Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

On our way to Galena, we left the Koyukuk river and headed south towards Galena which is on the north side of the Yukon river. This is my approach into Galena from the west.

The town of Hughes. We didn't stop here.

A rare photo out the right side of the airplane. Usually I take pictures out the left side.

Cub versus Husky. The debate rages on.

On the Koyukuk river. The rock was embedded into the ground like stone tiles.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Here's Amanda enjoying her pie and having fun with Grandma.

I thought I would take a break from the airplane trips and post something really fun. Ben Stedman and Lynn Spencer made us this beautiful fresh blueberry pie made with hand-picked blueberries, a great crust and fresh whipped cream. Ben did the picking and Lynn did the putting together. It was an absolute treat with perfect flavors, sweetness, tartness, and lightness. Thanks Lynn and Ben!!! We loved it. That's my grandmother enjoying her pie in the background.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Hans touching down safely.

We had to make a stop along the Koyukuk. Hans is on final approach to the gravel.

The Koyukuk River is a clear, beautiful, winding river.

About 40 min out of Bettles, the smoke began to clear. We are approaching the town of Allakaket.

We followed the Koyukuk River towards Galena.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

We are having dinner on the John River. It's about 9 pm and we have just flown about 9 hours between Bettles, Barrow, and back. We considered staying the night on the gravel bar, but since Bettles was only about 10 min away, we decided to go where there was a place to eat breakfast and use the facilities.
Hans after landing on the John River. He's taxiing back towards me.

I landed on the John River. The rock was medium sized but reasonably smooth. Hans is making his final approach into the gravel bar.

Beautiful mountains.

More smoke on the way back through Anaktuvuk Pass.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

The Brooks Range

Making our way back to Bettles.

I left these out there, but Amanda later told me that I should have brought them back.

Parked on the Tundra.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Safely down.

On our way back towards Umiat, I really wanted to land on the tundra. I tried to land in several areas, but the terrain was rather bumpy. I spotted a small hill that gave us an uphill landing (shorter rollout). Hans and I made several passes to make sure it felt good. Husky drivers seem to let the Cub drivers land first. George Mandes says this is because the Husky drivers are smarter. At any rate, I landed first and got a photo of Hans making his approach into the tundra.

The route towards Kotzebue was bad, so we had not other option than to head back to Bettles. This is on our way back to Umiat for more fuel.

The Real Land o' Lakes.

Here's the photo of Barrow through the airport fence. We were too cold to look for a way through the fence.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

This is a photo of the plane in Barrow. The airport was working on the ramp area and there weren't any tiedown spaces for us. I couldn't exit the airplane without the airplane blowing backwards, so I engaged a makeshift parking brake. The wind was howling and the windchill must have been near zero degrees. Hans and I decided that we weren't going to stay in Barrow and that we didn't even need to go to Point Barrow (the most northerly point). In fact, we didn't even need to see the ocean from the ground; we had seen it from the air. I ran across the ramp and snapped a photo (will be in the next post) through a chain-link fence since we didn't see a gate to even exit the airport. We could have taken gas in Barrow, but it takes 2 hours for the fuel truck to arrive and they charge even more than in Umiat plus they add a "service" fee. I took my two five-gallon jugs of fuel out of the back and proceeded to fill my tanks with frozen hands while standing on the tires of my plane that's trying to move backwards in the blowing wind. I got most of the fuel into the tanks....I'll leave it at that. All told, we spent about 20 min. in Barrow and we both agreed that it was about 19 min too long.

Preparing to land in Barrow. It already looks cold and the surface winds are easterly at 20 gusting 25.

Admiralty Bay, just east of Barrow. This stretch between Umiat and Barrow shames Minnesota in terms of the number of lakes.

We get to Umiat and I see this sign which makes me think I could walk down the street and find a gas station and a McDonalds at the next intersection. Troy the "fuel guy" drove up in his truck. Troy basically sits on the radio 24/7 and listens for incoming aircraft traffic looking for fuel. I asked him what there is in Umiat and he said, "you're looking at it". I pointed to the sign, and he shrugged his shoulders. So we took fuel and left for Barrow.

This was a very interesting ridge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Some beautiful flatlands toward Umiat. I really wish the air had been clearer.

Interesting rock formations between Anaktuvuk Pass and Umiat.

Just past Anaktuvuk Pass.

Hans flying by Anaktuvuk.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

Nearing Anaktuvuk Pass. We have been following the John River from Bettles.

More Brooks Range.

My view out the front.

Departed Bettles for Umiat. The smoke made visibilities poor. I still had enough to take photos, but the clarity is definitely lacking. All this in the region where you are supposed to see forever.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

First night in Bettles.

Beautiful sky in Bettles.
Hans enjoying the weather.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gregg and Hans Tour Alaska

A Bettles Helio Courier waiting to launch.

The Bettles Fire Department.

Papa Zulu off in the distance. We tried to walk around the town of Bettles, but realized that the town was basically the airport.

Met David Pippert from South Dakota. He was travelling through the Arctic for the summer with his girlfriend, Megan. David's plane is the silver one off in the distance. It is a Zenith Stol CH 701. He built it with his father and has flown it back and forth between the states and Alaska a few times.

Getting camp set up in Bettles. We could have camped out on the front lawn of the Bettles Lodge, but we chose the rocky gravel ramp for some reason.