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.
With some Arctic air in the northern half of the province, we are seeing a little bit of that east wind effect in the Bella Coola Valley. Depending on your location in the Valley, it blew briskly last night and tonight, but the temperatures are still in the plus 3-5 C range, so it's just a slight reminder of the winter to come. It's knocking all the remaining leaves off fairly quickly. Grizzly
We had a nice weather change today after rain most of yesterday and last night. All the rain we have received in the last few days (50 mm or so) has come down as snow in the mountains and once the low valley cloud cleared out, any mountain you looked at was spectacular.
October is the month to watch the snowline gradually creeping down in Bella Coola. You have to be patient as we get closer to The Worst Month, there aren't usually many days when you can catch a glimpse of the mountains, but a few brief moments yesterday revealed a lot of snow. It rained most of today and was 4 or 5 C on the valley bottom, but must be snowing at altitudes because I heard a fairly sizable avalanche come down...maybe an aftershock from the Haida Gwaii nearly Great Quake caused it! Grizzly
Folks in Bella Coola felt the big earthquake tonight (7.7) which is a
large earthquake for Canada and BC - in fact it knocked the power out
for about a half hour. Our neighbor saw the power lines shaking and at
the moment the earthquake struck the power went out. Hopefully no one
sees a significant tsunami or major damage. Grizzly
While I was away for a few days, the neighborhood grizzly bear has continued to enjoy the neighborhood. It's been dining on Mountain Ash berries wherever one occurs along the highway or on the edge of a field. They are not a great source of food, but with fish in short supply it's about as good as they can get. I've seen the guy that did this damage and he's big. Big enough that both the dog and I watch each others back. At night the dog stays within dash distance of the house and during the day, she lays and watches and has warned me twice when the bear walked out 75 metre away in the field. It's a good relationship.
The ash tree in this photo had no lower branches to climb so the bear stood up and tried to chew through a 4" trunk at 7' off the ground. He wasn't successful last night, but I'm sure persistence will pay off for him and I will have some more firewood when it's all done. Grizzly
There are not a lot of salmon carcasses or live fish in the Bella Coola River right now. The grizzly bears are spending a lot of time 'walking the banks' hopeful for something to show up. The ones not walking the banks are still eating ash berries and anything else they can find right now in the last month they've got before hibernation looms. Grizzly
The days this week in the Bella Coola Valley have been alternating with rain, windstorms (at night) and today it was fairly dry until the end of day at least. It's the time of year when we get to watch the snow level creeping down on the mountains. Today when you could catch a glimpse of the mountains the snow level was below the 4000' level. It will go up and down until we get into November and then it will be mostly a downward trend. Grizzly
The weather turned decidedly fallish this past weekend with roughly 2" of rain Saturday night and Sunday morning. It's much more October feeling now, with the damp weather and few sunny periods. The last few mornings the tops of the mountains when you can see them have all been coated in fresh snow. Creeks came up and were a little high on Sunday but dropped quickly. Much more of a normal October weather pattern for Bella Coola now than the beginning of the month. Grizzly
The Grizzly bears are feeling the shortage of salmon this fall and getting increasingly brave going after Mountain Ash trees. This one with a 5" trunk was too big to break so it was simply pushed over to get at the red berries. Grizzly
When we first came to the Bella Coola Valley almost 30 years ago now, this large rock in Tweedsmuir Park along Highway 20 was a popular rest stop and sight to see. It was a large intact bolder - 15 feet high by 20 or more feet across. Everyone liked the Big Rock. Then one day, some 15 years ago or more there was rampant news that Big Rock had become "Split Rock"! In a sad way it was true, true that the large rock precisely cracked into two new halves and forever more was renamed Split Rock. Its still an impressive rock and a nice roadside place to stop. It seems conceivable that one day many years ago it broke off from the adjacent mountain and came tumbling down and landed hard in its spot because the mountain behind it is very close. I guess it's a good example of geological evolution. Grizzly
Usually around this time of year we make an annual day trip up to the Chilcotin to cut a smallish truck load of dead Chilcotin pine (Lodgepole Pine killed by Pine Beetles). We've been doing it for a lot of years and it never seems hard to find half a dozen trees to cut down, split and load up. It's so dry in the western Chilcotin area normally (12-15" of rain per year) and then this summer and fall has been very dry that the standing dead pine is totally bone dry - you can put it straight into the fireplace. We like it because it has such a lovely thick pine odour when you burn it, and can be outside on a calm winter day.
The blue ring around the the log is the "blue stain fungus", it is what actually kills the pine tree. The beetle merely irritates the tree and the tree tries to plug the beetles holes by putting out pitch. But it is already too late for the tree at this point because when the beetles arrive on the tree and bore in they are carrying spores of the blue stain fungus, which fairly rapidly colonizes the nutrient carrying cells of the outer tree and literally chokes the pine tree. I am not sure what the evolutionary advantage the pine beetle has by ensuring that all it's food source dies, other than it sure is a great way to get a new forest of pine started.
It was an incredible 21 C in the Western Chilcotin today to boot. Grizzly
After the rain of last Sunday and Monday morning, a brisk wind ensued and by late Monday night the high pressure ridge had settled in. Since then it's been 5 days of continuous unbroken blue sky and light or no winds in the Central Coast. Any wind we have had is just a little bit of outflow wind in the morning. The rest of the weekend and early next week is forecast for the same.
It's a rare piece of weather, with a Bella Coola record temperature of 22 C today. It's been a perfect opportunity to work on outdoor projects, enjoy hikes or get out on the water at a time of year that is normally starting to turn decidedly fall feeling. Another few days will be most enjoyable over the Thanksgiving weekend. Grizzly
The good fall weather always has to end sometime. For a brief 24 hour period Sunday night and Monday morning was the time for the Bella Coola Valley. We had just under 2" of rain in that time, that brought the river and creeks up a bit but nothing to be alarmed at. The weather forecast for the next 7 days is back to sun and mixed sun and cloud with cooler nights. This El Nino type weather if we are truly moving into an El Nino is not hard to take so far. Grizzly