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.
Here's hoping that the month of August is kinder to the Bella Coola Valley than July was. Just a week or 10 day stretch of warm weather would be great for haying (a month late now), fishing, hiking and the tourists who probably are thinking this is a normal summer here - it's not! Grizzly
Wow! Until about 3 PM today it felt like a rainy November day. Steady rain all day and not very warm at 13 or 14 C made for a very uninspiring day. Our rain gauge had nearly 20 mm of rain last night and today. It was pretty quiet around the Bella Coola Harbour today as well, although if you didn't mind rain it was a good day for boating with no wind. Grizzly
The weather this week in Bella Coola has been perfect for growing mushrooms. Some warm overcast days, some steady rain, then some days with rain in the morning and sun and warmth in the afternoon. This mushroom likes it (not sure what it is - anyone know?). Grizzly
After a couple of acceptable days earlier this week, today was just back to the summer 2011 normal, which was rain on and off most of the day, late evening saw a bit of a break, but nothing very impressive. Hitting a high of 15 C at the end of July in Bella Coola is pretty pathetic. Grizzly
It hasn't been a stellar ridge of high pressure this week in the Bella Coola Valley, but it hasn't been down pouring rain either. Depending on your location in the valley (the weather gets drier as you go east) if you got to it this week there was a chance to take off a bit of hay between Monday and today. Along with some cloudy weather and occasional sunny stretch, a lot of west wind can really help to dry things out and make the haying operation feasible. That's what this farmer did on a section of his field this week. Seems like that's the kind of year it is going to be. Grizzly
Another so so day of cloudy weather in Bella Coola, it seems it has become normal this year to look out in the morning and see clouds and wet ground.
The photo is today is typical of the old growth cedar and fir forests in the upper Atnarko River Valley (headwaters to the Bella Coola River) where the drier conditions prevail and there is a lot less underbrush than the coastal forests. Grizzly
All the warm, but wetter weather has been great for growing hay in the Bella Coola Valley, but now we are past the time when we need to get a week of hot weather so it can all be cut. Once August 1st arrives, it seems the overnight dew arrives as well, and it gets that much harder to get it dry. It would be a nice crop if it can be cut in the next 10 days. Grizzly
We actually made it to 23 C today in the Bella Coola Valley. It was mostly cloudy, but when we did get some sunny periods it sure felt nice, but we aren't used to much warm weather this year, so with a bit of humidity it made it feel very warm.
The second day of the Discovery Coast Music Festival seemed like a big success from what we could tell. Slightly smaller attendance this year probably due to the poor summer weather, Highway 20 road closures last week and high gas prices for people thinking about traveling, but all in attendance seemed to enjoy. Grizzly
The weather started out a little sketchy this morning for a music festival, but by this afternoon it was warm and quite pleasant. The music festival was the usual fine range of performers and we are looking forward to another afternoon and evening tomorrow. Grizzly
Today in the Bella Coola Valley except for a few brief glimpses of blue sky was a nearly continuous cloudy day but the temperature was pleasant. It was better than yesterday with its low morning cloud, rain showers and fresh snow on all the high peaks (Mount Nusatsum and Thunder Mountain) that were visible. The photo is of Thunder Mountain taken yesterday. Grizzly
With the tourist season in full swing (minus the weather and road closure problems!), someone asked me about "things to do in Bella Coola". The best source to start is the Bella Coola Tourism website. It has a pretty comprehensive list and information about the valley and the area. Once you get here I would check in at the Bella Coola Valley Tourism information centre which is actually at Tweedsmuir Travel. These are helpful folks and can give you more ideas and tips on local things to do.
Another thing I would do is go to the local museum, hang around and walk the docks especially after a commercial fishery (Tuesday or Wednesday evenings) and talk to the locals there about fishing and the history of fishing. There are some good short hikes to do such as the Salloomt Nature Trail. If you are here in August any of the creeks you cross should have some spawning chum salmon to see from the bridges. Bear watching and river drifts can be arranged through Bella Coola Mountain Lodge. Of course there is fishing for salmon and trout on the creeks and rivers or organize a charter boat tour out to the coast.
There are a number of interesting gift stores such as Kopas Store to look around in and pick up a local book. If you just want some quiet time the local library in Bella Coola has a nice place to sit and read and watch the locals come and go.
