The storms of late August left a thick pelt of snow on the mountains. There has been a lot of logging below Perkins Peak these last two years, and the snow picked out the new cutblocks.
We dodged the rain and picked a fine day to go down the Hill to Bella Coola.
It was plus 2 C when we left home, but there was a good frost at the top of The Hill.And down we went. Jimmy comes from New Jersey, and although he had visited Yosemite as a child, he had never really experienced mountains before. He was awestruck at every turn.
The Bella Coola River.
We visited the Big Cedars. Much darker now that the sun was lower. I was particularly fascinated by this rotten stump garden.
I took Jimmy to the petroglyphs. The narrow beams of light were fantastic.
Some of the carvings are much less noticeable but still very beautiful.
Near the top of the valley is a bear viewing station. I used to walk everywhere to see the bears, but most of the river is now restricted as too many people found out about the place and were behaving inappropriately. The bear viewing station is on a pretty part of the river. People are contained behind an electric fence.
We called there on our way down the valley, but saw only fish.
On our way home, we had just arrived when a grizzly lumbered into the water upriver.
The park ranger announced that it was “Bent Ear.”
He wandered along the gravel bar towards us.
Quite close now, he entered the river again.
And casually swam downstream below is.
And strode off into the sunset!
Back home, Jimmy and I stuffed rocks into the gaps in the stone oven that the canoeists had helped us build. Then, early one morning, we lit the first fire. (The firebricks on top were used as a door.)
At the same time, we made the bread. It would take several hours for the rocks to get hot enough to bake, and by that time the bread would be ready. Jimmy had worked in a restaurant before and liked cooking, but he had never made bread.
When the fire had been burning long enough, the ashes were raked out, and the baking stone mopped.
The dough was thrown in free-form, and about 40 minutes later …
Not many people can say that they baked their first ever loaf of bread in a stone oven they had built themselves!
I had been asked to speak at the BC Nature camp in Tatlayoko. Another spectacular place. It was a dull day but not too cold, and there was a lot of snow on the Niuts. A minus 6C frost had started the leaves turning colour.
Tatlayoko lake is over the mountain from Chilko Lake, and smoke from the fire hung around the headwaters. (see a couple of posts before.)
Jimmy’s time with me would end soon – I wanted to get as much work out of him as possible! He had proved himself an indifferent carpenter, but he was invaluable for his strength and willingness to do grunt work – like peeling poles.
These were for the greenhouse. The most important thing to work out was the placement of the door. So I started with the door frame!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get very much further before I had to take Jimmy to the bus station in Williams Lake.
I won’t have time to do anything more to it for quite a while as, in 8 days from now, the first guests for my week-long housewarming party will arrive. All I will be doing with my time alone is – cleaning!!!