Della Falls, the easy way

Ever since moving to Vancouver Island I’ve wanted to see Della Falls, one of the highest in Canada, right here on Vancouver Island.

So when my friend John asked me some time ago if I’d like to go for a flight on his plane, and if so where, I immediately said, “Yes, Della Falls!”  That day finally came on a sunny Sunday afternoon this April.  I met John at the Victoria Flying Club, where he keeps his Cessna 152, and after a safety check and a fuel-up, we took off over the town of Sidney.

 

Sidney Marinas
Sidney Marinas

After flying over Lake Cowichan the scenery started to change, with mountain wilderness in all directions.  We flew over the Alberni Inlet and Sproat Lake.  Della Falls runs into Drinkwater Creek, which flows along the bottom of a deep valley into Great Central Lake.  We couldn’t fly up the valley, as it comes to an abrupt end against some steep slopes, and the airplane wouldn’t be able to ascend quickly enough.  So we flew over Della Lake, the source of the falls, before circling back and almost dropping into the valley.  That drop was a bit nerve-wracking but John handled it like a pro, and once we were in the valley we had a great view of the falls.

Della Lake, still frozen over - the falls are on the far side of the lake
Della Lake, still frozen over – the falls spill over on the far side of the lake
Approaching Mount Tom Taylor, elevation 1,789 metres
Approaching Mount Tom Taylor, elevation 1,789 metres
Della Falls
Della Falls

After seeing the 440 metre high waterfall we flew over Great Central Lake.  Hiking to the base of the falls requires a 35km crossing of this lake to the trailhead, followed by a 7 hour, 15km hike to the base of the falls.  Maybe another day.

We stopped at the Port Alberni airport to refuel – it was my first time landing at an airport that was deserted, no other people whatsoever.  Flying home over Cowichan Bay and the Cowichan Valley, John let me take the controls and do some S turns with his airplane.

At the Port Alberni airport
At the Port Alberni airport
Cowichan Bay
Cowichan Bay

As we landed back at Victoria International Airport we had a great view of my house and neighbourhood.

Approaching YYJ's main runway
Approaching YYJ’s main runway
My neighbourhood
My house and neighbourhood

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