Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bread for Sale

I'm not a disaster management expert, but it's not hard to figure out that in any disaster keeping panic away and getting back to normal as fast as possible are key.  Normal doesn't have to mean everything back the way it was, but simply getting people doing routine things again is important.  It was one of those observations this morning on the way to work, while dodging graders, gravel trucks and traffic controllers that I stopped for a moment and held up the traffic to take this photo.  Exactly what we need, people doing what other people need - baking and selling  fresh bread.

My wife and I like many people have been helping people clean-up.  The silt is miserable, no other way to describe it.  If you've been to Bella Coola in the spring through fall and seen the rivers here, you know that fine glacial 'flour' is carried in the water.  While the flooding rivers were basically mud puddle brown during the flood from all the soil being eroded, hidden in that mud, is that fine glacial silt.  It gets into every possible place.  I cleaned a rifle scope that had been submerged and I can't even find a way to get the water out the scope is sealed so tightly, but the water is full of fine silt.  After it goes through it's mucky phase - it dries and hardens and then makes nice dust, like the stuff on the runaway of the Bella Coola Airport.  It was a fine September day though, 22 C a bit of outflow in the morning, warm and sunny in the afternoon - a perfect fall day. Grizzly

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contrast Day

Today was a contrast day in the Bella Coola Valley.  The contrast between the miserable rain storm and flood of September 24-28, with 300 mm of rain, followed by a beautiful warm September day, just like September in the Bella Coola Valley should be.  It was a contrast of some parts of the valley which were unscathed and people were out mowing lows and chopping wood or trying to go to work - just like normal should be - to places that had homes devastated with high water and are faced with starting again, finding a new home to live in and sorting out their lives - everything we try to plan our lives to avoid.  We've got a forecast of good warm weather for a few days so it will really help, physically to dry things that people have outside and mentally to brighten us up.   

Don't forget to vote in the Great Canadian Song Quest - 2010 for the Freedom Highway - It closes tomorrow night - we have a chance to make Highway 20 - "A Great Canadian Highway".  Grizzly

Vote for the Freedom Road

I've only just discovered the nation wide contest being run by CBC Radio called The Great Canadian Song Quest 2010.  They have a contest for the highway that receives the most online votes in each Province.  The highway with the most votes will have a song written to celebrate that highway.  In BC the artist selected was Hannah Georgas.  If Highway 20 - The Freedom Highway receives the most votes by midnight tomorrow night it will become even more of a legend.  Time is running out!   Now more than ever if you want to experience the legendary piece of BC history we need to highlight this contest! Pass the word to your friends.  The Freedom Highway will survive the great flood and will be even more legendary!  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The New Normal

When you look at geological time and ponder how things are formed in our landscapes, you usually conclude it happened a long time ago and took a long time to happen.  Perhaps though a lot of things while they happened over a long time span, when the actual event took place they were relatively sudden events to cause the changes.  I think that's what happened in a small way with the Bella Coola Valley flood.  Years from now people will look back and wonder why that road is the way it is or why some farmer has a nice field while the neighbors isn't so good.  Bella Coola will become relativey normal soon enough, but it will be a slightly new normal.  Not everything will get rebuilt and not everything will get rebuilt the way we are used to.  I guess that is how the way things have to go.

River levels peaked again last night around 11 PM depending on your location.  It has been dropping steadily all day, but naturally is still very high.  It's a nice feeling to see it drop, but also depressing to see the true extent of the damage - places you were hoping the road was still there because you couldn't see it, are now showing that there really isn't a road there anymore. I picked up a box of tools from a neighbor whose basement flooded and brought it home tonight, hosed all the silt off, dried them and took steel wool to get rust off and then oiled them all.  Had to do something to help someone.  Grizzly
Runway 05/23 Bella Coola Airport today

