sunny flight wif muh Honey

Took a relaxing, sunny flight with my ex-girlfriend this Sunday morning. When we arrived at Merrill Field, there was too much ice on the wings to (safely) takeoff. So we prepped the cub, loaded the gear in, and went for coffee at Sagaya’s. What better way to enjoy coffee and tea, than watching the sun rise over the Chugach Mountains and start melting the ice offa your plane. Once the ice was melted, about 0830, we took off for Knik Glacier.

Prime ice berg season in Colony Glacier Lake

Prime ice berg season in Colony Glacier Lake

The weather was excellent. Sunny with fall temperatures. Which is perfect for me, but the backseater got her feet a little chilled. I’ll install the rear seat heater hose same time as installing skis on the cub…soon. And while there were winds flowing down Knik, Colony and Lake George Glaciers, they was steady winds, not turbulent.

Next flights I’ll practice opening the window to take photos. Instead of shooting thru the window and catching the sun’s glare. My gunner took some primo photos tho.

Fog over Eagle River

Fog over Eagle River

Jim Lake against the mountain, Gull Lake (I believe) in the foreground

Jim Lake against the mountain, Gull Lake (I believe) in the foreground

Flying along the face of the never-ending Knik Glacier

Flying along the face of the never-ending Knik Glacier

Flying up the Knik Glacier Gorge

Flying up the Knik Glacier Gorge

More Gorge

More Gorge

Whiteout Glacier

Whiteout Glacier

Flying across Lake George Glacier

Flying across Lake George Glacier

Flying down Lake George Glacier

Flying down Lake George Glacier

About to leave the shadows of Lake George River for a sunnier valley

About to leave the shadows of Lake George River for a sunnier valley

Difficult to line up a photo of the arches without the sun’s glint

Difficult to line up a photo of the arches without the sun’s glint

Headed down the Gorge

Headed down the Gorge

A castle lookin ice berg guarding the outlet of Knik Glacier Lake

A castle lookin ice berg guarding the outlet of Knik Glacier Lake

Mid Knik River Valley

Mid Knik River Valley

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accidents happen

Sometimes things happen in a way you don’t wish.

So you just take the hook out his back, make sure he swims away hump side up, and keep fishin for Dollies.

This is what to do during off hours when you’re in Kodiak to hydrotest the Coast Guard base jet fuel hydrant piping. Lotsa fun.

Why do they call it a Humpy?

Why do they call it a Humpy?

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flight date 8.30.2014:

A solo and totally relaxing flight towards Talachulitna River from Merrill Field. 2 hour round-trip, light winds, and lots of sunlight beaming thru the greenhouse glass (Cub’s roof).

Another beautiful flying day at the beginning of fall with many, many planes bombing around Susitna valley.

While crossing Knik Arm northbound, and then returning south over the mouth of Knik River, a half dozen Belugas were chasing something unseen underwater. Those Belugas don’t surface enough to provide good photo opportunities. I usually see the Belugas surface after I’ve flown past, where only a contortionist could turn around and point the camera.

Approaching Eagle River valley

Approaching Eagle River valley

Home-Sweet-Home (AKA Fire Lake)

Home-Sweet-Home (AKA Fire Lake)

Typical Susitna Valley flatlands

Northbound between Yentna and Big Su

Crossing the Yentna at Twenty Mile Slough

Crossing the Yentna at Twenty Mile Slough

Alaska rice paddies, between Yentna and 8 Mile Strip

Alaska rice paddies, between Yentna and 8 Mile Strip

More rice paddies between the Yentna and Beluga Mtn

More rice paddies between the Yentna and Beluga Mtn

Confluence of the Yentna and Big Su

Confluence of the Yentna and Big Su

Belugas racing up Knik Arm, like Russain submarines

Belugas racing up Knik Arm, like Russian submarines

A barely perceptable white whale cruisin beneath the surface between my tire and shadow

A barely perceptable white whale cruisin beneath the surface between my tire and shadow

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to moose camp we went

A very fun trip. As usual, many stories were shared over many beers.

Me at first crossing

Me at first crossing

We drove to moose camp this July fifth – me to work at our new camp, father-in-law to lift and work on his cabin, and Brown & Carm to continue interior work on Brown’s new cabin.

I also wanted to bring our Kawaski Mule up there and leave it, so I can fly in and get up to the pass easier. The pass has the best probability of finding caribou. And my daughters love caribou steak over steak from moose or any other critter. I’m partial to the caribou pepper sticks from Delta Meats.

