Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Milky Waters

Most of the smaller tributary streams are now at their crystal clear summer stage and levels have come down to nice normal levels.  Where these streams join the Bella Coola River, they are favourite spots for trout to hang around this time of year, the clear water allows them to easily see to feed and they can wait for some salmon to start showing up and pick up eggs washing out of the spawning streams.

At the zone where they mix the milky glacial water lazily drifts into the clear water and soon the clear water is just swallowed up the milky green Bella Coola River. Grizzly

Friday, July 30, 2010


So it turns out Wednesday evening Bella Coola was 19 km from the epicenter of a 3.6 magnitude earthquake.  It happened just after 9 PM, and I talked to people who clearly noticed it happening and even heard a roar -- whatever causes that during a quake.  I missed it, while I was working on a roof.  There has been a few tremors over the years, but they are usually further west in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Lets hope that's as big a quake as we ever see that close, too many tall mountains with big rocks perched up there for bigger ones here.  Grizzly

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Extremely Dry

The last few days I have been looking at my lawn and some spots where normally I would have nice moist brown soil right to the surface, but not anymore.  The lawn is brown and the soil is grey dust.  The maps of fire weather on the BC Wildfire Management website really tell the story for around Bella Coola.  Check them out, the Fire Danger Rating one in particular shows what I've talking about for most of July.

Time to be real careful and hope we get missed by any lightning storms. This morning looked like there would be potential for a cooler moist day as the valley was filled with high marine cloud that sometimes comes into the valley at about 2000' elevation, but it didn't stick around long, by 10 AM it was thinning and the fine sunny day returned with 25 C and steady westerly winds in the 30 km/h range.  Grizzly

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Distant Haze

While we never got any lightning and no forest fires close to Bella Coola yesterday, there are a number in the Cariboo and Chilcotin area which this morning created a very minor haze that wasn't very noticeable.  It blew east pretty quick when the daily westerly came whipping up at 10 AM and blew till the sunset, but it was a beautiful summer evening in the Bella Coola Valley.  Grizzly

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hot and Dry

The hot dry weather and shriveling lawns continues.  Conditions in the Bella Coola Valley are extremely dry right now and Environment Canada was suggesting some thunderstorms for this afternoon, but luckily they never materialized because a serious lightning event would surely start some forest fires unless it came with a major amount of rain. 

At 28 C and lots of westerly wind, just another hot dry day in Bella Coola.  Grizzly

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

With the hot weather this weekend and today (31 C), it's the kind of weather that really makes tomatoes happy.  About this time of year I get a craving for fried green tomatoes, a real delicacy.  I think I'll cook some this week to make sure we have a nice tasty treat.  I'm pretty sure my daughter will be working late that night or going out for dinner though, I don't think fried green tomatoes are her kind of food.  Grizzly

Music Festival Success!

By all accounts it was another successful Discovery Coast Music Festival.  Lots more good music, beautiful sunny hot day (27 C) and steady winds in the 20-30 km range that died off after sunset quite nicely and made a real pleasant warm evening.  Way to go to all the volunteers and organizers who put so much work into making it happen for the community.  Grizzly

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Breakman

The Breakman - that's the name of the band in this photo playing at the Discovery Coast Music Festival which had the first of two days today.  I would say it was a big success, a nice crowd, stunningly blue sky warm day, with a bright starry night that followed while the various bands played into the wee hours.  Looks like Sunday's performances should be just as good.   Grizzly

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quarter to Ten

Quarter to ten this morning is when the wind started to blow from the west.  Most years it would give us a break till closer to noon this time of year but this year hasn't been normal.  At least it's a warm comfortable wind, even though it's just helping to dry things out even more than they already are.  Windy and 23 C with some high clouds made the day pretty comfortable in the Bella Coola Valley.  Now it's time for the Discovery Coast Music Festival.  Grizzly

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Return to Sun

It didn't take long this morning for both the wind to come up and then to blow away any sign of moisture that we got in the brief shower early last evening.  Watering gardens is back on - in case we thought the precipitation was enough to do anything - it wasn't.  The weather for the next 7 days is looking pretty good and that umbrella will definitely be needed for sun protection at the Discovery Coast Music Festival if you plan to spend much time there during the hottest part of the day. Grizzly