Monday, September 27, 2010

5149 Square Kilometres to Drain

I was looking at a report tonight, the Bella Coola Watershed-based Fish Sustainability Plan Stage III Final Report and found a nice map on page 8 which shows the 20 + sub basins that make up the Bella Coola River Watershed.  What you notice is that the watershed area of 514,962 hectares or 5149 sq kms, that make up the total area of the watershed, the Atnarko River drainage is the largest at 180,000 plus hectares. Normally during our 'flood' events, the Atnarko River drainage would see far less rainfall than the rest of the watershed, because most of the Atnarko River is in the lee or rain shadow area of the Coast Mountains.  This time, it is apparent that virtually the entire basin of over 5000 km was likely saturated with the 200 mm + (8 inches) of rain all at the same time, including the large Atnarko River basin which goes well into the Chilcotin.  It's rare that an area of road in the Chilcotin like the area of Highway 20 near McClinchy Creek would wash out based on rainfall of coastal monsoon levels. 

If you think about the volume of water which 200 mm equals spread over 5000 sq km, the amount of water which has to drain out of the Bella Coola River is really quite large. It's going to take awhile, especially since more was added to it today.  The three months of dry weather with soil that was bone dry and takes a long time to wet, didn't help our situation. Grizzly

Road Closed When Lights Flashing

When they say "Road Closed" around these parts they really mean it!  Highway 20 sounds like it will be out of commission for more than a little while.  The problem is 5 or 6 bridges between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola with compromised issues such as footings and abutments undermined or approaches washed out.  All fixable, but is going to take some time.  There are also two pieces of Highway 20 with significant portions of road gone, one west of Tatla Lake along the low area where the normally scenic winding McClinchy River runs (photos on Facebook) and then a much more significant section down in the valley in the Tweedsmuir Park area near what we call the "Sand Hill".  It's going to take a lot of equipment and time to fix.

But more importantly tonight we are seeing the river rising again.  We had light to moderate rain through the night then it started raining a little heavier at daylight and continued that way till after lunch.  This has resulted in another push of water moving through the river system.  At 9 PM in my area the water is still rising (it's out of it's normal banks, because it barely got back into them this morning) and creeping up.  Our neighborhood has been checking with the folks up the stream and it may have already crested up river, so we can expect it to come up, but with luck not as high as Saturday night.
Driveway needs work

Was helping some friends today that have had their home devastated -- New Orleans style - water 4 feet deep in the house and 8 feet deep in a shop.  The destruction was total.  It was very depressing. I helped by photographing the mess so they can hopefully get assistance.  This house was built in a location that most of us would have agreed was well situated but there was likely 8 feet of water over Highway 20 that devastated it.
Will keep you posted.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Flood Posting Comments

I've received comments about my flood postings that have obviously indicated some frustration to how things were handled by authorities responsible for such issues as floods.  I won't publish them directly because the Bellacoolablog likes to stick to things which represent an interpretation of the some of the big natural events we see or small things like Grizzly's view on the weather or some useless fact about local things.  At this point I don't know all the facts about how the flood was handled and some of the comments are probably too early to judge that as well.

Floods, fires, earthquakes and natural disasters are stressful things and you have to look pretty hard to find someone in Bella Coola who isn't faced with some tough challenges or went through some pretty tense moments.  It's true that Bella Coola has a long history of looking after itself especially during major flood events, but remember that in the days of the big floods of 68, 80 etc, there was a large intact Ministry of Highways group who took charge and made things happen.  Nowadays things are different and people have different responsibilities and everyone has a job to do.  Pulling together is still the way to go - it will get things fixed faster than not.  It's going to take a lot of money to fix our problems and we need help in getting that money.   Gentle, persuasive, persistent, rationale thought and input to officials will change things that you don't like.  In the meantime, help your neighbor, don't repeat things that you don't reasonably believe to have some facts behind them and use the opportunities presented to try to change the things you don't like.  Grizzly

The Longest Night - Crest of the Bella Coola River

In my earlier post below I neglected to mention anything about the crest of the Bella Coola River during the flood - always an interesting and important detail.  In my neck of the woods - upper valley - I was monitoring the situation closely - for obvious reasons.  Here's the straight goods:

  • 7-8 PM Saturday evening, rain stops
  • 3 AM Sunday, water appears to be slowing down on the rate of rising
  • 4 AM, clear indications that water is no longer rising and in fact small rivulets are dissappearing
  • 4:01 AM, Mr. and Mrs. Grizzly went to bed.

