Skeena Salmon Belly Gravel Burn

Is was a couple of weeks ago, when I first heard about “Salmon Belly Gravel Burn,” a derogatory term about all the all people who live in the the Pacific North Coast of Canada, during the spring season period. It reefers to a guy seeing the women as they dress for the new season and it is said that he is swimming up stream, leaving the plenty of fish in the sea, like the wild salmon, and not being able to get a mate, he then dies, washing up on shore of the river bank. They call this gravel burn.

Gravel burn, is when men say that they are not even going to try starting a relationship. They will stay celibate for the rest of their lives. This means less tax payers for Canada, but “oh well,” they say. “There will always be plenty of tax payers to keep the Government going.” No one worries.

It sounds funny when you hear it for the first time. I laughed before I thought about it, hearing it last week. When ever I see my co-worker, I ask him if he still swimming upstream? “He replies” No, buddy, I went back to the sea, the water it too low here.”

This is one of the more hilarious local colloquialism terms I heard around here so far. Romance and fish go hand in hand, it seems in the Skeena Valley.

Flakes into Drops, into Monster Puddles, and it Was Not Pretty!

Let me set the scene for you. It is 5:30am, and I am off to work, driving from Thornhill, BC into Terrace, taking the Old Skeena River Bridge route. I take this route becuase I usually grab a coffee in town before I head into work. I am now crossing the bridge, entering Terrace, going pass the Legion, going onto Lakelse Avenue. I look ahead of me, and notice that I am following a police car. And at the bottom of hill, the car hit a large puddle, causing it to veer left, then he slowed right down, as the water sprayed across both sides of the road. He straighten out, but I thought his car was going to stall out in water. The water spray reached the building, covering the windows and walls with water and ice. He managed to get his car going again, and drove off.

My turn now. I drove right over to the left, into the other lane, to avoid as much of the puddle as I could. I slowed down to 20km/h too. It did not matter, as the puddle was deep on both sides of the road, only covering less of the road in the East bound lane. All I heard was the thunderous roar of the water all around me, as I hit it, and even at my speed, I could see the water shooting across the road on both sides. Then my car slowed right down, and instinctively I pushed on the gas peddle. For a split second, I was worried. My little car suddenly lurched forward, and resumed speed. I looked in my rear view mirrors, to see water still traveling through the air, into the building, the sidewalks, and onto other vehicles that were parked.

No, the fun did not stop there.

After buying my coffee, I drove back onto Lakelse Avenue, heading towards Eby Street, in front of the Terrace City Hall building. I made my left turn, and then switched lanes to eventually make my right turn back onto Highway 16, heading West bound. It was right at the turn off of Eby Street that I hit another monster sizes puddle. This time, my headlights on my car dimmed as the water shot up into the air. I was turning too, so my car lurched to the left side, and I compensated with the steering wheel. I got onto the highway, and this time all I could see is the steam from my exhaust going into the air. 

Everywhere, there were lake size puddles along the roads. It was raining hard too, in the valley. The night before we a snow storm that dumped about 15cm of snow, then it warmed up to plus 2C, and has been raining ever since. But the problem is, all this water has nowhere to go. All the storm drains are plugged with snow, and the ground is still frozen from the week long freeze.

My last hurtle was driving into the parking lot at my work. That was all water, and in some spots, the water was over 30cm deep. The entrance, was another deep spot that all most stalled out my car. I took that corner very slow.

This afternoon, I hopped into my car, started it, and all was good. I checked everything, and nothing seemed broken from the water, so I was happy. The drive home was awesome, as all the lakes on the road were almost gone. There were a few spots with super-sized puddles, but these were a lot smaller than what they were at 5:50am.

So glad the weekend has started!

Walking Along the Lake

Me and Suz., decided to take trip out to Lake to check out the storm damage, and a great excuse to take the new car out for a drive. Just like yesterday, we had awesome weather again today; not a cloud in the sky by mid noon. The day was a bit crispy cool, but I think we got up to 11C, or something like that. It was good enough for Sun Worshippers, who set up their lawn chairs at the Lakesle Park in full view of the Sun. They had their blankets over their legs, and were soaking in Sun on their faces, catching the vitamin D. We even saw some boaters with their little one man boats ready to set sail. There were lots of people out probably doing what we were doing, just enjoying the day.

Judging by the wood and sand scattered along the shore, we figure the lake had risen about 40CM during the rain storm last week. The lake was down today, but there were still places where it was still flooding. It looking like the park workers will have their work cut out for them this spring.

Even the water in the lake looked a little silty. And way out, about fifty metres or so, you can see floating barrels and other types of man made garbage in the lake. Along the lake, the cottonwood trees were pretty much bare from leaves as the wind in some place was strong. No doubt the fall storm season  cast its might here.

No, swimming was out of the question, but the dogs love it. Hardly anyone around, we had the lake basically to our selves. Sadly, all the park’s facilities were shut down. You have to do your bathroom excursions the old fashion way; find a secluded spot in the forest, and do it quick.