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Odegaard Falls

On the Nusatsum Forest Service about 25 or 26 km up the road is a view point of a falls called Odegaard Falls.  A little ways further on the road is a parking area and the start of a trail which winds through the forest for a couple kms that takes you to a view point very close to the falls.  It's a nice view and worth the hike.  The logging road is good for the first 15 km, but has active logging truck traffic, so you have to be careful and best go on a weekend.  The next 10+ kms is a good SUV or truck road to the parking spot where you begin to hike.  A nice foot bridge crosses the river so you can look up and get a good view of the falls and then continue another 500 metres to a point next to the falls near the lower section.
On the weather front - finally something different today.  After a nice morning and afternoon around 4 PM it got grey quite quickly and then by 5 PM it was lightly raining.  We got enough to wet the top 5 mm of soil in my dry dusty 'fallow' section of my garden, but unless we get more rain it will be back to dust tomorrow.  Grizzly

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot and Windy

You are probably getting tired of hearing about the warm weather and windy days in Bella Coola this summer, but that's what the pattern is.  The heat isn't surprising, the lack of rain for most of the the last two months is unusual, but I'm certain the wind we have had this year is above normal.  But at 26 C with gusts of wind up to 46 km/h that's the kind of day it was in sunny Bella Coola. Grizzly

Monday, July 19, 2010

Discovery Coast Music Festival

This coming weekend is the 11th Discovery Coast Music Festival which is held at the Lobelco Fair Grounds - about 6 or 8 km east of the townsite of Bella Coola or about the same distance west of Hagensborg.

It's a family event and is usually really fun and nice and relaxing.  You bring your own lawn chair and maybe an umbrella (for sun) and plop it down wherever you want.  There are a few kids things, some booths of people selling a few things and some food and coffee vendors (and pie - try it).    The lineup of entertainers is always interesting and fitting to the setting.  They play into the late hours of the evening and usually a few people even get up and dance on the lawn.  Parking is mostly along Highway 20, just pull off as far as you can and don't block anyone's driveway.  I think it's a lot of hardwork for the volunteers that pull it off, as well as some tense moments coming up to the end of ticket sales to make sure they can pay for all the entertaniners, but they seem to pull off every time it is held.  Good for them, everything in Bella Coola is pretty much done by volunteers, it's just the way it is and the music fest is a real bonus for the summer valley activities. 

The Discovery Coast Music Fest - try to be there. Grizzly

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Haying is Done

Driving through the valley this weekend it's readily apparent that haying is over for this year.  There seems to be some nice crops and I think everyone caught the good weather to get it cut and baled.   All that's left to do now is picking it up for the winter.  Someone posted a comment about whether they cut second crop hay in the Bella Coola Valley.  To my knowledge only a few people attempt it and only under the right conditions. 

The right conditions would be a good early growth and then a warm dry haying spell in mid June and having a field exposed to a lot of wind.  Then if we get some precipitation and some new growth, and you're really lucky you might be able to cut a crop at the end of July or the first two weeks in August if your field has some wind.  The problem is that it seems when the 1st of August hits, it's almost an overnight change that we get really heavy dew through the night and in general a lot less westerly winds - most years.  The dried out areas in the field in this photo is what most of the hay fields are starting to look like with the dry conditions we have now and continued this weekend with warm 25 C, sun and westerly winds.  Grizzly

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fine Summer Weather

The warm days, blue skies and westerly winds, just keep coming this week.  Some high morning cloud burnt away by mid morning and gave way to a sunny day with temperatures of 25 C.   It's been a good run for haying fields, with almost all of the fields in the valley now baled up.   A lot of lawns and fields are browning quite rapidly because of the lack of significant rain for a long spell.  Grizzly

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Bella Coola Hill aka "The Hill"

I've had comments about "The Hill" into Bella Coola.  I've been meaning to write a post about it, but just haven't gotten to it.   Since it's tourist season and there are people interested I'll write a short version.  The simple thing to say about the hill is, don't worry about it.  Yes it's a long steady grade up or down, it's gravel and it has some narrow spots.  There are no guard rails and it's a long way down on some of the slopes.

The key to driving the hill whether up or down is quite simple -- go slow.  If you are coming down and you have a standard transmission then keep it in a low gear, if you have an automatic, put in 1st gear as well and just go slow.  If the engines RPM's get up too high then a little bit of short braking will bring you back down and you'll hit a lower gradient.   It doesn't take very much steady braking on even the smallest vehicle and you will start to smell the tell tale burning brake smell if you only rely on your brakes.  If you're towing, then go even slower, just let everyone pass you who wants to go by.

