Tag Archives: Nogwhon

Nuk Tessli In Haaretz

I wonder if anyone knows what Haaretz is!  I certainly didn’t until a couple of days ago.  It is a major newspaper in Israel.  Last weekend’s edition contained a long article about Nuk Tessli – with apparently some stuff about me – with lots of great pictures.  I was hoping to put it in this post, but the text is all in Hebrew and I was unable to copy the photos.  If anyone would like to see it, I will send a pdf copy.

In the mean time, life goes on….

We are now having a much more “normal” spring with temperatures about minus 10C at night and plus 5C during the day – and with lots of wind.  We have also had a little spring snow.

4 spring snow

 

 

4a Finger peak in snowI knew it would melt so I didn’t bother to clear the solar panels.

5 solar panelsBy afternoon it was dribbling rain.

6 turned to rainWater lay on top of the ice on the pond.

7 badger on pond

 

8. pondThere are many species of willows here.  I don’t know the names of most of them, but one is a very early bloomer and the silvery catkins have suddenly popped out.

9 pussy willowsOn snowy mornings the redwing blackbirds feed voraciously.  There are now about 30 and they are starting to fight.

2 blackbirds

 

 

3 blackbirds b

 

3a blackbirds cI knew that the bluffs would be fairly clear of snow and I went up there in hiking boots as opposed to snow packs.  The snowy areas were icy but there was enough bare ground to get about easily.  My feet felt so light!

10 bluffs

 

The exposed sand was still damp, fortunately – if it is dry, a strong wind creates a sand blizzard (which is why the dunes occur.)

12 storms on mountains

 

11 sand patternsThere are still a lot of juniper berries and I saw robins again up there. I am pretty sure these are genuine spring robins, though.

13. JuniperOne evening there was a sundog again.

14 sundog

 

 

15 sundogWe are pretty close to the solstice, and now the sun rises far enough round to light up Finger Peak with its first pink rays.

16 red on F PIt lights the other side in the late afternoon

17 evening FPBefore it sets, the sun sails right over Noghwon.  (The mountain is rimmed with light because the snow is blowing up there.)

18 sun over noghwonAs the sun’s rising and setting points move further apart, the moon’s draw closer.  Right now the full moon and sun travel much the same path.  Here is the moon approaching Noghwon

19 moon over noghwon

 

 

20 moonIf conditions had been right this morning, the moon would have set behind the mountain while the sun was painting it pink.  But although there was colour in the east, it was too cloudy to light up the west.

21 sunrise today

 

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A Sudden Burst of Spring

The dull, gloomy weather didn’t seem to want to leave.

sunrise from Ginty Creek

But gradually the cloud cleared.

cloud clearing over the mountains

 

Then the sun was glorious!

where my deck will be

 

I’m sitting and sunbathing where my deck will be.  (The coat over the back of the chair is to block a sneaky little wind.)  I actually bared my forearms!

I went to Nimpo Lake to pick up mail and along Highway 20 saw the first pussy willows.

pussy willows on Highway 20

 

This is the twig time of year.  I love to bring them into the house and watch the various buds unfold long before they will do so in the wild.

The forsythia was stolen from a bush in the Bella Coola Valley last weekend.  It has opened in the house.  The advanced pussy willows were from down there, too.  The knobbly twigs at the back are cottonwood.  (The primulaceae are from my last trip to Williams Lake).

twigs in my house

 

This morning I snowshoed up onto the north bluff.  The warm weather was melting the recent snow and the weed stems were popping up again, leaving interesting shapes where they had been.

emerging weeds

The mountains in their new snow coats were spectacular.

Noghwhon Mountain

 

Above is Noghwhon.  Below is Middle Mountain set off by dead, beetle-killed pines.

Middle Mountain

 

Here is a panoramic view from the top.

panorama from north bluff

 

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Going Home!

It was pouring when I left the Lower Mainland.

The high mountain highway I had used on the way south had been closed for several hours due to heavy snow the day before, and more snow was forecast.  So although the digital info signs said the road was open (with slippery and slushy sections)  I elected to follow the Fraser River up the canyon.

I stopped at Boston Bar for gas.

As so often happens, once I had crossed the mountains the weather perked right up.

I wanted to go to Vernon so at Spences Bridges I took a minor road to Merrit.  It was narrow and twisty, faithfully following the convoluted turns of the Nicola River.  It was also beautifully sunny.  These sagebrush and rabbit bush grasslands are what passes for a desert in Canada.

Although I had avoided the Coquihalla, I still had another high mountain pass to go over, but it was no problem.

The following day, travelling through Kamloops was gorgeous.

Then at last, the junction with Hwy 24….

I stayed overnight at 108 Mile House, and the following morning had most peculiar weather.  I left in snow-splotched rain with the temperature +3C.  Soon it was sleeting thickly.

All of a sudden, the road was white and the temperature was -2C.  I slowed right down figuring it was probably very slick, and on top of a rise there was a pickup truck completely upside down right on the pavement.  Several people were standing around and there did not appear to be anyone in the cab so I assumed everyone was OK.  But as I continued I was met by a number of wailing vehicles: police, ambulances, firetrucks, rescue trucks.  I can only assume that there must have been another vehicle involved that had gone off the road with much more serious consequences.

