A blog about life in the Bella Coola Valley and the Central Coast area of British Columbia for anyone interested in an incredible and rich part of BC's coast. I hope to provide my thoughts about things as simple as weather observations and seasonal issues, to comments about life and the natural history in the Bella Coola Valley, the Central Coast and the west Chilcotin area.
Note: All photos on this blog were taken by the author unless otherwise noted. While the photos and written material are all the property of the author and protected by Copyright, I'm not a professional photographer and you can use the photos if a link or attribution is provided back to my blog. If you have a need to use a particular photo and you want the high resolution file, leave a comment with your email (I won't publish it) and we can discuss what use you intend the photo for. Grizzly
A resident of the Bella Coola Valley and observer of the natural history, geography, resources, regional climate and cultural history of the Bella Coola Valley, Central Coast and the West Chilcotin area of BC.
Well snow in the mountains - not in the Bella Coola Valley at least! Mount Nusatsum had a coat of fresh snow on it today down at the 4-5000' level and we only reached a high temperature of 13 C. But checking around the province I don't think we were alone in suffering with a cool, rain showery end of June. Grizzly
This weekend is the big Bella Coola Rodeo, so be sure and head to Bella Coola and watch those bull riders or grab a rodeo burger. Water conditions while still up and down a bit, are conducive to fishing and some chinook salmon are being caught. Weather is mixed like the rest of the province. Grizzly
Just a day of light rain and intermittent June drizzle in the Bella Coola Valley. This week has been very typical of June weather. A warm day then a rainy day. What remains to be seen is if we will get the high pressure weather system that marks the true summer weather in early July and is important for the haying weather. Grizzly
The plant in this photo Apocynum androsaemilfolium or Spreading Dogbane is very common from about mid way up the Bella Coola Valley to the east, basically in the drier end of the valley. It likes warm, sunny and well drained sites. It's quite prevalent in the dry forests along the Atnarko River.
Seems I was wrong about the weather we had today, turned out very nice and warm at 22 C, a good day for any outdoor activities. Grizzly
No sun in my quarter of the Bella Coola Valley. There was rain overnight but it ended early in the morning and stayed dry, but relatively cool and cloudy for the whole day. A few more like that on the way. Grizzly
Strange thing this spring and summer in that a number of people I've talked to who live in different areas of the Bella Coola Valley have commented about the relatively low number of mosquitoes in the evenings this year. Last year I talked about the mosquito populations in general in the valley in a post. The low numbers are rather surprising this spring given the flood we had in September, the long winter and wet, cold prolonged spring. We have had plenty of warm enough days and nights that normally would have brought enough mosquitoes to be annoying during that late evening hour or two before dusk. So far it hasn't happened, there are a few but shirt sleeves and shorts are possible in the evenings. Let's hope this trend continues. Grizzly
In the past two days the Bella Coola River changed colour from the muddy chocolate brown colour it has been for nearly a month, a lot of which was coming from the Atnarko River freshet conditions, to a more green glacial melt colour. It's also dropped a bit and become fishable. The fishermen are back and hopefully catching a few chinook salmon. Grizzly
The first day of summer in the Bella Coola Valley was pleasant again, but not overly warm, only 20 C. The first photo is looking east in the valley towards Mt. Nusatsum. Mt. Nusatsum is a major influence on weather. East of it, it is very common to see some blue sky while the photo below taken at the same time is the view to the west, where the weather is still more typical of the coastal weather. As the clouds move east, the rain shadow effect of the Coast Mountain range starts to kick in and better weather to the east often prevails. Grizzly
The weather we have had for the last couple of weeks, with a little bit of precipitation, with lots of comfortably warm days and nights has been good on the hay crops. If the weather continues like this for ten more days and we get a high pressure system coming onto the coast around July 1st, the haying machines will all be going to get a good crop in. Grizzly
After the Great Flood of 2010, some of the favourite fishing holes in the Bella Coola River are no longer so good, they are either shallower, faster or even gone. I'm sure there are some new ones that will be just as good as time goes on and the river stabilizes, but one of ours isn't as nice a spot this spring. Grizzly
We might not have a lot of those big long green Banana Slugs that are so common as you go further out on the coast, or on Vancouver Island but we do have a few of the Black Slugs which are actually mostly brown and rather attractive looking. They aren't a big garden problem in Bella Coola, most years it's too dry for them to thrive in the garden, luckily.
