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 month of November has been relatively dry. The rain we have had has not been intense and sustained over multiple days. Along with that the temperatures have stayed in the single digits and sometimes just freezing which has meant precipitation that we get comes as snow in the mountains and the glacial melt has 'tightened' up. The result - the Bella Coola River is uncharacteristically low and quite clear, more like late winter conditions. Of course it can change in a matter of hours if we get a big rain. Grizzly
I've made numerous posts over the years about the drive on Highway 20 from Bella Coola to Williams Lake. Its mostly a long drive, but rarely a boring one. The scenery changes and rolls along and there is always slightly different light or weather to create an effect that catches your eye in addition to wildlife, people and events you might see. Last weekend was a nice drive, good roads, winter scenes and winding roads. Grizzly
Around the community of Anahim Lake, for the last few years since the big forest fires of 2009 and 2010 burning a lot of dead pine, they have been 'fire smarting' the interface of the forest around their community. It consists of taking down the remaining dead pine and piling with the already dead trees. They salvaged as much firewood as was useful, then wait until this time of year when there is snow on the ground to burn the piles. This weekend was one of those burning weekends and the areas alongside Highway 20 had some spectacular fires on a cold -8 C night. Grizzly
Right at the end of the day today a cold East wind whooshed into the valley. It blew strong for a little bit and has settled down later in the evening, with a very light snow and 0 C. Mostly near freezing and light snow forecast, which is pretty good for a November forecast. Grizzly
We haven't had any totally clear blue sky days for a few days now, but the rain we have had has not been too serious and mostly during the night. When the mountains come into view each day there has been a little bit lower snow line and slowly building snow pack. It was another all around good weekend for November, especially since there is no heavy wet snow to shovel yet. Grizzly
The first half of November in the Bella Coola has given us fine weather. I'm not talking days of blue sky and warm temperatures, but a lack of wet snow, big rains and winds. We've had lots of days like today, calm, no rain and 3 or 4 degrees. The rain we have has been minor for what we could experience. I'm starting to like Novembers again...but we are only half way. Grizzly
It was a very peaceful weekend to learn and be reminded about our war history and our brave soldiers while watching TV or listening to the radio while in the shop. It was a good time to reflect on Canada's place in history and our dedication to a peaceful world. My wife has been researching genealogy for many years and this weekend spent some time researching a distant cousin who crashed in a Lancaster bomber on a night run to lay mines into Danzig Bay in 1944. She found an account written by a farmer who watched a second Lancaster from the squadron crash into a nearby field and he was so moved by it, that he has researched the events the led up to the night of the assignment for the 30 planes. There were over 500 bombers launched on three different missions that night. It's terrifying to comprehend, 7 young guys under 24 years old taking off in the night for a 9 hour trip in the darkness without radar, Loran or GPS navigation. Not enough pilots were left by 1944 to put a copilot in the plane in case the pilot died, the engineer sat in the copilots seat and and monitored the gauges. The crew was taught how to keep the plane straight and level and return to England and jump in the event the pilot was killed. After completing the mine drop at 1:30 AM my cousin's plane was shot down over Danzig Bay. Two months later two of the bodies from it washed ashore, one being the cousin, and he was buried in Norway. A creek in Northern BC became named after him for his memory and sacrifice. It makes our peaceful life in the Bella Coola Valley seem unfair compared to what others went through.
The weather was unusually pleasant to top it off this weekend in the valley, no rain or snow, just still and ranging between -3 and plus 1C. Grizzly
The last week has seen most of the remaining leaves fall from the cottonwoods, birch and maple trees in the Bella Coola Valley. A few strong winds, a bit of rain and frost last night have signaled the end to fall. Cold weather is forecast for the next few days before some snow. The cross country skiers at East Branch are already enjoying groomed trails. Grizzly
Grizzly normally doesn't use any other than his own untouched photographs on his blog (occasionally Mrs Grizzly slips one in!), but a friend slipped me this photo from an anonymous source and they said it was taken at the Atnarko River bear viewing station at Belarko (in Tweedsmuir Park, just east of Stuie BC). I was suspicious about this photo being slightly "photoshopped", when I noted on the digital properties that it had been handled by the Adobe Photoshop program. Sadly I told the friend I couldn't use it, but he went back through his sources and convinced me that it had only been Photoshopped to sharpen an otherwise blurry photo, so I decided what the heck, it's a great photo and likely was taken in the Bella Coola Valley. Enjoy. Grizzly
The Bella Coola Valley is a mix of 'green and gold' the last two weeks. The gold from foliage of the birch, cottonwood and Douglas Maple stands, which are quite colourful this year thanks to the dry September and early October. The greens are thanks to the standard colour of the Red Alder - the leaves just stay green until they finally freeze, snow comes or the wind just takes them off. A fair bit of rain characterized this weekend, but Saturday morning was nice and a few brief periods today were okay. Grizzly
A month or so back I posted about the possibility that the media was reporting the beginning stages of an El Nino winter based on data from the Pacific Ocean off Peru suggesting such. I've been following it with a lot of interest for two reasons; one being that El Nino's can mean a nice winter for Bella Coola, but a strong El Nino is followed by a La Nina. We had two rare back to back La Nina winters in 2010/11 and 2011/12 and they were partially responsible for some of worst flooding in centuries...literally in the Bella Coola Valley.
It seems the 'tide has turned' on the El Nino and most of the media stories are reporting that experts are downplaying or dismissing the possibility, some calling it a "El Nada"!!
In any case we had a slight weather turn this afternoon to a bit wetter coastal November day, but nothing too far from the norm for an average November day in the Bella Coola River. The river in the photo today looked inviting to go fishing for something. Grizzly
Halloween was a beautiful evening in our little valley this year. No rain, just nice and cool. The first day of November was also a great start to what can be a miserable month. Some morning valley cloud, but then blue skies and sun in the afternoon. The forecast for the next 7 days is not so kind. Grizzly