Photos From the Weekend -- Enjoying Summer

It has been a busy start to the summer, but we finally snuck away yesterday for a few hours of family time.  It was a beautiful summer day and I think the adults had almost as much fun as the kids.  We were missing a whole bunch of family members, but you can only cram so many people into Super Cub :o)  I hope you had a relaxing weekend.

Photos on the Road -- Pavlov Volcano and the Bro

We were hard at work yesterday when Pavlov Volcano blew up just a few miles away.  Volcanic ash made it to more than 20,000 foot.  I can still see ash spewing into the sky looking out my window right now.  Fortunately the winds have worked in our favor so far, so the ash has not been an issue for the machinery.  

Also, my brother and his family are home from the Philippines for a few months and he was able to make it down to Cold Bay last night and fly around Unimak Island with me today.  The map shows where we were located.  Looks like a few days of wind and rain are in the forecast but we can't complain, it's been beautiful.

Photos From Yesterday -- Fat Bikes, I Love Fat Bikes.

Alaskan's could not complain if it starts raining tomorrow and does not stop until September.  I think we've already had more days of 60+ degrees this year than the past 3 years combined!  OK ... that was a total exaggeration, but we certainly have had an incredible Spring.  

Rather than sit around and whine about the heat, like I normally do, my friend Larry and I spent yesterday afternoon exercising the fat tires on our mountain bikes.  I think I have a new favorite sport!  I grew up riding bikes in Alaska, and our off-trail terrain is often a frustrating let-down on standard rubber mountain bikes.  The fat bikes eat sand for break fast, and scoff at mud and rocks.  If you are skilled enough to balance, and strong enough to pedal, the tires will not disappoint.  I'm choosing not to divulge where it was that we rode yesterday because it's likely the first time this real estate has ever seen a bike.  I will mention it took an airplane to get there.  I'm just excited to see that Alaska's rideable terrain was expanded extensively with the advent of these tires.  I'm disappointed I was so slow to jump on the fat tire bus.

 I should mention that my fat bike is new.  I just bought it a couple weeks ago at Speedway Cycles across Northern Lights from REI in Anchorage.  They were the only store offering a name brand (Kona) fat bike on 4.7" tires at a price that I could afford ($1300).  We covered a little bit of ground yesterday and saw a nice variety, but we did not even begin to scratch the surface of what is available.

I always love living in Alaska, I even like the bone chilling winter wind, but it's days like yesterday that remind me just how truly awesome this state is.

Photo Dump -- Early April in South West Alaska (Part 1)

I recently returned from another 10 days in South West Alaska.  We spilt our time evenly between Dillingham and Cold Bay.  We were blessed to have an awesome stretch of weather as we were able to work every day.  The first 3 days of the job were virtually blue bird, so when a little bit of cloud cover and freezing rain showed up we really could not whine about it.  The winds were generally light never exceeding 30 knots on the surface.  We saw steaming volcanos, bears, wolves, foxes, caribou, moose, a killer whale, old ship wrecks, glass bouy balls, eagles, a wrecked DC-6, and we even stopped at the hot springs for a little swim.  It was truly an awesome trip.  If this works there will be about 70 pictures from the trip posted below.

Crossing the Alaska Range for the west side.

Crossing the lake district North of Dillingham.

Refuling near Sparrevohn.

Refuling at Nyac with only thin snow cover.

Sneaking back into Dillingham on drizzly night.

More fuel at Nyac.

On the ramp in Dillingham, hoping it does not start to freeze and thankful for a hangar.

Changing oil in the hangar in Dillingham.

Ali's stuffed horse Milo took this trip with me.

Complete lack of snow leaving King Salmon, Alaska.

Milo and I waiting for the helicopter in Port Heiden

Crossing from mainland to Unimak Island.

Shishaldin Volcano on Unimak Island.

Neighboring Isanotski Volcano.

Isanotski Summit.

Shishaldin Summit

False Pass, Alaska.

False pass.

South Side of the Alaska Penninsula.

Looking through False pass with Mainland on the right and Unimak Island on the left.

South side of Unimak on a beautiful morning.

Fueling in the sleet.

