Come-along Season

The forecast was not great.  The trouble with going down The Hill to the Bella Coola Valley is that rain and wet snow can cause avalanches.  The Hill has been closed so many times in these last 3 years, what with fires and floods and avalanches, that when you go down you are never quite sure if you are going to get back up again!

The two inches of snow we had the other day had not melted much, but no more was falling when I left home.  However, west of Anahim is where the real mountains start, and before long some pretty flakes were drifting down.

IMG_1903This was not far from the top of The Hill.  Even here, there is a great deal less snow than there has been in previous years.  At the top the first steep hill sign announced the grade.

IMG_1905A bit lower down, it was steeper.

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Then steeper!

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The road is generally maintained pretty well.  I had the truck in 4 x 4 and low gear, and there was no problem.

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Wet snow and rain fell all night.  The following morning I drove the remaining 40 minutes to Bella Coola to shop.  At my friends’ place, it was still quite snowy.

IMG_1913Down in Bella Coola, it was pouring rain and bare of snow.  Just before you reach the little town, there are some fantastic lichens on the trees.

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IMG_1919That afternoon, I started back up The Hill.  People in town had told me it had been dumping snow up there: the road services had been working all night.  They had 2 graders and 2 plough trucks but only one plough truck was working.

At the lower end of The Hill, it was pouring rain.

IMG_1923A real soggy mess.

IMG_1924After the second hairpin bend it was snowing like crazy.  It became difficult to see the edge of the road, something that was rather important to know in this location!.

IMG_1926However, I drove slowly and there was no problem.  The falling snow lasted until just before Anahim Lake.  I ran into a few more flurries, but there was little snow on the trees and the road was half sloppy and bare.  The temperature was +1C.  So I was quite surprised to find 8″ snow on my roadway.  My neighbour obviously was not home or he would have ploughed it.  A short distance along the road, there was a tree across it.

IMG_1928And I did not have the chain saw in the truck.  Because of the weather, the dogs had to ride inside and I did not want to leave the chain saw in the open back of the truck.  This was nearly 3 miles from home.  I had the axe and figured that if I cut one end of the tree, I could attach a rope and back the truck up and pull it free.  But all I did was pull the truck sideways into the pile of snow at the edge that had been created by the plough, and which covered a shallow ditch.  I was well and truly stuck.

First I chopped the tree in half and manually dragged it off the road.  Then I dug the truck out and fired the motor.  I got 2 feet and was bogged even worse.  I dug a bit more and tried again.  That wasn’t going to work so I dragged out the come-along.

IMG_1929It took several attempts of cranking the lever and digging the truck out again, but I managed it.

I drove all those hours on the “dangerous” road, then got stuck in my driveway. Interestingly, it was in exactly the same place where we had the big bog hole last spring and where I got stuck before.  At least, this time, I had clean snow to lie on while crawling under the truck to fix ropes.

 

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3 thoughts on “Come-along Season”

  1. Period 6-7 says…”And you are taking pictures while driving down these roads?”…Either you are really, really brave or crazy! We do admire your adventurous spirit!

  2. What ? Are you serious ? You’re brave Chris. That storm ended up here in Calgary and we’re all advised to stay off the roads.
    I remember living in a cabin in Enderby. I got up one morning and couldn’t get out because of the four feet of snow packed up against the door. Also in Chilliwack about 40 years ago or so we woke up and saw nothing but a sheet of snow against our doors and windows and had to tunnel our way out of the house. It was about 6 to 7 feet high. Now a days that seems crazy but there’s pictures of it in old newspapers etc. Shows you love it out there enough to put up with the weather. Your pictures tell all. Amidst all the “fun” you had you managed to get some photos for us. Thank you so much !

  3. Good grief, The Hill for me, would be white knuckle driving – going down is bad enough, but it’s awfully steep getting back up! Need to have a really dependable vehicle, methinks! And then to get stuck in your driveway. You are a real trooper Chris!

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