And now it was snowing a real blizzard – and the temperature was -6C.  At least the surface of the road was now less slippery.  Shopping in Williams Lake was miserable.  But as soon as I climbed out of the river valley, I broke through the clouds – and the temperature was +4C.  There had been a cold front across northern BC, but a small tongue of chilled air must have pushed down along the Fraser river.  At the higher altitude on the Chilcotin, one might have been on a different planet.

Shortly before I arrived home, the snow was more evident.

That is Noghwhon, one of the mountains I see from my window.

The dogs and the two volunteers were pleased to see me.  How lovely to come home to a warm cabin and supper already cooked!

On the whole it was a good book tour.  I had great audiences – thank you everyone who managed to come – met a lot of old friends and made new ones.  But it is exhausting being on the road for all that time.  Everywhere is so busy and noisy. At Ginty Creek it is gloriously quiet.  And at night I cannot see one human light.

The volunteers who looked after Ginty Creek got a ride to Williams Lake today, and I am, after many many weeks, finally alone.

Spring Equinox at Ginty Creek

The equinox almost past me by as I was busy with other things.  We are now back into fabulous weather mode.  Still cold in the mornings – minus 15C – but above freezing in the afternoon.

The sun now rises far enough round to light Finger Peak in the mornings.

Finger peak, sunrise

And it completely clears Nogwhon when it sets.

Nogwhon sunset

But this weather is bringing some problems.  On my road, not far from Highway 20, is a very long stretch of glare ice.  This has never happened before, but the ground is so saturated from the overload of rain last summer and the previous fall, that water is oozing and flowing down the road.  The cold mornings mean that I am presented with a skating rink.  It is at its worst late morning, when the temperature has risen to about -2C.  The first time I drove it like that I swivelled right round but managed to do a multiple point turn to get back on track.  The second time I was not so lucky and slid into the snowbank left by the plough.  It is not easy to see on the photo but I am at the bottom of a small rise and totally stuck.  It was fortunate that the snowbank was there or I would have slid right off the road.

Even with creepers on my boots, I could not stand on the ice without hanging on to the van.  I had a bucket of ashes with me but they provided no traction whatsoever.  I had a shovel but the small bits of bare ground above the road were frozen solid.

Next, out came the trusty come-along.

The stump looks rotten but it was firmly anchored in the frozen ground.  Extricating the van was a tedious process.  The rope was a cheap one and very stretchy so a lot of the cranking was wasted energy.  I would get it as tight as I could, then start the van.  It would move a few inches until the tension was off the rope then spin out again.  It must have taken well over an hour to get up a few yards of rise, but when the road levelled out I could drive again.

Today the temperature rose to +6C and there was a lot of strong sunshine.  I drove down to the ice.  Now the top couple of inches of dirt on the bank was sloppy and thawing, and I shovelled a track of mud all the way down the edge of the ice.

As long as there is not too much seepage from the bank, the mud should provide traction the next time I want to drive out, which is in two  days’ time.  The dark earth should also melt a track down into the ice.  I shovelled more dirt into a couple of buckets, which are very heavy as the dirt is wet.  I can’t leave them in the van overnight or they will freeze so have had to lug them inside.  I hope I remember to put them in the van when I drive out on Monday.

Sunshine!

I think it must be a travel agent promo to talk about the February blahs.  Unless you have a rainy winter, of course.  Here, February is often a good month and this one has been no exception.

We had a little snow, and at first the mountains stayed hidden.  But the sun was shining on Ginty Creek and it lit up the cottonwoods along the McClinchy River.

cottonwoods in early sun

It was so exciting to see the sun again I took pictures from every angle.

pines in sunlight

The following morning the mountains were clear – the first time I had seen them properly in weeks.

Nogwhon sunrise

The weather was perfect.  A little nippy in the morning, down to -20, but the resulting sun was worth it.

Nogwhon

Here is my barn-like house with Nogwhon behind.

house and Nogwhon

About 5 days ago, the sun almost cleared Middle Mountain when it set.  The next day there was another 10 minutes of daylight.

Middle Mt sunset

About 10 days ago, a group of a dozen repolls arrived at my feeder.  I have seen them only occasionally before, and usually they don’t hang around.  They are winter birds but always on the move.  But these guys seem to like it here.  They are smaller than the chickadees but they beat them up.  The red cap really glows.

redpoll at Ginty Creek

Despite the coolness, water continues to seep out over the ice of the ponds.  I have never seen a year like it.

At the edge of the liquid water, spectacular ice crystals sometimes form.

There is so much oozing that the little bridge Mogens and I built last spring is almost covered.  The water is usually at least a foot and a half below the bridge.

boardwalk at Ginty Creek

 

Thawing again.

