Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Friday, September 30, 2011

Returning to Normal

A week after last Friday's high water event, the week has been a gradual return to some sense of a normal fall. We had a few rainy days this week and a couple of nice ones as well.  Fall colours are coming and the snow is staying on the mountains. Grizzly

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Today in the Bella Coola Valley was the first day it actually felt like fall.  Before last week's flood there was still enough warm weather the place looked pretty green.  Then we had a week of miserable weather.  Today was the first nice day and the feel of fall was definitely in the air.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It's always good to be ready for a flood in Bella Coola! Grizzly

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brown Water

The back side of a flood seems to drag on forever.  When a big rain event happens the Bella Coola River and it's tributaries can do impressive things from a sleepy beautiful river to a raging brown cauldron in a matter of hours. After the rainfall ends, it seems to take forever for the rivers to drop and the colour to improve to something closer to a normal river.

That's the phase we are in now with the Bella Coola going down, but not so quickly because we are still getting lots of rain showers, just not steady rain and then there is snow in the mountains, which at the lower edges is likely going through stages of melting.  Not much to do about it but watch and hope for cool clear October days.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Flood Over

At first glance the Bella Coola Valley would seem normal if someone arrived this afternoon and saw the beautiful snow capped mountains and some sunny patches.  You would know something had happened though as soon as you look at the river and see the high, brown and slightly angry look to the Bella Coola River.  There was light rain throughout the night, some very heavy rain at daylight, but then very soon after that the weather system was done. The Bella Coola River has dropped a long ways but will be high and dirty for quite a few days now.  Coho fishing won't be possible for at least a week, all dependent on whether the mountains stay cold.   Now there is the cleanup and fix up work for homeowners, parts of the highway (mostly shoulders) and some dikes to be repaired.  October and November have also been legendary for big rains in the Central Coast so now we all await getting through the rest of the fall.  Grizzly

Saturday, September 24, 2011 Snow

I never thought I'd be wishing for snow and cold weather on Sept 24th, but that's what kept our flood from getting much worse last night.  Today's picture is the snow on Mount Nusatsum taken this afternoon when the clouds finally lifted a bit and it stopped raining and it was actually pleasant for the remainder of the afternoon.  It always amazes me even after a life on the coast how fast it looks normal after a huge rain like that. 

It will be awhile till the full extent of the property damage is evident but once again some people have had homes and properties damaged and a lot of work, time and money will be required to get them back up and running.  People will pitch in where needed to help. 

Late this afternoon, the Bella Coola River was down from it's peak at least 2 feet in the places I watch and at least the people who got river water this year have a lot less fine silt to clean up because the flood didn't carry that miserable fine slippery, sticky silt that was so fine that it permeated even plastic and left a permanent haze from last years flood.  Most of that came out of the interior portion of the Atnarko River when it flooded.  Grizzly

2011 Morning Flood Update

From all accounts (anecdotal information!), it appears that the Bella Coola River peaked at 3 AM this morning. It rained fairly steady all night, but not torrential.  At this point we have been spared huge damage by much cooler temperature and a freezing level that is well down on the mountains - snow visible from 3500' and above, with the valley bottom temperature at 5 or 6 C as of 10:30 this morning.  It feels like a raw November day.  It is not clear the extent of water inundation into homes and buildings but there has been a number affected.  The snow accumulating is saving us in the short term but has significant negative potential for the next few days and weeks as it is early to get so much snow.  Check web cam at Anahim Lake and you will see full on winter conditions.  While the southern half of the province basks almost in a heat wave this bizarre cell of Pacific weather continues to gnaw away at the Central Coast of BC.  Environment Canada is forecasting a further 100 mm for us today and tonight and then finally this monster low pressure rain system will move.

