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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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The Dean River Chronicles Part 2(Magic Carpet Ride)

Posted by Mark Saturday, April 16, 2011

We rolled into Nimpo Lake tattered from the road. We grabbed a room and were asleep before our heads hit the pillows. A few hours sleep was all we could manage as we were awakened by the early morning sun and our renewed desire to get to Bella Coola. We ate a quick breakfast at the little cafe and hit the road, all of us chomping at the bit.

We drove through some beautiful country, stunning really is a better word. The plateau that we had been driving across soon gave way to a more mountainous terrain as we came into the Eastern edge of Tweedsmere Provincial Park. Then comes "The Hill", a steep gnarly down grade of many miles that drops like a rock to the valley floor. You definitely don't want to loose your brakes on this one! A jaw dropping ride ensues downward through a series of switchbacks with sheer rock cliffs on the up hill side and no guard rail and certain death off of the downhill side. Oh yeah, the road is not paved and rock slides and washouts are the norm. This road into Bella Coola is closed in the winter and everything must come in by air. Better stock up!

As we drive down from the top, the terrain and vegetation change from a dry almost high desert look to the much greener,lush vegetation of the coastal rain forest. Pine trees and scrub oak are replaced by cedar,fir,hemlock,alder and cottonwood. We make it to the bottom after a slow easy ride down. We are now in the land of big trees and soaring, snow covered mountain peaks all around. Crystal clear rivers and creeks flow out of every little drainage as we head to the idyllic little town of Hagensborg.  This is where the airport is and where we would catch our heli-flight to heaven.


 Bella Coola

We arrived at the airport and laid out our gear for the ride. A 14ft pontoon and a 9ft pontoon would be our transportation  once we hit the river.All the food in coolers with dry ice and block ice. The menu would include food like rib eye steaks, ahi steaks, cheese stuffed tortellini pasta and much more. We were living right! We met the heli pilot and made all the arrangements,including things like giving them numbers to loved ones if we never made it back alive. We loaded the bird and climbed in for a ride we would never forget.

As we lifted off from the airport and followed the glacial white Bella Coola river up and away, we slowly gained altitude and started the climb up over the 7 or so passes we needed to cross to put us in the Upper Dean river below Kalone Creek. As we flew, it was really hard to wrap my mind around the country we were in.

The heli ride in is always a highlight of the trip.If cruising along at 80-100 mph just feet off the ground doesn't get you pumped to catch some steelhead, nothing will!

See for yourself.

We never landed at any time on the way in. But,as you will see in the pics, the pilot made sure we had a real good look at the ground as we crawled our way up and over these passes. Too fun man!

Check out the entire area here-Satellite Map of Dean River and surrounding areas

More to come in this series. Up next, some actual fishing stories! Stay tuned


  1. Ken Campbell Says:
  2. More please.....

  3. Mark Says:
  4. Getting to the goods now!


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