It did not take long for the temperature to warm up.  A skiff of snow fell.  Then water started to seep out over the pond again.  I don’t know where it is all coming from.  The land must be so saturated from the previous abnormally wet year.

water on the pond

One morning, we had a hoar frost.

frosty dwarf birch

The rock cress seddstalks were particularly interesting.

rock cress

Then it snowed all of four inches.  At the Coast, both near Bella Coola and Vancouver, heavy snow has fallen and closed the roads.  But I can still manage without having to hire a snow plough.  Badger never seems to mind lying in the snow.

It has been windy a lot.  Sometimes we get a bit of sun.  There has been enough to keep my solar power batteries charged.  The days are more than an hour longer, now, too.

Nogwhon

 

Even though the new snow is not deep, it pays to break trail with the snowshoes again, otherwise it will be full of icy potholes.

Most of the time, though, the storms continue to hide the mountains.

 

Gloomy Weather at Ginty Creek

The sun quit a day or two before Christmas, and it didn’t shine again until this morning.  A phenomenon of this area is to have clear, starry nights, but before the sun climbs over the hill, the overcast rolls in.  This is hard on my power system.  The long wakeful dark hours are illuminated by tiny beams of led lights, and I must ration the computer time.  In extreme cases, I must download my email, unplug the satellite internet, which uses a lot more power than the computer, write replies, then plug in the internet again.

gloom at ginty Creek

It continues to be extremely mild, and every day fresh dirty water oozes over the ice of the ponds.

flooded ice at Ginty Creek

It has also been extremely windy.  The mountains were visible on this day, and the snow is boiling off them like smoke from a forest fire.

snow blowing at Ginty Creek

On the 23rd, when I drove to Anahim Lake to meet friends for lunch, I had to cut 4 trees off my 4 km of road.  The chain saw lives in the van, now.

windfall at Ginty Creek

Yesterday we had a powdering of snow.  Just enough to cover the glazed skating rink of the yard.  My snowshoe trails are solid ice.  Walking anywhere, especially to the outhouse, would be impossible without creepers on my boots.

lodgepole pines and aspens at Ginty Creek

Then finally, this morning, we had 3 hours of good sun.  There was enough power in my batteries so that I could upload this post.  And what a difference it made to the world!

Harry and Nogwhon

That is Mt Nogwhon behind Harry.  Even the spike goldenrod seed stalks took on new life when a finger of sunshine touched them.

spike goldenrod

On top of the north bluffs, a strong snag glowed in the morning sun.

north bluff snag at Ginty Creek.

 

Gorgeous Weather

Unknown peak seen from Ginty Creek

One of the peaks seen from my window at Ginty Creek on the Chilcotin

For 2 days we have had gorgeous weather.  It has been such a dull winter so far.  This was a real treat.

I snowshoed over to the river.

The McClinchy River at Ginty CreekThere is more open water than usual at this time of year because of the very mild weather we have had through January and most of February.

My property is between where I am standing and the snowy hill in the middle distance  on the left.  I call the snowy hill the south bluffs; today I am going up the north bluffs.

The snowshoeing is divine.  The thaws have meant that the base is firm; the extra  8 inches is perfect powder.

High on the south bluffs near Kleena Kleene

This is only a part of the panoramic view.  The diagonal white patch on the middle left is Highway 20.   The streak on the middle right is a frozen lake.

Part of the panorama seen from the south bluffs at Kleena Kleene

At the end of the day was one of the very rare clear sunsets we have had this year.

Sunset from my window at Ginty Creek

Sunset from my window

On the shortest day, the sun goes down way to the left of Finger Peak.  Now it is hitting Noghwon’s shoulder.

The trade-off for this fabulous weather?  It is a little chilly in the morning.

frost on the woodshed window

 

More Weather

My dog Badger in snow at Ginty Creek

My dog Badger

We’ve had the most terrible thaw.

When I went to pick up mail and groceries last Wednesday, I was surprised how little snow there was at Nimpo Lake.  But when I arrived home I found the snow around my house had been dramatically reduced as well.  That night a hot wind banged and bumped around the house.  At first light, which is usually the coldest part of the night, the thermometre outside the back door registered plus 7 degrees Centigrade. The Puntzi weather station was getting its promised freeze: it was -13C there.

We often get thaws in January – sometimes they last for weeks.  But this was a bad one. The yard was a horrible mess of slick, packed ice and mud.  The surface of the snow was littered with pine needles and other debris blown about by the winds.  At least one tree was blown down.

The temperature remained the same all that day.  Chickadees were singing their spring songs.  The wind continued to batter and roar; there was sun as well in between clouds and this created a real meltdown.  Two feet of snow was reduced to 8 inches.  I should have waited before I got the road ploughed.  I might have been able to drive out without it.

The next night was calmer and the temperature dropped to just below freezing.  It snowed a couple of inches so at least it hid the mess.  It was supposed to be sunny yesterday but although it wasn’t cold, a lid of freezing fog clamped down all day.  A tiny window opened behind Finger Peak at sundown.

sunset from window at Ginty Creek

Sundown behind Finger Peak

During the night, the sky became diamond clear.

At sunrise, the mountains turned pink.

january sunrise from the window at Ginty Creek

Sunrise on Nogwhon

The temperature was -27C .  Puntzi boasted -34C.