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.
Approximately 40 km east of the town site of Bella Coola is the small settlement of Firvale, BC. There are a little more than 1/2 dozen homes and acreages. It's a pretty little place with some lovely farmland and fantastic views of the valley. Salloomt Peak is a prominent feature in this view looking west. Grizzly
This was just one of 100's of possible viewscapes you could have enjoyed this morning in the Bella Coola Valley, with deep blue skies, a light dusting of snow overnight and -3 C temperatures -- doesn't get any better than this in February. Grizzly
Environment Canada had it forecast right on for the Bella Coola Valley. After midnight the snow started and by noon the valley had received 5 cm in the town site and 15 cm further east of Hagensborg. The temperature is holding around 0 and was generally a pleasant day. Grizzly
A pretty good day in the Bella Coola Valley, even a few brighter sun patches in the afternoon, between claggy clouds clinging along the sides of the mountains. Snow in the forecast for the overnight and morning period. Grizzly
In spite of the utter lack of colour and dreary brown appearance to the landscape, the slowly lengthening days are having their effect on plant growth. At a distance the stands of red alder (Alnus rubra) are getting the first hues of red as buds and the catkins begin to show signs of growth. One of the earliest catkins that comes out is from a not native to Bella Coola tree, the hazelnut (Corylus cornuta). It is native in Hazelton BC area and the southern interior of BC. It's a very hardy tree because soon it will be a showy yellow mass as the catkins pollinate even with a lot of snow and frozen ground around.
On the valley weather front, it hasn't been a nice week in the Bella Coola Valley, with lengthy periods of cold rain, and more snow in the mountains. Grizzly
February is a hard to predict weather month in Bella Coola, some years it can bring a lot of snow, other years some nice weather. So far we have not had significant snow, what we had was the easy come - easy go style of snow. Last night brought valley bottom rainfall in good quantities and lots of mountain snow. Now Environment Canada is forecasting the return of cold weather later this week. Once we hit March my strategy is to ignore the snow that falls by not plowing the driveway because you know winters days are numbered, but we aren't quite there yet. Grizzly
The weather was uneventful this weekend in the Bella Coola Valley, a few snow flurries on Saturday, a few sunny periods and day time temps in the positive and gentle freezing at night. Nothing extreme in any direction. Grizzly
One of the things that makes the Bella Coola Valley an interesting place to live is the variations in local climate. If you live West of Hagensborg, then the photo above is what you can expect your yard to look like today.
If you live East of Hagensborg in the slightly more snowy zone the photo below is more like what your yard will look like today. It's all about the mountains and coastal/interior influence. It works both ways though, because in the summer time and in the rainy season it's cooler and wetter west of Hagenborg than the drier and warm environments east of Hagensborg which are further through the coast mountains and more exposed to interior influence.
While the Robins are showing up west of Hagensborg, residents east of Hagensborg are still prepared to shovel. Grizzly
Like a lot of areas in British Columbia the weather system that moved onto the coast last night gave the Bella Coola Valley anywhere from 5-10 cm of snow. It was pretty much over shortly after daylight and by the end of the day with a few brief sunny periods it was mostly gone off anywhere that was previously bare. The best kind of snow to have in February. Grizzly
With the longer days starting to have an effect on plants, the colours in the Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) , a smallish shrub very common on the coast starts to really show its red bark. It was nicely contrasted against a Willow shrub that is doing the same but only developing a nice deep green as the winter grinds along.
Another nice day in the Bella Coola Valley, but clouds moved in and some change in weather is coming. Grizzly
If you were a dedicated fishermen and wanted to go for a drift down the Bella Coola River today to test the waters for the legendary Bella Coola River cutthroat trout, then today you would have had a slow lazy day. It was a near perfect blue sky and no wind. The backwaters of the Bella Coola River were calm, no cutthroat were seen, but it's the time to get out when conditions are like this. Grizzly
I was away for part of the week, but the neighbor said it was a good week in Bella Coola. No new snow and a pretty good melt of some old. The Bella Coola River is nice and clear except below some of the bigger tributaries which are contributing their usual silt and mud when there is a mid winter thaw. Grizzly
The Bella Coola Valley has enough interior influence (cold winters, warm summers and less precipitation) which make it ideal for paper birch (Betula papyrifera). There are no large contiguous stands of it in the valley, but it's just about everywhere intermixed with the deciduous forest and young conifer forests. It's a beautiful tree for shade, just to look at, for firewood and lumber for cabinetry. I enjoy the bark because they have lots of colour variations between different trees and as they age. Grizzly
Near Heckman Pass on Highway 20, about 4 km off the highway via a winter trail (ski, snowshoe or snowmobile) is the small community ski hill with a handle bar tow run by the Tweedsmuir Ski Club. There is a lot of snow this year, a 230 cm base so far. It's making for good winter activities , but can be risky using the outhouse. Grizzly
We had a great weekend in the Bella Coola Valley and the West Chilcotin. It was good for getting outdoors and doing some winter things, and even nice on the ocean I heard. Hope we get some more. Grizzly
It's been such a dull winter, that even people who have winter sun in Bella Coola (not shaded by the high mountains on the south side) would not have had many days this winter to enjoy their sun. Today was a good one though, the sun really hung around for awhile and felt really good the temperature was up to 5 C. Grizzly
Passing through the 'gates' to Bella Coola in Heckman Pass recently made me wonder if the Bella Coola Valley has ever given anyone the "Key to the City"? In our case if they had it and chose to lock it, then we are plain and simply locked in or out! The only road has a gate at a strategic location - which is at the top of "The Hill" on Highway 20 in Heckman Pass to shut down traffic on the hill during periods of bad 'events'. It used to be only closed for bad weather and road conditions, but with the 2009 and 2010 wildfires and some construction problems last year we now have to include more than just weather and maintenance.
Crews are busy 'widening' the road in the pass as there is nearly two metres of snow this winter and space was getting limited. Grizzly