To end the walk off, I took a bunch of photos of the sky. This shot really took me back to when I was living in Vancouver, becuase where I lived, we had lots of these red leaf trees growing near by, and photographing them against the pure blue sky was awesome. It was nice that I found this tree with the right conditions. Hopefully Suz. can paint this, as I would think this would be an awesome painting.

Anyway, time to go home. Time to get ready for tomorrow. Another day and weekend comes to an end.

Some Local Flooding In the Valley and Beyond

After three days of a good dump of rain, it finally caught up to those who live along the rivers and creeks that go hand in hand with the mountains and trees here in the Pacific North West of British Columbia. They were greeted with a couple of roads under water in the Jack-pine Flats area in Thornihill, and the area called New Remo had several homes with high water, or close to it. Also the highway going out to Rosswood and the Nass Valley also had flooding and roads washed out. In all, it looks awesome today with the sunshine, but the rives now have to carry the water away from the storm.

When I drove over the Skeena River yesterday on the New Bridge, the water looked a light chocolate brown with a few pieces of wood in it, but this afternoon on my way home from work, the river was a torrent of dark chocolate coloured water, with entire trees floating down it. The river had also, it appeared to me, to have risen a metre since then. The water is almost up to the tree-line alone Ferry Island, in Terrace, BC.

Today, the clouds parted, and the Sun came out shinning, heating the air, drying off the fields. Right now, outside, it is awesome, and nice 13C at my work. It seems like we are back into late summer/early fall. A nice, but down right weird feeling; my body was getting used to the dark skies and torrential rain.

So, with all this nice weather now finally upon us, comes the second threat to the flooding problem. Yes, all that snow that was dumped on the mountains, is getting it’s chance to melt off. Like a delayed effect from the 300mm of rain that fell down in the valley from three back to back storms, now the dump of snow on the mountains with flow down to the rivers and creeks, adding to the existing flooding when it melts. It is going to be interesting, to say the least.

I live is the safe-zone as far as flooding goes. My place is in a good spot. I should have no troubles with the flood waters, to and from my work either. So all is good for me. Some of the people I work with, could be a much different story. However, I think the water will quickly pass and the local flooding with end very soon, probably by this weekend. Remember, this is the Wet (West) Coast.

And Then There Was Rain

Being back here up in North Wet Coast, rain goes hand in hand with the mountain and lakes. I grew up with it, and I am sure I will die with it too. I think of places where the land is dry, and hot, and then I look out my window up at the mountains (where I see them). There is a reason why not many choose to make the North Coast there home, if you have choice. We had a storm over the weekend. Not so out-of-the-ordinary; we get them all the time, even down in Vancouver. But what made this weather system note worthy was its timing according to my friends. It is the beginning of September, and normally the wet season arrives nearer October and November. Today the rivers are brown, with trees floating in them. In Kitimat, the next town to the South, they had fourteen people who were camping and fishing on the Kitimat River, and they had to be rescued from the flash flooding of the Kitimat River–in hours it rose nearly three metres.

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 For me, personally, I thought the rain was just that–normal–nothing unusual. Sure, it was heavy, and lasted the night, but then again, I left the land for over twenty years, so I am a new comer again–what do I know about the weather around here. Between my girlfriend and the weather, I was convinced to buy a winter rain coat, a wise investment for comfort during the wet winter weather. I have it now–go figure–and the Sun returns! 

The image is the Skeena River, right at the Old Bridge. You can see how brown the water is. Last week the water was a clean greenish colour. There was a lot of rain in a very short period of time.

October Rain

The weather has been acting up again, and along with that, so has my very unpredictable lifestyle. The weather has been a mix of rain, lots of it, and wind, suffering from a power outage on Wednesday, and a leaky roof from it. I have been trying to keep up with the cleaning, mainly leaves and tree branches, but work has been unpredictable too.

Last Tuesday-Wednesday’s storm was kind of weird in the way that I hardly heard any wind, but sure felt the rain come down. The rain kept coming in waves that would last up to an hour, then letting off with hardly a drop in between, lasting up to about two hours on average. One of my roof vents blew off leaving it wide open for the wind and water to start pouring inside. Thankfully I was home when this happened, so I was able to fix it in a matter of minutes. There was water damage inside from the gaping hole. I used good-old “Duck” tape to fix the problem until I can buy another vent covering–next pay cheque.

I missed getting a chance talking with my manager at my work for getting extra hours added to my next three week schedule. For now, my schedule only has me down for two days of work next week, and one day for the following week, so I will have to phone him up on my time off and see if I can squeeze some in more time. This is the slow season where I work, so everyone at work are trying to keep their hours as we head into the winter slowdown. With the economy still worsening, many are worrying about how hard this winter will get. For me, I am still playing catchup on a few bills from my last stint as unemployed. Thankfully with gas prices going down like they are, I just might weather the winter slowdown as my pay cheque shrinks. I would like to see gasoline back to $0.80 per litre again.

Thankfully there is the Halloween party coming up next week! I am really looking forward to that. Less than a week to go until then!