An always interesting visit is the local cemetery to see the age and history of pioneers that are buried there.
If you are in doubt about where to go, stop any local and ask for advice. Grizzly
One of the upgrade projects under taken by the local Harbour Authority this spring was to upgrade the boat launching ramp at the Bella Coola Harbour by building some walls and putting in a beautiful long dock from which to handle your boat onto a trailer (no dock existed before). It's a beautiful addition to the harbour and makes launching boats a snap. A lot of people from Alberta, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House trailer boats to Bella Coola and use this as a launching point for adventures on the coast. After all Bella Coola is one of the five gateways to the Pacific.
On the weather front - not good again, grey, showery and generally poor. Grizzly
We had another cloudy but pleasant and warm day in the Bella Coola Valley (19 C) with a few minor rain showers. This evening a fine summer rain, just heavier than a mist fell for awhile, and apart from feeling a bit damp was actually pleasant to be outside. Highway 20 reopened for a 3 hour period this evening, the first time in a few days so some people and freight could move. Apparently they have more rock scaling and stabilizing work to do in the areas of the recent rock falls. Hopefully it is resolved permanently in the next few days. Grizzly
A peculiar name for a peculiar fungus is the Bleeding Tooth Fungus or Hydnellum peckii. It grows in coniferous forest and produces a red liquid in its younger stages. It is considered inedible because of very bad taste. This year there are a lot of mushrooms in the coniferous forests around Bella Coola with the rain we have had combined with some warm days making good growing conditions. Maybe the bonus in September will be a good Pine Mushroom season. Grizzly
PS. The lady who left a comment looking for some information on accommodations in Bella Coola - leave me a comment with your email and I will give you some contacts. Grizzly
We've had a relatively nice weekend in the Bella Coola Valley. Saturday was warm and sunny, Saturday night and Sunday morning saw light rain, then it cleared nicely today and was a pleasant day.
The Atnarko River in this photo from this morning is still much higher than any other year for the middle of July and the water quite coloured, but at least the fishermen seemed to be enjoying themselves - I guess they had to because there is no escape to the east due to the ongoing Highway 20 closure on The Hill. Grizzly
It seems like they must be having ongoing problems and additional rock slides on "The Hill" portion of Highway 20 in Tweedsmuir Park. There were rock slides on Thursday and Friday that were cleared but some additional slides occurred and the road is not expected to open until Monday evening based on the www.drivebc.ca website. This is a difficult situation for the tourism traffic as well as local residents and business if it goes on too long, so hopefully it gets sorted out soon.
The view in this photo was from the Lost Lake recreation site view point, looking east or upriver in the Bella Coola Valley. It was a much nicer and mostly sunny day today, so it was a good day for a short hike to this view point. Grizzly
The rain we have had this week and in the Chilcotin has brought the Bella Coola River up quite a bit. It's back to a dirty brown colour and still fishable, just not the pleasing glacial colour of the lazy days of summer that it should be. Today was the best day in four days, no rain, and a little higher cloud layer. They are still working on the Highway 20 rock slide, with traffic passing with a bit of delay.
Thanks to "Ida" in Victoria for the consoling comments about 'you are not alone' for a lack of summer in yesterday's post!
A brief 24 hour road closure gave the crews time to assess the rockfall situation and get an action plan going. This afternoon Highway 20 was open once again for single lane traffic. Now maybe the road people can do something about the weather...have you seen it so bad in the last 25 years? I think we had a summer around 1986 that was similar - a non summer. In my humble opinion our best chance of salvaging a summer is only a 2 week window at the first of August which is the classic window for the large Pacific Ocean high pressure system to dominate the coast and the Province. I've got my fingers crossed now. Grizzly
Seems like there has been too many times in the last 3 year where Highway 20 was closed somewhere between Bella Coola and Williams Lake because of floods and fire, but tonight again "The Hill' portion of the highway is closed because of some rockfall on one of the steeper rock face areas. It's a rock large enough to completely block the road and require drilling and blasting to remove it. The crews are on it though and I am sure the interruption will be as short possible. If you are on this side of the closure, you can enjoy some extra days of touring around, and if you are on the other side you will be rewarded with better weather hopefully when it opens. Grizzly
"If We Haven't Got It, You Don't Need It!" is the motto for Christensen's Store in Anahim Lake, BC. It's a classic small town general store with a little bit of everything essential for living in the rural wilds of BC. From clothing to booze, steak to oranges, tools and nails and you can even buy horse shoes by the pound if you have a horse that needs shoes or a pair of gum boots for yourself. The previous owner of the store, Darcy Christensen has recently published an interesting book on his life in the Chilcotin, Double or Nothing: The Flying Fur Buyer of Anahim Lake which looks like an interesting read. I recently picked up a copy but haven't had time to read it. It's in the heart of Anahim Lake and not hard to find if you are passing through Anahim on the the way to or from Bella Coola.
