Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Night Flight

Weekdays can be fun, but it's been a long time since any weekday activities have made it to the Trail. Time to end that streak.
I was in Valdez for work Tuesday and Wednesday. Foul weather almost kept me on the ground in Anchorage, but the plane was able to make it through the banks of Prince William Sound fog.
Later Tuesday night, I went for a run up Mineral Creek, just outside "downtown" Vdz, under parting skies. That would have been a pretty nice night, made only better by feeding my tired legs with some fresh halibut and my eyes with views of the Valdez harbor, when I got a text from my boss in Valdez, Joe about going for an evening flight.
Joe, born and raised in Valdez, has a Super Cub he uses to explore the lonely beaches and ridges of the sound. PWS is a pretty inaccessible area, buried deep in snow for most of the year, and covered by dense vegetation the rest, but from the air, it's there for the taking.

We left the airport around 8:30, and covered a lot of ground for the short amount of daylight left, checking out valleys, ridges, and bays; spotting goats; putting down on the Columbia Glacier; and having a little fun skimming down low over sea, snow, and rock. We made it back just a bit before midnight and had to turn the lights on on the runway to land.

We circled over Robe Lake and made a fly-by of Joe's sister's house. When we came back by she was out waving. It's a small town. Above are the swirls of sockeye that were less excited to see us at the inlet to the lake. The spawners must have thought we were the biggest eagle they'd laid eyes on.

Flying up Solomon Lake.

The Valdez Marine Terminal, the end of the trans Alaska pipeline, with the Alaskan Explorer in port.

Allison Lake, elevation 1,354, still covered in ice on July 24. Read that again and think about it...

Jack Bay.

Turner Lake.

An icy Columbia Bay. The bergs have broken from the Columbia Glacier.

Joe and his wings on a branch of the Columbia Glacier. We put down to stretch our legs a bit. No surprise, it was pretty cold.

Joe, throwing rocks off the ice. The rocks are sharp and jagged, well worth avoiding.

Where the ice meets the sea.

Too bad there's no perspective here.

No comments: