Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bella Coola: a Grisly Day

The water was flat calm heading through the inlets to Bella Coola.  Most of the ride was in the evening, and it was definitely too dark to see the sheer sides of the inlets.    The day began with low overhanging clouds, common to the coast.
 All of the coastal mountains still have lots of snow on them, and in many cases you could see waterfalls.
 This sure looked like high alpine country, and what I would imagine the inlets of Norway to look like.
 After a somewhat restful night, a cup of coffee opened my eyes to the beauty of the coast...

 As we docked in Bella Coola, there remained a small local fleet of gillnetters, trollers and the odd seiner.  With the price of fuel, I am guessing that fishing is becoming even more expensive.

 My first stop in Bella Coola was at the Big House.  The thick cedar planks on the roof and on the walls were emblematic of the building style for the coastal villages.

 The eagle now competes with the Thunderbird.  In this new pole, the colours were vibrant.

 In an interesting juxtaposition of cultures, the church is situated adjacent to the Big House.  By design, by happenstance, or what???

 Leaving Bella Coola, and heading East
 On the highway, about 40km out of town, I came across this beautifully carved and pained memorial pole.

 When I came to Bella Coola in 1978, I spent a few days there waiting for a flight to Bella Coola. I met a First Nations man who filled me with stories of grizzlies and grizzly bear hunting.  Little did I know that I had been spending time with the fabled Clayton Mack.  He is famous for his grizzly bear guiding and knowledge of the Bear.  I am assuming this mortuary pole is for a close relative of his.  RIP Clayton.

The so-called Freedome Road was built by local residents who were fed up with the lack of progress by the provincial government (sound familiar?). I think they started the road with a Cat and a desire to connect to Anahim lake, which is on the top of the hill.

I was fortunate to come upon Mr. Griz.  I sat on my bike and watched him for about 30 minutes of so. I knew that there were a couple of mountain bikers coming down the hill, and I thought that Mr. Griz did not want to add bike chains and tire rubber to his breakfast, so I waited to warn them off.

 Watcha looking at?

Thanks for the pictures, and for the experience, Mr. Griz.

 Stopped for coffee in Nimpo Lake. Heard that the Premier had come to town.  The waitress was not impressed, and if Christy had come for coffee, she would hav got an earful of what the Chilcotin folks think of the Liberals' agenda...

 The ride is a 1957.  Fellow says it is a 25 year project....

 Way across the Chilcotin.  I had stoppd here with a busload of kids almost 35 years ago.  We explored the caves.

 I stopped at Lee's Corner,  (Hanceville).  I was debating about heading into Gang Ranch from here. I decided that I needed extra fuel.  This young fellow helped me gather empty pop bottles and fill them with fuel. He drew a picture of my bike.

 Grizz tracks???

 I carried on until I hit Riske Creek, as I wanted to see Farwell Canyon from this end.  Can you see the rainbow?

 I found the turnoff for Farwell Canyon, and decided it was time to set up camp.  I knewthat ranchers don't cotton to tourists, so I rode off the road a bit, and set up a stealth camp of sorts...

 Can you see me??