Getting nowAIR - Part 1

Let's start this blog post with a short hiatus, allowing you to vent to your significant other (or whoever else is with you) about the terrible pun in the title.


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I was hunting around for some scenic photography spots using Google Earth (my favorite tool. Really. If you don't already have it installed, go ahead and do it. The Pro version is free and has helped me immensely in planning shoots and outings.) and stumbled upon an interesting thing:

Apologies for the resolution. This image has as many pixels to it as I have followers on Facebook. Why don't you go ahead and give that page a like? It helps a ton!

I had no idea there was an airport north of Stave Lake. A quick search told me that the airport is abandoned . Bummer. But the linked video also shows a harsh, if not impossible to navigate shore near the airfield, and no other way for whoever built it to bring supplies by water. 

Considering a lot of those small airports are mainly used for refueling and rescue operations, not having a way to truck in supplies (or heavy machinery to build the runway, for that matter) is weird. There's got to be a road leading to it. I can drive on roads. QED: I can drive there, therefore I want to get there very badly.

Abandoned airports, in addition to being very cool, provide tons of opportunities for good photos. They also are the place by excellence to practice some sweet drifting techniques. There's also some great pictures of sunken logs posted by Richie So on his blog. Needless to say, I want some images of that.

There's a few things that may get in the way of me driving there:

Gross. Stumps like these are old, and there's no visible path from the shore to the runway from the lake.

  1. The road could have been built a long time ago, and might today be overgrown.
  2.  The road could have been decommissioned and bridges may be torn down
  3. There's a landing area for barges somewhere off-frame, and the video is simply not sharp enough to see it
  4. The road may be gated
  5. The airport is really a marker for the arrival of Xenu, and therefore does not conform to your mortal realm and needs no road nor callsigns
  6. The airport was designed by Doc Brown

While I'm fairly certain the last two objections won't be a true problem for this expedition, the top 4 might be deal breakers. Problem is, Google Earth's resolution of the area is too low to discern gates or broken bridges. Time to bust out the good old paper maps. 

You know things get real when I bust BRMB out

Sponsor of all the times I got stuck in a mudpit

I love paper maps, notebooks, pens and ink. I love ink so much I have some under my skin.

Back Roads Map Book is THE reference for back country roads. I've amassed quite a collection of their books over time, and tend to go to them whenever I get stuck. For reference, the rest of this article is written using the 4th edition for Vancouver, Coast & Mountains BC, page 13 (Stave Lake).

Uh oh. The Stave Lake FSR appears to be standing on its own at the end of the lake. 

This solves the whole "Bringing supplies in" problem. Welcome Point has a dock where a barge might moor, to bring in trucks and supplies. This complicates things, as I'm just one barge short of owning a barge.

A rough little 4x4 road seems to end just above (around 1km) Welcome Point. I'm hoping someone built a trail there that I can use to get down the mountain. That, however, means no cool drifts on the old runway. Oh well.

The grade seems quite steep, so most likely no mountains biking down the hill. I'm thinking of carrying a bike on my back and getting on it for the last 4km of the road before the airfield.

This is why I like paper maps. Drawing, annotating, and mostly defacing a screen is never as satisfying and practical. Most of my notebooks end up like this after a year or so!

While this puts a big dent in my "let's drive to the airport" plan, it looks like it might still be possible to access the airfield with a regular bike and a jeep. Next step is trying out the itinerary! Stay tuned for part 2, where I most certainly won't tumble down a big hill with a bike on my back and land in the water.

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This article written using minimal amounts of caffeine and liberal amounts of The White Panda.  While I am not affiliated with BRMB, I do strongly endorse their products and encourage you to visit their website. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or comments!