Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Discover Coast Ferry - Part I

Once a week during the summer season the Discovery Coast BC Ferry, Queen of Chilliwack makes a 'direct' run between Bella Coola and Port Hardy.  It's a bit of a long day but it's a pretty good adventure.  It starts with marshaling in a lineup in what is the Bella Coola Consumers Co-op parking lot several kms away from the ferry at 6 AM because there is no room at the actual ferry slip to hold a lineup.  Some friendly local people greet you and check your name off a master list and then you wait for everyone to gather.  When everyone has arrived you are lead 'convoy' style down the highway along North Bentinck arm and form another lineup at the ferry slip, but you really just stop your car on the highway and pretty much block the traffic, although not much is happening around the dock at that time of day anyway.  A slightly more official but still friendly BC Ferry person then checks on another list and takes your drivers licence or passport and enters your name into a 'device', probably checking for people who might think a BC Ferry is similar to the World Trade Towers.  After a while loading commences and that takes about an hour once they wiggle all the large RV's into fairly tight quarters and deal with ramps that are too steep and need some blocks of wood to raise the RV slightly so the hitches on the 5th wheel don't hang up on the back of the truck (only a problem at low tide).

Once the ferry pulls away from the slip at 8 AM, the real relaxing ride starts, everyone stakes out their corner and breakfast and some pretty good tasting coffee are available.  Within an hour the milky muddy or glacial waters of North Bentinck Arm begin to give way to progressively greener water as you get further from the end of North Bentinck Arm.  It doesn't take long for the Captain or First Officer to announce the first significant marine mammal sighting which in this case was a school of Pacific White Sided Dolphins.  It would be hard to pay to get a much better view of them than on this ferry, because of their habit of loving to ride the bow waves, you happen to be standing 30 or 40' above them looking right down and watching their antics.  They ride the waves and provide a great show for 5 minutes for everyone crowded on that side and then disappear.  Grizzly

Discover Coast Ferry - Part II next posting.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunny Weekend

What a nice ending to the August weekends in the Bella Coola Valley.  Both days were sunny and warm, with nice breezes and high temperatures of 24 C.  Good weather for winding up August which turned out to be a nice change (except for one major rainstorm!) from the previous wet months of spring and summer in the Bella Coola Valley.   Grizzly

Saturday, August 27, 2011


We made a hike into some of the mountains around Bella Coola today with my daughter before she returns to school for another year in the busy city.  It was a good day for hiking, cool in the morning, sunny and windy in the afternoon so the bugs weren't a problem.  The air was clear and the sky blue.  Lots of alpine plants still in flower because of the later year and no frost in the alpine yet.

This photo is of the alpine paint brush (Castilleja rhexifolia).  It was a hard climb and descent, but it's always worth it to spend a day at 5-6000' in the mountains.  Grizzly

Friday, August 26, 2011

Late August Weather

We've enjoyed some pleasant late August weather towards the end of this week in the Bella Coola Valley.  The river is dropping again after last weekends rainstorm, although it is still very coloured as you can see in the waters of North Bentinck Arm looking towards Tallheo Cannery.  There are a few more forecast days of nice weather as we near the end of the month. Grizzly

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


There is a surprising amount of wood debris and logs still moving downstream on the Bella Coola River after the freshet we had on Sunday/Monday.  The river is dropping very slowly because we've had some of the watersheds like the Nusatsum get some more rain last night while other areas received very little.  It's definitely not a very good time for fishing in the Bella Coola River.  Grizzly

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Sluebeck posted a comment to my post yesterday about how Ketchikan received 140 mm of rain during the rainstorm we had on the weekend and said we should consider ourselves "lucky" - he's absolutely correct.  Our 50 mm caused a pretty significant rise to the Bella Coola River because although it wasn't the biggest amount of rain, the period over which it all fell was well short of 24 hr and when you are dealing with rainstorms it's all about time and volume.  If it had of been any more intense rain, occurred in the headwaters of the Atnarko (it didn't rain hard in the Chilcotin) and lasted a little longer it would have been significant.  As it was it actually probably helps to continue the evolution of the various new channels, move a lot of leaning and about to fall trees and stabilize and redistribute the new bed load from last fall.  A series of moderate rainstorms like this one would be a lot better than another big one right now.  Grizzly