Final for landing at False Pass.

Cold Bay Saturday Night.

Cold Bay Sunday Morning.

A DC-6 landed gear up at Cold Bay several years ago.

Mike and I posing by the carnage.

This is now sitting off to the side of the runway.

Looks sorta cold.

You can see the helicopter and the biologist ... I circled the caribou.

How many caribou do you see?

This might help.

Beautiful morning in Cold Bay.

There were too many photos to upload all at once ... so there is a second part with lots more photos if you are interested.  Just click here

You can also purchase high quality Blue Ice Aviation shirts and/or hats by going here 

Photo Dump -- Early April in South West Alaska (Part 2)

Most of the track from our trip.

The Cub and Helicopter arriving together at the mouth of the David River.

Holding onto our hats on the Bering Sea side.

Stretching our legs.

Nelson Lagoon, pretty amazing location for a community!

Cold Bay.

One of the many amazing views from Cold Bay.

Sometimes the wind blows in Cold Bay.

Milo helping the biologists draw blood from a caribou.

Another Cold Bay view, Frosty Peak.

Getting ready to head home.

Pre-heat. The next best thing to a heated hangar is an electric heater and a honda generator.

Crossing at Port Moller.

Landing on the beach.

Probably one of the coolest places I've ever been in my life.

These hot springs are absolutely amazing.

Mark Cruising the beach in the cub.

Mike headed home.

Gramps and Milo in Port Heiden.

Frozen lakes and no snow.

Taking on fuel in Port Alsworth.

Landing at our house in a snow storm after a long beautiful flight from Cold Bay ... amazing!

Ali and Milo, chillin' in the hangar.

Photo Dump -- 5 Days in Western Alaska

I spent the last 5 days on the West side of the Alaska Range.  Alaska finally got a little bit of snow early last week which permitted us to actually get something done.  The weather has now been clear and windy for the past 8 days.  It only took me 3:35 to go from AK93 to Dillingham and just over 5:05 to return on the same track.  That means the wind was out of the North East at about 30 knots.

I have never seen so little snow on the ground over such a wide spread area in late March.  It's amazing to see frozen brown tundra where there is normally 4 foot of compacted snow.  Dillingham is going through break-up, and my cub got all muddy taxiing around on the ramp.  I think that is about a month earlier than normal.  

Ali and Mae's pet horse Milo took this trip with me.

Snow capped peaks in the Alaska range

Crossing the mouth of the Wood River. 

Milo and I getting ready to launch.

Kim and I posing for a photo in the sun.

Looking out towards the village of Manakotak.

It was -5F when we started the project last Wednesday and 25 above yesterday.  Spring's a comin'.

Mike Meekin loading up

Morning Sun.

Go here to buy a Blue Ice Aviation Hoodie! 

Photo of the Day -- I Forgot My Camera

Very few views are finer than a mixture of granite and clouds.  Ever since I was a little kid I remember being enamored by, "mountains that go all the way up to the clouds."  I have since come to a more full understanding of this phenomenon, but the intrigue is still written on my core.  I was flying yesterday in the Chugach mountains for 8 solid hours.  As the day progressed the winds increased.  It was a blue bird day until the wind started to blow.  Then I had the pleasure of watching clouds form out of thin air.  Sometimes they are not even clouds, just a frozen haze of tiny ice particles glistening in the sun and reducing visibility.  It's like flying around in one never ending cloud.  It always looks like the visibility is going to get really bad up ahead, but it never does.   The ice crystals look like snow flakes, but the sun is shining, so it does not make sense.  Ice crystals and sun are difficult to capture with a camera, which is why everybody should own a Super Cub and fly regularly in the mountains.

This photo was taken in September.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera yesterday so I did not even get a chance to take photos of the sun, or the clouds, or the ice crystals.  But, good Lord willing I'll get another chance.

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Photo of the Day -- This Photo Makes Me Happy

This photo shows a great time of year.  The air is crisp and cold from the near miss on snow cover.  The leaves are falling off the trees and my Super Cub smells like the butchers shop.  I love all of Alaska's seasons, but when I stumble across a photo of early September in the middle of February I've just got to share it.