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Return to Misty Moorings - Trip Tic

Destination: Fairfax Lake Campground

Route Notes

  • This Scenery is for "Return to Misty Moorings" only.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2500 feet then 1200 feet
  • Landing zone is: Water does not freeze in winter
  • GPS for destination: N52 42.29 W131 58.28 Alt 78 feet
  • Print-Able copy HERE

Fairfax Lake Campground

Another challenging and scenic destination awaits you here. Moresby Island is dominated by the San Christoval Mountains and the vegetation on the island changes the higher up you go on the mountain sides. Some of the vegetation on the island has evolved differently from the same type of ecosystem on the mainland of British Columbia, becoming its own subspecies.

As for wildlife, prepare to see deer, bears, moose and even wolves have been spotted in the vicinity. Several different bird of prey can be seen hunting near the Lake. There are Golden Eagles, Great Gray Owls, Peregrine Falcons, Osprey, and scores of Bald Eagles.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the old abandoned copper mine at Tasu Inlet. You'll see what's left of the once thriving Tasu village as well but your destination is a hard to reach campsite on the south shore of Fairfax Lake. There is no dock to moor up to here. Just the shoreline of the lake so you better remember to bring those wader's. The trout fishing here is excellent whether your casting along the rivers edge or standing on the shoreline of the Lake.

TreeTop VFR Plans

FROM: Sandspit (CYZP)
TO: Fairfax Lake Campground

We will be taking of from Sandspit Airport. The hamlet of Sandspit, the Gateway to Gwaii Haanas, is well located on the northeastern tip of Moresby Island. The only settlement on Moresby Island, Sandspit lines both sides of the low-lying spit of land protruding into Hecate Strait that houses the airstrip, the main airport for Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. A 25-minute ferry crossing connects Alliford Bay on Moresby Island with Skidegate Landing on Graham Island, the terminal for ferries from Prince Rupert on the BC mainland.

Course: When we take off, we'll fly to a heading of 177 to come onto the course we want. Altitude should hold at 2500 feet. It is about 12 miles to our next waypoint,

The Sandspit Airport we just left behind is located on the largest area of flat land on Moresby Island, which protrudes out between Hecate Strait and Shingle Bay. The Sandspit Airport is the major transportation gateway to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) offering charter and regularly scheduled passenger services, air ambulance, and other services. Every year over 40,000 passengers travel through Sandspit Airport, and close to 14,000 aircraft take off or land annually. There are two scheduled daily flights from Vancouver to Sandspit, and one from Prince Rupert.

Sandspit's history goes back to at least one ancient Haida Village, Kil, which was situated east of Haans Creek. The first settlers at Sandspit established farms and ranches around the grassy flats, but there is only scant evidence of their homesteads and past presence today.

Moresby Island, which is 2.3 mikes long and 1.4 miles across, was first settled in 1863. It was named for Rear Admiral Fairfax Moresby R.N., who was the naval commander-in-chief of the Pacific Station of the Royal Navy between 1850 and 1853, as was also Fairfax Point at the island's southern tip. The island has been logged three times by separate Chinese logging companies. The evidence of this logging is nearly gone, although traces of the trails built for the machines can be found. It has a very rich history, including a ghost story, the remains of a long-gone mansion, and evidence of First Nations people using the island as a resting place when traveling.

One of the first industries in 1910 was a dogfish oilery, followed by a fish cannery in 1913. Today, transportation and logging are the mainstays of the Sandspit economy, with tourism following close behind.

COURSE: Over Skidegate Lake, Maintain Heading and altitude.

The Skidegate Lake area is a big time player in the harvest and export of Chanterelle Mushrooms. Like all delicacies, the mushrooms are an annual and are unpredictable so harvests can vary. One of the difficulties is all the logging in the area which hurts because the Chanterelles only grow in second-growth forests.

The area has also been known to attract bird watchers and wildlife seekers. The wildlife in the area includes Black Bears, deer, Bald Eagles, etc. As of just recently a new species of lamprey in British Columbia was found at Skidegate Lake. Adequately, today, the bird is called the Skidegate Lamprey.

We next fly over the Hecate Straight. To port, New Clew a small community about 5 miles distant, is believed to be the site of the historically important Haida village of Tanu or TlanĂș and has been cited by anthropologist Wilson Duff as being "of historical importance". "Kloo" is the word in the Skidegate dialect of the Haida language for "canoe".

COURSE: Drop down to 1200 feet. Ahead to starboard is a small island, and ahead a low peak. At the small island, turn to port following the channel beside the peak. Your heading should be about 150. This heading will change ... follow the channel.

The channel will narrow then come out into a wider area. There is another inlet to starboard. Continue past this inlet to your next waypoint.

COURSE: At the NEXT inlet to the right, turn into it. This is Sewell Inlet. Your heading will be roughly 225, but follow the inlet.

COURSE: Fly the inlet, although you will see it is blocked with land here and there ... continue heading and altitude. Eventually this becomes a valley. Continue to fly up the valley adjusting heading as necessary

COURSE: The valley will turn sharply to port ... continue to follow its course. Once you have made the sharp turn, you will again be over water. Set a heading of 141 and follow the channel.

COURSE: Ahead is a tall point, we will fly to the left of it over a small peninsula and fly up the channel there. The channel is narrow and about at your 11 o'clock. Maintain 1200 feet. You are at Tasu.

Tasu is the site of a former iron ore and copper mine and community in remote Tasu Sound. The mine operated from 1967 to 1983, and was supported by a town site that included several apartment buildings, a hotel, general store, bakery, cafeteria, dining room and pub, as well as a school and recreation center with swimming pool. Access was by floatplane or boat. The residents of Tasu had regular visits from the families at Sewell Inlet logging camp nearby.

The BC government briefly considered using the town site for a prison after the mine closed, but when those plans were dropped the town site was demolished.

COURSE: You are approaching the Tasu Inlet and the channel will be forming a Y intersection. Go almost straight ahead through the narrow opening. Prepare for water landing on the other side of the gap on the SHORT lake there. That is Fairfax Lake and your cabin is straight ahead on the far shore.

Welcome to Fairfax Lake Campground. (How's the heart rate? take a deep breath, you made it!)

Doug Linn
Charter Manager
Misty Moorings, Inc