Highway 20 is not driveable very far east of the Noosgulch River due to water crossing the highway in numerous spots.  I've heard it is lower in Hagensborg this morning.  The Environment Canada river guage for the Bella Coola River is showing peak flows below the 2010 flood at this stage still
To the gentlemen from Ireland who left a comment on last night's post - I feel for you and you deserve a medal for your dedication for trying to get to Bella Coola to fish.  We'll still be a fine place in the future to fish, so hold that thought and please try again!
 More later. Grizzly

Friday, September 23, 2011

2011 Flood

It's unfortunate to be writing about another flood for the beleaguered Bella Coola Valley, but for the third year in a row we are having a fall flood.  So far this one is  bigger than 2009, but much smaller than the Great Flood of 2010.  The heaviest rains started coming at 3 or 4 AM this morning and have more or less continued all day long with occassional slowing.  By nightfall the Bella Coola River is out of it's normal banks in a number of locations, Firvale, middle Hagensborg, the lower valley, and Canoe Crossing.  The tributary creeks are high but I haven't heard reports of them breaking their banks.  One factor helping us is that the temperature up at elevations has been cooling. Starting around 2 PM when a glimpse of Mount Nusatsum was available there was fresh snow at 5000 feet and since then it has continued and the level come down a bit.  Snow in the mountains is a blessing right now, because it will quickly drop the level in the tributaries, but it could be a ticking time bomb if a lot accumulates and then we get a second wave of rain in the next few days.  Right now though we will take it as it is mitigating effect.

Recently the weather people announced that this winter in the Pacific we were going into a rare back to back 'La Nina' weather event which translates into a wet winter or more rain/snow.  It's unfortunate that the remnants of Asian Typhoons seem pointed right at the Central Coast again as they make landfall.  If you do Facebook, somewhere out there are pictures being posted.

Good luck to everyone in Bella Coola tonight.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 cm

10 cm or 100 mm is the amount of rain that has fallen in the Bella Coola Valley since the current series of storms have hit the valley starting on Tuesday night.  It's not over yet as there is quite a bit more forecast for tonight, but so far no river problems.  A brief glimpse of the mountains at the end of the day and I could see snow above 6500 feet, which as long as it stays and the temperature doesn't go up will mean no floods.  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

In the last 24 hours we've had nearly 3" or about 70-80 mm of rain in the Bella Coola Valley.  None of the tributary streams went to crazy, but everything including the Bella Coola River is now quite high.  No fishing for a few days now.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fishing Weather....?

Up until this afternoon the Bella Coola River was in really nice fishing condition.  Since we started getting cooler weather and dustings of snow on the mountains, the Bella Coola River dropped dramatically to pre-spring freshet levels and looked quite fishable.  There were a lot of fishermen around.  Tonight though we have started getting hit by a series of Pacific frontal systems that are supposed to dump a lot of rain on the Central Coast.  Just as we approach the one year anniversary of the Great Flood of 2010...  Grizzly

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pink Salmon

In an even calender year, the Bella Coola/Atnarko River system can have a large return of pink salmon, in fact historically the Atnarko River on the even years is the third largest run in BC after the Fraser and the Skeena.  The odd year runs are not as big, but there seems to be a few around this year and they are nearing the eind of their spawning around now.  They have lots of fresh gravel which was turned over after last years flood.

Today was a nice weather surprise, a full sunny day till mid afternoon gave great views of all the mountains with their dusting of fresh snow.  Grizzly

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Unexpected Weather Bonus

From a rather dodgy weather forecast came a very pleasant day in the Bella Coola Valley.  By mid day most of the clouds were cleared off and it was a fine warm sunny September day.  I hope they are wrong about the rest of the next 7 days with rain and cloudy weather forecast every day.  Grizzly

Friday, September 16, 2011

Snow...on the Mountain

It had to happen eventually...but it always seems to be a surprise when that first fall dusting covers Mount Nusatsum after a cool night of rain showers.  Now it's the on and off game until one day the snow just stays on the mountain.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chilcotin Poster

Saw this poster in the Chilcotin recently.  Not much else to say.  Grizzly

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It had to happen eventually, the fantastic September weather is winding down.  Today was the change day, a lot more wind, low clouds and no sunny breaks.  By 7 PM tonight it had started with light rain. It was a good spell of weather - 13 days with no rain.  Grizzly

