Chilcotin Stone Circle

Yesterday (15th Feb) I was in the Vancouver Sun.  And today I will be on CBC radio!

This was all a big surprise.  I do not receive the paper – it would have to come by mail and be 3 days late – and in any case I only get to the P O twice a month.  The paper is too big to download on the satellite internet.  Neither do I pick up any radio signals and again the satellite internet is too slow to pick up  streaming.  A friend told me about the paper, another person mentioned I was on yahoo news, and a researcher from CBC’s Radiowest phoned me a few minutes ago to tape part of an interview!

It all began nearly a quarter of a century ago when I established myself at a high-altitude, fly-in lake in British Columbia’s Coast Range and started to build cabins that eventually formed a small resort.  The cabins are below the treeline, but if you hike above it on the north side, you can see this.

chilcotin stone circle

(The circle is in the foreground towards the left.)

I contacted a crew who had recently completed the first BC Geological survey of the area, but they had not noticed it.  It was visible on aerial photos, though – and now it is perfectly visible on Google Earth.

nuk tessli stone circle google earth

In this Google Earth picture, the stone circle is on the extreme right (you can just see the blue indicator) and the Nuk Tessli Alpine Experience is on the nearest end of the big lake on the left.  The high snowy mountain in the background is Mt Monarch, the second highest in BC.  Monarch is on the SW corner of the Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

The circle is 40 paces across.  The most curious thing about it is that the rock of which it is composed is finer-grained, lighter-coloured, and sharper-edged than the rocks either inside or outside the circle.

I sent palm-sized pieces to my geologist brother, Michael Czajkowski, in England. ” Those are no good,” he replied.  “I need head-sized samples.”  Well, imagine mailing those.  And backpacking them down the mountain in the first place.  So I told him he’d better come and get the samples himself.

It took about 20 years for him to visit (we had not seen each other for nearly 3 decades).  The circle was actually first noticed by a friend, Alan Bell, when we were hiking together.  His wife has a cousin, Andrew Okulitch,  who is a retired geologist.  In the middle of August 2009, we hiked up there to have a look.  Andrew is on the left, Michael on the right.

andrew okulich (right) and michael czajkowski

(The pink measuring stick is my Fanny’s Fabric ruler.  The shovel is my tree-planting spade!)

I surmised it was a meteor.  This was soon discounted by the professionals.  They assumed it must be broken off from bedrock.  But when they dug a test hole, there was nothing but sand underneath.

underneath the stone circle

There are some bigger rocks on the other side of the circle.

nuktessli stone circle bigger rocks

Because there was no bedrock underneath, it must have been formed after the last glaciation, sometime during the last 10,000 years.  However, there is no indication at all that it is man made.  It was to take the two geologists a couple of years to hash out and eventually publish their theory.  (See links at the end of this post.) But at the time, my brother’s interest in the publicity both for and against the up-coming winter Olympics inspired him to write this entry in Nuk Tessli’s guest book.

nuk tessli guest book entry

This apparently translates as: “We gave them 5,000 years and they still haven’t got the airport right yet.”

The story of the Nuk Tessli stone circle was first published in an online geological magazine, EarthSky.  I’ll let you read the theories for yourselves.  Yesterday’s Vancouver Sun wrote in more prosaic terms:, and here is the yahoo news version.

I am adding this the next day.  Here is the link to the radio interview.


About wilderness dweller

I have lived for more than 30 years as a Wilderness Dweller. Most of that time was in cabins I built myself far from the nearest road, high in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. My "retirement" home is accessible by a bush road but still far from neighbours. I live off the grid, and operate this blog by solar-powered satellite internet.
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5 Responses to Chilcotin Stone Circle

  1. Rob Chipman says:

    Cool! But, despite the scientists, I’m going with human activity!

  2. Toni Reimer says:

    That was very exciting Chris, I too missed it on the news and like you don’t get the newspaper.

    I continue to enjoy your blog and your wonderful pictures. Loved the pink Fanny’s Fabric ruler!


  3. Richard says:

    This is truly a provocative story but equally incredible is Chris being able to live where and how she does in 2012. She is very fortunate .

  4. Ben says:

    What an extraordinary story!

  5. maureen says:

    WOW!Lots of peaceful moments,but never a dull one.Very interesting…

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