Monday, August 22, 2011

High Water

Environment Canada's forecast rain for the Central Coast and Bella Coola Valley was wrong.  We received about double the amount they were forecasting, around 50 mm between noon Sunday and early Monday morning.  It was a good rain and brought the Bella Coola River up to levels not seen since the Great Flood of September 2010.  There was lots of logs and trees moving in the river today, but for the most part the river contained within its banks.  Grizzly

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ominous Grey Clouds

Environment Canada has been forecasting 15-25 mm of rain tonight and tomorrow for the Bella Coola Valley and a lot more further north of us in Kitimat and Prince Rupert.  It was a nice day all day though  and tonight become very grey and threatening like something was going to break loose any time.  So far just a brief shower, but some beautiful grey skies in the evening.  Grizzly

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good Weather

Up until today the weather this week has been mixed, but today cleared off quickly and it was a beautiful clear air, blue sky August day in the Bella Coola Valley.  On a summer like we've had this year, days like today are notable and appreciated by all.  Grizzly

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spawning Chum Salmon

It was another relatively poor year of chum salmon returning to the Bella Coola River.  Normally by this time in August, the bears, gulls and eagles have all gorged on a huge abundance of fish and the tributary streams are full of live and dead spawned out fish along with a pretty pungent odour that wafts over the lower valley on a still morning.  An interesting thing with salmon on the west coast of North America is that the earliest spawning occurs in the north starting in Alaska and it gets later as you go south.  Pacific Herring are the other way around with the earliest spawning occurring around San Francisco, then getting later as you progress north into Alaska.  In Bella Coola that major chum salmon spawning is finished by the end of August.  Grizzly

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mid August

The days of summer seem to be rapidly passing.  We are at the point in August where it's not uncommon to get a little bit of mixed weather along with a lot less of the days with the strong inflow or westerly winds as the interior continental temperature regimes are passing their peak as well.  The Bella Coola Valley wind tunnel effect tends to lessen.  These are prime fishing days if you have a boat and you want to travel Burke or Dean Channel to get out to the outer coast for some true coastal experiences.  Grizzly

Sunday, August 14, 2011

McCall Flats Recreation Site

The Bella Coola River at the McCall Flats Recreation Site, still has a nice beach, but the river is splitting into two main channels at the log jam in the background.  The channel closest to the recreation site is still clear.  It's a nice spot to access the Bella Coola River.  Grizzly

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mostly Rain

The fine summer August weather we enjoyed for nearly two weeks, finally gave way late Friday evening/early Saturday morning to a light August rain that continued most of Saturday.  It wasn't a hard rain and the temperature wasn't too bad so it was still okay for some outdoor activities, but a bit dreary.  Grizzly

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weather Change

After 9 or 10 days of mostly sunny days with no rain, all the signs point to a change, not the least of which Environment Canada is forecasting the next week with clouds and some rain.   Lots of strong gusting winds today with increasing clouds into the evening.  It was a good stretch of weather. Grizzly

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fine Weather Continues

Another perfect day in the mid 20's for the Bella Coola Valley.  Typical of August weather, the mornings have had valley cloud that hangs about 1/2 way down the mountains till 9 or 10 AM then it clears, unlike the coast where the fog is on the water in the mornings in August.  The Bella Coola River is a fine summer colour.  Grizzly

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Early August Weather

If there are two weeks, when you want to have the  odds in your favour for getting the best possible weather that the year has to offer in the Bella Coola, then it's the first two weeks of August.  This year proves that again, just when we were about to give up on any summer, we have had such a nice run of weather which appears to continue to Saturday this weekend.  Grizzly

Monday, August 8, 2011


Last week the raspberry crops was less than spectacular.  With all the cool weather and dull days, the sugar content was not  very good.  I tried a few berries tonight that have benefited from the warm sunny days of the last week and they are noticeable better.  I even enjoyed them tonight, not being my most favourite fruit.  Usually Mrs. Grizzly tries to hide them in all kinds of different things she makes because she likes them way more than I do.

