly sneaks along the shore.
 
A grizzly bear bathes in the river.
 
Brown black bear out in early spring.
 
Unconcerned black bear.
 
Black bear watches from treeline.
 
Cubs running after a black bear sow.
 
Lumber truck spews lumber all over the road.
 
Flipped lumber truck.
 
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