This photo from the air shows some of the main switch backs - but they are not nearly as scary as they look in the photo.  The actual road surface is usually hard - sometimes a bit muddy in the fall and early spring.   Here is a good youtube video taken in the winter which gives you an overview of the complete hill, bottom to top, all 21 kms.  The Bella Coola Museum has published an excellent little pamphlet on the hill and a version of it is available at their website.

If you haven't driven to Bella Coola you really should, the trip across the Chilcotin is always beautiful and something different to see, the hill is quite interesting and spectacular and will give you something to talk about for years.  Don't be scared away by it, residents drive it every day of the year and there are very very few serious accidents.  Grizzly

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Glacial Grey

With hot weather, the glacial fed tributary streams to the Bella Coola River like the Nusatsum River in this photo, really start to show their true colours - so to speak.  The grey colour of the water is caused by the fine pulverized rock and silts which the summer glacial melt is  contributing.  It will get more green and much more attractive looking as we go into August and nights start to cool down slowing the glacial melt down. Grizzly

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hungry Plants

All plants need certain basic nutrition.  Most plants get it from the soil and water they live in but if you live in a nutrient deprived area like a peat bog then you have to figure out another strategy.   That's exactly what these plants do, the round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) plant.  It only grows in highly acidic conditions which is usually peat bogs and is very common on the BC coast in such bogs.  It's solved the nutrient problem by becoming a carnivore - it eats insects just like the partially digested one in this photo.

It seems to work for them because they thrive in conditions where they live, using the sticky nectar to attract insects and then trapping them in the goo and slowly digesting the good parts.  Probably where the guy that invented the sticky insect strips got his idea.

We had another perfectly nice summer day in the Bella Coola Valley, some high cloud in the morning which gave way to a breezy westerly warm summer day with a perfect living temperature of 25 C.  The only problem is that it is extremely dry in the valley and a bad lightning storm like last July could be a cause for concern.  Grizzly

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kettle Pond

Out in the Atnarko River Valley portion of Tweedsmuir Park is a small pond called Kettle Pond.  It's the Bella Coola/Atnarko Valley's only real body of water that you could call a lake, and it's a pretty poor excuse at that for a lake, being only 200 metres by about 100 metres.  It's also a really peculiar geological feature -- apparently the result of a glacial feature

We hiked the trail on the weekend when it was warm and windy.  While the sign says 1 hour, you'd practically have to be crawling to take an hour to do the hike.  It's a short trail that leads through old growth Douglas Fir forest of the Atnarko Valley (it's actually an Interior Douglas Fir ecosystem because it's so dry in this area) and down to the pond, around it and back to the highway.  It's a nice little hike though, just go slow and enjoy the forest then it will take you an hour. 

The peculiar thing about it is that it's completely down in a little bowl, with absolutely no inflow stream nor outflow stream, but the water level always stays static.  Years ago cutthroat trout were put in it and they are still fish there - a great spot to take young kids in early spring to learn fishing. Grizzly

Monday, July 12, 2010

Metallic Wood Boring Beetle

Once in awhile an interesting insects shows up like this one that was on a lumber pile.  A little research suggests its a metallic wood boring beetle, certainly aptly named for it's appearance.  Rather a nice little fellow and not that common, but you see a few every year in Bella Coola.

We weren't alone with the windstorm we had yesterday, it sounds like it hit a few other areas of the province as the cold front passed through and brought the lightest of showers over the valley through the night and a few times today.  It was a lot cooler today than it has been. Grizzly

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No Power

We had wind that started last evening and kept up through the night.  It intensified after lunch, an obvious sign that the weather is changing.  At the Bella Coola Airport there were gusts up to nearly 60 km/h.  It was warm though at 26 C. In the late afternoon  some pretty big gusts of wind brought a branch or tree down on the power lines and put the power off for about 3 hours.  Power outages in Bella Coola are very common and not a cause for panic.  Good thing we had planned a BBQ for dinner.  Grizzly

Saturday, July 10, 2010


With the hot days the of the last week and the warm nights, it's been perfect for ripening the blue berry crop.  It's taken a fair bit of water to keep them from drying out with the relative lack of rain, but it's a bumper crop.

They are almost the perfect garden fruit, not taking a lot of complicated effort to grow and they produce fruit every year.   Some varieties are susceptible to diseases, but if you can pick the right varieties then just watering and a little pruning and you've got berries after 2 or 3 years from young plants. Frozen whole they make delicious snacks all winter as well.