Flood Update

Well it's been a wild and historic 48 hours in the life of the Bella Coola Valley.  Only a few days ago I was going on about the low water and beautiful condition of the Bella Coola River and now we've seen the Bella Coola deliver one of the most powerful and large floods in recorded history and living memories.  There are many sources of photos in the Facebook world, so I won't post any photos tonight but will cover what I can determine to be reasonably factual.

First the rain - from September 24 Friday morning at 7 AM to approximately 8 PM Saturday September 25, the rainfall recorded in the valley was 245 mm (9.6 inches).  The scale of this flood with 9 inches of rain and no snow to create a rain-on-snow flood event (usually the source of the worst Bella Coola River floods) suggests a massive widespread rainfall.  Piecing together comments on the extent of the rainfall it appears that what made this flood so big, is that the entire watershed of the Bella Coola - all the big tributaries, Salloomt, Nusastsum, Talchako, Atnarko all received a massive amount of rain.  Often these storms are most intensive in the lower valley or one of the tributaries, or sometimes the upper valley and not the lower valley, but this one was widespread.  You have a situation with a watershed of several 1000 sq km covered in 9 inches of water.  The Bella Coola had to burst banks not burst in anyone's memories to handle it.

Damage - Around midnight the east end Airport dike breached and then eroded a hole.  Water was pretty much from one end of the runway to other. It took most of the day to let the water recede and clear debris bus some small aircraft used it this afternoon.  The low area in Hagensborg had record levels of water - from talking to reliable sources it seems like at the deepest,water on Highway 20 through the area around Meechams Garage was in the 4 foot range.    The rock cut area near Bella Coola townsite was flooded for a period.  Grant Road North was well underwater.  Tippee's corner had washouts and water over topping the highway.  At Nusatsum Bridge there was a washout from a small Creek.  On Salloomt Road, the approach to the Mill Creek (creek just before the south end of the Bailey Bridge) was out.  More seriously the south end approach to the Bailey Bridge was almost completely washed out.  The Bridge is still sitting on pilings but the approach is washed out.  People in the Salloomt area still have power, but will be stuck there for awhile. I don't know the status of Salloomt Road beyond there.  In the area around the Glacier View, the river topped the highway, the Noosgulch Forest Service Road bridge at 1 km was washed out and a new channel formed.  In the area of Canoe Crossing, evidence I've seen suggests there was likely 3-4 feet of water over topping the highway.  In Firvale, long time residents had water nearly two feet higher than ever recorded.  I don't have much information above Firvale, no one has been able to drive that far.  There are reports of extensive damage to Highway 20 in the Tweedsmuir Park area.

In the meantime....waiting for another rainstorm forecast for tonight.  Hoping it doesn't contain the amount Environment Canada suggests, as the Bella Coola River was only just starting to get back to it's 'normal' flood level high water stage around 4 PM.  It's still pretty full and can't take too much more until 48 hours of draining time has happened.  Grizzly


Bella Coola River this morning at Noosgulch

Sorry my posting is a bit late...we've been out of power and it just came back on.  This will be short for tonight.  Bella Coola is experiencing a major flood - in excess of the 1968 flood which is the whopper in most residents memories here.  There is much much damage both to roads and bridges and peoples homes.  The full extent is unclear.  Most of us are pinned down by washed out highways or driveways (our case).  More info as it unfolds.  Check the Central Coast Regional District web site - Emergency Notice section.

The rain stopped just after 7 PM and in  my opinion we would need at least 6 hours for the crest to show.  At 1 AM it has definitely slowed on the rising side at our place, but not stopped yet.  Good luck everyone in the Valley.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So Much Rain!!

