Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February Snowy Month

Shortly after my last post January good weather and the cold spell at the start of the month turned into snow.  We had a week or 10 days of snowy weather which finally got the ground covered in the lower valley by up to 12" of snow that has held on and is only starting to shrink with sunny days and wind.

So far we still have nothing to complain about this winter, possibly a light snowpack in the mountains and smaller runoff will be the outcome.  Grizzly

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ice Fish

If you are a coho salmon fry in the Bella Coola River, its a perilous existence.  Under normal conditions there are otters, kingfishers, mergansers and herons always looking for a meal, not to mention the voracious Dolly Varden trout and other larger fish.  An unfortunate but completely normal and common event that happens is fry trapped in small pools that freeze to the bottom or lose oxygen in the remaining water under the ice.

While walking along the Bella Coola River today we encountered one such pool that was likely a lovely place in the warm weather we had in January and the coho fry looked healthy.  Unfortunately their home entombed them when the cold weather came and some 2-300 were frozen in the ice.

Now they will just be food for the crows when the ice goes.  Grizzly

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sun and Ice

The last part of January and so far the first week of February have been a story of Sun & Ice - both here in the Bella Coola Valley and the entire Province of British Columbia for the most part.  Very cold temperatures and clear skies came after we were spoiled by double digit high temperatures in January.  Nearby Chilcotin weather station at Puntzi Mountain has been steadily recording -39 C to -41 C lows this week, the coldest place in BC (the news media usually misses that fact because it's only a tiny community). The weather station isn't on a mountain its actually right beside the large paved WWII runway very close to Highway 20.

In the Bella Coola Valley, Environment Canada has had us under a weather "Arctic Outflow Warning" advisory all week.

To locals this means the "east wind" or "outflow".  It's been a low of -10C to -12 C all week and depending where you live in the valley fairly windy -30-40 km/h and gusts of much higher.

These events always end with some sort of twist, like a big snow fall or freezing rain.  For this one they are forecasting snow, which would be notable because there is no snow in the lower 2/3rd of the valley since just after Christmas.  Grizzly

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spectacular January Weather

I think most people would agree we have been quite a few years in Bella Coola since we have had a January like this one.  We have been 10 days or more without any significant snow or rain and the days have been sunny and nights not very cold.  One day earlier in the week hit a high of 10 C.  It's perfect weather for getting out fishing on the river, the ocean or doing hikes in the lower valley where there is no snow.  If you like snow though, the skiing is good at East Branch where there is 3 1/2 to 4 feet of snow (about an hour away).  Grizzly

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Days more Like March Days

I heard there were some cutthroats stirring in the Bella Coola River so I took a walk and made a few casts. While I didn't land any trout, the river was sure beautiful.  My oldish yellow lab thought it was a good outing as well, but she nodded off for awhile on the river bank because there wasn't much action.  I think I'll try skiing tomorrow...Tweeds has been working very hard this week to get the cross country trails in top shape.    Grizzly

Thursday, January 16, 2014


So far January has been a good month.  We had one snow storm that dropped some snow but it only took a few days of rain and warm winds and it is gone.  It is a January with bare ground and days in the high single digit C temperatures.  One day early this week when the strong windstorm hit the coast and the interior we had a high temperature of 10 C which quite quickly melted any of the remaining snow in the lower 2/3rd of the Bella Coola Valley.

The Bella Coola River today is in nice winter condition.  Grizzly

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January Sunset

Living in deep U-shaped valley with 8-9000' mountains along the sides and only a very narrow picture westward means we don't get a great sky view nor many good sunsets in the Bella Coola Valley, so when one happens like tonight you have to pause and look at it because it may be a awhile before you see another.

So far the New Year has been kind on the weather, moderate temperatures around freezing and precipitation mostly as rain.  There is very little or no snow left in the lower or west 1/2 of the Bella Coola Valley while Heckman Pass has about 2.5 feet.  The Chilcotin has more snow to the east of Tatla Lake.  The tiny settlement of Klinaklini - amazingly has no snow, the cows are out in the field grazing. Definitely a different kind of winter. Grizzly

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Burnt Bridge Creek Loop Trail - New Bridge

Burnt Bridge Creek is near the western edge of Tweedsmuir Park in the Bella Coola Valley.  It has a nice trail maintained by BC Parks called the Burnt Bridge Creek Loop trail (it also ties into the famous MacKenzie Grease Trail, a few hundred metres up the west side) which is a couple kms long and takes you up the east side into the valley through stands of Douglas Fir and back down the west side.

