The climber that I was picking up took this shot. It’s on the Matanuska Glacier at approximately 5000′. This spot can brew up some nasty, nasty weather. But when it’s nice the view is just stunning. The predominate mountain in this image is Denmark peak. Mt. Marcus Baker (the tallest peak in the Chugach Mt. Range @ 13,176 feet) is just a few miles from heret. I have picked clients up from this location that claimed winds near 100 mph. This is an excellent location for skiers in the spring. It is only a 15 minute flight from my house and I would love to show you.
I was working outside today and it was really cold, and I needed a little piece of summer, and I decided to share it with you.
My brother was flying my Super Cub so I was laying in the grass taking pictures. This is the Talkeetna mountain range. This is an awesome place to spend a few days backpacking around. Not far from here (2 hour hike) there is a turquoise mountain lake draining into a steep gorge with several large waterfalls. Caribou are usually running around feeding… and doing the caribou thing, running in no particular direction for no particular reason. There are also lots of sheep in this area so a pair of binoculars and a good camera is a must. I still come here several times each summer just to run around and stretch my legs. It’s a spot that I wish I could show everyone. I don’t think the mountain in the background has a name, but I have always called it “snaggle tooth”. Come check it out.
I was flying transects through the Kashwitna drainage this afternoon and we kept making this turn right over the river. I think it deserved a picture. There was a 40 degree temperature inversion today just 1000 feet off the ground. It was 25 degrees in the air and -15 on the ground. I know it was that cold on the ground because we landed not far from here to stretch our legs.
Temperature inversions often come with winds. Today was no exception, and it made me wish it was smooth like yesterday again. The bumpy days always make you realize just how nice the nice days are. Kind of like life.
The sunrise this morning turned Mt. Mckinley, Foraker, and Hunter bright pink. It was a good way to start a great day.
This is Denali, Foraker, and Hunter after the sun was up.
There was nearly a foot of snow on the ground but very little overflow. All the tracks are mine. I was testing the snow/ice conditions before I commited by coming to a full stop. When ever I land on a lake in the winter I pop the door open before I stop sliding…just incase I happened to find that thin spot in the ice.
Heading home it was another awesome sunset. I was thoroughly enjoying it, but I was also ready to get on the ground and stretch after nearly 7.5 hours of being airborne.
Looking up the Kashwitna drainage during sunset. You can see where the frost formed on the trees nearer the moisture.
Home sweet home…ready to stretch my legs. You can see Palmer, and the Butte with Pioneer Peak in the backdrop.
Short video of tonight’s sunset taken on the way home from work. Also a short clip from where we landed for lunch, a no-name lake in the Talkeetna Mts. looking out on Denali.
We had been airborne for several hours and needed a bit of a break. It can be challenging to find a spot to land and stretch the legs, especially this time of year. This road (I know not where it came from or where it was going ) was the best thing I saw. One thing I have never liked about roads are the power lines, so I looked this over very well before landing. Another thing that can pose a challenge are street signs and mailboxes. I almost hit a mailbox once and it has made me very cautious.
As soon as we landed I popped the cowling and put last-nights left-over pizza from Evangelos on-top of the cylinders. It’s like a microwave, it works great. We chowed lunch and then launched again. It was cold this morning… like -15 F, miserable. This spot was perfect and I thought it was a nice pic.
Here is something else I saw today that I thought was interesting.
I could not figure out what it was until…..
The Hercules and the Black Hawk flew right over us. I thought this was pretty sweet. The Black Hawk was refueling, and it looked really weird from a distance. I exited the immediate territory after I took this image because I was not in the mood for wing-tip vortices off a C-130 Hercules.
I Took this shot while hauling moose hunters this past Fall. That is Jim Lake below and the Chugach mountains with Pioneer Peek front and center. It’s hard to get away from the beauty when you are surrounded by the Chugach.
The concern for her life is etched in her face…. or just pure mockery. I think it’s the latter. Funny kid, my Samantha.
It’s not all that great of an image, but it is fun to show Denali on just another average day. It’s like seeing a celebrity out shopping at Best Buy with no make-up. It is a beautiful mountain, and I got to look at her all day long while I was out counting moose for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. I shot this en-route to a sample unit. No filters or special effects, just another one of GOD’s amazing pieces of creation. Mt. Mckinley, A super-tall mountain @ 20,320′ above sea-level.
I was flying for Fish and Game in Cook Inlet and I landed on the beach at a friends set-net sight to say hi and use their outhouse. I had no idea my brother’s family was staying on the beach at this location for the night, so I was surprised to see them since we were several hundred miles from home. The biologist and I hung out for a bit and as we were getting ready to take-off my sister-in-law says, “hey, you know your mom and all her friends are hanging out down at clam gulch, you might see them too hahahaha”.