What makes life interesting in the Bella Coola Valley is the dramatic swings in weather - hot and cold, drought and rain, heavy snowfalls, big winds and other interesting events.  Today we shifted from almost four months of extremely fine weather, with very low rainfalls, and some high summer temperatures to torrential coastal rain.  The forecast is for quite a bit more as well.  There was more rain towards the west and the town site of Bella Coola where the creeks were getting high at the end of the day.  We have had several inches since it started raining in ernest in mid morning.  I'll keep you updated on how the weekend unfolds.

Stopped by the barber shop today for a quick hair cut.  Always an interesting stop.  The intel on coho fishing was 4 coho caught on 4 days that he was out fishing (bank fishing) earlier in the week.  He also said he heard it slowed down towards the end of the week.

If you are planning on coming to Bella Coola in the next few days for fishing or recreating, check the Environment Canada weather, the River Forecast Centre or the Real Time Hydrometric Data for the Bella Coola River or Salloomt River water levels.  It could be a wet visit with 115-160 mm of rainfall forecast for Bella Coola in the next few days.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bella Coola River Low

Bella Coola River today
It might be the calm before the fall storm, but right now the Bella Coola River is really low for a fall flow.  We haven't had a huge amount of rain in September and the nights at elevation have been quite cool, even below 0 C in the glacier and snow pack level, so the only possible effect of that is to see the river drop.  It's a nice colour for fishing, but third hand information suggests the coho run is not spectacular this year.  If we don't get the 100 mm plus of rain they are forecasting on the coast (check Environment Canada Bella Bella) in the next few days it would be a great level for fishing, but we are moving into the "borrowed time" region of September now, any day without a monsoon is a good one.  The next few days might change the look of the Bella Coola River.  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bear Damage

Around this time of year it's prime time for grizzly and black bears looking for a lot of food, usually spawning salmon, but also any other kind of fruits and berries.  There has been a lot of work to improve the bear awareness of communities by better handling of garbage, pet food, composts, bbq's, fruit trees and gardens.  All good things to help keep bears feeding naturally.  The other night we watched a young grizzly bear off on the other side of our field doing just that.  They love the berries of the mountain ash tree Sorbus sitchensis which are heavily loading the trees this time of year.  Ash trees are wild and quite common in the
Bella Coola Valley, so even when we eliminate the fruit trees as a source, the bears will still be attracted to the ash and if you have any around your property you will just have to enjoy watching the techniques of the bears to push them over and then clean up the mess.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Nice September Day

Today was just another perfect September day.  A clear morning around 2 C, giving way to blue skies and the odd breeze.  The 'icing sugar' of fresh snow capped all the local mountains.  By the end of the day we hit 18 C and a clear evening.  Maybe one more good day before the rainy weather hits for the weekend. Grizzly

Monday, September 20, 2010

High Elevation Snow

Yesterday was quite the cold front that went through the Central Coast and into the Cariboo Region which had snow on the ground in a number of places.  Today turned out to be a decent day in the Bella Coola Valley though, but there is worse coming for the weekend ahead - fall rains.  The light on the mountains was very nice tonight at sunset, highlighting the fresh snow.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 19, 2010

456 km to Go!

In my post on the Long Drive to Bella Coola, I failed to mention the actual distance from Bella Coola to Williams Lake which is officially listed at 456 km.  It's a comfortable 5 hour drive in good weather without stopping.  If you want to break it up, then there is a nice new rest stop in Alexis Creek (about 1 1/4 hrs west of Williams Lake), a restaurant in Tatla Lake, gas in Redstone, the Ahahim Reserve, Nimpo Lake and Anahim Lake.  There are two restaurants in Anahim Lake.  There are side trips to along the way to various guest houses, guest ranches and lodges.    If you've never made the drive then in either direction start early and plan to take the day to enjoy it.  Real blacktop pavement with a divided centered lines runs from Williams Lake to Pyper Lake   At Pyper Lake it changes to seal-coat - (a gravel coal tar emulsion which is almost as good as pavement) with no painted lines, then from Nimpo Lake to Anahim it's blacktop. At Anahim Lake it goes to hard gravel for 60 km to the bottom of "The Hill"  This piece can be rough some times, muddy and definitely snowy between late |October and May...there was wet snow falling in Heckman Pass today.  There is a highway web cam at Anahim Lake pointing west which usually gives you a pretty good idea of what you are heading into. I hope that gives you a general idea of what the trip is like.