The high cloud we had yesterday which made for a nice comfortable temperature was gone today it was back to the high 20's  today, fortunately there was a breeze which helped keep it comfortable. Grizzly

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Warm Week

It was a hot week in Bella Coola as it was in the rest of the Province.  With temperatures up to 35 and 36 C and little wind it made it very warm.  If we hadn't experienced the heat wave of July and August 2009 with the all time record temperatures in the low 40's, the temperatures this week would have been near record setting.  Fortunately we still have quite a bit of snow in the mountains to melt, so we should be good for stream levels most of the summer.  Grizzly

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alpine Azalea

While hiking the ridge which leads back to the road from the M. Gurr lake hike last weekend, I noticed the alpine azalea's (Loiseleuria procumbens) were just coming into full flower.  These are not a signifiicant looking little shrub.  You only notice them when they are flowering, otherwise you have to get down on your hands and knees and look hard to see the small vines which don't come more than a centimetre off the ground and have very tiny leaves.

When they are flowering though in masses, the pretty pink flowers are quite showy and attractive. They don`t seem to need long to flower once the snow leaves, because this flowering bunch was very close to patches of snow that remain. Grizzly

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

M Gurr Lake Hike

Last weekend we made a hike to an alpine lake called M Gurr Lake.  M Gurr Lake is accessed by travelling 17 km up the Clayton Falls Forest Service Road - just keep going on Highway 20 west past the Bella Coola Harbour until the road turns into gravel, go another 2 km and you will see signs to the left heading for Clayton Falls Forest Service Road.  It takes about an hour from the turnoff to drive to the pass which is at approximately 4800 feet elevation.  The road is rough and in some sections steep, only suitable for trucks or SUV's with good clearance.  There are numerous hiking options, either a loop into M Gurr Lake and back along the ridge, with options for view points or hike south on the ridge from the road for a more challenging mountain experience.

You can also drive another 15 minutes down the South Bentinck side of the mountain and end up a a picnic/camp site at Blue Jay Lake which has a short hike out to another view point and small pond called Grey Jay Lake.  It's all worthwhile when you have a good day, the views are spectacular of the inlets, and mountains in all directions.  Grizzly

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red Fox

Foxes are very common in the Bella Coola Valley.   They come in all colours from red to black and shades in between.   They seem to do quite well living in amongst the acreages and settlements.  They are pretty opportunistic though and try not to miss an opportunity to steal a chicken or a cat straying too far from home.  When you have a family you've got to eat as well. Grizzly

Monday, July 5, 2010


The July 1st weekend is usually a good time to plan on harvesting the first cherries and this year things were just about right on time.  It seems not long ago that I posted about  the first blossoms on the cherry trees.  During the flowering period there were a number of very cool wet days and although I didn't see a lot of pollinating insects during flowering time, apparently I missed them because our crop is pretty good and driving through the valley other crops also look good.

Another sign of a good crop is not as many birds eating the cherries--just an average amount of crows, cedar wax wings and robins - there seems to be enough fruit trees to spread out the birds, so in the end we have more cherries from two trees than we could use. Grizzly

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Late last evening a fairly good rain started and it continued more or less through the night.  It looked like it was going to be a bit of grim day but by mid morning there were a few sunny periods and the rest of the day was mostly grey and short light wispy rain.  It was again a very windy day, hopefully the wind today is the big 'system changing' wind, since the forecast if finally for the first big high pressure system of the summer with temperatures in the 30's.  Grizzly

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Grey but A Good Day

It was a nice comfortable temperature today even though a lot of the day was clouded over after mid morning and by late evening it was sprinkling a little bit of rain.

It was a good day for a family hike.  We drove the Clayton Falls Forest Service Road to the pass and hiked to M. Gurr Lake.  The road is in good 4x4 shape and there are numerous patches of snow on the hiking trail, but nothing on the road.  I'll cover the hike and the area in more detail in the next few posts. Grizzly

Friday, July 2, 2010


Today was the first day of the Bella Coola Rodeo.  It was a day for riding bulls -- if you like riding bulls or watching bulls being ridden, apparently there was some good rides.  While it was a nice day overall with mostly sun and 20 C, we had a lot of wind, more than just the afternoon heating westerly wind, almost a weather system changing wind.  We'll see what the morning brings - maybe today's 30-40 km/h winds is blowing a change in. Grizzly

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Sunny Canada Day

A perfectly fine Canada Day in the Bella Coola Valley!  It started out a beautiful blue sky day, clouded over a little bit and then cleared off and the day ended with a nice blue sky evening. At 23 C, a  fine day to celebrate Canada Day. Grizzly