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.
The weather forecast doesn't hold out much hope for the Bella Coola Valley for the long weekend and the 27th annual Bella Coola Rodeo, but at least dust won't be a problem for the competitors. If we are lucky we will get a few sunny periods that will round out the weekend and then we can always hope for better in July and August.
Its flowering time for the fireweed, which seems to have done okay even though we didn't have the heat or sun, but there are not really extensive stands of it in the Valley, with much less forestry activity and most cut blocks well along their way to a healthy second crop of trees. The fireweed is mostly in road side disturbed areas in the valley. Grizzly
This long weekend is the 27th annual Bella Coola Valley Rodeo. Lots of people come to the valley to participate or watch the riders. It's a fun event and a good weekend to see the Valley. Make sure you have a rodeo burger and a cob of corn while you are there. Grizzly
With the very high spring freshet in the Bella Coola River along with the last two weekends of 'bank full' river conditions because of all the rain, it's a good (or bad in many cases) time to witness river channel evolution. There are many examples of the Bella Coola River relentlessly chewing away at old banks and carving new channels. It's very painful to watch people lose property and trees and buildings that were once far from the river, now quite close, but it's not really stoppable and the best we can hope for is lower water and time to allow the river to find a new equilibrium. There have been numerous periods in the recorded Bella Coola River history of this kind of large scale channel evolution followed by periods of relative stability. Grizzly
The Bella Coola River is at what could unscientifically be described as 'Full". After two warm days and nights with thunderstorms in different areas of the watershed all helping to bring more snow melt down, the River is quite high ( not a good month for fishing this year). Various flood watches are being put out because Environment Canada is forecasting 30 mm of rain tonight and tomorrow which if it happens will certainly make the Bella Coola River "High and Angry" again.
The photo is on Hammer Road just above the Environment Canada water station gauge this evening - the river is right at road level. Grizzly
Now that it's officially summer, it's only fitting that we should have a fine summer day! It was the nicest day in the Bella Coola Valley in several weeks and made for a beautiful summer day and evening on our first full day of summer.
The dry weather also means that the Black Cottonwood trees in the valley are in full seed production. As soon as the sun starts to heat the air around mid morning the seeds pods start to 'crack' open and release all the fluffy cotton seeds that drift aimlessly throughout the valley. The photo is of one the complete flowers that broke off and is releasing its seed on the ground.
In the dryer end of the Bella Coola Valley, which is mostly in Tweedsmuir Park you can find patches of Mountain Lady's Slipper orchids (Cypripedium montanum). They are quite an attractive flower on close examination and relatively large for native of BC orchids. Grizzly
After the Great Flood of 2010, there were a lot of changes to river channels, bed load movement and channel depth. One area that is really noticeable is right after you descend "The Hill" and hit the pavement on Highway 20 in the Atnarko River Valley. What used to be a small and stable side channel has turned into a much more vigorous channel of the Atnarko River, likely caused by the immense amount of bed load gravel movement in the tributary Young Creek just upstream of this area (you can see the changes to Young Creek as you climb the first switchback on "The Hill"). A lot of new gravel was washed into the Atnarko River and has changed the elevation of the channel in this area, such that in the last two springs with the snow melt, freshet water has been coming over the highway for a week or two during the freshet. Grizzly
Those markings on my rain gauge are in inches, not centimetres! An inch and half of rain in18 hours on top of the winter snow pack has brought the Bella Coola and all the tributaries to the 'high and angry' stage. Still below it's banks but lots fresh debris moving through and muddy water. A good rainstorm for June for sure along with snow melt, but hopefully that's all we get out of it and it stays at high spring runoff condition. Spring floods are not something in the lore of Bella Coola River like our fall events. Grizzly
Environment Canada forecast a fair bit of rain for the coast this weekend along with warmer temperatures at higher elevations which will get the rivers all in spring freshet condition quickly. The rain will be be good because even though we haven't had a lot of heat the soil has dried out from lots of cool, dry and windy days this month. Grizzly
A few days with a little bit warmer weather, then a few days with some more cool weather, but not much rain in the Bella Coola Valley. The warmer weather and some of the thundershowers in the interior have brought the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers up to freshet levels finally. The photo is the Bella Coola River today running fast and brown.
The heavy rains the interior of BC is getting the last few days is happily missing the Central Coast. Those weather systems are one of those rare times when it's not Pacific storms hitting the coast first, but rather coming up from the south. I am sure our turn will come this fall in the annual rainy season.
It's very green in the Bella Coola Valley with just about all the trees and new growth reaching the maximum flush out stage, but unseasonably cool would be the best description of the last while in the valley. Grizzly
The mountain in the background is Thunder Mountain (2664 metres) - located at the headwaters of the Noosgulch River on the north side of the Bella Coola Valley. There is only one spot to catch a glimpse of it in the valley and that is through the notch in the Noosgulch Valley. It often has it's own thunder clouds around it on a hot summer day and generally seems to create it's own weather around it due to it's mass and uplift of air that it causes. Grizzly