Once again, we woke at 5am in Kelowna and scurried to our plane, to beat an influx of forecast dense smoke. We decided to wave the white flag and give up on flying the interior of BC this summer, as we were feeling rather ragged by avoiding smoke and forest fires. Instead, we flew to Gillies Bay, Texada Island (CYGB) on the west coast, elevation 326, ATF 122.7, rwys 14 & 32 (slightly uphill), Avgas available.
An isolated little airstrip that welcomes camping pilots, the Texada airport is a quiet haven where the cries of hawks and rat-a-tap-tap of woodpeckers echoes from the surrounding forest.
Be forewarned that occasionally there are deer on the runway. Overnight camping is by donation. There is a flush toilet, and potable running water available—yay!!
Upon landing, we headed down to the ocean along a delightful winding old logging road that descends from the airport to the island’s western coastline.
Absolutely quiet save for the sound of waves on the shore and the occasional cry of a loon, it’s a spectacular spot overlooking the Strait of Georgia.Texada Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands on the sunshine Coast of BC and offers a plethora of hiking trails and beaches. After the challenges of flying the smoky interior of BC, it was balm on the nerves to unwind in such a serene setting.
The Ravenous Raven Lodge & Restaurant (604 486-0471) offers free airport-pick up & return to pilots wishing to dine or sleep at their picturesque facilities, as does, I believe, the Texada Island Inn pub (604 486 7711). Because we had our four-legged companion, we opted to cook dinner on our campstove before curling up for the evening in our tent, delighted that, at last, we were camping– without concerns for smoke grounding our next days’ plan.
And then, of course, it poured rain all night! With a thunderstorm!