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.
It has come to my attention that I might be scaring some of my faithful blog readers and in particular scaring them from visiting the beautiful Bella Coola Valley!
Take for example one of my readers at the Spotted Dog Ranch Blog. Chinle writes and photographs about a fantastic and beautiful area of the state of Utah. In one of the recent posts, it appears like they might like to visit the Bella Coola Valley, but aren't too sure about "The Hill".
I've made a few posts that mention "The Hill" and thrown in the odd picture, but nothing that should scare anyone from taking a leisurely drive into Bella Coola...but the folks at the Spotted Dog Ranch are looking for some "Hill" stories to convince them that visiting would be good (at least not dangerous on the hill). Did you or your family help build the Hill? Or maybe you are a trucker or professional driver that can offer an opinion or advice. Maybe you just have a few unique thoughts or good advice about The Hill. How about what The Hill means as Bella Coola's lifeline and place in it's history?
So bring em on! Funny ones, scary ones, short ones, long ones. Post them in the comments anonymously or post your name if you want. I'll publish a selection of them as a posts-- let's make this the greatest online source of Bella Coola Hill stories on the net! Grizzly
Spending part of my youth in the West Kootenays I always looked forward to seeing the mixed deciduous/coniferous forest floor covered in blooms of white Western Trillium's (Trillium ovatum) in April. For nearly 30 years now looking around the Bella Coola Valley in almost identical habitat, with a very similar climate (maybe a tad wetter) I've never found any. The bible on coastal plants - Plants of Coastal British Columbia, by Pojar & MacKinnon shows their coastal range well south of the north end of the Vancouver Island. I gave up looking for them finally. About 15 years ago a friend with a nursery for native BC plants on Vancouver Island offered me a plant, which I placed in a rich site of mixed coniferous/deciduous forest. For those 15 plus years it hasn't disappointed us, flowering every year within a week of the middle of April and adding one or two flowers a year. It's a a large clump now, but hasn't made one shred of attempt to spread by rhizomes or seed - truly a plant that doesn't seem meant to be here, but thrives in its own little spot. We enjoy it immensely every year. Grizzly
The later part of the week hasn't been as warm but certainly pleasant enough without much precipitation in the Bella Coola Valley. It's common to see the mountains dusted with fresh snow in the mornings in April, even when there has been only the briefest of showers in the valley bottom, the mountains generate their own weather. Grizzly
With the warming and lengthening days of mid April and a few rain showers in the last few days the plant growth is really taking off - so much so that it's almost lawn mowing time -- again. April can be a really pleasant month in Bella Coola especially into the later half because we often don't get a lot of rain and the temperatures are warming and comfortable and the new growth on everything is noticeable and you can appreciate it every day after coming out of winter. I like April in the Bella Coola Valley. Grizzly
When the bears first emerge from their dens around this part of the world, their den sites are usually still under a lot of snow, since they tend to den on north and east facing slopes at higher altitudes, where the snow will be deeper and stay longer for a nice comfortable winter sleep. After coming out of dens they head down slope and down valleys looking for new greenery in the valley bottom and on the rich estuaries and shorelines for the early feeding. As the snow retreats and the avalanche tracks green up they will move back up slope in the late spring.
Down on the valley bottom, sites like the one in this photo taken this weekend provide a rich source of food when they start rooting around after the tender roots and shoots of the Skunk Cabbage horsetail plants. Skunk Cabbage is really in it's glory on warm spring days like we have had with lots of light reaching the forest floor before the deciduous trees fully leaf out. Grizzly
The mountain south of Sir Alexander MacKenzie School is known as School House Mountain. It's a big imposing mass of rock that forms a great back drop to the fields of the school when there is a lull in the action of a soccer game.
Occasionally the heli skiers ski various runs on it when they are looking for some nice close to home runs especially on the last day when the skiers are trying to get in a few more runs before being dropped off at the Bella Coola Airport.
Today with the warm 16 C temperatures in the Bella Coola Valley you can see a number of avalanches which have come down on the face. Grizzly
Night time temperatures are creeping up and the daytime temperatures have been decent this week as well in the Bella Coola Valley. Along with the greening of the grass and the growing of the weeds, the rhubarb likes to get an early start and is coming along well this week too. Grizzly
An Easter weekend that occurs late in the year like the one we had this past weekend is a major spring cleanup weekend in the Bella Coola Valley. Yards are free of snow (in most years) and there is plenty of debris and broken trees and pruning to do. Almost every yard has a small to medium fire going and lots of raking and litter cleanup going on. With the fire seasons of 2009 and 2010 still fresh in mind, keeping a tidy zone between your buildings and the forest has become a priority for lots of homeowners.
The fire is also a nice place to sit around at the end of the day and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done. Grizzly
Happy Easter from the sunny Bella Coola Valley. We have had three perfect days - with each day warmer than the previous and today we hit a high temperature of 19 C. I think we tied with Abbotsford for the hotspot in BC. A change is on the way for tomorrow. Grizzly
Today was a nice example of good spring weather in the Bella Coola Valley, no precipitation of any measurable amount - maybe some distant rain showers along the edge of the some of the mountains, but mostly sunny and in the 10-13 C range. Good days for the helicopter skiers who seemed to be doing quite a bit of buzzing about today. Grizzly
My blog wouldn't be complete if I didn't pay my annual respects to the Skunk Cabbage plant - it's such a milestone spring sign near forested areas with standing water. With some warmer weather forecast in the next few days we can look forward to the lovely smell of Skunk Cabbage in the Morning! Grizzly
After lunch today the skies darkened rapidly and the most recent coastal wind and rain storm descended on the Bella Coola Valley. For awhile this evening it even cycled in and out of snow showers in some areas. Better weather on the way as the week goes according to Environment Canada.
The photo is of the Bella Coola Harbour on calm spring day. This view is taken from the head of North Bentinck Arm looking to the west. The large building on the left over the water is the ex-BC Packers net storage loft, left over from the days when commercial salmon fishing was a big part of the annual economy in the valley. Grizzly
Patches of snow still exist in the forest, but even with frozen ground underneath, these moss sporophytes are growing and pushing skyward while the light levels are good before the deciduous trees leaf out. Their colour is not very noticeable at first because these plants are so small but on examination their brilliance amongst mostly drab brown overwinter colours is appreciated. Grizzly