Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Run Off Goes On

It's not taking much of a warm day to bring the Bella Coola River up to very high flows this year.  Have a look at the river level graph available on the Environment Canada Water Office web site.  You can see the dramatic rise with a warm day yesterday and some thunder showers.  A lot of the water level effect is from the interior fed rivers like the Atnarko and the tributaries in the upper valley where 'flatter' river basins have widespread snow packs over large basins at similar elevations and when it starts melting it all goes quick.  Tributaries in the lower valley like the Nusatsum and Salloomt Rivers have their snow pack spread over a huge elevation range and it just doesn't all melt in a short time - it takes all summer to get it all melted.  Grizzly

Monday, May 30, 2011

Warm with Thundershowers

It was a pleasant day in the Bella Coola Valley.  We had nice afternoon temperatures of 21 C, and then an afternoon of thunder and scattered lightning with spring rain showers.  Grizzly

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Run Off

While the Bella Coola River and it's tributaries are not 'spring flood' rivers like many of the interior of BC rivers which are in flood stage, it can rise pretty dramatically in a spring thaw.  This whole last winter and spring has not been normal, and the runoff season is quite late in reaching its peak, which I'm not sure we have seen yet.  Grizzly

Saturday, May 28, 2011


A little bit of clearing and warming temperatures in the late afternoon brought a brief thundershower with some bit of lightning and 10 minutes of heavy rain in the eastern end of the Bella Coola Valley tonight.  I don't think it lasted long enough to add much to the runoff and water levels.  It was not a bad day all in all as far as the weather goes.  Grizzly

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Better Day

With no rain and some sunny and even warm periods it was a great improvement from yesterday in the Bella Coola Valley.  The mountains still have a lot of snow to shed so we are sure to experience some high flows in the Bella Coola River for a few more weeks to come.  Grizzly

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rain, Wind, More Rain

It wasn't a nice day in the Bella Coola Valley.  Cold rain in the morning gave way to a high of 11 C, gusty afternoon winds, light rain, then more rain in the evening.  We weren't alone in this province though by the looks of the weather summary tonight.

Make sure you check the website if you are coming to Bella Coola in the next few weeks, the hill is closed except for two daily 1.5 hour openings while they work on some of the more 'interesting' sections of rock to improve the width.  Grizzly

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Late Lilacs

In 2010 the purple lilac bushes in our yard were flowering around May 13.  This year they have just started to open in the last two days, a full 10 days late.  The phenology of lilac flowering dates are a good indicator of seasons and climate, so the lateness this year is consistent with our cool spring. Grizzly

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Melt Waters

With a couple warm days this past weekend, the Bella Coola River is in full freshet stage, not dangerously high, but moving pretty good.  The kind of weather we have been having of a few warm days and then cooler days is perfect for moderating the late and reasonable mountain snow pack.   Not so sure it's great for fishing conditions though with the Atnarko River very dirty and contributing a lot of the brown colour to the Bella Coola River.  Grizzly

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hill Hazards

When you are driving "The Hill" which is that nice steep mountain piece of Highway 20, you come to expect just about anything from natural hazards, to wildlife.  Today when we were going up, this smaller grizzly bear was romping up hill at a pretty good clip till he found a pullout that he felt safe in allowing us to pass. 

It was a nice day both in the Western Chilcotin and the Bella Coola Valley, although spring is very late and slow coming around Anahim Lake.  Grizzly

Sunday, May 22, 2011

False Solomon's Seal

Years ago we moved a small piece of False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina racemosa) from our woods where it is native and grows naturally to our shade garden.  Every year it gets a bit larger and showier.  It produces masses of white flowers that are in flower right now and vibrant foliage. 

It looked good today with the return to sun and strong light and shadows.  It was back to a pleasant afternoon of warm and mostly sunny skies.  Grizzly

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Grey Day

We lost the sun and warmth of the last two days today in the Bella Coola Valley.  A few moments of drizzle interrupted an otherwise grey and sunless day.  Could have been worse, given what the rest of the month has been like, but not a nice warm May day.  Grizzly

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gardening Long Weekend

Let's hope we have some more good weather this weekend.  It's the standard garden planting time here in the Bella Coola Valley as it is in many parts of the country.  The last few days have been good for boosting the soil temperature so if the weather cooperates now and the rest of the spring isn't too cold we can at least get a start on the growing season.  At 22 C today with a stiff afternoon westerly the air was warm and dry.  Grizzly

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Picture Perfect

After so many nasty days this month we earned today!  21 C, no wind, pleasant, very Bella Coolish!  Grizzly

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Devil's Club

Plants are late, but catching up rapidly as temperatures bump up and down a bit and day length increases.  The Devil's Club (Oplopanox horridum) needs to grow fast to catch up. These leaves while only 12-15 cm across now, will be 30-45 cm across when the plants are mature and berries ripen in July.

The weather in the Bella Coola Valley was an improvement from yesterday, but only because is wasn't a cold rain all day.  No sun was seen, but lots of fresh snow on the mountains.  Grizzly

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cold Rain

They were warning today would be a nasty day for weather in the Bella Coola and they were correct.  When the rain stopped briefly and you could see partially up the mountains, the fresh snow was at 3000'. We reached 10 C, but it sure didn't feel like it today.  Grizzly

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bears are Back

It seemed a bit late this year, but in the last two weeks the number of bear sightings is really picking up.  The bears in the Bella Coola Valley look pretty happy grazing on grass and the odd skunk cabbage patch early in season when there is still a lot of snow in the mountains.  It's going to be awhile before they can move onto their favourite avalanche track run out zones that are so rich and lush in the spring soon after the snow finally goes. Grizzly

Sunday, May 15, 2011


After a couple nice days and especially warmer nights up at higher elevations the Bella Coola River is higher but the water still fishable.  Grizzly

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finally 20 C!