Unfortunately in the Great Flood of 2010 a large portion of the trail which was along the creek and the suspension bridge was totally obliterated.  It's a favourite trail for a nice 1.5 hour hike for locals and tourists because it also has a fantastic viewpoint of the western valley.

It took 3 years for BC Parks to get funds and a design to reroute the trail out of the flood plain, find a new bridge crossing site and get everything installed.  This past summer the whole trail was reopened and today because the warm weather and rain has melted most of the valley bottom snow, you could hike it with vitrually no snow. 

It's a great hike and BC Parks and the bridge and trail construction contractors did a fantastic job of rerouting and making an interesting hike.  Another Bella Coola asset has been restored.   Grizzly

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Merry Christmas to all who drop around the Bella Coola Blog.  I hope you are able to enjoy a peaceful few days with your friends and families.

1000 is a significant number.  This post represents the 1000th post of since it's inception four years ago on October 30, 2009 which was right in the middle of what at the time seemed like a pretty good flood (boy were we proven wrong in September 2010 during the Great Flood of 2010!).

I started the blog because I had been thinking for awhile about trying some writing and didn't know where to channel that, but I wanted something that was mine, not edited by anyone (thankfully Mrs. Grizzly my greatest fan, corrects my spelling and grammar when she can) , good or bad, live or die by it.  Blogging was reaching it's peak and it seemed like a good platform.  It just so happened that about the time I registered and purchased the domain the 2009 flood happened so I didn't really get to introduce the idea. I just started with the 2009 flood.    I was determined to see what it was like to write one post a day for a year--I did that but it was a challenge to try to find something relevant to say and find time to do it -- but I did in 2010.  I haven't been able to maintain it since. I also had a goal to try and get on the front of page of Google when searching "Bella Coola" without the help of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) business which is a big business to try and get your attention and direct traffic to your site. I learned the only way you get there without a lot of help, money and advertising is just lots of people clicking on your site, links from other places to your site and longevity on the web (paying for a site for more than a year). I am happy because I made that goal because I am regularly and consistently on the first page of search results on and and occasionally especially around an event (floods helped) the top hit in a google search for "Bella Coola".

I've struggled with what to write about because early on I decided to stay away from gossip and lot of heavy opinion - I gravitated to natural history, the weather, the climate and a bit about the beauty and uniqueness of the Bella Coola.  I firmly decided to stay away from bears, politics and religion -- all three can lose you friends fast in Bella Coola - especially the first one!  After almost 30 years in the Bella Coola Valley I've come to accept that bears here as in many places are an emotional topic and whether you are a biologist, landowner or tourist, there is not a lot to be gained in trying to convince you of my views.  I'm a believer in a balance. If you haven't already you should come to Bella Coola in late August and early September and hire someone to help you see a grizzly bear - it's worth it.

My website traffic is not huge - it ranges between 50-150 hits per day, sometimes spiking if there is a newsy event that Bella Coola is in the the news for.  I like to think I have regular readers that drop by like I do at my regular blogs for a little piece of news about a place or topic--I'm good with that.

What is the future of the Bella Coola Blog?  I will continue.  I will try and post reasonably often, but only if I can offer something useful.  I know folks would like more water level reports, fish updates and other current information, but unless I can collect it or be sure of it I won't write about it. The local newspaper is online and has lots of the news and stories on social issues affecting Bella Coola Valley residents.  There is a local Facebook page which is good for local information as well.

Thank you to everyone who drops by and the occasional person who kicks me in the butt in the Hagensborg Store and asks where their morning or evening read is at -- that's the best motivator knowing someone actually reads your work - it's all most authors want.

Stay tuned and come back for 1001!!  Grizzly

Friday, December 13, 2013

Last Week - This Week

Last weekend in the Bella Coola Valley we were suffering through a dry, cold and windy Arctic Outflow.  It dropped down to -10C and was dry and windy.  The ground was frozen hard and the crazy waterfall ice climbing people though that it was wonderful.  It felt more like a cauldron - a lot like the ice in this pool on the upper Nusatsum River.  But fortunately Arctic outflows only last a week or two and we are back to coastal conditions.  Today we hit a balmy 7 C at the Bella Coola Airport - perfect for shortening the winter up a bit.