In the Bella Coola Valley we had a day of nearly continuous, fall style down pouring rain today, not very nice for July in the Bella Coola Valley. Grizzly
Another nice warm day, but not a lot of blue sky in the Bella Coola Valley. We reached a high of 22 C, in the late afternoon, then some light rain started for a while because it was humid and grey but no lightning or thunderstorms. Grizzly
It was a nice weekend in the Bella Coola Valley, finally after a very dismal end to June and July start. The river is in prime condition for fishing, which we spent a few hours doing this weekend, but didn't produce a nice big Chinook Salmon for my daughter and I, but it was a pleasant time on the river. Grizzly
Finally we have a day where the west wind came up and blew some of the low hanging clouds out of the Bella Coola Valley that have been hanging around for days and we had sun. It was a nice break from a really poor session of weather. The 19 C we had was no record, but it felt quite nice.
Today's photo is of the leaves of the Douglas Maple, a very common maple tree throughout the Bella Coola Valley with these particular leaves being seriously affected by a gall forming mite, that creates a cushion of velvety red which stands out quite well. Grizzly
Wow! This has been a stretch of poor weather! In the Bella Coola Valley we just aren't used to watching the weather report for the province in July and hearing about everyone on the south coast and southern interior enjoying very warm temperatures while we see 14 and 15 C with low cloud and on and off rain showers. No clean end in sight yet, which is not good for the hay crops and tourist weather. Grizzly
With the cool, sunless weather our summer resident population of Rufous Hummingbirds seem really appreciative of the hummingbird feeders but normally by now they have lost interest and are much happier with flower nectar. We have a 'swarm' of up to 10 or 12 of them which crowd the feeder, especially as dusk approaches. My daughter was lucky enough to have someone point out a tiny hummingbird nest with two hummingbird babies in it today. It is fairly well camouflaged and hanging in a cedar branch nearly over the river and and about 5 cm across. Grizzly
Today was the best weather we've seen since last week before the long weekend. It wasn't the finest piece of weather for a July long weekend by any stretch of imagination. It wasn't down pouring, just periods of showers, cool weather, low clouds, wind, a very brief sunny stretch then all repeated again, and again.
Perhaps we will move on to something better, the hay fields are looking heavy and very green, a 7 day stretch of haying weather would produce a great crop. Grizzly
During the summer of 2009 the Heckman Pass wildfire swept across several 1000 ha of pine and spruce forest at the top of The Hill on Highway 20. It was a hot fire and still looks pretty bleak when you drive through. Last summer there wasn't a lot of new greenery showing, but this summer there are a lot more signs of the recolonization of the burn. Grizzly
A new rock wall is always a nice feature to look at, especially when it's well done, bolted together and some of the individual rocks are the size of Smart cars. That's what the work looks like on The Hill on Highway 20 where the crews worked for several weeks in early June to build up the road base and widen what was one of the more narrow corners with poor visibility. It's much better now and the rock placement looks great.
Unlike the rock work, the weather continues to be really...well just plain cold and crappy. Light rain showers, cool winds, low cloud and 14 C marks this 2nd day of July. Grizzly
While it is an important day for Canada, July 1st seems to me to be an important milestone in our seasonal weather pattern from my years of coastal observations. It's the point where we need to see a significant high pressure system develop in order to produce some summer weather and if we don't see it soon, then the next big wave of good weather is often the last week of July and the first 10 days of August, then we start looking at the back side of summer very quickly. Let's hope the better weather forecast next week brings a good change. Happy 144th! Grizzly