Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Monday, February 25, 2013

Hazelnut Trees Flowering on Schedule

If you follow any plant phenology I am sure you will have your favourite plants that you take note of.  One of ours is the Hazelnut tree we have because it is so showy when the yellow catkins burst and begin pollinating.  There is so little new colour around this time of year.  Ours is about right on schedule when I looked at it today. The catkins are large and the pollen is just about ready to be released.  Ours normally pollinates at the end of February, although in 2011 it was nearly a month late with the long winter we had that winter. 

The eastern end of the Bella Coola Valley received a bit a snow over the weekend - up to 12" or more and a fairly good fall in the pass of Highway 20.  Grizzly

Saturday, February 23, 2013

River Photo

The Bella Coola River is in it's lowest winter state, with many of the tributaries almost at a trickle because of the winter low flows.  The colour of the lower river yesterday was being affected by the Nusatsum River that had a lot of clay/glacial silt from thawing banks being transferred down, which always makes for a nice colour.  Grizzly

Friday, February 22, 2013

February Snows

The last two mornings in the upper Bella Coola Valley we have awoke to wet snow - I think the first snow this month.  Also a power outage this morning caused by the wet heavy snow on trees.  Our Hazel Nut tree is fully loaded in catkins and it looked fairly heavy with it's fresh load of wet snow today.  The week otherwise has been more of the same - mild and a bit wet.  Grizzly

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Non Winter Continues

The non winter weather that a lot of BC and the Bella Coola Valley has been getting continued this week with more days of mostly above freezing and smatterings of rain.  Today I noticed the chickweed is starting to flower and produce seeds in my garden...hardly fair that it gets such a head start on the annual battle of the weeds.

Thought you would enjoy the photo today - it's the view you get as reach the top of Heckman Pass heading west to Bella Coola on Highway 20.  There is a turnout view point right at the top and most winters you can't get into it because of the deep snow, but this year it's nicely plowed out.  It's a great short stop with a fantastic view of the Coast Mountains to the west.  Grizzly

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Favourite Burnt Tree

Mrs Grizzly and I were snowshoeing along a trail in Tweedsmuir Park at East Branch today when my wife abruptly proclaimed, "I think this is my favourite burnt tree".  It brought me to a quick stop and got my mind off my dry walling job I was thinking about.  I had to back track to see what she was talking about.  I have to admit I hadn't paid it much attention, but she's correct, it is a beautiful old burnt tree.  It was a victim of the 2009 Heckman Pass Wildfire, and is one of the less common but beautufil Whitebark Pine trees (search "Whitebark Pine" in my blog for previous posts).  You can really see the unique form they take after growing for several hundred years.  I agreed with her - it's now "My Favourite Burnt Tree" as well.

Winter hasn't really been a winter thought at East Branch.  We barely have two feet of snow at the Highway 20 gauge in the pass and those two feet are soft and fluffy, you can't even step far off a packed trail in snowshoes without sinking down almost to the ground.  Time is not on winter's side any longer - there would have to be several snowfalls of more than a couple feet each to catch up.  Grizzly

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Red in Winter

After nearly a month of mild weather, there are clear signs spring is approaching. One of the ones I like to watch is the intensifying red bark on the Red Osier Dogwoods that grow along streams and fields throughout the Bella Coola Valley.  They are always a welcome colour to the drab browns this time of year. 

The daytime high was at 7 C again today, most of the week it's been in that range, with very light rain showers at night mostly.  Loving winter in Bella Coola.  Grizzly

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Whitebark Pine

In previous posts I've written about the Whitebark Pines which grow in the mountains east of roughly the Noosgulch Valley in the Bella Coola Valley.  Tweedsmuir Park alpine areas and Heckman Pass are excellent areas to see them.  They are struggling everywhere in their range in Canada and the USA due Mountain Pine Beetle and Blister Rusts.  I noticed a couple today in the East Branch Area of Tweedsmuir Park, the one on the left struggling to hang on, while the one on the right is dead.

These two also survived the 2009 Wildfires that ravaged the Tweedsmuir Park area, if you look closely you can still see traces of the red dye used in the fire retardant that was used to save the buildings around the small Tweedsmuir Ski Club ski hill.  Grizzly