The trip is about 30 miles to the lake. With 20 of that in, or along the river, and 10 along the trail. Brown and I were both stuck in the mud once. The mud loaded up our tires and the driving tires just slipped. Just a short tug from the winch popped us out.

The river level wasn’t too high. Some of the river crossings seemed a little carved out and banks were definitely steeper. Maybe the river bed will smooth out as summer continues. A track hoe, loader, and deuce-n-a half drove up the river to their mine a week or so before us. So they had cleared trees and made a new trail around where the river carved into the trail. Definitely made a couple spots easier for us – or we would’ve had to fall trees and make new trail.

I heard early July is about the earliest driving in is practical. In mid-June the snow has not completely melted and trail is very soft. This is the earliest I’ve driven up the river. All other years I drive up at moose season, which used to start in August, now in September.

My F-I-L and several others drive up the river each July 4th weekend and spend a few weeks working on cabins or camps. It’s really their excuse to get away from it all. I’d join ‘em if’n I were retired.

There are several river crossings on this epic journey, I only photo’ed at few, and Brown shot a couple x’ings with his iPhone.

Still me at first crossing

Still me at first crossing

Brown & Carm at second crossing

Brown & Carm at second crossing

F-I-L at second crossing

F-I-L at second crossing

Me at second crossing

Me at second crossing

TW landed on riverbed to BS

TW landed on riverbed to BS

His nice Piper PA-12 - at heart it's a three place Super Cub

His nice Piper PA-12 – at heart it’s a three place Super Cub

Me at the Narrows

Me at the Narrows

Brown & Carm crossing above the Narrows

Brown & Carm crossing above the Narrows

F-I-L thought he broke an axle

F-I-L thought he broke an axle

We all heard a grinding noise from his truck on his third attempt to climb out of the river, so he shut it down so we could winch him out, and prevent damage to his gears. We took the left rear axle out, and it was fine. So took the left rear axle out, and it was OK too. We could not locate the noise source, so F-I-L decided to drive slowly to his cabin, instead of leaving his truck on the river 12 miles away.

Winching F-I-L up bank & out of river

Winching F-I-L up bank & out of river

After driving up river about a mile, the grinding sound disappeared. We all assumed a rock had caught somewhere, and finally fell out.

F-I-L's cabin

F-I-L’s cabin

I helped F-I-L jack up his cabin in four areas and place more cribbing under the main beams.

The frame for Dad's cook tent at his camp

The frame for Dad’s cook tent at his camp

So much for the theory of porcupines not eating treated wood. The porkys do not eat the green pressure treated wood tho. Just the brown (painted?) treated wood.

Rainy & misty flight out

Rainy & misty flight out

This crick is the highest salmon run on this river

This crick is as high as salmon run on this river

I had to get up to Fairbanks on Friday 11th to watch my daughter’s figure skating competition. And without a working winch, I wasn’t sure I’d make it out the river in time – driving by myself, as F-I-L and Brown were staying another week.

So a friend/guide of my F-I-L’s flew up in his Super Cub, then flew me forty miles out to his house. I’m sure he hesitated before flying up the river to get me that morning, as the clouds were low and a steady rain was falling. It’s not so much that he doubted he’d make it up the river, but the worry, at least for me in these instances, is the clouds would drop lower and then be stuck up there for awhile.

I’m now planning my return trip to retrieve our deuce. Brown is thinking of making a weekend run up the river with a load of cabin materials. I’d like to ride with him up the river, help him unload, and then drive out when he leaves. Or pay someone to fly me up to the miner’s strip, and drive out.

And I have parts for my winch to ease that anxiety.

Good trip with fun folks.

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a relaxing, sunny hike

Another excellent hike up Mt. Baldy tonight with dog.

After my trip to Boston, I need to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible. Those ant farms big cities are claustrophobic.

A whupped, yet happy, Piper

A whupped, yet happy, Piper

When my ex-girlfriend and daughters return home from Boston, I pray they’re craving the great outdoors too.

I plan to go flying tomorrow morning, provided fog isn’t lying around like this morning.

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first batch of 2014

The Raspberries are much darker red, or purpler, in person.

Our daughters will have homemade Raspberry jam again soon, as the next (and a much larger) crop will be ready in a few days.

sweet, sweet, sweet

sweet, sweet, sweet

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new tires

The hunting camp buggy gots new tires.

While it’s not a high-speed sporty rig like a Commander or Rhino, the 2″ lift kit and taller tires will cruise over most large rocks on the riverbed. The lugs will also help crawl thru the beaver swamps.

Zee Mule in front of father-in-laws house in Tok

Zee Mule in front of father-in-laws house in Tok

A couple more inches of ground clearance

A couple more inches of ground clearance

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