Pavlov Volcano Eruption June 2nd, 2014

We were working at the base of Pavlov Volcano on June 2nd when it erupted.   We arrived in Cold Bay on May 31st.  Pavlov blew on June 2nd under beautiful blue skies.  Over the next two weeks we never saw the mountain again because of clouds.  Viewing an eruption like this was probably the opportunity of a lifetime.  We were literally right there watching lava shoot out the top, then watching a flash flood rage down the mountain as hot lava melted spring snow.  Pavlov is more than 8200' tall and considered to be one of the most consistently active volcanos in the Aleutian Arc.  

I should have gotten these photos posted sooner, but summertime is just too busy to stop and play on the blog.  I would be out flying right now, but the wind is blowing in the Chugach Mountains.  I just sat down at my computer and saw these pictures and decided it was time to do something with them.

Pavlov Volcano Eruption June 2nd, 2014

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Several Photos From the Last Few Days -- Glassing Rams From the Air Strip

It's bittersweet when a legal ram watches you land.  It's awesome that there are legal rams in the valley, not so awesome that they know you are there.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys through the spotting scope with the hunter.

I found a new spot to land.  Should be some good caribou hunting.

Enjoying the view as always.  Interesting fact ... this lake did not exist just 10 years ago.  I've watched it grow high in the Talkeetna Mountains this lake has appeared at the toe of an unnamed glacier.

Looking down onto the Matanuska Glacier.

A nice 39" ram we pulled out today.  His hunting partner also took a 38+ on opening morning.

A hunter testing the sat-phone before I depart.  Iridium sat-phone service  generally works really well, but this particular valley is so narrow and deep that satellites are not always within view.   Hunters have struggled to make calls with consistency from this location.

Another hunter dropped high in the Talkeetna Mountains.

Photo of the Day -- 2 Pics, Sorta' The Same

Not a bad little view.  This is in the Alaska Range, in the Kichatna Mountains.  I took this picture last month while fly towards Farewell. Every time I fly by this peak I take a picture, and it is seldom disappointing.  My 4 year old daughter could take a picture of this mountain, and it would look great.  I don't think you can go wrong with a camera when the landscape is this extreme.  Here is a picture from the same mountain at a lower altitude.  It's actually one of my all-time favorites, and I have it blown up and hanging on the wall in my hangar.

I took this picture several years ago while looking for sheep.  One of the greatest things about this job is that while the landscape stays the same, the perspective is always changing.

Photos of the Day--It's Been a Good Couple Days

It's amazing how the summer fly's by.  It's August 1st today, which means hunting season is just around the corner.  This time next week we will be hauling sheep hunters into the Chugach and Talkeetna mountains.  This time next month and the leaves on the trees will be yellow and falling.  I love this time of year because it's still summer, but you can feel the change in the air.

The last couple of days have been beautiful.  Yesterday my brother and I flew around in the Chugach all afternoon landing in various places and thoroughly enjoying each minute.  We have been busy flying for the gold mine, and doing NOLS re-rations. This afternoon we flew 15 people off of an strip using the super cubs.  Then we grilled up some salmon and reindeer sausage for dinner.  I do love Alaskan summers and all the cool people we get to meet.

NOLS AKX6 near the Tonsina Glacier.

Taxing for departure.

Zach landing at one of our favorite Chugach strips.

On the glacier.

AK-23 in the hangar this evening.

Alaskan Summer.

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.