Lonesome: Memoirs of a Wilderness Dog Final Cover.

final cover of Lonesome: Memoirs of a Wilderness DogThe cover of the 10th Anniversary edition of Lonesome: Memoirs of a Wilderness Dog has been finalized.  Three other colour pictures are on the back cover.  Sorry about the bad photo.  I couldn’t figure out how to extract it from the email so I photographed the computer screen.

The inside will be much the same as the old edition, but a new afterword has been added by my latest dog author – Harry!

harry 2 croppedHe plans to write the first draft of his book this winter.






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Ginty Creek Heat Wave.

36C - 97FFor Ginty Creek, that’s hot!  For 5 days now temperatures have exceeded 30C – 87 Degrees American.  Night temperatures fortunately get down to about 5C, so that gives us a bit of relief.  For a lot of the time when Matthew was here (see previous post) we had to scramble around doing the heavy outdoor work during the first hours of the morning, then find something to do inside during the afternoon.  Fortunately, shelves and a workbench needed to be constructed in the outer room, and shelves and a major sorting out were required in the delightfully cool basement.  I had not planned on doing these jobs just yet, but the heat meant they are now done and I am very glad of it.

We have had two days of rain since the winter (and only a very small snowpack).  Endless strong winds have turned everything to dust. The pond is drying up.

the pond at Ginty CreekAnd even at the beginning of July the grass was turning brown.

NoghwonThe flowers are frying fast.  Here is a potentilla.

3 potentillaThe pond lilies will do well as long as their water supply lasts.

4 pond lilyThere has been a great upsurge of hummingbirds: presumably the young have hatched.  They arrive at first light, even before the robin sings.

5 hummer sunriseThey are like bees around the honeypot and their buzzing is an endless drone all day.

6 like beesThey are such amazing birds.  Their hearts beat 1200 times a minute; their wings, which have a shoulder joint unique to the genus, allowing the wing to move in a figure-of-eight, which enables them to fly backwards.  They are supposed to need to eat every 20 minutes to survive and yet they can migrate from New York to Costa Rica in 4 non-stop days.  Their tongues are incredible.  They do not just suck up the nectar.  When the tip hits the liquid, the tongue forks: then the two sides open up, close and trap the nectar, then bring it back into the bird’s body.  This is all done in a fraction of a second.  No one quite knows how they combine this with swallowing…

female rufous hummingbird.

The heatwave has coincided with the full moon.

8 full moon 1


9 full moon 2

Heat waves often produce washed-out sunrises so the colour was not very strong on the mountains.  The following day the colour was a little better but of course the moon was higher.

full moon over finger peakThe moon became a ghost just before it set.  You can just see it.  Note the American kestral sitting on his favourite snag to the right.

11 ghost moonInevitably, the heat wave has brought smoke.  As far as I can make out, a lot of northern BC is burning, but the nearest fire so far is about 100 km away.  Nonetheless, you could smell the smoke, and it all but hid the mountains.

smoke over finger peakHarry has the best solution to all this heat.

harry in the McCinchy riverTomorrow I head into the mountains to do some camping and guiding at Nuk Tessli.  Naturally, it is supposed to rain then…




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Another Volunteer at Ginty Creek

4 IMG_8728Matthew came to me straight from England.  He had never left the country before, never been in a plane, and never volunteered.  Poor guy was thrown in at the deep end.

The big job was removing the remaining debris from inside the burned packrat palace.  This was mostly ash, billions of nails, and fibreglass, some only half-consumed, hence the dust mask and enveloping clothing.  The bug net was necessary as the blackflies were just enough of a nuisance to be annoying – otherwise it has been the most amazing bugless year ever.

3 IMG_8727


Matthew WalkerAll in all, we took three large loads to the dump.

5 IMG_8736Another heavy, dirty job was to landscape the west side of the house.  Debris from the dug basement 6 years ago is as barren as the day it was left there, despite my efforts to grow clover and wild weeds.  We dug it down to the original forest level and used the fill to extend the rock garden constructed last year (on which quite a few plants are surviving.)  We also shovelled a load of manure (extracted from one of the barn next to the packrat palace before it was burned) on top, but nothing else can be done with it until it rains, as I don’t have enough water in my well to spare for it.  We were greatly helped by a couple of visitors who insisted on earning their night’s stay.  Harry and Badger are worn out from watching us work.

1 visitors digging

Matthew was staying only two weeks so, after the Anahim Lake Stampede (previous post), we went down the Bella Coola Hill.

Top of the Bella Coola HillThe classic calendar-picture alpine flowers were out; blue lupin and red paintbrush: the white bog orchid filled the air with its scent.  Heckman Pass at the top of the Bella Coola Hill is the same height as my old cabins at Nuk Tessli, where I am going in a few days so these are a preview or the flowers I can expect there.

6a flowers

We had left early, and cool shadows still crossed the road in the Bella Coola Valley.  Not far along were two young foxes, presumably siblings.  This one was limping quite badly so I do not know if it will survive.

silver, red fox cross.A little further along we stopped at the mortuary pole.

Bella Coola mortuary poleOur particular destination was to try and find the big cedars on Walker Island.  I had been unsuccessful on previous trips; however, we finally got the right place.