It was another cloudless, mid 20's C day in the Bella Coola Valley today.  Grizzly

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Incredible Hulk

In the lower Atnarko River Valley (east end of the Bella Coola Valley) within Tweedsmuir Park are some old private homesteads, some still with buildings.  A couple of these properties were locations for scenes in the 2008 movie The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton.  In a scene near the end of the movie he is seen running across a nice open field which is in a really beautiful section of the middle portion of the Atnarko River (not accessible right now because of flood damage from 2010).  In a scene near the very end of the movie, the Hulk has retreated to gain his composure, and he is seen sitting at a desk in an old cabin writing a letter which if you watch closely is closed with the words, Bella Coola BC.  The cabin is the one in this photo which is on private land at the old settlement of Belarko, just 2 kms upstream from Stuie BC.  It's kind of a cool old cabin and a good spot for movie scenes.  Maybe the Hulk regained enough composure to launch a return from Bella Coola; it's the kind of place where a guy like The Incredible Hulk can get his attitude straightened out.  Grizzly

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crystal Clear Pacific Air

Today in the Bella Coola Valley was spectacular!  Just like early August should be.  There was crystal clear air, deep blue sky and a fresh westerly wind blew most of the day.  You really appreciate them when you have not had many this year.  Grizzly

Friday, August 5, 2011

Temple Rock

The boat in the photo is a fine old ex-Department of Fisheries and Oceans wooden patrol boat.  It was stationed in Bella Coola and the Central Coast for many years patrolling herring and salmon fisheries and transporting staff to walk creeks to count salmon.  It was retired by the Fisheries Department sometime in the early 90's and fortunately was purchased by someone who has a real interest in restoring it to its original condition and keeping it beautiful looking.  It was at the dock in the Bella Coola Harbour in 2009 when I took this photo and it was astoundingly well restored and kept.  What a great piece of history someone has taken on.   Grizzly

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sunny and 25 C

Another good day for the summer of 2011. We hit a high of 25 C and it was all around pleasant, although some dark clouds did come by and tried to spit a few drops of rain in some areas around dinner, but those were just locally generated and didn't amount to much.  Environment Canada has a nice weekend planned for the Bella Coola Valley.

The photo today is a Whitebark Pine tree in the Rainbow Range Mountains in Tweedsmuir Park.  They are a special treeGrizzly

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Nice Day, Forget the Previous 30 Days!

When you have had such a long stretch of bad weather and you finally get a nice summer day like today, it's easy to put July out of your mind and just enjoy the nice day.  Everyone is cutting hay now, so hopefully we can hold the weather for a few days.  Grizzly

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2nd Day of No Rain

While it wasn't hot or cloudless today it was almost rainless (a bit of spitting rain in a few locations) and so anyone trying to cut hay is into day two, hopefully it holds out and they can get it done. A high temperature of 19 C without rain is just perfect this summer.
The photo is on the trail to the Rainbow Range through the 2009 Heckman Pass wildfire.  It's starting to look quite green in some areas.  Grizzly

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rainbow Range

Finally a warm and mostly sunny day in the Bella Coola Valley and Chilcotin.  We took advantage of that and made the Rainbow Range hike which starts at the East Branch parking lot at the top of the Highway 20 hill out of Bella Coola.  It's about 2 hours of hiking to get fully up in the alpine and at some really nice alpine lakes where you can further view the various ranges of mountains.  Even the mosquitoes weren't a real annoyance today.

Back in the valley - the Haying is on!  Several farmers started cutting their fields today, lets hope the weather holds with lots of dry west wind. Grizzly