Day 23, Tie up to Waterfall and No Fuel

We had to get up before sunrise and the off the dock just after sunrise due to the timing of the slack current. Julie was a great sport even though we had been up late with another wonderful long dinner at the resort and neither one of us wanted to be getting up at that time. We headed down to Sechelt to get some gas. I noticed on departure that even though the runway to the West is desirable because it is down sloping, off the end of it there is a large canyon and then a tree covered ridge that is above the departure end of the runway and it has a large set of power lines on the right that would prevent you from turning and following the Canyon to the right. The Husky did not have a problem climbing over the ridge, but I could feel the downdraft as we went over the canyon and I certainly did not like the departure situation.

(Note: there will be more on this in the Day 25 post) We then headed up Salmon Inlet to look at possibly landing on an alpine lake called Phantom Lake which is at about 4000 feet elevation in the mountains. The flight there was gorgeous!  We climbed up to 6500 feet and it gave us a new perspective of the enormous mountain range all along that part of British Columbia.  Whistler was just two canyons to our right, and we certainly could have flown over there in about 20 minutes if we wanted to, but we were enjoying the calm morning air and I would not want to be around those mountains as things warmed up and turbulence started coming off of everything. We flew over Phantom Lake and we certainly could have landed there. I expect we would have had an easy departure but I had not had the chance to talk to local pilots about how the mountain winds behave as things warm up and my instruments were already showing that because of above average temperatures the density altitude (that represents how thin the air is) was almost 2,000 ft above actual attitude and that would mean to the plane it would feel like it was taking off at 6000 feet.  That definitely would give us poor takeoff performance. We headed back down valley enjoying the sightseeing and looked over Clowhom Lake. It was a nice lake but it definitely had some deadhead logs floating around and the inlet rivers looked a little difficult with shallows and stumps and rocks. We also took a very careful look at the outlet end where we would be climbing out on take-off because I knew the winds would be picking up soon and there were some very big power lines strung across the canyon down there. It looked like we had plenty of room but we needed us to memorize where everything was before we made our take off later. We decided to land and check out one of the waterfalls that was coming into the side of the lake. It did not look like I had a chance of getting up to the shore with all the rocks but it looked like it would be beautiful to taxi close to. When we got close it was a gorgeous waterfall and the way the sandbar was and because the wind was still calm in that part of the lake, I dropped an anchor offshore and kept adding rope as I paddled backwards to the rocks. It worked out okay and I was able to get the plane positioned in a safe place as long as there was no wind. Here is a short YouTube

Right as we finished that video we noticed what seemed like large boat wake swells coming up on shore. It was wind swells being generated from the strong winds farther down the lake we knew that if those winds got to us in that position the plane would probably be pushed into the trees and rocks so we jumped on the plane and drove it offshore dragging the anchor. The departure was fine, we had carefully memorized a path that did not have any logs so we just back taxied enough of it that we could confirm nothing new blew into our way. At the far end of the lake on take off there was definitely rough air and very strong winds but we did not have a problem getting out into the main inlet. We then flew back past the marina and around Harmony Island Marine Provincial Park looking for bears or wolves along the shoreline. We did not see any but there is a beautiful waterfall, Frey Lake Falls that comes down the cliff there.

We then headed about 10 miles West to Powell River airport for gas. I taxied up to the pumps and a guy came out and informed us that the airport had not had fuel for 7 years. We chatted with him for a while and he was about to take his Cessna 180 that is on amphibs also out flying so we tagged along with him and over the radio he gave us a tour and pointers of Powell Lake and some of the other lakes around there. We then then enjoyed flying across some other mountain Lake sightseeing and again over the Skookumchuck Narrows that is just South of the marina. It has a crazy amount of tidal water that goes back and forth through it with the tides. It creates big standing waves and rapids that is popular for surfers but has caused many deaths including a coast guard boat and a big tug boat flipping over.

And then we landed back at the marina for one last night at the lodge.