Walker Island cedars


10 big cedars 2


11 big cedars 3The squirrels, however, didn’t care what size they were!

red squirrel on Walker Island


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79th Anahim Lake Stampede

1 ParadeWe were just in time for the 79th Anahim Lake Stampede parade.  The Anahim Lake Stampede is one of the Chilcotin’s oldest traditions.

2 parade 3 carsThe clinic is on the reserve at Anahim.

3 parade health deptWhat these kids, or the vehicle, had to do with the Anahim Lake Airport, I am not quite clear….

4 parade airportCarey Price, the Olympic gold medal hockey player, was raised at Anahim.  Being part First Nations he is very much a local hero.

5 parade, Carey PriceThese people were a little late and got mixed up with the parade.  Wonder what is going through this horse’s mind…..

6 horse's eyeA colourful character was dressed to the nines and was leading a horse draped with wolf skins.  I didn’t speak to him but I would bet the farm that he is German.  No Canadian would outfit himself like that…

7 Parade GermanThe first event was calf roping.

8 calf ropingThis contestant was one of the few to get the lasso in the right place.

8a calf roping, lassooThe second roping contest was harder.  The first rider had to lasso the head, the second catch a hind foot.

9 double calf roping 1

Not many succeeded.

10 double calf ropingNext was the junior steer riding…. What are they doing to me????

10a junior steer riding waitingWell, that didn’t take long.

13 junior steer riding 3

12 junior steer riding 2And another moment of truth…

11 junior steer riding 1

Whoo Hooooo!

14 pair of heelsOne had to pay $20 to enter the business-man’s cow riding competition.  (There were not many takers.)

14a businessman's cow ridingThe day was mostly cool and dull, which was a blessing for both audience and animals alike.

15 crowd FredThis boy seemed to have a permanent smile on his face.

16 crowd, boyI enjoy taking snapshots of people.

17 crowd, woman

At one point it even rained a bit (although there had obviously been nothing at at my place when we arrived home.  Anahim Lake is an hours’ drive from Ginty Creek.)  Crowds, and umbrellas, are quite a novelty for me!

18 crowd umberellasThe rain quit by the time the barrel racing was under way.

18 barrel racing 1

19 barrel roping first nationsUnlike at the Tatla Lake gymnkhana not many young kids competed but his little girl could sure ride…

20 barrel racing girlNow came the biggest event of the day.  With a lot of clanging and banging, the big bulls were put into the chutes.

21 bulll in chuteThe first buck (note that all four feet are off the ground.)

22 bull first buck

And another rider bites the dust.

23 bull another bites the dust

(Rather him than me!)


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New Blog for a Wilderness Dweller

1 TomThe whole concept of wilderness dwelling has been changed by the advent of the Internet.  However, it is a struggle for me to master this medium.  You’ve heard of personal trainers – here is my personal blog fixer!  Tom and Danielle are volunteers I met at the Precipice Cattle Drive party.  Unfortunately, they could stay with me for only four days, but Tom is a software developer and several things were not working well on my blog, so I was delighted when Tom expressed interested in helping on the computer stuff – in fact he was craving a computer-working fix after several weeks without it.  So that suited us both.

The original blog was created by Karilee at Outcome Marketing.  She did a fantastic job and designed a very beautiful blog, giving me a huge amount of free time over her regular charges, but I am not a natural computer person and was finding I could not handle some of the aspects well.  Also the slider, while a work of art, was taking too long to load (at least on my satellite internet system.  I needed something simpler – and I could not afford to ask Karilee to do more work.  Tom has gone into the guts of the thing, found a lot of problems and fixed them.  And all for the price of a few home-cooked meals and some chocolate cake.  Now it’s up to me to try and keep things going.  I would love to have feedback from people – does this work better for you?  How is the flashing that some had problems with before? Any other suggestions? (but get those in soon – Tom leaves early Monday morning!)

The 2014 Slide Show itinerary is now updated.  The books and photograph pages are also functioning properly, and so is the shop.  (I intend to add an art page when I can.)

While Tom was playing in the cool, clean house, Danielle tackled the terrible mess left by the burning of the packrat palace early last winter. (Read both posts.) Most of the debris was melted fibreglass mixed with the tons and tons of nails used in the construction.

1a melted fibreglass and nailsI really should frame some of this stuff and ship it to an art gallery.

1b fibreglassIt was of course mixed with ash and was an incredibly dusty job.

2 Danielle shovelling ashShe loaded it into the truck by wheelbarrow.

3 into the truckI helped her a bit, and we took the stuff to the dump.  I wore a mask but got so much soot in my eyes I had to take my glasses off to see.

4 me at dump(My next author picture?)

It is amazing what you can find in the dump!  (Obviously a Chilcotin prosthesis – note the duct tape.)

5 extra leg

This morning is day 3 or their 4-day stay, and I thought they deserved a change, so today’s task is that perennial wildernes-dweller’s task – firewood.

6 chainsawing   7 tree downTom and Danielle are bucking up the trees and loading the truck as I write…

A last point: I have been corresponding with Nicole Lischewski for some time.  She lives where BC, the Yukon, and Alaska join, 80 km from the nearest store, which she reaches about twice a year by kayak.  Her blog posts are wonderful.  Great photos and very well-written content.  Her and her partner’s lifestyle is so familiar to the way I lived at Nuk Tessli.  If you enjoy my blog, consider signing up to hers.  She does a lot of her writing in German so speakers of that language might be particularly interested.

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