The weather in the Bella Coola Valley today was a disappointing to say the least.  Cool and rain, at times heavy.  Snow levels are down low maybe to 3000' on the mountains and there was wet snowflakes falling in Heckman Pass today.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Long Drive to Bella Coola

Today I was talking to someone who might move away from Bella Coola and it's because of the long drive to get in and out of Bella Coola.  Someone also posted a comment about the long trip today as well.  Last week while driving back to Bella Coola across the Chilcotin, I was thinking about the same thing.  There is lots of time to think when you are driving the Chilcotin because managing the traffic isn't especially taxing, keeping focused on cows and wildlife on the road is usually a bigger challenge.  I enjoy the long drive and was wondering what makes it different from other drives.   I decided it was because traffic isn't so bad, but also in this great province, we are really used to driving in the bottom of valleys, because that's how we get around when you live in a mountainous place.  A nice part about Highway 20 is that so much of it is in either small valleys, benches or over little plateaus and hills with dramatic back drops of the Coast Mountains that seem to come and go in the distance until suddenly you are close to them and then eventually just get swallowed up by them as you drop into the Bella Coola Valley.  The forest and landscape changes from the pine beetle ravaged stands in the west, to Douglas Fir as you go east and then finally the big Chilcotin Grasslands which are what the Chilcotin is famous for.  I always enjoy a good road trip across the Chilcotin.  Grizzly

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Perfect September Day

Today was one of those September days in the Bella Coola Valley that can make you forget about the month of November entirely.  Beautiful clear blue sky, with a brisk fresh outflow (east wind) till early afternoon and then a calm warm (24 C) afternoon and evening.  Perfect days for doing just about anything.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unwelcome Residents

European earwigs according to local legend are relatively recent residents of the Bella Coola Valley - one person telling me they showed up some time in the 1960's.  It would have only been a matter of time that they eventually hitched a ride to Bella Coola on some produce or feed, because they are widespread and we have a perfect climate for them.

Mostly I find them disgusting - accumulating under boards, getting into damp places and leaving droppings.  This time of year they seem to be everywhere, all the babies have matured and the population seems to be at a maximum.  Researching this posting though does give me hope that they might serve some purpose because apparently they eat a lot of aphids and other insects.  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Starting Again

Driving Highway 20 from Williams Lake to Bella Coola takes you through a few of this summers forest fires.  The fires in the Chilcotin caused a lot of damage to some of the grazing areas of the Chilcotin, burning grass and more importantly fences.  The last time we drove through at the end of July this area was still smoking, but now new fences have been installed and shoots of new grass are coming.  Some of the fires burned pretty hot and didn't leave much for organic material, so it will take a few years for even grass to get started, but once it does there will be some good grass again.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chilko River

The Chilko River joins the Chilcotin River just west of Alexis Creek BC in the Chilcotin area of BC.  This time of year the Chilko River is an incredible colour.  Chilko Lake must also be very beautiful right now, if I had time I would love to take a trip through that way, but the brief glimpse you can get of the Chilko along  Young Road, just west of Bull Canyon will have to do for now.  If you are driving to Bella Coola you can take Young Road (gravel and bit muddy when wet) and see the Chilko and Chilcotin Rivers and still get back on Highway 20 about - 15-20 km later. The Chilko River is well known for the sockeye salmon run that migrates through it to get to Chilko Lake.  Grizzly

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bella Coola River

The Bella Coola River is well into it's 'tranquil' fall state - that period between the grey/green high flows of the spring and summer snow melt and the late October/November brown or flood stage.  It's a beautiful colour right now and dropped a long way.  I don't know what the state of the coho run is  -- been away a few days, but saw a number of fishermen out today.  It wouldn't have mattered too much if you caught a fish today or not, it was such a perfect day at 20 C in the Bella Coola Valley. Grizzly