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


After 10 or 12 days of pretty warm weather and warm at elevations, the Bella Coola River is not its normal September green colour and it is a bit higher than most Septembers, but it is still very pleasant looking and I am sure people are fishing for coho, but I haven't heard any reports.  With cooler weather and not too much rain in the forecast it will drop quickly and turn the beautiful September green.  Grizzly

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good Weather

Like most of the rest of the Province of BC, the Bella Coola Valley continues to get days of beautiful clear, warm September weather.  I think we are onto the 10th day of sun and warm.  It reached a high of 29 C in the Bella Coola Valley today.  Last year in September I laid out my reasons why I feel September is the best month in the Bella Coola Valley and until the Great Flood of September 25, 2010 it was a good month.  Let's hope September 2011 restores my faith in September.  Grizzly

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bella Coola River - Peace River

Had a chance this last week to take a quick tour through the Peace River country of BC and Alberta.  When we got to Peace River, Alberta, we were reminded of the linkage in history that the two rivers share when we chanced upon the monument at Fort Fork - a location where Alexander MacKenzie overwintered during the winter of 1792/93 before he set out upstream with his hardy crew and eventually ended up in Bella Coola mid way through the summer of 1793.  When you travel the long distance between the two places on speedy highways you realize just how important these rivers like the large and impressive Peace River were to travelers of the day.  Grizzly

Monday, September 5, 2011

Discover Coast Ferry - Part III

Fitz Hugh Sound is calm and scenic.  The old fish processing facility and site of the community of Namu passes by with a brief glimpse on the port side.  At the light house of Addenbroke Island, the first officer tells the story about the light keeper that was murdered in the 1920's and the alleged perpetrator, never caught.  Not long after passing Addenbroke, Calvert Island to the west starts to curve out to the west and Fitz Hugh Sound widens out and before you know it you are looking out to the wide open Pacific with gentle (on this trip!) ocean swells rolling the ferry.  The Captain makes several course corrections to try and run the ferry into the swells as long as he can before turning and then as the ship moves across Queen Charlotte Sound the swells start following the ferry.  No sick bags were seen on this trip.

It takes a couple of hours and soon Vancouver Island and the islands at the top of Queen Charlotte Strait become visible.  Closer to Port Hardy we take the route by God's Pocket and Scarlet Point Light House after passing by Pine Island.

Arrival in Port Hardy is in the dark and unloading takes a good half hour while they extricate the large RV's from their rather packed shipping arrangement and then everyone is gone.  Total sailing time - 13 hours, total time on the boat - about 15 hours.  A highly recommend, albeit slightly expensive trip, but if you want to do it one way and drive the Chilcotin the other, it's a good deal.  Grizzly

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Discover Coast Ferry - Part II

Within 3 or 4 hours of leaving Bella Coola the Queen of Chilliwack is well into the deep waters of Burke Channel.  The water colour has lost the glacial green and it has the dark, cold, rich look of the Pacific waters.  It isn't a surprise when the Captain announces, 'there's a Humpback Whale on starboard side", as you enter into the narrows of Burke Channel.  It's the first of at least a dozen different Humpback sightings on the days trip.  A slight course alteration takes us a little closer to the whales so that everyone gets a good look and a chance for photos.

The Queen of Chilliwack was a ferry obtained by BC Ferry Corp from Norwegian interests and sailed to BC via the Panama.  It's one of only 3 or 4 in their fleet that can cross open waters like Queen Charlotte Sound because it has waterproof doors.  It is not particularly large or luxurious, has no staterooms, but has good reclining seats and showers.  There is lots of good deck space for outside enjoyment of  the calm summer days and even a solarium if it's cooler.

At the entrance to Burke Channel the ferry makes a hard turn to port and begins it's southward trip through the wide and scenic Fitz Hugh Sound as works it way south.  More sightings of Humpback Whales continue and the water is nearly flat calm.  A large ocean liner from the Disney Cruise Lines catches up and dwarfs the ferry as it passes by, just as the ferry reaches the midway point of the journey in Fitz Hugh Sound, just over 6 hours out of Bella Coola.  Grizzly

Discovery Coast Ferry - Part III next post.