Down the Bella Coola Hill

1. treeI had planned another trip down the Bella Coola Hill to visit my friends.  The last one was thwarted by the big snowfall and -36 temperatures.  This time, the weather looked not too bad in the forecast, but then I had the power problem (see previous post).  I did not want to risk going away overnight if I could not leave a light on under the sink to keep the reverse osmosis filter from freezing (it was such a pain to drain.)  So the trip was on again and off again – then suddenly we had half a day of intermittent sun.  That was all it took to charge my system up properly.  I could risk leaving the place overnight.

Before I left, I wanted to get my Solstice tree up.  If I ever manage to sell the river property, I will need another accommodation.  I plan on putting a yurt on this site, so felt no guilt in cutting down this scrubby little tree.

2. tree on toboggan

3. tree in houseThe following morning, to add to my peace of mind, it was brilliantly sunny.  The advantage of having a lot of crappy weather is that, when it is good, it is so unbelievably beautiful.

4 Hwy 20While a lid of ice fog had socked in my world, it had been lying at ground level along this section of Highway 20, and every needle and twig was covered with amazing hoar frost.  These little trees look like teddy bears.

5.  Frost.  Little treesThe willows were bowed down with the weight of the frost.

6. frost, willow

7. frost bushesFurther west, however, it was obvious that the weather was not going to be quite so good.

8. weather changeAt the top of The Bella Coola Hill, looking east, the burned trees still looked very pretty.

8a burned trees Looking the other way, however, it was obvious that I was going to plunge into warm gloom.

9 top of Hill

It was not long before I drove out of the snow and into thawing temperatures.  (Notice the bottom part of the hairpin bend on the left.)

10 hairpin bend

It had been colder before – many of the bluffs still sported curtains of icicles.

9a iciclesMy friends’ yard had almost no snow at all.

11 StuieFurther down the valley, it was pouring rain.

12 rain in valleyI had a wonderful visit.  It was still raining when I started up the Bella Coola Hill the following morning (which was yesterday.)

13 up Hill in rainHalf way up, the rain turned to falling snow.

14. into snowOn the Chilcotin part of Highway 20, I came upon a car in the ditch.  The ploughs make the edges of the road look flat, but sometimes the ditch is underneath.  I positioned myself to try and pull the car out, but I doubt my van would have managed it.  Fortunately, a guy with a big pickup loaded with firewood came along and, by putting chains on his truck he was able to pull the car back onto the highway.

15.  car in ditchIt was dark when I arrived home.  It was snowing quite hard, but the solar panels must have been clear for most of the day as the power was up.  The inside temperature of the house was about +7C so everything was fine.

And as the sun rose on this shortest day of the year, the sky was partially clear.

16. Solstice morningIt didn’t last more than about 3 hours, but it made for a very pretty morning.

17. Finger Peak.

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