Friday, January 9, 2015

First Storm Of The Year. *warning, may include references to power system.

    They had forecast a major snow event for southwestern BC right after New Years.
I was out in the Okanagan, and if theres one thing worse than being snowed in out here, its being snowed out of here. I got an early start for home and hit the connector in the direction of lodge country.      

Still staying ahead of the snow I started off down the final 2 hour stretch of gravel road home.

I arrived back sometime mid-afternoon, just as the first flakes began to fall.

The fangs of Winter set in with a steady fine wind blown snow for a day or so, the type that never amounts to much. Probably a couple feet came down, but the wind keeps it out of the trees and packs it down then turned into freezing rain so there isn't much more than a foot sitting around out there now, which isn't so bad. I was expecting quite a dump. When the snow comes straight down out here in big flakes is when it can really pile up.
There was some folks camped out at the hot spring that got a little stranded, their tents had collapsed under the wet snow, and they were in a couple of small vehicles that would to have to wait until the grader made it out. They ended up in the guest cabin and rather enjoying the whole thing, so maybe stranded isn't the right word.

I cranked up old Alfie to clear out the driveway then went down and made a pass or two around the hot spring campsite to open the place up. I'd a gone down and dug out the neighbors but old Alf started dripping transmission fluid, so I'll have to get under there and see what the hell.

I almost hate to bring it up but your probably all curious how the new intake screen fared up the hill.
It wasn't cold enough to form frazzle ice in the pond, but the fine snow falls in the creek, which is only a degree or two above freezing and it doesn't all melt. This slush all ends up circling around in my intake pond before it finally clogs up the screen you might recall from my last post. Just before dark after 24 hrs of snow I lost pressure in the penstock feeding the pelton wheel. I managed to get up the mountain in my pickup, but just barely, and it was still snowing like hell. I got down to the small dam to find the screen was a big blob of slush. Holding the flashlight in my teeth I pulled it off the inlet and dragged it up on the bank, and I can see it is sucked right flat from the suction! So when that happens I run the inlet open, I'm not concerned about sticks or anything going down the line this time of year. The water is clean except for the suspended slush, which when it goes down the line it just gets blown thru the pelton wheel nozzle. A worse case scenario would be for the slush to clog up the end of the inlet in the pond, that would entail a nasty hike up the mountain to clear as the road wouldn't be passable. Its possible to clog up at the nozzle too, but can rectify that at the machine. I had just climbed into bed one night and opened my book when the lights dimmed and the whole place went black. So I got dressed again and went over and opened up the valve a bit to clear it out. It worked fine until the next afternoon when I could tell something was not right, I went over and opened the valve again and a great bunch of built up slush spit thru the nozzle and the machine has worked great ever since. It gives me the creeps knowing theres no screen on the end of the intake, so as soon as the snow settled enough I attempted to get up the hill on the Honda.
 I could only get up the hills by going as far as I could then backing down, packing my trail down and getting another run at it, making another 20 feet or so then back down pack the trail and try again. I'd get up one hill and figure theres no way I'm going to make the next one. She's a good machine and got me up there once more, surprising the hell out of me and saving a long nasty hike.
Poor screen got pancaked by the suction, I patched it up and pulled it back into shape with a hooked rod then submersed it in the pond and worked it onto the end of the intake pipe.
Well it was sure easier going downhill.
So everything is back to normal, for around here anyways. So hopefully, that's the last either one of us will hear about the power system for awhile.
Did I hear something about some cold weather coming?


  1. I beg to differ..I happen to be fascinated by your power system. To be out there in the middle of nowhere and self-reliant is something some of us just dream about. That's why I come out there a couple of times a year to enjoy the country. Oh and hot spring sure makes it more comfortable. Casey

  2. To sit in the tubs in the snow is one of the best experiences I've ever had. Then to go back to the cabin with a wood fire in the stove was nice and cosy. Those are some of my favourite memories