Finally we got a nice warm May day, the kind of days Bella Coola is known for.  When we hit 20 C today, it felt quite pleasant.  The grass is growing rapidly making up for lost time and a number of the fruit trees are in full bloom with even a few bees present.  A few more days like today with out getting too hot and causing rapid snow melt would be ideal.  Grizzly

Friday, May 13, 2011

River Up

The Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers are both nicely up in the early stages of the freshet, the water is a bit brown, but still in a nice condition for fishing for chinook salmon, time to get out and try some.  It was basically another cool and wet week in the valley, so there is still lots of snow left to melt.

Note:  Sorry if you came to in the last 24 hours and had troubles seeing it or noticed posts missing. Google's blogging service had a major meltdown across the system and some posts disappeared.  I think everything is coming back to normal now.  Grizzly

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fresh Rock

Dike builders have nearly completed the last reconstruction of damaged dikes after the Great Flood of 2010.  This is the Klonnik Creek (just east of Hagensborg) being re-armoured.  Grizzly

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cottonwoods - Love 'em or Curse 'em

During the flood last fall in September and in most of the freshets and moderate floods there are always lots of cottonwoods falling into the rivers and creeks and moving around.  They are a major source of creating stability in the river system when they stop moving and hang up and gravel starts getting deposited around them or other logs.  One of the habits they have which makes them so valuable in addition to the fact that they will grow anywhere there is fresh exposed soil is that a mature tree when laying down and touching the soil, very quickly starts putting out vertical shoots while the underside on the bark starts putting down roots - giving the tree the ability to re-root and starting growing from a stable base quickly.  Grizzly

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


With a couple warmer days after the prolonged cold spring, the snow in the mountains is finally starting to melt.  The Bella Coola River changed colour and was up a bit this weekend.  The photo is the tributary Nusatsum River which runs into the Bella Coola from the south and is the largest of the tributary streams.  As you can see it was severally scoured and created a lot of new channels during last falls flood.  Grizzly

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Avalanche Season

On warm sunny days in the spring in the Bella Coola Valley it is a usually a good time to watch avalanches from the safety of your lawn chair.  This past Sunday wasn't a disappointment when the late afternoon sun started snow moving on Mount Nusatsum.  Grizzly

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! Mother's days are usually always nice days in Bella Coola.   Then again the month of May is almost always a nice month, usual warm and often we are one of the hottest places in Canada, but not so this year.  The daffodils are just in full bloom this week at our place, I'm sure 3 weeks or more later than normal.  The weather sure cooperated for a change though and gave all the mothers a nice day for their special day with sun and 17 C.  Grizzly

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lime Green

The newly emerging leaves on the cottonwood, birch and alder, are all in that fresh stage now and collectively they have a nice pleasant lime green hue to the canopy which is getting a little more leafy every day.  At least today we warmed up a little bit to 15 C which helps them along.  Grizzly

Friday, May 6, 2011

Growing Grass

Had to do the first mowing of the lawns tonight, even though it's been cool the grass has been creeping ahead the last few days and  tonight I realized it needed mowing.  It's surprising looking around different places that were flooded last fall in the Great Flood of 2010 how a bit of new greenery growing up around things that were displaced by the flood is starting to fade the memories of the flood already, like this old gate that washed in and is now part of the landscape.  Grizzly

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cherry Blossoms

Even though it's been continuing cool and mostly damp, the cherry trees can't wait much longer to blossom.  While they like heat to get them flowering, the lengthening days are also driving them to flower.  Our trees started flowering Tuesday of this week.  Compared to last year nearly three weeks late.  Even at that this week has been so cool I haven't seen a honey bee or bumble bee anywhere so it's hard to know what if any kind of cherry crop we might have.  Normally the first week of July is when I would write that story, but we'll see this year.  Grizzly

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Another in a long series of cool, low cloud in the morning rain showers in the evening day in the Bella Coola Valley.  Nothing else to say about it today.  Grizzly

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getttng Green

More cool unseasonable May weather is persisting. Rain showers on the valley bottom this morning, was fresh snow, barely 3000' up on the mountains.  In spite of that we are finally starting to see lots more bright green fresh foliage showing.  The 1 cm flowers in today's photo are those of the Douglas Maple (Acer glabrum) - a small maple that is common in the Bella Coola Valley that tends to grow with half dozen or more trunks out of a cluster and reach 10 metres high.  It's very hard wood if you need a tough piece of maple for something if you can find a large enough one. Grizzly

Monday, May 2, 2011

Drifting the Bella Coola

Drifting the Bella Coola River in either classic wooden or fiberglass drift boats, rubber boats or pontoon boats is a favourite activity, especially in March and April when the water is still below the freshet level when you can fly fish for trout like this gentlemen.  With May upon us, we are on borrowed time until the Bella Coola River goes "out" as the locals say.  There are no records of spring floods in Bella Coola, just some fast, high and sometimes wild water for a few weeks - it all depends now on how much hot weather we get in a short period in May, but until then drifting the Bella Coola River is as good as it gets for lots of people.  Grizzly

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Six Months of Winter

I was reminded of how lucky we are in Bella Coola to have a choice between experiencing a true winter climate or just a cold and sometimes wet coastal climate during the winter when I was reading my friend Tweeds winter ending post over at the his blog Tweeds Muir Ski the other day.  Tweeds and his cross country skiing friends started cross country skiing in mid November and finished up last week. They could have gone today again, because there is still almost 5' of snow in Heckman Pass.  It's been a long winter in the Bella Coola Valley, but at least we have a choice this time of year whether we want to experience winter or get to some gardening or yard work.  Grizzly