Unfortunately our winter recreation area at East Branch in Tweedsmuir Park hasn't been getting snow either.  The cross country skiers are wishing for more.  Is this going to be the second Christmas in a row without enough snow to open the little ski hillGrizzly 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Good November

The month of November this year was an unexpected bonus.   While it is normally our wettest month, this year it was relatively dry.  We only had a few rainy periods and one week with some snow that all dissppeared.  We haven't had an Arctic outflow yet, bet one may be on the way soon according to the forecast. 

Eagles are spread out along the Bella Coola River looking for those last coho and today spread out along Highway 20 in various places were parked vehicles with the occupants off looking for pine mushrooms which is quite late.  Meanwhile other cars going by had cross country skis on because the hard working trail groomers have 7 kms of trail already groomed at the East Branch skiing/snowmobiling area in Tweedsmuir Park.  That's what life is like in the Bella Coola Valley - lots of weather variety to chose from.  Grizzly

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Snow

It doesn't take long after the 1st of November arrives in the Bella Coola Valley before you can expect a little bit of snow.  After a very nice weekend of clear weather and -2 or -3 C night temperatures the weather turned today and a few places in the valley saw some light wet snow with a very gentle east or outflow breeze.  As you can see in the photo the Bella Coola River has dropped significantly and is starting to develop it's late fall clearing condition, passing from the silty summer colour, to green to shades of blue green and then eventually clear in late November.  In any case it continues to be a nice fall.  Grizzly

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Annual Oak Tree Photo

Today was a perfect day to take a picture of our introduced oak tree against the backdrop of the 8000 ft plus Mount Nusatsum, especially since it was such a perfect day.  Yesterday turned very "Octoberish", when rain moved in after noon and it rained fairly good for a few hours.  Fortunately that cleared out overnight and today we are back to the blue sky fall weather (but with a strong outflow or east wind blowing the leaves around). With a high temperature of 15 C, we can handle any kind of wind that wants to blow!  Grizzly

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Colours

With the dry weather, shortening day length and some light frosts, the Bella Coola Valley has some nice fall colours this year.  Even the leaves of the Devil's Club are beautiful this year.  Grizzly

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spectacular October Days

A stretch of October weather quite as incredible as we've had for nearly a week already is rare.  Being that we are far inland on the coast, the Bella Coola Valley hasn't been getting the coastal fog lasting more than a little bit past daylight in the valley. Barely frosty in some areas overnight and the day time temps in the mid teens, fuchsia's are flowering and the lawn continues to grow.  The high pressure ridge creating this condition is forecast to continue for a few more days.  A spectacular place to spend a fall.  Grizzly

Friday, October 18, 2013

Rare October Weather

I don't remember seeing an Environment Canada weather forecast for Bella Coola showing 7 days of full sun in October! We are having a incredible stretch of weather, with night temperatures barely going to freezing in some areas.   I've noticed some late law mowing happening because the grass is still growing.

We certainly appreciate the fine clear days which are making the fall pleasant.  Grizzly

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chilcotin Ranches

The Chilcotin region of BC is a large area.  So large that after 30 years of exploring my wife and I still have not been to all the corners being that it is some 300+ kms by 300+kms as a region.  We decided for Thanksgiving weekend we would look around because the weather forecast was so good.  It was nice (-8 C in the morning) and very beautiful fall days.  On the Chezacut Road area we explored some interesting  Ducks Unlimited project areas, which will definitely warrant a return in the spring when many waterfowl and other birds will be in the area.

I almost had the pair of cowboy boots that I've always wanted at an abandoned ranch building from a bygone era, but decided to let them pass into history a little longer.  Grizzly

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Fall Rain

No picture today, because I haven't figured out how to take a good picture of the rain.  Friday and Saturday we have had our first major coastal rainstorm.  I haven't measured it all  but likely in excess of 75 mm between Friday and Saturday.  Its not a flooding rain because we haven't had significant snow pack build up in the higher mountain elevations.  Grizzly

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

River turning Fall

Each morning for the last week whenever we have any precipitation in the Bella Coola Valley the surrounding mountains are all dusted in fresh snow.  This usually means the valley creeks and the Bella Coola River start dropping quickly and change colour from summer grey to fall green as the glaciers tighten up and the deposition of fine glacial flour diminishes. It's a pleasant time of the year and the river always looks beautiful.  Now we just have to hope we don't get a rain event of any large magnitude which can turn the river angry brown very quickly.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Long Toed Salamander

This little guy, the size a large coin when curled up was enjoying the rainforest like weather in the Bella Coola Valley this weekend, not the heavy rain and wind to the south, but periods of wet, mixed with some sunny periods. Grizzly