Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A new strip is christened

The story begins a few years ago when mike and I were toodling around over by Mt. Spur.  We were both in the 150's and mike found a marshy spot near the mountain to land.  He set down and mentioned it was a bit wet so I couldn't really muster the nerve to follow him in.  While circling around I found a little rollover nearby that looked nice and dry but the daylight was slipping away and my confidence wasn't really high that late in the day with a cold night ahead if the landing went poorly.  Fast forward to last Monday.  It was a splitter day with a light breeze and full views of all the big mountains.  I had a full day of cabin work planned but when I stopped by mikes cabin it was hard to resist a day of adventure when he proposed it.  After dumping off supplies at my cabin we winged our way north to the same spot as before looking to do some hiking.  Again mike landed in the marsh but found it was about twice as deep as it was last time.  As he struggled to get off the ground again, I went back up to check out my old spot.  The hill looked good and with a nice little headwind I touched down and rolled out to the other side to have a look at the length.  After mike freed his plane from the marsh he came over and joined me and we set off uphill toward Mt. Spur.  We followed drainage's up the slopes jumping ptarmigan and finding petrified wood at almost every step.  If you look above the planes in the picture you will see the right side of one of the knobs looks just like a gorilla face.  Gorilla strip is born.  Just like the Wrangells I can't stop thinking about this place, truly wild country.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trip to Spurview with Mayme and Simon today.  Great views and the Lupine were popping.  I hadn't seen that before.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last year my friend Bob began construction on his timber frame house in Seldovia.  The whole process is intriguing and beautifully simple.  The house should be completed this summer for the most part.   I included a few images of Seldovia, such a wonderful town.

Montague Island

Summer is busy as usual and I have obviously been neglecting the blog.  Today I will post some pictures of a spring trip to Montague island.  Montague is east of Soldotna and is known for some pretty rowdy weather.  We had a great spring, so I took advantage of the clear horizons to explore a bit.  I took one trip really early in the spring, and a second trip with Dusty later.  Montague is known for its excellent deer hunting and we saw plenty of them while over there.  Unfortunately much of the refuse lost overboard in the ocean ends up on the islands shoreline.  This trip was littered with sports knick knacks from a container lost off a ship down the coast in Canada.  We also found a bunch of energy drinks unopened, they were tasty after a long walk on the beach. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lake Clark trip

I took off Sunday on a mission to expand my range in ragtag. I often get stuck in a rut and tend to stick close to home but with fuel prices steadily rising, i figured now is the time to get some distance flying under my belt before they get too out of control. I had never been on the other side of the Alaska range by myself or in my own plane actually so this was going to be a big move for me. The weather was perfect so I took off out of Soldotna and climbed to 8k feet direct for Kalgin island and then direct for lake Clark. On the way over I was able to take a good look at Lake Clark pass and get a feel for what the layout is. Having never been this far west before I was concentrating on learning the nuances of the mountains and learning the local points of reference to call on the radio for position reports. After busting over the mountains I dropped down into Lake Clark with perfect weather and cruised down past port Alsworth and landed down on the west end of the lake as the lake surface was smoother down there. After a leg stretching break and a quick snack I loaded up and took off for Twin lakes. What is really impressive about western Alaska is the size and expanse. Once over the mountains the state opens up as far as you can see and a pilot puttering around in a super cub starts to feel pretty small and insignificant. After about a 30 to 40 minute flight I was circling upper and lower twin lakes looking for critters and signs of life. Not much was out and about so I climbed out and pointed ragtag north of Mt. Redoubt and headed for mikes cabin on the kustatan. About 20 minutes before mike place I remembered mike and bill would be over shoveling the roof on the upper cabin. I turned north and dropped in on the pair as they were snowshoeing up river to the cabin. We spent the rest of the day flying around the area and enjoying the good weather with a warm lunch at the cabin. After cleaning up the cabin we headed back east with a beautiful Alaska sun setting behind us. Spring is finally here. If the pictures don't load I'll repost later

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cold flight

Here are a few pics I took on a cold flight this December. It was -10 when I left Soldotna and -30 when I landed at the cabin. Needless to say, I didn't stay long.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cabin Friends

I spent a good amount of time this spring/summer/fall across the inlet at the cabin last year. When you put in your time in the area you really begin to see what it's all about. A few hours here and there will be a good time, but you will often miss the full on ecosystem that exists over there. This summer I finally began to see the river otters. They are often so quick and clever it's hard to get more than 30 seconds with them but I was fortunate enough to see them twice, once for a few minutes while they watched me fish on the Kustatan. Also included is a picture of the local muskrat that patrols the lake right at dusk. He/she will swim past every night at usually the same time up the lake, then be back by about 30 minutes later. While Mike and I were working on the tree fort, the Grebe pictured had been abandoned and was hanging out on shore so we grabbed a few pictures at set him out in the lake to see if he would be adopted.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Summer fishing on the Kenai

Last summer I finally began to realize the beauty of fishing the Kenai river. Wally purchased a drift boat, and often we borrowed a friends drift boat to head out and take advantage of the massive red run this year. Along with getting out two to three nights a week for reds, we also fished every drift Monday for kings. Not a huge success rate with the kings but nevertheless, the great summer weather we had made it worth it. In the heart of the king run I would often get off work at 5:30, meet Wally at the boat launch and pull out at The Pillars around 1am only to get up at 4am and start the cycle all over. I'm sure that takes years off your life....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tree Fort

Mike climbed this tree as a kid and had the itch to put a little perch in the top so we can check out the area around the lake, look at weather etc. I brought over my climbing rope and we established some fixed lines and pulleys to use to make the trip up a little safer. I'll be doing a few catch up posts to get the rest of the summer and fall all on here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cold streak

We have been stringing together day after day of sub-zero temps. Finally it warmed up a bit and is snowing now. Here's a crappy iPhone pic from the cabin yesterday. It was -30 when I touched down. Too cold to stay very long......