I did not give this much thought but decided to hug the beach “just in case”. We had been flying for less than 10 minutes when I saw this group of ladies walking down the beach. I asked the biologist if she would mind if landed to say “hi” to my mom. She said, “YOU BETTER LAND TO SAY HELLO TO YOUR MOTHER !!!!!!!! ” So I winged over and plopped down right along side them. I don’t know who was more surprised, me stumbling across my mom on a random beach 300 miles from home, or my mom having her son plop down along side her on a beach 300 miles from home. It was a great 5 minute stop with lots of laughs. Alaska really is a small town.
P.S. My Mom is the cute little lady on the far left.
This is the video from the same event.
God’s creation is the finest. I’ll never forget this night because I was hanging out with my Brother and my Dad. We were in a big hurry because we had some work to do before it got dark, but we stopped and just watched this until it was done, it demanded our attention…. I love that.
I spent the afternoon chasing rainbow trout for the Alaska department of Fish and Game. This is how it works. This past summer my biologist friend Chris caught rainbow trout and performed a simple surgery and implanted transmitters into approx. 80 fish. Each fish has a unique code that is beeped through a frequency that is heard by antennas attached to the wings of my airplane. Chris has a special receiver that scans all the different frequencies while we fly up and down the streams where the fish were implanted to locate each fish. That is what I was doing today, and this is the photo of the sunset that I took while flying down the Big Susitna river with Sleeping Lady in the background. Two weeks ago when Chris and I flew this it was still flowing free and there was no snow. It is always surprising how fast the seasons change even if it is running a couple weeks late.
This is a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course headed up the headwall on the East Fork of the Matanuska Glacier. This photo was taken in mid-July and this course is passing through the 8000′ mark. I had just landed and cached their groceries at the 10,000′ elevation. It’s best to dig a big whole in the snow and burry the groceries, because you would be surprised how high a raven will fly to get free food. The ravens will spread granola, and powdered potatoes all over mountain. It’s also important to GPS the cache, because in these extreme locations it is not uncommon for massive storms to blow in and bury everything above 7000′ elevation. I lost a cache one time. The climbers had marked it with a 5′ probe, but it was gone in a matter of hours. I lost it in May but was able to recover it in August when the snow-pack finally melted down so I could see it. Landing in the high glacier country during summer is really unique. On a clear day like this you could get a good sun burn in less than an hour.
I was looking for a spot to land in the gorge but I did not trust the ice. Maybe later this year, it’s a neat spot.
Kelley first called me this summer, she is from Washington DC and spends most of her time in the Pentagon. She met my Dad this summer at some health care meeting in Anchorage. My Dad told her to give me a call because I would show her some amazing scenery. We went on a flight, then we landed and hiked around on a glacier. Then we landed and picked up some rocks for the fireplace I am building in my house. We had a great time exploring for a couple of hours that day.
Kelley was back in Anchorage this week and booked another flight/hike with me. So we flew up the Knik this afternoon and landed at the toe of one of the numerous glaciers. there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground so we drug the strip a couple of times to check the condition, and make sure we could get stopped on the snowy 400′ strip. After landing we hiked around on this mostly-frozen glacial lake and climbed around on the icebergs. OK, OK I know it looks a little cold, but it was beautiful, and just think, nobody has ever stood, nor will anybody ever stand again were she is standing. It was truly a unique day and we had a ball running around on the ice. Kelley even made a killer snow angel on a glacial lake in the Chugach Mts. How many people have done that…. I mean really, how many ? Life’s short, enjoy it.
This spot is only a 15 minute flight from my house and a 5 minute hike from the landing strip. Immediately up valley from here are 3 massive glaciers converging. Sometimes when its really hot we jump into these pools of snow melt. This is one of my favorite spots on the face of the earth. I wish I could show it to everyone, It’s stunning. You really ought to come see it. We’ll check out some glaciers while we are there and we might even see some moose and bear. In fact this spot deserves two pictures I am going to post another one……
I’m serious, this place is amazing. I brought a gal from Washington D.C. here this summer and she liked it so much, I am taking her on another flight tomorrow. She is only in Alaska for 3 days on business, but she scheduled flying time with Blue Ice Aviation.
You can see the airstrip where my house is in the far lower right hand corner (just to the right of my heel). I took this picture on an afternoon hike with Samantha in September. It’s my favorite view in the world and its literally right out my front door. My Wife’s back packing company (BackPackAK.com) does day hikes right from our house.
This is a shot taken en route to Sheep Mt. early one morning. This is the Chugach Mt. range on a Northeasterly heading somewhere near Carpenter Creek. It was just after the first snowfall of the season. I have not edited this image at all. Just point and shoot and post.