The weather today was pleasant again with lots of cloud, but also some sun and temperatures in the low 20's C. Grizzly
Even though there was a lot of cloud cover today, it was still a pleasant and warm day in the Bella Coola Valley, better in the morning but also good in the afternoon, with a high of 22 C. It changed in the evening with some sort of weather system coming in and a few drops of rain with lots of wind arriving. Grizzly
This week marks the start of the summer BC Ferry Service, Discover Coast Ferry from Bella Coola to Bella Bella, Ocean Falls and Port Hardy. There were a number of out of province vehicles along the highway this week, so it's good to see tourists back enjoying the beautiful Bella Coola Valley. The Bella Coola River tonight is down considerably from a few days ago. Grizzly
It's quite a pathetic statement about the weather in the Bella Coola Valley when you have to light your wood stove in the evening to 'take the chill' off in mid June, but that's the kind of day it was today. Light rain for most of the day with a high temperature of 14 C was the best we could do. Grizzly
The long days this time of year are perfect for getting work done in the evenings, such as gardening, yard work, building and even some fishing, but they don't leave much time for long blog posts! A quick look at the Bella Coola River today and it is down from it's peak and improved in colour enough to make it fishable again. Grizzly
One of the earliest flowering shrubs in the Bella Coola Valley is the Black Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata). It flowers early and subsequently fruits early and they are now ripe. They are nasty tasting, but the Cedar Waxwings really enjoy them (it gets them all primed for when the cherry crops are ready in a few weeks!).
The weather was great again today, partially cloud, but with plenty of warm sunny spells to make the 20 C feel like the perfect outdoor temperature. Grizzly
Gardening in the Bella Coola Valley got off to a slow start this year with the cold spring that didn't seem to ever end. Things are growing now, but the weeds are also loving this weather with days in the 20 degree range and warm nights. Today was a good day to catch up on garden work with a pleasant temperature but not too hot. Grizzly
I've been away for a few days, but on returning it's noticeable how we are fully into the late spring season and everything is at a 'green maximum'. The Chilcotin is also very pleasantly green, but it's because they have had a lot of thunder showery days with warm weather in between. The Bella Coola River is still high and not very fishable looking. Grizzly
If you drove to Bella Coola in the last week or so or checked www.drivebc.ca it mentioned water crossing Highway 20 in a couple of locations. This spot was one of them, very close to the bottom of "The Hill" on Highway 20. Its a side channel of the Atnarko River called Camera Side Channel, that is normally a nice well behaved productive little channel that crosses under a bridge at the foot of the hill and back again a few hundred metres down the road. Not this year, with changes to the Atnarko River in the flood last year there is now way too much water coming down this channel as well and the old stream course can't handle it. Grizzly
The piece of road in this photo was one of the major pieces of Highway 20 that was completely removed during the Great Flood of 2010 in September in the upper end of the Bella Coola Valley along the Atnarko River corridor. There was about a 500 m piece of road that you can see in the photo that is new where the Atnarko River came down and scoured into the bank and took out the road. After the flood the river was against the bank on the left in this photo and the road material all had to be hauled in and the river moved back into its original channel
A larger piece of Highway 20 was taken out east on Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin along the McClinchy River where nearly 3 kms of Highway 20 was blown away. Grizzly
The spring time is such a great time to look at the new growth - especially in a mixed canopy forest where the light intensity is lower, but pools of sunlight reach the forest floor and plants thrive in them. The greens are also vibrant and delicate early in the year. Grizzly
A good example of the role that the roots of the Cottonwood trees play along the banks of the creeks and rivers. These roots were exposed in the recent freshet and give you an idea of the network of roots the cottonwood put down when they are looking for water to feed their massive hulk. Grizzly
The bark of the old Cottonwood trees get very deep grooves on them and are attractive trees. I've tried to photograph a few but so far the photos don't give you the sense of depth and age that is there when you stand beside them and you can put your hand in the furrows and it is almost the depth of your hand width. The one in this photo is a smaller tree washed downstream on the Bella Coola River and shows the furrowed bark quite nicely. Grizzly
The valley Shore Pine (Pinus contorta var contorta) are in the pollination stage. The clusters of male pollen flowers forming below the new years growth catch your eye on the end of the branches. Soon clouds of yellow pollen will emerge. Grizzly
It's hard to ignore the attractiveness and fragrance of a patch of Nootka Roses (Rosa nutkana) which are flowering this week. In 2010, it was around May 17 that they were flowering, again a 2-3 week delay just like everything else including the snow melt. Grizzly
Another pretty nice day, but gusty west winds in the afternoon, which when you are along the river on a long fetch can be quite steady as you can see the cottonwood leaves in the photo all turned. I've been hearing about a few of the smaller creeks breaking out of their banks along Highway 20 along the Atnarko River corridor causing some traffic interruptions. Hopefully it stays minor and short lived. Grizzly