Bella Coola Spring

5 green on hill2It is wonderful to go down the Bella Coola Hill at this time of year-at the top it is winter, at the bottom, it is spring.

It has been cold and often violently windy since before Easter, and it was not that unusual to have snow when I set off for Bella Coola. Highway 20 was pretty slick for a while.

1 snowIt was odd to see it falling around open water: the touch of green colour made it very pretty.

2 snow on pondTowards the top of the Bella Coola Hill, old snow from the winter still lay.  A pair of Barrows Goldeneyes sat in a creek.

3 barrows goldeneyeThe west side of Heckman Pass is always warmer, and as I dropped down, I soon ran out of the snow, but had to travel through a layer of fog.  The first hint of green was more than half way down at a steep, hairpin bend.

4 first green on hillAt the bottom, the weather was quite good.  This often happens – the mountains are the barrier and the windward side is wet, and the lee side is dry.  Usually, The Chilcotin is on the dry side, but today the wind was from the north.

6 bottom hillMy friends, who live in the upper part of the 90-km Bella Coola Valley have a glorious view of Mt Stupendous from their yard.  The scent of the cottonwoods blasted the sinuses.  Glue-sniffers should try it out.

7 stupendousThe leaves were almost past the fresh spring green phase.  Here is a vine-leafed maple.

8 vineleaf mapleAnd under the tall old firs, buried in moss, were the precious blooms of the calypso orchid.

9 my calypsosI was down only for the day so could not explore a lot, but my friend took this picture of a fantastic clump.

10 Katie's calypsosIt was +15C down there, but only +2C on the top of the Bella Coola Hill as I went home.  The snow had melted off the ground, but dragging hail and pellet snow clouds hung from a gloomy sky.

IMG_3222I arrived home late – to find that the two remaining volunteers were waiting for their supper.  I should have told them to get their own while they were in Bella Coola – I should have known they would not think of it themselves.  I was certainly not going to cook them a big meal.  I gave them some food so they would not starve but they were too lazy to do more than fry sausages.

I enjoyed the sunset.  The wind was changing to blow from the west.

11 sunsetAnd the next morning was a rare, very pretty one.

12 ink middle mt

13 perkins peak

14 white middle mt

 

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