The Treacherous, but Breathtaking Trip to Bella Coola

If you have been following along, you probably remember when I had the opportunity to check out Bella Coola this summer. Bella who-la? Wha?

Bella Coola is a very small community in BC, Canada. A 10-hour drive from where I live to be exact. My boyfriend Mason’s sister wedding was held there so a large group of us made a trek from Kelowna for this event.

Oh my goodness, getting to Bella Coola you guys? That is something else. There is only one road to get to Bella Coola, and that is the highway coming from Williams Lake. From Williams Lake to Bella Coola is a 5-hour drive, with no service the entire time. The “highway” itself is one of the sketchiest roads I’ve ever taken. The first part of the highway seems normal, until it eventually turns into gravel road. Which I think I’m alright with at the time? You know, what could be wrong with that.

But no you guys, no. The gravel road suddenly turns into this area called “The Hill”. Yep, just how it sounds.

For approximately 30 km, all travelers have to trek down this steep mountain on this narrow gravel road. And I mean, I felt nervous being in a car. What if you were driving a large truck or on a bus? You could barely fit on the road!

I remember looking over the edge where there are no barriers to protect you from falling and thinking, “whew, glad I am not driving”. The driver has to be so so careful! The worst part is, we were driving this in the summer time. I have no clue how one would drive this in the winter when it’s snowy and icy. If something happened, you can’t even call for help as there’s no service?!

I am thinking at this point, who the heck would want to live here?! But after finally arriving, I see why people would want to live in Bella Coola. The water looked like the color of an emerald jewel: a mix of ocean and glacier water. Mountains so high that they look like frozen wrinkles on a sea.

There is no service in this town. Sometimes I could get one bar, but most of the time not. It is very isolated. Bella Coola consists of an Indian tribe that resides as a reservation surrounding the village of Bella Coola and along the Bella Coola River. That being said, almost all the locals have animals. Dogs were always running around without leashes. Chickens and other farm animals were also free to run around. I guess that’s why you call them “free-range chickens” lol.

One grocery store was available to do all your groceries. And by groceries, it’s not what you think. There ain’t no Natures Fare here. Because Bella Coola is in the middle of nowhere, it’s more difficult to receive shipments so the cost of everything is way more expensive. I remember one day I was craving some fresh fruit. A small batch of raspberries was almost ten bucks. We went to the liquor store one day around 6:00pm, and it was closed. What a place!!!!
I had never been anywhere like this before. But you know what? It’s beautiful. The wedding was stunning as it was outside in a field right up against the mountain. Where could you find a natural venue as stunning as that?

Bella Coola is a different way of life. It did make me feel a little claustrophobic knowing that the only way out was to go through “The Hill”. Or, take the tiniest plane imaginable and fly out. But despite all these things, I would go back in a heartbeat. Have you been to Bella Coola?

-Jenna xoxo

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