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Sun

So far September hasn't been much of a month.  This afternoon was beautiful though in the valley, with some blue sky, sun and warm.  The Environment Canada forecast for the next week is for more of the same, so this is the week to do garden clean up and catch up on yard work.  Grizzly

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spot Prawns

If you are lucky enough to get out in a boat in the inlets around Bella Coola, most of the deep water along the inlet shores is good habitat for the tasty Spot Prawn.  You have to set your trips in deep water - usually 250+ feet in depth.  We were lucky enough to catch a few this summer and some of them were real giants, getting close to baby lobster tail size.  They are good on a skewer BBQ'ed for a few minutes with a coating of garlic butter.

An interesting thing about these female prawns is the fact that they started out their life as boys.  In a phenomena known as protandric hermaphrodism the males turn to females in their second or third year of life. Kind of weird, but pretty common in shrimp, some apparently just bypass the male phase altogether.  It must be tough to not be needed.  Grizzly.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Purple Mountain Saxifrage

If you spend anytime hiking in the Rainbow Mountains, or inner Central Coast Mountains and likely many other alpine areas you will run into clumps of the purple mountain saxifrage or Saxifraga oppositifolia.  They like ledges of cliffs and moist cracks of rocks and are quite showy in areas with often not much more than bare rock.  Just one of the many alpine wildflowers that you can enjoy if you can get into the alpine.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Truth About Mosquitoes

It's never popular to talk about mosquitoes, but a blog about Bella Coola wouldn't be complete without some reference to them.  First of all let me say that there is no where in the Bella Coola Valley where mosquitoes are as bad as the legendary mosquitoes of the western Chilcotin.  Bella Coola has certain locations in the spring and early summer where there are some mosquitoes.  You couldn't really expect to live in a rain forest surrounded by river, wet areas, forest and warm, sometimes humid temperatures and not experience a few bugs.

Generally the mosquitoes get less as you travel west towards the inlet in Bella Coola.  I think there are also less the more built up an area is like Hagensborg or Bella Coola Townsite. There is no where that I would specifically avoid in the valley because the mosquitoes are unbearable, but sometimes around sunset on a summer or spring night around the river or in the garden around dark they can get a bit annoying for an hour or two.

It's really all about perspective though - this photo of my dog taken several years ago while hiking in the Rainbow Mountains, gives you the true meaning of what mosquitoes can really mean, when a yellow lab is grateful to be covered by a mosquito net!  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The walls of the inlets in many of the Central Coast fjords are full of spectacular granite formations.  If you are in the Central Coast and you get a chance to take of boat trip or the Discovery Coast Ferry you will see many beautiful rock faces like this one. The longer they are undisturbed by rock failures or slides in the fall, the blacker and darker they become with more staining and patterns.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Spending time in the alpine almost anywhere and you will quickly run into the Krummholz formation of trees.  In our area of the inner Coast Mountains and the mountains in the Rainbow Ranges the species of trees that form Krummholz is most often alpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa).  Krummholz or also fondly called 'shin tangle', are interesting formations of trees that are so battered by wind and snow that the best they can do is grow in dense clumps, low to the ground, and once in awhile, one it's members may rise up and eventually form a proper tree.
If you don't have to walk through long formations of Krummholz, they are lovely features, but if you get stuck and have to hike through them, then it's really miserable.  They make great areas of habitat for birds and small animals.  Grizzly

Monday, September 6, 2010

Water Power

Bella Coola has to have one of the original public "Run of the River" power projects.  Back in 1962 BC Hydro designed and built the Clayton Falls hydro generating project.  It's a brilliant installation.  In 1991 it was quadrupled in power output from 500 kw to 2000 kw (2 Mega watts).

It's brillliant because of it's low impact design.  It has a small headpond at the top of the rock canyon stretch of river that is virtually devoid of fish because it's steep and solid rock.  The water is diverted through two penstocks down the hill for maybe about 3/4 of km to the power house.  When they upgraded the facility in 1991 the tail race area was designed as piece of stable fish habitat complete with spawning gravel.  On average salmon year it's full of chum and pink salmon because it has gravel and the gravel doesn't get blasted out by the extreme fall freshets like it does in the rest of Clayton Falls Creek below the falls, which still provides some nice rearing habitat for salmon and trout.  When I stand and look at it in the summer and realize that it provides all the benefits for fish, BC Hydro maintains a first class picnic site and it's producing just about all the summer time power demand for the Bella Coola Valley, you realize what a gift it is.

I'm hopeful that the other run of the river power projects in BC are all being selected as wisely as this one was.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Beachless in Bella Coola

It's a sad fact about Bella Coola, even though we live on an inlet connected to an ocean we are almost without accessible beaches.  The end of the inlet is an estuary and special for it's own qualities which estuaries offer, but it's not a place for a nice beach stroll or watching sunsets.  Most of the rest of the end of the inlet is either steep and deep or harbour or log storage area.

There is one tiny postage stamp size beach and it's really part of the estuary of Clayton Falls Creek estuary, but it's easily accessible and has about 20 metres of gravel and a nice view out over the inlet.  It's looked after as part of the Clayton Falls Recreation Site, operated by BC Hydro.  It's a really nice place to spend an afternoon and watch the seals and boat traffic.  It's also the only 'beach' we have.  Grizzly

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Not my Peppers

Back in May I made a post about tomatoes and corn as climate barometers.  I also said that you had to use 'tricks' to reliably grow peppers.  This was one such year when I should have planted a bunch of peppers because it was a spectacular year of heat in the Bella Coola valley and they loved it.

A few friends have given us some of theirs, which is really nice because they are such good tasting vegetables.  I wish I could have seen the hot season coming and planted a bunch of my own.  Grizzly

Friday, September 3, 2010

An Average Week

So far the first week of September has been a bit mixed in the Bella Coola Valley.  A couple days of no rain,  a few sunny periods and today with rain, sometimes heavy showers for most of the day.  About what to expect for the weather at the end of August early September as we move out of the weather systems dominated by Pacific high pressure systems which gave us our fine July and August weather.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Clayton Falls

Clayton Falls Creek runs into North Bentinck Arm on the south side of the Inlet about 2 km west of the Bella Coola Harbour.  You can easily get to it with any car or RV by driving straight ahead off the western terminus of Highway 20 onto the gravel North Bentinck Arm Forest Service Road.  A road shared with industrial logging traffic.  At the bottom of the hill is the Clayton Falls Recreation Site operated by BC Hydro.  Park in designated ample parking and follow the signs around the back of the generating station to the viewing site for the falls.

They are really spectacular.  Last week when I took this photo, the creek was fairly low so a lot of the beautiful hard granite formations worn by water were really showing well.  It's a neat place to watch fish on a good spawning year (not this year unfortunately), because you can see pink salmon make completely impossible attempts at 'leaping' the falls.

Please listen to the warning signs, DO NOT climb on the rocks or be tempted to swim, very sadly a number of people in the last 25 years have drowned at this site in spite of the detailed warnings.  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September - the Best Month

I love the month of September.  I think it's the best month everywhere, but in the Bella Coola Valley and the Chilcotin my choice of September makes it because:

  • We  usually get some nice windless sunny days with beautful clear air.
  • You can fish on the inlets and not expect as much wind
  • The Bella Coola River starts dropping and the coho arrive in numbers
  • The weed pulling in the garden is over - it's time to enjoy the corn and all the other goodies.
  • Mushrooms are coming out - Shaggy Manes and Pine Mushrooms
  • Hunting season is open
  • Most of the yard work is done
  • The mosquitoes are done
  • There are clear frosty mornings in the Chilcotin
Best of all about September, you still have the month of October between you and November - the worst month in Bella Coola.  Grizzly