The Fraser River Up High

It is that time of the year, the annual flooding season that usually occurs in June and July, but all of this just seems to have started a little early this year. I noticed it last weekend when I spent the day in Fort Langley, but when I walked down to the river today, the water seems to have risen up at least 30cm since then. This is normal here in these lands along the river. The only question that gets asked is how bad will get this time. The last time flood was an issues was back in 2007, that I can recall. Even then, the water never to terribly bad, but folks along the the river did get wet.

Minor Flooding in the Flats from the Fraser River May 26 2014 - Weblog Image

I really was not going to blog about and flooding until I knew for sure that we were going into some higher than normal water levels, but seeing that were are getting more rainy days, mixed in with some good warm weather, well, these are the prime ingredients for a good flood around here. When the interior of British Columbia, Canada, gets the really warm weather, and melts the snow faster, it only takes a couple of weeks for it hit us at the mouth of the Fraser where I live. But I have observed the river as only less than a metre from the flooding point at Brea Island in Fort Langley, but anything is possible depending on the weather.

This morning is was cold and raining, and then by noon the sky cleared and warmed right up. I can only imagine what is going on further up stream?

While the Sun was out, I took a walk in the forest near my place, and captured a good photos of the trees. By lunch I was wearing only a t-shirt, and there was no threat of rain. It was a good day after that.

Maple Leaf - Fort Langley BC May 26 2014 Weblog Image

This leaf was blown off during the little rain storm this morning.

The Forest in Glen valley May 26 2014 - Weblog Image

You cannot have West Coast trees without at least one tree having fungus all over it. These were taken across from my place.

Pink Blossoms – A Good Sign

Finally, after being a few weeks late this year, the tree right beside my living room window sprouted its pink blossoms. When I first seen this last year, I was amazed at how much it lit up my living room during the mid afternoon period when the Sun is right over head.  The tree acts like a giant light reflector, changing the ambient light to a light purple colour inside. Today I thought I had to wear sunglasses when I was sitting in my living room because it was so bright.

Pink Tree Blossoms - April 26 2014 Weblog Image

Here is a shot of the tree, looking up, of the pink blossoms.

The tree beside it will turn red in about month too, so my living room have a orange glow from it when that happens. But then during the rest of summer there will nothing but green leaves in front of my windows. The apple tree by my bedroom window is also starting to sprout its blossoms, again it is also a little late this year from the cooler than normal start to spring. I can pick apples from my window there when they ripe–if I wanted to.

When I was taking these shots of the pink blossoms that was when I noticed how dirty my camera was. Tonight I will sit down with it and give my lenses and the camera’s censor a good cleaning. I will probably do a lens calibration on my newest lens, since I have not had time to do that since I bought it. Hey, I may get even sharper images from it?

Also, just looking at the long range weather forecast, Environment Canada is saying that we are in for glorious above 20C weather by next Thursday! That may just start the unthawing of my cold bones from this winter. I think I would welcome a good blast of heat for a week or two. This may play havoc with flooding this summer on the river, but I will cross that bridge when the time comes, but for now–give me the heat!

My Walk to West Creek (The End of My Driveway)

It was just a quick walk. The Sun is almost hitting that golden hour where the light is ideal for some great shooting with my camera, so I walked just down the road. I drive by this creak almost everyday, and some times I complain why I did not have a camera with me during those trips at certain times. Today, it cleared, with just a few clouds, and there was lots of wildlife in the swampy areas by the creek. So, here are four photos during my twenty minute walk down by the creek at the end of my driveway.

Fort langley Green May 16 2013 sm image

Swamp plants.

West Creek Fort Langley - May 16 2013 sm image

West Creek, or the Fraser River’s high water mark – above photo. Very Nice day!

Fish - West Creek - Fort Langley May 16 2013 sm image

These are fish right along the edge of my driveway. The Fraser River is nearing it’s spring run off, so the water level is really high. This is, technically, the Fraser River. I should note that my home is well above the flood level.

Tree Branch - May 16 2013 sm image

I like the above image becuase of the bokey, the light green background, and the almost translucent leave.

The day turned out great. I hope this carries on into the weekend!

Why Zippy the Wonder Slug is So Happy

I had a chance to venture outside with the camera to the “lower 40,” as my landlord calls it. The water has risen. The cause of the minor flooding is not from all the rain, but from the Fraser River slowly rising in its annual flooding season. What impressed me the most from all this water is the wildlife, including thousands of black slugs in the grass.

Zippy The Wonder Slug May 13 2013 sm image

There were a hand full of slugs crossing the road too, but this one was creeping up the bank, to the side of the road, so I shot him with the camera.

Glenn Valley 01 May 13 2013 sm image

The name of this creek is called West Creek, named after my landlord’s family. This sort of gives you an idea of how long their family has lived on this land.

Glenn Valley 02 May 13 2013 sm image

I am hoping that with all of this water, the mosquito population does not explode. I remember last year very well–Fort Langley was just one big swarm of these little pests.

So, to answer why Zippy the Wonder Slug is so happy; it is the moisture and warm weather that seems to make these guys go nuts, and travel along the road where the ground is nice and warm. I have only seen this many slugs in one area before in my life, and that was when I was living up in Terrace, BC. I just might have to keep a salt-shaker handy if they creep on my home.